Using SAG-AFTRA Low Budget Theatrical Contracts

An Introduction to the Low Budget Contracts & Incentives

Since July 1, 2005, all of the SAG-AFTRA low budget agreements have been modified to make it even easier for you to use professional actors. These changes came about in part as a result of input and suggestions from filmmakers and actors who have worked with these contracts.

In addition, there are two brand new contracts for shorts and very low budget productions. And for the first time ever you can actually download and review sample contracts before you start the signatory process.

get_adobe_reader.gifThese agreements are available as PDFs. Opening a PDF requires a reader such as Adobe’s FREE Acrobat Reader.

Agreements

These sample agreements will assist you in familiarizing yourself with the SAG-AFTRA signatory process. The following agreements are samples only. If you still need more information, we encourage you to attend one of our free monthly workshops to help you through the process.

After familiarizing yourself with the available agreements, visit the Low Budget Contract Downloads page for the Preliminary Information Sheet.

All Low Budget Agreements must be shot entirely in the United States.

Short Film Agreement
  • Total budget of less than $50,000
  • 35 minutes or less
  • Salaries are deferred
  • No consecutive employment (except on overnight location)
  • No premiums
  • Allows the use of both professional and non-professional performers
  • Background performers not covered

View Short Film Agreement

Ultra-Low Budget Agreement
  • Total budget of less than $200,000
  • Day rate of $100
  • No step-up fees
  • No consecutive employment (except on overnight location)
  • No premiums
  • Allows the use of both professional and non-professional performers
  • Background performers not covered

View Ultra-Low Budget Agreement

Modified Low Budget Agreement
  • Total budget of less than $625,000
  • Day rate of $268
  • Weekly rate of $933
  • No consecutive employment (except on overnight location)
  • Six day work week with no premium
  • Reduced overtime rate

View Modified Low Budget Agreement

Low Budget Agreement
  • Total budget of less than $2,500,000
  • Day rate of $504
  • Weekly rate of $1752
  • No consecutive employment (except on overnight location)
  • Six day work week with no premium
  • Reduced overtime rate
  • Reduced number of Background Performers covered

View Low Budget Agreement

Theatrical & Television Basic Agreement
  • Producers seeking information about the Basic Agreement can click on the link below to view Rate Sheets and Contract Digests from the Screen Actors Guild. Producers can also call the SAG-AFTRA Theatrical Department directly at 323-549-6828 for more information.

View Basic Agreement Rate Sheets and Contract Digests

Incentives

Additionally, SAG-AFTRA offers a series of incentives to filmmakers utilizing particular low budget agreements. They are as follows:

Diversity-in-Casting Incentive
  • The Diversity In Casting Incentive applies to the Modified Low Budget Agreement and the Low Budget Agreement only.
  • Total production cost maximum may be increase to the following amounts:
    Modified Low Budget Agreement — from $625,000 to $937,500
    Low Budget Agreement — from $2,500,000 to $3,750,000
  • IF the producer has demonstrated diversity in casting by meeting the following criteria:
  • A) A minimum of 50% of the total speaking roles and 50% of the total days of employment are cast with Performers who are members of the following four (4) protected groups:
  • 1) Women,
  • 2) Senior Performers (sixty years (60) or older),
  • 3) Performers with Disabilities, or
  • 4) People of Color (Black/African American, Asian/Pacific Islander and South Asian, Latino/Hispanic, Arab/Middle Eastern and Native American Indian)AND
  • B) A minimum of 20% of the total days of employment is cast with performers who are People of Color.
Background Performer Incentive
  • The Background Actor Incentive applies to the Modified Low Budget Agreement ONLY. The Total production cost maximum may be increased an additional $100,000 if Producer employs a minimum average of three SAG-AFTRA covered Background Actors for each day of principal photography, provided that Producer notifies SAG-AFTRA in writing of intent to utilize this incentive prior to the start of production.
  • Although this agreement does not require coverage of Background Actors pursuant to Schedules X-I or X-II, as an incentive to provide employment opportunities for Background Actors in those areas where SAG-AFTRA has jurisdiction, the Guild will agree to increase the applicable total production cost maximum in Section 2 or 3 by $100,000 if the producer meets the following criteria:
  • Producer shall employ a minimum average of three (3) SAG-AFTRA covered Background Actors for each day of principal photography, not including rehearsal days, over the course of the production [Example If a production has 20 production days, Producer would be required to employ at least 60 (3 x 20) Background Actors on the production The requirement would be met by employing 3 Background Actors per day on all 20 days or by utilizing covered Background Actors on specific days to meet the required number. ]
  • Producer must notify SAG-AFTRA in writing of their intent to utilize this incentive prior to the commencement of principal photography Failure to do so shall render this incentive invalid, regardless of how many SAG-AFTRA covered Background Actors are employed on the production.
  • In order to verify compliance with this incentive, Producer must submit detailed weekly payroll reports for the SAG-AFTRA covered Background Actors in addition to having met its existing contractual obligations to submit the daily Production Time Reports. Failure to provide both sets of documents shall render the utilization of this incentive invalid.
  • All terms of Schedule X-I or X-II shall apply to the employment of Background Actors employed pursuant to this incentive.

After familiarizing yourself with the available agreements, visit the Low Budget Contract Downloads page for the Preliminary Information Sheet.

get_adobe_reader.gifThese agreements are available as PDFs. Opening a PDF requires reader such as Adobe’s FREE Acrobat Reader.