Notice to independent producers: SAG-AFTRA has announced two new agreements for low budget projects in addition to some updates to existing agreements. These changes are effective February 1, 2020. More information will be soon available on the SAG-AFTRA Production Center, and SAGindie will update our site when changes have been fully relayed. Current information about these changes are below.
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The first new agreement is the Ultra Low Budget Project Agreement (“UPA”). This will replace the previous Ultra Low Budget Agreement entirely as well as replace the Special New Media Agreement for non-episodic productions budgeted under $300,000. Some highlights of the UPA include:

  • Applies to non-episodic content only
  • Applies to projects filmed entirely in the United States
  • Applies to projects with a maximum budget of $300,000
  • Rates for day performers are set at 20% of basic agreement scale* and will increase annually with scale
  • Producers no longer have to declare their intended exhibition market and residuals will be based on the initial release of the project

The second new agreement is the Moderate Low Budget Project Agreement (“MPA”). This will replace the previous Modified Low Budget Agreement entirely as well as replace the Special New Media Agreement for non-episodic productions budgeted between $300,000 and $700,000. Some highlights of the MPA include:

  • Applies to non-episodic content only
  • Applies to projects filmed entirely in the United States
  • Applies to projects with a budget greater than $300,000 and a maximum of $700,000
  • Diversity in casting and background actor incentives are available
  • Rates for daily and weekly principal performers are set at 35% of basic agreement scale* and will increase annually with scale
  • Producers no longer have to declare their intended exhibition market and residuals will be based on the initial release of the project

The Low Budget Agreement will now be called the Low Budget Theatrical Agreement (“LBA”), and rates for daily and weekly principal performers will be set at 65% of basic agreement scale (and will increase annually with scale). The LBA will remain limited to projects with an initial theatrical release, with budgets greater than $700,000 but no more than $2,000,000. A diversity in casting incentive will remain available.

The Special New Media Agreement will remain limited to projects with an initial new media release and will now have four categories. Categories A and B will only apply to episodic content made for new media. Categories C and D will apply to both non-episodic and episodic content made for new media.

  • Category A will have day performer rates set at 20% of basic agreement scale* and background actor rates set at 75% of background actor scale. (Rates will increase annually with scale.)
  • Category B will have daily and weekly principal performer rates set at 35% of scale* and background actor rates set at 75% of background actor scale. (Rates will increase annually with scale.)
  • Category C will have daily and weekly principal performer rates set at 65% of scale.* (Rates will increase annually with scale.)
  • Category D will have principal performer and background actor rates set at basic agreement scale. (Rates will increase annually with scale.)

*Stunt coordinators must be covered and paid the rate set forth in Schedules K-I, K-II or K-III of the Codified Basic Agreement that is current at the time of photography

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS about how these changes may affect your film, the SAG-AFTRA Entertainment Contracts Department can be reached at 323.549.6828.

Stay tuned for more updates. If you have additional questions, you can call SAGindie at 323.549.6064.

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