We took the SAGIndie show on the road on Friday, shuttling up Crescent to the DGA for the Los Angeles Film Festival’s "Meet the Guilds" luncheon. This event is one of those occasions when the Hollywood guilds join forces, Superfriends style, to let independent filmmakers know that we’re open for business with them.
Friday’s event was notable for much more than the free boxed lunches we provided the filmmakers, however.
Much, much more.
This Friday, SAGIndie Director Paul Bales revealed to the awed masses the existence of our brand new Modified Budget Agreements: the Short Film Agreement and the Ultra Low Budget Agreement, both of which go into effect July 1, 2005.
The Short Film Agreement, which is essentially replacing the Experimental Agreement, will cover short films with a budget of $50,000 or less that have a running time of 35 minutes or less. This contract also eliminates the deferred payment schedule, allowing SAG actors to donate their services to producers gratis, without saddling filmmakers on a shoe-string budget with potentially crippling back-end pay requirements.
This spirit of cooperation is extended to the Ultra Low Budget Agreement, which replaces the Limited Exhibition Agreement. This new contract, covering all features with a budget under $200,000, provides an updated pay schedule, eliminating deferred payments in favor of a flat rate of $100 per day.
Additionally, both contracts do away with step-up payments for additional distribution modes: in other words, going to DVD won’t bankrupt your company.
The Modified Low and Low Budget Agreements have also been spiffed up. To reflect the rising budgets of independent films, both feature a 25% increase in their budgetary caps against an 8% positive adjustment in the SAG pay schedule.
Of course, we are very excited about these contracts, and feel strongly that these changes will make it easier than ever to use SAG actors in low-budget films. And, in keeping with this user-friendly theme, we’ve now made sample copies of the contracts available for download from our website. You can even get the preliminary paperwork to fax to the Theatrical Department here.
Unfortunately, the limits of our technology prevent us from offering a boxed lunch for download from our website. You can, however, attend one of our Signatory Workshops, where I will personally present you with one of our ever-popular light-pens.