You may recall that a wonderful union-eligible actor wrote in a bit ago asking about options for getting that good ol’ SAG-AFTRA initiation fee more affordable. She had already learned about the loan offered by the AFTRA-SAG Federal Credit Union (PDF) but needed other options.

I said I’d check into a payment plan — something that I knew existed pre-merger (in fact, my initiation fee was deducted from my checks when I booked union work over the period of a few weeks, way back in the day) but something that I was striking out about, at least in terms of finding anything official on the union’s website.

Enter: Rik Deskin. Rik is a great actor, union board member, theatre-owner, and all around stellar person based in Seattle who, years ago, taught me the phrase “pre-union member” as a way to describe nonunion actors who clearly were on the road to joining someday. I love that positive, inclusive way of labeling fellow actors whose paths may not yet have led to union membership without creating some unnecessary “us vs. them” positioning from the onset. Especially in other markets, the professional blending of actors on both sides of their initiation experience is common.

Rik shared what I suspected which is that there are payment plans… but nothing official. Here is what he told me:

They should first talk to the financial department at SAG-AFTRA LA to see what sort of payment plan they could enter. As far as I know, they can break it up into at least three payments.

Unfortunately there is no linkable info on working out a payment plan directly with SAG-AFTRA; I just know from experience that they do it on a case-by-case situation.

From the Membership Services Department: “The applicant is more than welcome to contact the Los Angeles Local at 323.549.6769 or 855.SAG.AFTRA for a complete explanation of the payment plan.”

Hope this helps!

Indeed it helps, Rik. You’re a rockstar. Thank you for doing that outreach on behalf of the pre-union member who’s day you made with this information. And thanks on behalf of all those who will bump into this archived info right here, later!

You rock!

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Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

Originally published by Actors Access at Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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