Hi. Happy New Year.

I have a crazy question.

I recently became SAG-eligible.

I only make about $43,000 a year so my income doesn’t qualify me to get a loan for the initiation fee. Other than save, what are actors doing to pay the $3198 to join?

I guess if I had no bills or kids this wouldn’t be as hard to figure out.

Thank you for your time.
Teresa Parker

Congratulations on your union eligibility, Teresa! That’s great news! I checked out your IMDb and what I was *going* to say is actually something I’m still gonna say, but not necessarily to you. (So, hold tight. Advice for your specific situation in a moment.)

In checking out your IMDb, I saw that you have a lot of momentum brewing. You’ve been working quite a bit, and it’s not like the typical “I just got my eligibility” question I receive, which usually comes from someone who is just heartbeats away from making a Premature Move.

Many people who don’t yet have the money saved up to pay the SAG-AFTRA initiation fee ($3000 right now) are also not yet *ready* to join the union, even though they’re eligible to do so. So I say it’s a GOOD thing that they have time to save up while they continue to build relationships, do nonunion work (or work on those awesome projects on the lower-level union contracts that allow for both union and nonunion performers), amass great footage, and *then* join the union when both that bank account and the career trajectory support that decision.

But in your case — at least based on your credits at IMDb — you appear to be ready. All except the money. Now, according to SAG-AFTRA, there is no payment plan, there are no deductions from future earnings under union contracts, but there is that cool loan. You mentioned not qualifying for *a* loan, but I’m wondering if you tried the one offered by the AFTRA-SAG Federal Credit Union?

Their terms are incredibly reasonable and they’re very actor-friendly (obviously), so if you’ve not tried for that one, unless the reason you’re not qualifying for a loan is not due to your income level but due to bad credit or a bankruptcy, there’s a suggestion.

Truly, with the amount of acting work you’re doing, you should be able to save up for this soon. I know you have a family and other bills to pay, of course, but socking away $50 per week starting now, you’ll have the whole initiation fee by St. Patrick’s Day, 2016.

Yeah, that’s a long way off and yeah, that’s a lot of money to hide from yourself every week, but just working toward that (starting now) will begin to shift the energy toward more bookings and more opportunities and — believe it — more work that pays well enough to cover the fee in just a couple of days on set!

Obviously, if any of the brilliant readers of The Actors Voice have other suggestions on this, I’d love to hear ’em and I’ll share them in a future Your Turn so you can check out the goods.

I’m excited for you and I know that it’ll be the right and perfect time for you to end your nonunion status when the money shows up for it! The universe is magical that way! 🙂

Wanna be sure your tools *and* your mindset are in peak form before joining an actors union? Let us get you in gear with some FREE training right now!

Let’s DO this!


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 http://more.showfax.com/columns/avoice/archives/001925.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

(Visited 7,328 times, 2 visits today)


  1. Victoria October 8, 2016 at 10:14 am


    There is a 5 month payment plan for SAG. The first payment is 1,200 & for 5 months you pay 416.00 and some change straight from your account each month. Also they give you an option to work as Union for 30 days to help earn some of the cash to join. The program is called Ok30. You must call to see if you can still activate your Ok30 status then start submitting with your Union number they will give you. You aren’t guaranteed Union roles but I made 1,500 working my Ok30 and that helped. Everyone will be different of course. I am in NY so it maybe different in L.A. There is a payment plan so call your local SAG office to gather more details. Break a leg superstar☆ Hope I helped you.

  2. Bonnie Gillespie October 25, 2016 at 2:17 pm

    Thanks, Victoria! Great tips! 🙂 So appreciate you sharing this, here.


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.