I am a new actor to the area and am not yet a member of SAG or AFTRA. I read your column on when not to submit to specific audition listings, and you mentioned not to submit to union jobs if you are not union. I have currently been submitting myself to SAG listed projects with the understanding that SAG projects can cast non-union actors if they wish to (with certain guidelines). Is this correct? Or does this leave a bad impression with the casting directors?

Here’s where those last couple of paragraphs in that column ring true: absolutely, there are rules in Hollywood. And there are many, many, many actors who “make it” despite the rules (as well as many, many, many actors who never “make it” despite following every rule, to the letter). Here’s the deal.

I talked about roles for which you shouldn’t submit based on availability, interest, union status, quote requirements, etc. If you are still nonunion, but submitting on union roles, you must assume that we (the folks looking at all of the submissions) notice you’re not yet in the unions and, if we call you in for an audition anyway, we’re either using a contract under which you can work despite your status OR we’ll Taft-Hartley you, if we love you for the role.

Certainly, we’d love for you to only submit when you absolutely, 100% fit the bill for the role we’re casting, but we also know that many times the magic that MAKES the project is that choice to cast someone we’d NEVER have considered, based on the breakdown. So, as long as you’re honest about your status (meaning, you don’t attempt to promote extra work to principal work or try to say you’re a member of SAG before you’ll clear Station 12), we’re probably all going to get along.

It’s only when you submit, read, blow us away, and THEN tell us you’re not available (or not interested or not willing to do work at that pay scale, etc.) that you impact our opinion of you in a very negative way. Typically, if you submit (even before you’re at the union status required of the project), audition, rock the read, and still stay in our top choices for the role, we’ll do whatever it takes to make sure you can be a part of the project.


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/000253.html. Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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