Using SAG in Short Films

Over time, we’ll use this space to discuss production issues surrounding short films. One issue we’ll tackle is union labor. While this may seem irrelevant for many or even most short film -makers, the questions are still valid—can filmmakers afford to use, say, SAG actors?, can they afford NOT to?, can they maintain guerrilla cred by using unions?, can they have liberal cred without them?, what is the anarcho-syndicalist to do?

Some JSF filmmakers have never needed to use SAG. Gabriel Cheifetz (JSF, v.2) didn’t need them for his documentary “Battleground Minnesota.” Chris “Shakademic” Johnson is a fixture in Gabriel’s films, and Walter Mondale was in it for the public service. But J.J. Adler (JSF, v.2) said that she has had no trouble using SAG actors. “They generally sign the student film or no-budget film contracts and waive any payments without incident,” she reports.

The JSF has had at least one filmmaker excluded because of his deal with SAG, but we’re reserving judgment. Maybe someone at SAG can email us their take on the issue?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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