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Strike Update: SAG-AFTRA Interim Agreements Granted to “Truly Independent” Productions

Original publish date: July 20, 2023

The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) announced a strike on July 14, 2023, sending shockwaves through the industry. With negotiations currently stalling between SAG-AFTRA and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP), SAG-AFTRA’s 160,000 members have decided to join the picket line.  

Yet, amid the strike, there’s a glimmer of hope for independent producers as SAG-AFTRA has started issuing “interim agreements” for productions unaffiliated with major studios.

What are SAG-AFTRA interim agreements? 

While the ongoing strike affects work done under the Television / Theatrical Agreement (and related agreements), SAG-AFTRA has granted interim waivers to “truly independent” producers and productions without any ties to AMPTP members.

This means that independent projects such as the series The Chosen and the film Bride Hard, featuring Rebel Wilson, have been allowed to continue production without hindrance. These interim agreements offer a respite for independent producers with SAG-AFTRA actors attached to their projects. 

What’s the difference between unaffected and affected SAG-AFTRA agreements? 

Under the strike, all work done using the Television / Theatrical Agreement and its related agreements are halted (this includes the Ultra Low Budget Project Agreement (UPA), Moderate Low Budget Project Agreement (MPA), Low Budget Theatrical Agreement (LBA), and Special New Media Agreements). However, the strike does not impact the lowest budget agreements, such as the Short Project Agreement (SPA), Micro Budget Agreement (Micro), Student Film Agreement (Student), and Independent New Media Agreement (Deferrable). 

What are some unaffected productions? 

While the strike has caused disruption in various sectors of the entertainment industry, it’s important to understand that the Television / Theatrical Agreement is separate from several other agreements. Many productions remain unaffected, including some independent productions, commercials, animated television, game shows, and more. SAG-AFTRA has provided a comprehensive list of allowable productions, ensuring that not all aspects of the industry are at a standstill. 

Read the full list of non-struck categories of productions.

How do I obtain an interim agreement from SAG-AFTRA? 

For independent producers seeking to secure an interim agreement with SAG-AFTRA that would typically work under the Television / Theatrical Agreement, the union recommends reaching out to your assigned SAG business representative. In case you don’t have a business representative, you’ll need to complete a Signatory Application. To navigate this process, read our article SAG-AFTRA Explained: 6 Steps to Become a Signatory, which offers valuable insights and guidance. 

What’s next? 

We all hope for a quick and equitable resolution to this strike, and while it has brought significant uncertainty into the entertainment industry, the issuance of interim waivers for truly independent productions provides a ray of hope.

This development allows independent producers operating outside the studio system and collaborating with SAG-AFTRA actors to continue their projects without interruption.

As negotiations between SAG-AFTRA and AMPTP continue, it remains crucial to stay informed about further updates and their potential impact on the industry. 

Update: On August 14, 2023, SAG-AFTRA updated its Interim Agreement strategy as part of its approach to the ongoing labor strike. WGA-covered projects produced in the USA are no longer included under Interim Agreements. This change is a result of collaborative discussions with the WGA to align with their strike strategy. Going forward, SAG-AFTRA will grant Interim Agreements only for non-WGA-covered projects produced in the USA to support independent producers while protecting their members’ interests.  

This is a developing story, for the latest information contact your SAG-AFTRA business representative or visit https://www.sagaftrastrike.org/indie-producer-faqs.  

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