The Union for voice actors is SAG-AFTRA. But should you join? Do you have to join? HELP! In this video, Gabby lays out the basics of what the union is all about.
SAG-AFTRA for Voice Acting? What you should know. - 4:44
Hey guys, thanks for joining me on today's edition of the Gift of Gab. Today we are going to talk about the voiceover union and how you can become a part of it. Stick around.
People come to me with questions all the time about the voiceover union: should I join? How do I join? Do I not need to join? Do I have to join? Okay so we're gonna kind of review and talk about some of the basics today. So first of all, the union that we're talking about is SAG-AFTRA. It's the Screen Actors Guild and what used to be the American Federation of Radio and Television Performers... actors... associations... something? I think the A stands for actors... American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
SAG-AFTRA kind of is our only option in the United States. There are some different ones. Canada has Equity but for the most part, when people talk about union work, it's SAG-AFTRA they're referring to. The deal is: to be able to even join the union, you have to be a part of, or participate in, be a cast member of, a union project. There's loads of different types of union projects, but what's key here is that the project has to be eligible for you to receive a SAG-AFTRA credit. After an actor meets their eligibility, and mind you, eligibilities can change; they change all the time, actually. Some areas of the industry, you have to work so many jobs. Movies, for instance, have some very specific tiers of how many jobs or what types of jobs you have to do before you become eligible to join. Voiceover, it's a little bit different, but you want to check with your local SAG-AFTRA office and get specifics from them that are the most up to date and the most current.
But regardless, once you meet your eligibility, you can go ahead pay your dues and join the union. It's really that simple. However, if you live in a right to work state you may not ever need to join the union, because you're able to do both union and non-union work. If you work in an area of voice over that is almost exclusively non-union, like a lot of industrial and corporate projects, you might not ever really have a need or an interest in joining the union. If you're doing a lot of work in animation and you have aspirations in network TV type of work and major motion picture, you definitely want to consider joining the union and getting your eligibility sooner rather than later.
One of the things that kickstarts this process is this fun piece of paper called a Taft-Hartley. It is something that either a talent agent would fill out, or you yourself as the performer can fill out, but basically what it means is the client that's coming to you with a project has to have an available Taft-Hartley. By having one, it allows them to bring you into the project legally as a non-union member. But the union is able to track who you are and the fact that you did the job. That's sort of the really super simplified version of it. There's a bunch of paperwork that goes into that. Usually it's going to be the client or a talent agent that's going to fill all that stuff out and take care of tracking and the pay master and again... it's it's just a lot of paperwork. Really, truly, that's what it boils down to and for a lot of us, it's just more steps and more people that are in between you and ultimately, your money.
Some actors meet their eligibility, join the union, and then immediately apply for what is known as Financial Core, or FiCore for short. It is a classification that, if you are granted, also allows you to legally do both union and non-union work at the same time, from your location.
So is it worth looking into? Absolutely. The union is a phenomenal tool and I will never say a bad word about it. For that matter, it's incredibly imperative for many, many performing artists. But again, is it right for you? I don't know! You got to do your research, do a little homework on it, you decide.
Thanks so much for watching, guys. I hope this helped answer some of your questions about the union, and I will see you soon. Bye!
Gabrielle Nistico, Gabby Nistico, The Voiceover Vixen, The Business First VO Coach, #VoiceoverVixen #VoiceOnFire #BusinessFirstVOCoach Voiceover, Charlotte, North Carolina, Voiceover Demo, Voiceover Coaching Advice, Working Actors, Los Angeles, New York, How to Be a Better Voice Actor, voiceover coaching, YouTube Channel, Voice Acting Coach, SAG, SAG-AFTRA, voiceover union, Fi Core, FiCore, Taft Hartley, Taft-Hartley, should I join the union, voiceover dues, fees, right to work state