Saturday, May 4, 2013

Working with Flat Rates on SAG Ultra Low Budget

In an earlier blog, I talked about offering a higher scale to your principal actors if your shooting Ultra Low Budget, as a way to entice agencies to submit more experienced actors.

Once you do this, you can turn that into a flat rate and avoid having to deal with Over Time. SAG's Ultra Low contract is for $100 a day, BUT for an eight hour day. If an actor works 12 hours, with their four hours of OT, they are due $175. If you offer a performer the rate of SAG Low Budget Modified ($268 a day) OT will still be calculated at 8 hours as per your SAG contract. However, you can set up your performer on a flat rate. If she is working ten days, you can negotiate with her agent to set her up on a flat rate or "guarantee payment" of $2,680 (based on $268 a day for ten days). When calculating her daily rates your Payroll company (or yourself, if you're winging it) will still calculate her salary based on SAG scale ($100 for an eight hour day), plus overtime... meaning after ten days she will probably be paid around $1,750 if she's worked ten twelve hour days. On her final day you would give her the additional guaranteed amount ($930), for the total flat rate guarantee (the agent may prefer this amount up front, but it works the same way). If you do this, you're following SAG's Ultra Low Budget rules, and paying your performer your agreed amount. You must be sure to state this in your negotiation with your performer's agent however. If you tell them you are offering a guaranteed payment of $2680 based on ten days worked at $268 a day, they will understand.

Hollywood veteran Pepe Serna recently worked under a similar deal for Dave Boyle's
Man From Reno, which I had the pleasure to Line Produce.