What is SAG Ultra Low Budget

What is SAG Ultra Low Budget?

For independent filmmakers considering a short film project on a low budget but who still wish to hire union film crews, SAG Ultra Low Budget Project Agreements are a unique opportunity. Say you’re considering an ultra low budget film. One that will run under $300,000 and ideally ranges in between $100,000 and $200,000. You would likely benefit from a SAG short film agreement. But what is SAG Ultra Low Budget and how does it work exactly?

What is an Ultra Low Budget Film?

In the film industry, budget has a lot to do with what you can accomplish and to what extent. Filmmaking isn’t cheap! Therefore, you’re almost guaranteed to require a pretty large sum of money to get started with production.

Even an ultra low budget film is one which has a maximum budget of $300K. Yes, $300 Thousand not three hundred bucks! So, if you’re considering a film project, you’re going to need to define your budget before you do anything else.

What is SAG Ultra Low Budget?

Your next step, after determining that your budget for your project is under $300,000 will be to decide whether or not you’ll be hiring SAG actors. If you intend to hire and work with the Screen Actors Guild, you’re going to have to follow their rules and pay SAG rates.

This means a minimum amount of money will go to talent for your production. And, in doing so, you’ll be required to calculate your SAG rates. These vary based on many different factors.

These rates are generally listed based on the type of SAG budget agreement that you choose.

Thus, for a SAG Ultra Low Budget Agreement, you’re going to have to prove that your film budget is $300K or less, and then you’ll be provided with a SAG day rate for talent which is $206.

SAG Ultra Low Budget represents an agreement, to SAG, that you will pay SAG talent a specified day rate and that you will follow SAG rules and requirements for hiring and working conditions. 

Do Thorough Research

If you’re considering a SAG short film agreement, SAG Ultra Low Budget is almost certainly where you’ll want to begin your research.

Once you obtain a SAG Ultra Low Budget Agreement, you’ll be able to work with SAG union talent. It will be at a pre-established day rate projected to be significantly lower than a typical higher budget production.

The benefits to this are: You get union crew workers and access to SAG talent. And your rates are already pre-established and negotiated with the talent.

Of course, you can pay SAG actors more than the negotiated day rate of $206. But you are certainly not allowed to pay less than that!

Applying for SAG Ultra Low Budget Agreements

In order to obtain a SAG Ultra Low Budget Agreement, you’ll need to apply at the SAG-AFTRA website.

Your Ultra Low Budget Project Agreement will require that you submit an application. Send at least 4-6 weeks in advance of your start date. This is for work in principal photography to include travel or rehearsal of any kind.

If you don’t submit the Preliminary Information Form and Signatory Application with enough time for processing in advance of your project you could have delays in being granted clearance by SAG-AFTRA.

Visit the SAG-AFTRA website to learn more about working with SAG talent. There’s also the various steps involved in acquiring a SAG Ultra Low Budget Agreement to produce your short film project with a budget of less than $300,000. 

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