Acting Advice

Ask Me!: Non-Union Commercials?

Is it possible for a Non-Sag to get to do commercial?


In fact, if you are signed up to Actors Access you will notice castings for many non-union/cable commercials. The only difference between the two is that with a union job you will have a different pay-sytem than with a non-union spot. Union commercials have very tight guidelines and rates whereas non-union jobs don’t. You will probably get paid a lump sum in a non-union commercial if you get paid at all, and the producers/ad-agency doesn’t have to pay you every time it airs. However, they can be great experiences and you can meet very talented crews/casting directors, etc this way.

A non-union actor can even get a union commercial. This is tougher as a lot of these jobs are offered to union actors through their agents and a lot of agents/casting diretos won’t work with you if you’re not union, but if you get into an agency who will expose you to the right kinds of jobs you will undoubtedly book one of them in the end granting you access to union status.

Ultimately, though, you will eventually have to join one of the unions if you want to do union jobs. If you don’t want to limit yourself and would like the option to do non-union work too (which you are barred from if you join the union) you can get specialty status. I can’t for the life of me remember what it’s called but there is a term for this. When I remember I will update this post!

FYI: I think it is pretty hard to be exposed to union commercials if you don’t have representation or connections to a good casting director.


About The NYC Actor

Angela Dee is a professional actress working in Film, Theatre, TV, Commercials and Voiceovers. She currently lives in New York.

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