New SAG-AFTRA Low Budget Rates

Following the merger of the two film and tv actors’ unions into SAG-AFTRA, the leaders and members of the organization set about the arduous task of figuring out the next ‘edition’ of their standard film, television, new media, and non-broadcast (industrial etc.) contracts.

They have now published the new rates for their low budget film agreements. Here they are, rounded UP to the nearest dollar:

Agreement Day Rate Weekly Rate Ceiling ‘Real’
Day Rate
Weekly Rate
Ultra Low Budget (ULB) $125 N/A $250,000 $241 N/A Can mix SAG and non-SAG actors.
Modified Low Budget (MLB) $335 $1,166 $700,000 $645 $1,982
MLB Diversity Incentive 1,050,000 See below for qualifications
MLB Background Incentive $812,000 Average of 3 background actors per shoot day have to be in SAG.
Low Budget $630 $2,190 $2,500,000 $1,213 $3,722
Low Budget Diversity Incentive $3,750,000
Stunt Coordinators $906 $3,378 $1,586 $5,912 Stunt coordinators always get the basic rate
Stunt Coordinator – Flat Deal $1,409 $5,555 $1,409 $5,555 “Flat deal” gives you an overtime break, but there is no short day
Union Background Actors $157 N/A $295 Overtime is 1.5x for 9-10 hours, 2x for 11-12 hours.

The Real Daily rate assumes a 12 hour day, and a 10% agency fee.
12 hours = 8 hours of straight time and 4 hours of overtime = (8 + (1.5*4) = 14 ‘pay hours’ = (dayrate/8) * 14 * 1.1 (agency)

The Real Weekly rate assumes a 5 day, 60 hour week, and a 10% agency fee.
60 hours = 44 hours of straight time, 16 hours of OT = (44 + (1.5*16) = 68 ‘pay hours’ = (weekrate/44) * 68 * 1.1 (agency)
You get an overtime break on weekly contracts (basically, you get an extra 4 hours of ‘straight’ time)

Stunt Coordinator rates assume no 10% agency fee.

Diversity Incentive raises the ceiling, but to qualify you have to have:
A) A minimum of 50% of the total speaking roles and 50% of the total days of employment are cast with performers who are members of the following four groups:
1. Women,
2. Senior performers (sixty years (60) or older),
3. Performers with disabilities, or
4. People of color (Black/African American, Asian/Pacific Islander and South Asian, Latino/Hispanic, Arab/Middle Eastern and Native American Indian)
you can’t ‘double count’ someone.
B) A minimum of 20% of the total days of employment is cast with performers who are people of color

Background Incentive raises the ceiling, but to qualify you have to have an average of 3 SAG background actors per day. So on a 10 day shoot, you can either have 3 SAG extras per day, or one day where you have 30, or some combination that adds up to 30 total SAG extras.

Note also that as a producer, you’re responsible for employer fringes, above and beyond the salary:
17.3% goes to SAG-AFTRA’s health, pension and welfare fund (HPW).
20-22% goes to payroll fringes – FICA, federal and state unemployment, disability, medicare, etc.
2-5% goes to the payroll company you’re going to hire to deal with all this.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be updating our sample budgets with the latest SAG-AFTRA rates.

For more details, hit up or

Many thanks to Darrien Michelle Gipson and Colin McCormack at SAGIndie for double-checking these figures.

Posted in Preproduction Tagged with: , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *