The SAG-AFTRA strike has halted most production in Hollywood as the actors are on the picket lines and not appearing in studio-made movies. But SAG-AFTRA approved some Interim Agreements that allows productions not affiliated with the AMPTP to continue forward.

As you can imagine, indie producers who were raising money saw this as a great opportunity. They had a ton of A-listers who couldn't work with the studios but were looking for other projects to check out.

Since most independent film is cast-dependent, they wanted to secure these actors to secure their financing. But then they hit a traffic jam.

SAG-AFTRA wants everyone applying for the Interim Agreement, which is a 70-page contract that includes the terms and conditions in the union's latest offers to the studios and streamers during negotiations, to also be signatories. The paperwork signed by producers requires information about the cast, crew, budget, financing, and shooting schedule, among various other items.

SAG-AFTRA designates a representative for each film to guide them through the procedure. This procedure also mandates the film to be registered as an LLC or another special entity. This paperwork is usually submitted around four to six weeks before the scheduled production commencement.

But indie producers are upset it's delaying their ability to get these contracts and get their movies packaged now.

Laura Lewis, founder and CEO of Rebelle Media told Deadline, “If we are all slowed down packaging projects, it will have a ripple effect on production this fall and winter, and into early next year. If you can’t package, you can’t complete your financing. Independent film is all about who your cast is."

Some producers are saying this is bucking the normal procedure, where you don't need to be a SAG-AFTRA signatory to send scripts to actors. So why is it different during the strike?

Well, the difference is that SAG-AFTRA wants to go over every dollar you're getting and spending to make sure it is not affiliated with the AMPTP or financed by them via any loopholes. That stuff takes time.

A SAG-AFTRA spokesperson said of the situation:

“At this time, productions must submit a signatory application and sign an agreement before they can receive an Interim Agreement. In some cases, in order to facilitate casting, the full signatory process may not be completed prior to receiving an Interim Agreement for casting purposes only. The signatory process is completed later before the project is officially cleared for members to work. We are aware of requests from projects that are in earlier stages and we are evaluating options for those projects.”

We understand the complaints, but the Interim Agreements were never meant to greenlight a ton of movies. In fact, over the course of the summer, the agreement has changed a lot and now no longer even covers WGA projects shot in the US, which has forced some producers to look to Canada and other places to shoot, which can raise costs.

The Interim Agreement was meant to give indie productions a chance to finish or be promoted by SAG-AFTRA actors.

The strike is ongoing, but hopefully, there will be a resolution soon, and this paperwork problem will be solved, and we can go back to a more traditional way of casting indie projects.

Source: Deadline