Exclusive: As independent producers and financiers in Hollywood and beyond wait desperately for exemptions from SAG-AFTRA — allowing them to continue their projects despite the strike — some are starting to get the green light.
One confirmation letter sent in place of the actual waiver, which was not yet ready, indicated that the “interim agreement” would include the terms of the last SAG-AFTRA counter in negotiations – including an 11% wage increase to the minimum prices from the theater/TV agreement. for the year 2020 [we hear it could be less than 11% under low budget film agreements].
Upcoming indie movie hard bridedue to star Rebel Wilson, and no less than half a dozen other films now have permission to move forward [waivers largely apply to film, given that most U.S. series involve a studio]and the influx of so-called “non-interference agreements,” and eventually waivers/temporary agreements, is set to ramp up in the coming weeks for projects unrelated to a studio or broadcaster.
Many say it was a complicated process. There is little recent precedent for a model waiver given that the last SAG strike for stage and television actors was in the 1980s. The union’s website has promised for weeks that when the strike is authorized, waivers will be granted, but has not disclosed the terms, how or when. Things are speeding up now with compromises — or more specifically, bonus letters confirming that one is on the way. The usual procedure is for the producer to sign an agreement directly. But for now they can move forward if they promise to confirm they will abide by his terms when he becomes available.
It’s a sensitive topic. Over the weekend, in a now-deleted tweet, a crew member was working on Simon West’s upcoming comedy hard bride He published that the film had received permission from SAG-AFRA to continue filming in the United States via a temporary agreement. “Very grateful to SAG-AFTRA for clearing BRIDE HARD to continue production in Savannah. We are an independently funded and independently produced feature film with no studio or connection to AMPTP. Thanks to SAG-AFTRA’s interim agreement, works like ours can continue.”
We’ve confirmed the same update from another source on the film – making it the first known movie or TV project to receive a waiver. We’ve reached out to SAG-AFRA for confirmation and any official update on the number of waivers they may grant in the coming days.
The agreements are granted to “truly independent producers” as long as they are not affiliated with the Motion Picture and Television Producers Alliance and agree to be retroactively bound by any contractual terms eventually met with the AMPTP upon settlement of the strike.
However, a number of questions remain, which means the road to production will not be direct. Among them: Would actors want to participate in a project that receives a waiver when many actors are unable or unwilling to act? This is a risk that completion bond companies still worry about even for films with concessions. Another risk—for US production—is if the WGA-ceded SAG-AFTRA projects, and the Teamsters refuse to push the boundaries. Will qualified producers step in or will this step be deemed too complex and/or visually unpalatable?
Just qualifying for waiver consideration is complicated, not least because of pre-sale distribution deals that may have been inked with a broadcaster or studio in certain territories. Can these deals be abandoned?
Some of those sending waivers are for large projects with List A representatives on board, which also complicates SAG’s approach to waivers. Will the strike ease if a number of large producers get a concession? Or, conversely, would studios pay studios if work continued without them?
To help members navigate the maze of concluded and non-concluded contracts, the union has issued electronic publications showing members which contracts they can and cannot work under.
We went through those at Deadline last week.
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