Joining AFTRA increases your child's chances of getting auditions, and could help them get into SAG - "Screen Actors Guild". That is how I got into SAG. After being a member of AFTRA for one year, and if you get a speaking part (even one word) on an AFTRA show, you become eligible to join SAG. It is one way to get into SAG.
You can just walk in to any AFTRA office and buy your membership.
The details are on this website:
AFTRA - American Federation of Television and Radio Artists
The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) is a national labor union representing over 70,000 performers. This was my first union. The first union that a person joins becomes your "Parent Union". Unlike the other performers' unions, anyone can walk in off the street and join AFTRA. This union is newcomers' and inexperienced actors best bet to become eligible to join the other unions. You still must obtain a speaking or "principal" role within AFTRA's jurisdiction at some point in order to join SAG or the other unions, but at least you can "buy" the membership without prior experience. AFTRA has jurisdiction over Soaps, many Sitcoms, news/sports/weather broadcasts, radio, sound recordings, talk shows, variety shows, documentaries, game shows, and various multimedia broadcasts. Once you obtain a principal role (speaking, stunts, dancing or singing), then you are "eligible" to join the other unions. But only after you have been a paid-up member of AFTRA for one year.
New members must complete an application and pay a one-time initiation fee and dues for the current dues period. The initiation fee is $1,300 and, as of September 1, 2008, minimum dues are $63.90.
SAG - Screen Actors Guild
Screen Actors Guild is the nation's largest labor union representing working actors. Established in 1933, SAG has a rich history in the American labor movement, from standing up to studios to break long-term engagement contracts in the 1940s to fighting for artists' rights amid the digital revolution sweeping the entertainment industry in the 21st century. With 20 branches nationwide, SAG represents nearly 120,000 working actors in film, television, industrials, commercials, video games, music videos and other new media. The Guild exists to enhance actors' working conditions, compensation and benefits and to be a powerful, unified voice on behalf of artists' rights. Headquartered in Los Angeles, SAG is a proud affiliate of the AFL-CIO. The Screen Actors Guild is associated with the Associated Actors and Artists of America (AAAA), which is the primary association of performer's unions in the United States. The AAAA is affiliated with the AFL-CIO. SAG claims exclusive jurisdiction over motion picture performances, and shares jurisdiction of radio, television, Internet, and other new media with its sister union AFTRA.
How To Join SAG
A performer becomes eligible for Screen Actors Guild membership under one of the following two conditions: proof of SAG employment or employment under an affiliated performers’ union.
1. Proof of Employment
a. Principal Performer Employment - Performers may join SAG upon proof of employment. Employment must be in a principal or speaking role in a SAG film, videotape, television program or commercial. Proof of such employment may be in the form of a signed contract, or original pay stubs. The document proving employment must provide the following information:
— applicant’s name
— applicant’s Social Security number
— name of the production or name of the commercial (product name)
— the salary paid (in dollar amount)
— the specific date(s) worked.
b. Background Actors may join SAG upon proof of employment as a SAG–covered background player at full SAG rates and conditions for a MINIMUM of three work days subsequent to March 25, 1990. Employment must be by a company signed to a SAG Agreement under which the Producer is required to cover background actors. Proof of employment must be in the form of original paystubs or a payroll printout faxed from the payroll house. Such documents must provide the same information (name, Social Security number, etc.) as listed above.
2. Employment Under an Affiliated Performers' Union
Performers may join SAG if the applicant is a paid-up member of an affiliated performers' union (ACTRA, AEA, AFTRA, AGMA or AGVA) for a period of one year and has worked and been paid for at least once as a principal performer in that union’s jurisdiction.
To join SAG, a performer must pay an initiation fee of $2,277, plus the first semi-annual basic dues payment of $58. Thus, the total fee to join is $2,335.
With three area branches to serve union members, the AFTRA/SAG Credit Union offers low cost and "actor friendly" services. This is a wonderful place to establish your child's credit. Just mention "The Coogan Law."
(818) 562-3400, Monday-Thursday 8:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.
Friday 8:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. (PT)
Toll-free outside Los Angeles
AFTRA-SAG Federal Credit Union
WELLS FARGO BANK
These folks have been "with it" when it comes to the New Coogan rules from the beginning. Wells Fargo has branches all over the place, but you will find a particular welcome at the Toluca Lake Branch. Just mention "The Coogan Law."
Wells Fargo Toluca Lake, California
Wells Fargo Online
WELLS FARGO BANK
Vice President, Branch Manager
1300 4th Street
(4th and Arizona)
Santa Monica, CA 90403
BANCO POPULAR NORTH AMERICA
Frances Marie Maizland
Santa Clarita Branch Manager
27931 Kelly Johnson Parkway
Santa Clarita, CA 91355
FULL RANGE BROKERAGE SERVICES
Many of our most sophisticated families are opting for the higher returns and personal service of major investment firms. Broadly based mutual funds are allowed under The New Coogan Law. Professional Financial Advisors come with the packages offered by these firms and it is the wise family that recognizes each component of the investment picture, not just for their working children, but the entire family. Remember that an investment firm usually has cooperative arrangements with banks and savings and loan institutions and there is no limit to the number of Coogan Accounts a child might own or how their money may be invested. There can be No Withdrawals in a Coogan Account, but the transfer of funds is allowed.
WADDELL & REED
Daralee Barbera, CFP, CMFC,
Division Manager &
Mario Vinci, CFP,
Tel: (714) 437-7510
Fax: (714) 437-7515
Waddell & Reed Financial Services
NORTHWESTERN MUTUAL FINANCIAL NETWORK
Mr. Jack B. Weinstock, CLTC
110 S. Juanita Ave. Unit 4
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
CA Lic. #0C82715
This company has consistently been recognized as one of the top management asset companies in the world, and we welcome their interest in the world of Coogan.
Here is a sample of a professional actors resume and photo. The photo should not be a school photo, glamor shot, or a snapshot taken by a non-professional photographer (with the exception of infants where snapshots are acceptable). The photo should be 8" X 10" in size, the resume should be cut to the exact same size and stapled back to back on the photo. When you flip the photo over, the resume should be viewable on the other side. Do NOT paper clip the resume, but staple it on all four corners. The actors name and any union affiliations should be printed on the bottom of the photo, either on the border or on the corner of the photo itself. That way if by some chance the photo does become detached from the resume, the casting director can match them up again. The photo should be color and professionally taken. Just remember that the photo is an actors calling card. It should represent the "real" you, the way you look in everyday life. If your hair is long in the photo, then your hair should be long when you walk in the casting office. If your skin is fair, then you should not come to the casting office with a dark tan. Always keep your photos up-to-date according to your look.
Your child should have two good color headshots (not "retouched", unless only to clean up a loose hair, etc), one "serious" and one "smiling". But it doesn't hurt to have 3-4 "looks". Try to portray the best possible image of their "brand". In other words, the type of personality and look that they would best portray. Sometimes it is best to ask several other people who know them, like teachers, friends, classmates, etc. Sometimes parents do not see their kids as portraying the "type" that they really should be. Here are some of the primary "types" for young actors:
nerdy kid/future genius
Also, there is no such thing as an "application" to fill out for acting jobs. Just the 8X10 photo and resume. Include a very brief cover letter with your submission, stating that your child is interested in auditioning for any acting roles that they may be good for, or that you are seeking representation for your child by an agent.
The photo can be taken either horizontal or vertical.
Actress Cheyenne Logan
This is child actor Marcus Calderon, and he landed a national Disneyland commercial with this photo.
One last note about your photos:
If you can't afford to pay a professional photographer to take your photos right now, you can try something else. If there is a school nearby that has a photography department, go there and see if you can do "testing". Testing is when you exchange your time posing for a photography student in exchange for them taking some theatrical headshots and giving you some prints.