About a week ago, a casting agent from Wisconsin reached out to me on Facebook and asked me if I was available for a commercial shoot the next day. Even though I didn’t know all of the details, I asked to go ahead and submit me for it anyways. Not really expecting much out of it, I went about my day and to work as always. Fast forward some hours later, and she called me and said that I booked the job!
The commercial shoot was in Green Bay, Wisconsin, but I was definitely willing to go all the way there. I feel like I got the job in an exciting way and to top it off, it was a SAG commercial. Since I appeared on an ABC show “In An Instant” a few years ago, this commercial gives me another voucher which puts me one step closer to being in the Union. Of course, I’m in no rush to being apart of it, but there are bigger jobs on the union side and that is my goal eventually.
Anyways, the trip to Green Bay was a little longer than to Milwaukee and Madison, places I usually travel to in Wisconsin. I didn’t get any sleep the night before and I also had a big audition for Chicago PD that evening so I pretty screwed myself over in many ways. But being the go-getter that I am, at 2:30 am, I made my way there.
Wardrobe dressed me up as a football coach with a shirt, a jacket, a Green Bay hat, and a headset. I’d say I was pretty decked out and looked the part. They had us go to the field and was very adamant about not walking on the grass. I think one time I was trying to take a quick Snapchat, and the director yelled at me about not going on the grass!
Like commercials, they shot the scenes I was in several times. Me and another actor pretended to be watching the game and discussing plays while the camera panned over his and stuff. In another scene, I was sitting at a restaurant and pretending to eat. I think the idea was that we were drinking beer, but of course we really had Iced Tea in our cups. It didn’t matter to me, I drank it anyways.
This was my first SAG commercial and I can definitely tell some noticeable differences between union and non-union. For starters, everything with this project was well organized. They had a schedule (which I managed to get my hadnds since someone dropped it) and they made sure that we finished things on schedule. They made me fill out forms, a Taft-Hartly since I’m non-union and they’re very accurate with their information. They wanted to know my time in, my time out, if I used any of my own wardrobe. Apparently, you can be compensated for things like that or if you work on the weekend, of if you go into overtime, things like that. And I guess I’m supposed to receive my check within 30 days. That’s a far difference from some of the non-union shoots I’ve been one. I’ve waited as long as 6 months for a check one time, and right now, I’m still waiting for a check from an industrial shoot I did back in April!
I can definitely see how being apart of the union has it’s positives. Rules have been set in place to protect the performers and to fairly compensate for all the work that you put into a project. But those roles are harder to get too. So, there are pros and cons. At any rate, whenever it’s time for me to join, I think I’ll be ready. And if most of the shoots are like this one, that would be even better.