It used to be you could make a pretty good living doing looping work AND get your SAG insurance to boot. Now with the state of the Unions the way they are things have changed. The majority of the new television shows are ALL AFTRA. For those of you that dont know, AFTRA and SAG have very different insurance coverage and if you’re working toward a pension this also changes things. I wont go into the logistics of the policies here but you can look it up for yourself. The sad fact is that most shows now are AFTRA and not SAG. Don’t get me wrong, I am a card carrying AFTRA member but when you are usually working/looping SAG shows and are used to SAG insurance then suddenly it changes….it can be frustrating. I know MANY loopers that have lost their insurance in the last year because they simply do not make enough money now doing SAG work.
Going into the new fall season there were 45 AFTRA scripted shows and only 38 AFTRA ones. (Note that of the 38 NEW shows 34 went AFTRA and only 4 went SAG). Also take into account that some of these shows (like most sitcoms) do not use loopers. It’s mostly the dramas that need the tools of the looper. All this combined leads to not a lot of SAG work in the series world. As a looper (and especially as a loop group) your goal is to get a weekly gig on a television show. Films are great but it’s only 1 or 2 days of work (ocassionly you’ll get a week of looping but it’s rare) and then you are unemployed again and looking for your next gig. With a series there is a little more stability. Now it’s mostly AFTRA stability.
I know I’m ready for a merger. No more worrying about if a show is AFTRA or SAG…just ONE healthy union. As long as they can figure out the insurance merging I’m all for it!