When Should A Child Actor Join SAG? – Bug’s Corner

Joining SAG is a big deal, especially for a child actor. Be sure that you, as the parent, know what you’re getting into! Also, Chalese answers a question about acting jobs for little ones.

I live in Utah and my son has done three SAG movies. Should he join the guild? Brent W., Provo, Utah

There are several factors I would consider before making this decision. On one hand, it is a good choice because of the tremendous value an actor receives as a member. One of the Guild’s responsibilities is to protect their actors and thereby make certain actors are, among other things, not taken advantage of–that on-set rules are upheld and managed at a specific standard, that you are paid a fair rate, paid for working overtime, and paid on time; that you are fed a healthy meal and within a reasonable time frame. Any production disregarding these standards are assessed a penalty fee which is then collected on your behalf. Also, it looks great on a resume and gives your son an advantage professionally. On the other hand, upon becoming a member of SAG, an actor is no longer free to work on non-union projects. The main reason this is a disadvantage is because even though an actor can gain great knowledge in a classroom environment, it is only on-set that an education can be tested and true professional skills developed. By joining the guild too early I believe you lose the opportunity to gain one of the most important elements necessary to become a highly respected and successful actor, and that is experience. Short films, low budget films, student films, and the like are often not affiliated with the unions and guilds, but still provide excellent on-the-job training. Also, in a right-to-work state like Utah, the opportunity still exists to be hired on a SAG movie, no matter how many you have done in the past.  In the end, it is important that you weigh the pros and cons as they pertain to your specific situation and then decide what is best for the development of the actor’s career.


I have an 8-month-old baby that EVERYONE says is adorable. Are there acting jobs for her? What should I do? Kelly M., Jacksonville, FL
There are certainly some fun opportunities available. Producers tend to avoid using babies if possible because of the strict restrictions in place protecting babies as well as their unpredictable nature. But if a baby is needed they will make it work. Be sure it is something you want to do, as this would be more for you than her.  I suggest researching different agencies in your area, find one you like that represents babies, and letting them know you have a daughter that is available to work. They should guide you as to what protocol will follow. A good agent will not charge you for representation. They make a commission on jobs your child is hired to do. Also, don’t let them talk you into any classes. The only education necessary at this point would be on your part, knowing what is expected of a parent, etc. When it comes to the photo shoot I would suggest that you make it more about getting your daughter’s pictures done for your wall or scrapbook rather than just for a headshot or comp card. You will not need those things very often so be sure you are able to enjoy the pictures regardless of any opportunities that arise. Have fun!

-Chalese Thill-Stevens

Chalese is the founder of the non profit organization, Rainy Days Foundation, which helps individuals heal after loss.  She is a motivational speaker, children’s book author, Liberation Guide, as well as a program director in leadership. Her story comes from a tragic accident in which resulted in the loss of her 4 year old son. She tells about her journey of healing and how she found the strength to carry on. She built her wings and now is helping others to build theirs. She began writing The Adventures of Bug children’s book series in hopes that her son’s thrill of adventure will live on. Chalese is also blessed with two more beautiful children that keep her on her toes and remind her of what is truly important in life. In her free time she enjoys singing in a band, kickboxing, hiking and spending time with her friends. Her infectious laugh, passion for life and ambitious “no fear” attitude build strong and lasting relationships, inspiring those who come into her life. To purchase one of her books, please visit: The Adventures of Bug Books

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Last modified: August 13, 2017

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