SAG-AFTRA ("SAG") has quietly announced some promising news for independent producers: An online “Producer Portal” designed to make the process of interacting with SAG-AFTRA easier, faster, and more efficient.
From becoming a SAG signatory company to having security deposits returned after production, this new platform promises to significantly improve these production tasks—and has come about through years of discussions between PGA representatives and SAG. Specifically, the PGA Independent Producers Task Force and PGA executives have had conversations with SAG for years and have expressed frustrations over the difficulty of working with SAG.
In early 2020, the PGA and IFTA (Independent Film & Television Alliance) began formal discussions with SAG's National Executive Director, David White, about producers’ frustrations and concerns in their dealings with SAG, especially concerning the return of SAG production deposits in a timely manner. In those conversations, SAG executives also expressed their own challenges concerning producers not providing adequate documentation or not meeting other SAG requirements.
SAG took these dialogues to heart and began developing a digital system to make the process more efficient and transparent. PGA and IFTA representatives have seen initial SAG presentations of the Producer Portal and are enthusiastic about the benefits this system can bring for our members.
In brief, the Producer Portal promises to provide transparency and easy use. It is being designed to capture all written and oral communications between SAG and the producer related to an individual project, starting from the first specific contact and running through the release of deposits. All documents can be uploaded directly (thus eliminating any need to mail originals). While a producer may opt to rely on standard email and telephone, those contacts also will be captured on the Producer Portal.
The intention is to make all interactions transparent between producers and SAG's business reps.: from becoming a SAG signatory, to the steps required to get approvals in advance of production and the interactions as the project moves forward, through final release of deposits. Hopefully, this will expose problems immediately and avoid major delays. SAG also promises to build the Producer Portal with strong security features to protect the producer’s confidential information.
SAG anticipates that the Producer Portal will be Beta tested in late summer 2021 and launched for use by all independent producers by year-end.