Current state of Screen Actors Guild members' relationship with their agents

In April 2002, the Association of Talent Agents and the National Association of Talent Representatives (collectively, ATA) chose to terminate their decades-long relationship with Screen Actors Guild. Accordingly, these agencies informed SAG they no longer wished to be franchised by SAG.

This unfortunate decision potentially jeopardized SAG members’ relationships with these agents (and with their Guild), since SAG rules and regulations clearly dictate that any member who chooses to engage the services of an agent is required to choose from an authorized pool of franchised agents, i.e., those that continue to be regulated by the Guild. However, SAG’s National Board, wishing to acknowledge the longstanding relationships Guild members have had with their ATA agents, unanimously adopted a motion in 2002 to temporarily suspend enforcement of these membership rules, but only with respect to ATA agents.

As it currently stands, Guild members may be represented either by SAG-franchised agents (where SAG’s agency protections continue to apply) or by ATA agents (where SAG’s agency protections no longer apply). Fortunately, the SAG agency franchise continues to grow and thrive, and protects thousands of members who have chosen to sign with SAG franchised agencies.

Members who choose to be represented by ATA agencies should note that since these agencies no longer are franchised by SAG, they have no legal obligation to abide by SAG agency regulations, and many of them have chosen not to do so. SAG cannot currently enforce its agency rules against these agencies. Although members temporarily are permitted to be represented by these formerly franchised agents, they are advised not to sign the individual agency representation agreements they are presented, (i.e., general service agreements, or GSAs) without first consulting with SAG. Almost without exception, GSAs strip away most of the hard-fought protections negotiated by SAG on behalf of its performers over the years.