By Jess Canty
Since it is "back to school" time, I thought I would make my post this week about how to do your own math when you get paid. I know these paystubs can be daunting. And I am ALWAYS here to help double-check that you not only got paid right but also that your agents are properly calculating your commissions... but you know what they say about teaching people to fish and eating...The thing is - in this business you are building you NEED to understand the money. Because #momoneymo as we know. Learn how to do this now - so that you can spot issues when you are making tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of dollars.
First lets review rates:
1. SAG Film Rates SAG Basic Theatrical Scale: $1,005.00 / Day | $3,488.00 / Week SAG Low Budget Scale: $630.00 / Day | $2,190.00 / Week SAG Mod-Low Scale: $335.00 / Day | $1,166.00 / Week SAG Ultra Low Budget & Short Film Scale: $125.00 / Day Stunt Coordinator Scale: $1,005.00 / Day | $3,746.00 / Week (all theatrical CBA’s)
2. SAG Television Rates (episodic) SAG TV Scale: Major Role ½ Hour Program $5,258.00 / Week SAG TV Scale: Major Role 1 Hour Program $8,413.00 / Week SAG TV Scale Multiple Program: ½ OR 1 Hour Shows $2,460.00 / Week SAG TV Scale Multiple Program: 1 ½ Hour Shows $2,892.00 / Week SAG TV Scale Multiple Program: 2 Hour Shows $3,408.00 / Week
3. SAG New Media Rates Under $50,000.00 budget: Rates are negotiable between Production and Performers, subject to minimum wage laws.$50,000 – $249,999.00: $125.00 / day; Background/Stand-ins $96.00 / day*$250,000 – $699,999.00: $335.00 / day; $1,166.00 / Week; BG $125.00 / day*$700,000 – $999,999.00: $630.00 / day; $2,190.00 / Week; BG $166.00 / day*$1,000,000.00+: Refer to Basic Theatrical & Television Rates*Stunt Coordinators (daily or weekly) refer to Basic Theatrical & Television Rates on all budget brackets.
4. SAG Commercial Rates (1 st Use) SAG Commercial Scale (Class A/ Cable/Wild): $671.69 On-Camera | $505.04 Off-Camera SAG Commercial Scale (Class B, w/o NY): $1,036.56 On-Camera | $719.95 Off-Camera SAG Commercial Scale (Class C): $617.71 On-Camera | $411.84 Off-Camera
5. SAG Corporate/Educational & Non-Broadcast Rates SAG Corporate Scale (Cat. I): $519.50 On-Camera | $425.50 Off-Camera 1 st Hour SAG Corporate Scale (Cat. II): $647.00 On-Camera | $474.00 Off-Camera 1 st Hour SAG Corporate Scale On-Camera Narrator (Cat. I): $945.00 | $519.50 / Each Add’l Day SAG Corporate Scale On-Camera Narrator (Cat. II): $1,121.00 | $647.00 / Each Add’l Day
6. SAG Interactive/Video Game Rates SAG Video Game Scale Off-Camera: Up to 4 voices / 4 Hours $825.50 SAG Video Game Scale On-Camera: $825.50 / Day SAG Video Game Scale On-Camera: $2,088.25 / 3-Day SAG Video Game Scale On-Camera: $3,150.90 / Week
This is all listed at my fave go-to for this information ABS Payroll & Accounting. And you can even sign up for their newsletter with rate updates!
Now...Let's review what IS commissionable and what is NOT commissionable per SAG's Commission Guidelines
Audition Overtime Billboards Cancellation Fee Clip Re-Use Dubbing Fitting Fee Holding Fee Holiday Pay Interview Fee Location Allowance Location Pay Looping/ADR Night Premium Overtime (Doubles & Time ½) Regular Pay Rehearsal Session Fee Stunt Adjustment Third Call Back (4th Audition) Travel Time Weekend Premium Wet Pay Hazard PayNON COMMISSIONABLE:Forced Call Late Payment Penalty Living Expenses Meal Allowance Meal Penalty Mileage Per Diem Prop Allowance Reimbursements Relocation Allowance Rest Period Violation Travel Allowance Turn-Around Pay Wardrobe Allowance
Next - when your agent sends you your deal memo / offer SAVE IT!!! Print it or save it as a file in a folder on your computer. Because you need to be able to go back and check against it when you get paid.
Part of the reason why it is so difficult to calculate your commission is that the payroll companies will add the +10% for the agency into the total amount paid - without showing it as a separate line-item.
So for example - you book a Guest Star at SAG Weekly Minimum of $3488.00 +10%.
Your Paycheck comes and it shows REG pay as $3836.80.
Let's say that there is also $1000 in travel allowance - you worked this gig in ATL - so $500 for each day of travel, per SAG.
There is also $60 of per-diem for 5 days.
And let's say there is also $143.88 in Overtime.
So... first you want to ignore anything that is NON-COMMISSIONABLE. In this example it would be the travel allowance and the per-diem. The Regular and Overtime pay ARE commissionable. The total for that is $3980.68.
So do you owe your agent$398.07 in commission?
Why? Because of that pesky +10%.
The #1 mistake I find agencies making is that they commission on the (in this example) $3836.80 when they should be taking only 10% of the $3488. This is why you NEED to double check your deal memos - because if they are charging you commission on your gross earnings they are getting a few more dollars than they are owed on each job.
So...how do you deal with backing out that 10%?
Divide by 1.1
Go back to the original REG pay which is $3836.80 and you divide by 1.1 which gets you to ... if you guessed $3488 you are following along nicely.
Then multiply $3488 by .10 to get 10% of $3488 - which is $348.80.
Then calculate 10% of the overtime because that is commissionable - so that's $14.38.
In this example you owe your agent/manager $363.18 NOT $398.07.
Over the course of a few jobs this could amount to hundreds of bucks in over-payment to your reps if the math isn't done right. Now... there is not a +10% on everything - so sometimes you are paying on gross - but again, save those deal memos.
I am also here to help you double-check the math - but I want you to understand how this works and who you are paying, why and how much.
Remember YOU are the CEO of your Acting Business - and like any good business owner you need to understand the money so that nobody can - either purposely or mistakenly - skim from you.
And what to do if you discover a mistake?
If it is with a Cinterra calculation - PLEASE JUST LET ME KNOW. It is def an honest mistake - and I have NO ISSUE adjusting if we find a problem.
If it is with your agent - please let me address this with them on your behalf. A) That is what I am here for and B) That is what I am here for.
Hope you enjoyed this back to school math.