Although there may not be union requirements or P&H contributions governing the employment of non-union talent, staying on top of the labor laws and established hiring practices can be more of a challenge. Our talent payroll team is a sought-after resource when it comes to state & federal labor laws, allocating lump-sum payments between session and use, and providing insight on projects that may cross over to union jurisdiction.

The Buyout

Originally, a “buyout” meant the performer agreed to let the employer use their image and performance in perpetuity. Such buyouts are very rare.

The ad industry typically uses ‘buyout’ to reference a non-union talent deal with a lump-sum payment for both the session (when the performer works) and use (continued use of their likeness and performance). However, the use often has terms that require tracking and renewals. To assist you in the proper hiring of non-union talent, The TEAM Companies provide:

  • Review of non-union talent agreements and releases.
  • Insight regarding session and use allocations.
  • Guidance on applicable labor laws, including Earned Sick Leave and WTPA requirements.

The Union & Non-Union Challenge

Most producers hiring talent know that they cannot mix union and non-union performers on a shoot. Yet many producers run into problems trying to incorporate an element produced under union jurisdiction into their non-union production or vice-versa. Common situations include:

  • Incorporating a union voiceover into a commercial shot with non-union on-camera talent
  • Using stock footage featuring non-union performers in a union project
  • Shooting a spot with non-union talent and then using a piece of music recorded under the SAG-AFTRA Sound Recording Code
The TEAM Companies help spot these potential conflicts early in the process, saving costly reshoots, backtracking and additional editorial costs.

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