The SAG Foundation is an amazing free resource for the working actor, offering a variety of industry specific programs and services for professional LA actors. (Their Casting Access Project (CAP) workshop series is one such program I've written about before.) Actors in Los Angeles and New York can attend these live industry events by simply RSVP'ing online, which is a great opportunity to not only enjoy the experience firsthand, but to engage in the Q&A with the guests.
What actors may not realize is that many (dare I say most?) of these same industry events are live-streamed on the web via the SAG Foundation's website, and often accept questions via email for the Q&A. If you just can’t make the event real-time, in-person or via your laptop, you're not out of luck: the videos are subsequently posted on the SAG Foundation’s youtube channel.
Here are two of the main SAG Foundation programs currently supported online:
The LifeRaft event series offers SAG-AFTRA members the opportunity to hear insider guidance from industry experts, from actors to directors to producers, in a panel format. Topics cover everything from SAG-AFTRA contracts to storytelling, from self-producing to side-line careers. One current program is a five-part, bicoastal independent film producing series “dedicated to providing actors with the tools and inspiration needed to make their dream project a reality.”
The Conversations series interviews “well-known, working actors to discuss their careers, speak about current projects and share their experiences in the industry with an audience of actors.” Past Conversations have featured talents such as Gary Oldman, Ian McKellen, Billy Porter, and Sid Caesar. The Conservations series is extensive, and not all of the past videos are currently posted on the site, but they may be viewed at the SAG Foundation offices. (A list of past Conversations events may be found here.)
For those actors who wonder how much of their SAG-AFTRA dues are used to sponsor these programs, don't worry: the answer is zero. The SAG Foundation is completely separate from the union, and states clearly on its website that it is an independent nonprofit organization whose financial funding relies “solely on support from grants, corporate sponsorships and individual contributions to maintain its programs and create new ones.”