SAG Card - How I Got My SAG Union Card
To get into the Screen Actor's Guild, I interviewed and auditioned with talent agencies to work with film productions. In the meantime, I would busy myself with regular acting work such as independent shorts and feature films in the area.
Getting into the SAG union can be acquired a couple of different ways. I was able, through the agencies I interviewed with, to get three waivers from union movie productions.
I signed contracts with several non-exclusive agencies. Some actors will sign with exclusive contracts with agencies, working with no one else, and land gigs. It depends on the talent which route he or she will take.
Being active in your area is important. Agents and casting directors love it when actors are staying busy between acting gigs. It shows their dedication and commitment to their acting craft. If you're not in the SAG union yet (and even if you are), continuing to be involved with local film and TV projects can only help your career and provides more credits for your resume.
Along with the ability to act, quite a bit of luck is also needed to complete the formula to begin a professional acting career. Although you cannot control the luck aspect of it, there are other areas where you can. Networking is vital to the success of an actor's career. While on set of union projects, "old hands" to the extra (background acting) game informed me to make friends with the production assistants (PA).
The more I continued to work, the more I would see the PA's I've worked with on previous jobs, as well as actors who always know of other work in the area. Production assistants can recommend you to appear in certain scenes and relay what a pleasure it was to work with you to the director.
Overall, it's necessary to keep acting and to get involved with as many projects as you can. I have met people who are hell bent on getting into the union that they miss out on other opportunities, such as building a resume. Ironically, it's these same people who have yet to get into the union. The others, who know that eventually they will need to be in the union, don't make getting into the union a huge priority. Instead, they focus on what really matters — acting — and the rest falls into place.
Read advice on How to Become Eligible for SAG