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Much like other industries, the film and television industry also has unions and guilds to protect their workers. As a crew person or actor, getting in the union can guarantee pay minimums and provide a range of benefits.  As a producer, working with unions requires an understanding of the costs and limitations.
In this module learn how the unions function, the benefits for members, the key unions: IATSE, DGA, SAG, and WGA, the differences in hiring union and non-union crew, how productions flip, and how to shoot in a “Right-to-Work” state.
Learn about the powerful organizations that protect the working rights of its members, so you can step onto set prepared for a relationship with the unions.


  • 35:40 video that walks you through the role of the unions in Hollywood
  • Illustrated companion guide


  • The role of a union and guild
  • The key players in the entertainment industry:
    • Screen Actors Guild
    • Directors Guild of America
    • Producers Guild of America
    • Writers Guild of America
    • IATSE
  • The benefits of joining a union
  • How to work with a union as a producer
  • How to deal with a show that flips
  • What are Right to Work states and how they affect your production
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   - Weimin Zhang,
       San Francisco State University