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SAG Educates Actors on Membership

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The Screen Actors Guild will host "Ready on Cue: Everything You Wanted To Know, But Didn't Know Who To Ask" July 13, 6:30–8:30 p.m. in the James Cagney Room at SAG's Los Angeles office. The free event is open to members and nonmembers of SAG and is aimed at educating actors about the union and their profession. SAG recently presented a similar event at Back Stage West's annual tradeshow, ActorFest.

One common misconception among beginning actors is that obtaining their SAG cards as quickly as possible will ensure success in their profession. However, according to SAG spokesperson Ilyanne Morden Kichaven, actors just starting out should obtain plenty of nonunion experience before pursuing union membership.

"We want to educate actors that, before they make this kind of commitment and this kind of a career move, they should have gained enough experience and enough exposure to make sure that it's what they want to do," said Kichaven.

For many actors, that also means educating themselves about the realities of the profession. Most beginning actors don't realize that 75 percent to 80 percent of SAG members earn less than $13,000 yearly from acting jobs; movie stars or actors earning more than $500,000 annually comprise only 2 percent of the Guild's membership.

The "Ready on Cue" panel, made up of SAG staff members and working actors, also aims to inform attendees about protecting themselves, especially from scams they might encounter. "One of the best things an actor can do is be well-informed and well-educated if they're serious about taking it on as their profession," said Kichaven. "I would encourage them to go [to the July 13 event], to really get the information that they need…to make choices that are appropriate to them."

If the "Ready on Cue" event proves successful, SAG hopes to expand the event to cities around the country. More information about SAG and other events hosted by the Guild can be found online at www.sag.org. Within the next few months, actors will be able to use a new service on the site that will allow them to determine their membership eligibility by inputting their Social Security number.

The James Cagney Room of the Screen Actors Guild is located at 5757 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles. Call (323) 549-6443 to RSVP. Parking will be validated.

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