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Den Nic
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Hey guys, this might sound like a stupid question, but it's one I'm still trying to understand:

Why are some projects union and some non-union?

To me, the benefits of a union (to production) is the high level of skill, the organization and it's regulations and standards, and the overall dependability. So I wonder, Is it always a choice for the production to go union or non union? And therefore just generally understood that if you want to make large budget feature or tv show that you go union?

What, if anything, allows a (for example) reality TV show to hire non union?

And what, if anything, stops a big budget production from being non union?

Thanks guys!

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You summed it up well, Richard.

Productions with any significant budget thinking about shooting non-union will also fear the crew stopping work to "organize" and become a union show. This is a likelihood, as most non-union crew members wish to get the benefits associated with union membership. So with the adoption of the IATSE low-budget agreement, most shows over $1m simply choose to shoot union to avoid a potential work stoppage.

It is common on lower budget shows these days to find SAG, IATSE, Teamster, but non-DGA staff.

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A number of good comments already...

" the benefits of a union (to production) is the high level of skill, the organization and it's regulations and standards, and the overall dependability. "

unfortunately, many union (IA) members will also work non-union. The union itself does not provide the benefits you listed without costs. The union rules usually cost producers money... OTOH, the good DP's, and their crews, will often not work non-IA, and the "Above the Line" folks (producers and director, even bond companies) may insist on union members in these, and other critical positions.

" staffed by DGA, Directors Guild of America, and SAG, Screen Actors Guild, and PGA members, Producers Guild of America. "

Richard failed to include the Teamsters in this list, and the SAG alternative (depending on the show) AFTRA.

Jurisdiction becomes relevent if the production company (or one of the companies) is already a signatory, and thus has no choice.

Bottom line answer to the basic question is that money is involved, and choices to make.

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