A director asked me to read a famous speech on camera for a project. I’d be one of about 20 actors and then he’d edit us all together, based on who performed which line the best. Sounded fun to me. It wasn’t union, and I’m in SAG, so that bothered me.
The next week I was cast in a feature that used the SAG New Media Agreement. I brought the director and my local SAG rep together. They hit it off (knew they would). A few weeks later the agreement was signed.
At this point, I figured I’d probably get caught if I did the speech project non-union, so I finally asked the director to sign a SAG agreement.
Well, he’d have to think about that. I wasn’t surprised. SAG paperwork is monstrously complicated.
Meanwhile, I kept rehearsing the speech and another week or so slid by.
This morning, I called the director, who told me he decided not to “go SAG” since he’d filmed enough people.
I asked if I could at least perform the speech over the phone, since I’d spent 5 weeks working on it.
He let me do my thing, then asked me to read it again, this time with a Virginia dialect.
I told him I couldn’t nail Virginia, but I’d performed with a Tennessee accent, just one state over.
He said that was fine.
So I quickly rummaged in my head, plucked the sounds, planted my feet firmly, and started reading the speech.
I got chills. I figured I was just enjoying the new voice.
20 seconds into the speech, the director stopped me and said, “I’ve got chills. I’ll go talk to SAG.”