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Unions Can Boost Your Film Career

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Professional Organizations Prove Beneficial

film crew atop a raised platform

Those in the filmmaking business have many unions and organizations to take part in. Not only do unions look out for their members by negotiating desirable wages but membership can also make you more employable.

In fact, not being a member of a filmmaking union can make it difficult to thrive in your film career. Likewise, professional organizations provide valuable resources and networking opportunities with others in your field.

What union would be right for your film career? Only you can decide. Here are some major filmmaking unions and organizations:


Producers Guild of America (PGA)
This nonprofit trade group's mission statement is to represents, protect and promote the interests of all members of the producing team.

Directors Guild of America (DGA)
The guild protects the creative and economic rights of directors and other members of the directorial team who work in film, television, commercials, documentaries, news, sports and new media.

Writers Guild of America (WGA)
This union's members write for television, film, news, animation and new media. It determines writing credits, pays residuals and registers writers' intellectual property.

Screen Actors Guild & American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA)
This union represents actors, announcers, broadcast journalists, dancers, DJs, news writers, news editors, program hosts, puppeteers, recording artists, singers, stunt performers, voiceover artists and other media professionals.

International Cinematographers Guild
Camera professionals and publicists for film, television and new media are represented by this guild.

International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts (IATSE)
Those working behind the scenes in live theater, motion picture and television production, trade shows and exhibitions, television broadcasting and concerts are represented. This also includes professionals working in the equipment and construction shops.

Motion Picture Editors Guild
This labor organization represents post-production professionals.

Professional Organizations and Nonprofits

Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences
The Academy, which presents Oscar awards, is an honorary membership organization that includes representatives from each of the craft branches.

Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA)
The MPAA created the film rating system that allows parents to make informed decisions about what films to let their children watch. Some of its members include studios such as Walt Disney, Paramount, Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Universal and Warner Bros.

American Film Institute (AFI)
This national arts organization preserves America's film heritage, honors those in the filmmaking industry and educates future storytellers. Its goal is to enrich and nurture the art of film in America.

Filmmakers Alliance (FA)
The alliance consists of film artists interested in advancing independent film through community action. It offers a support system in which members provide things such as shared resources and expertise to other members.

Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA)
IFTA member companies produce, finance and distribute independent films and television and oversee licensing. Its members seek out films with worldwide appeal, ensure those projects get made and work to get the films distributed.

Center for Independent Documentary (CID)
The nonprofit CID provides a project management service to independent producers who create independent documentaries. One of its goals is to also increase public awareness of the independent genre.

Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE)
This association advances moving-imagery education and engineering across the communications, technology, media, and entertainment industries and has developed more than 650 standards, recommended practices and engineering guidelines.

American Society of Cinematographers (ASC)
The invite-only society is an educational, cultural and professional organization that advances the art and science of cinematography by bringing cinematographers together to collaborate.

Society of Camera Operators (SOC)
This society promotes excellence in camera operation and allied camera crafts. It also has an interest in new technologies and production methods that allow its members to achieve that excellence.

American Screenwriters Association
The association isn't just for screenwriters. Other professionals include directors, producers, literary agents, educators, authors and studio executives. A goal is to create a community for screenwriters to network with their peers and help the next generation of writers.

Television Academy
The Television Academy, formerly known as the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, presents the Emmy awards. Its goal is to advance the telecommunications arts and sciences. Members include performers, directors, producers, art directors, technicians and executives.

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