What are Screeners?
This time last year, the SAG Awards season was in the air, and someone in my acting class asked about “Screeners.” My acting coach went on about how screeners basically “paid for Union members’ dues.” As the only Union member in class at the time, I was embarrassed that I had no idea what everyone was going on about. And I was interested in anything that was going to “pay” my dues for me because, frankly, they are astronomical. When I raised my hand to ask what the heck everyone was talking about, my coach asked me how long I’d been in the Union. “A year,” I responded. He proceeded to inform me that Union members who have been a part of the Union for one year or more, are up-to-date on dues, and have paid their latest dues on-time (the November dues) receive things called “Screeners.” Screeners are (free) “For Your Consideration” materials and offers sent to Union members by studios and networks. These materials and offers come in the form of DVDs/digital streaming options (you’re given a code to enter)/movie screenings/e-Movie cash (downloadable certificates to see nominated films for free at local theaters)/etc. for TV shows and movies. These are often movies still out in theaters. Union members watch these and use their special “Awards Pin” to vote for their favorites in categories such as “Cast in a Motion Picture,” “Male Actor in a Leading Role,” “Female Actor in a Comedy Series,” “Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture,” etc.
The one downside is how long it takes to receive the physical screeners. While many studios offer digital streaming, it would be great to get the DVDs in time for the usual Christmas/New Year’s break, but the screeners are first sent to regional SAG offices prior to being shipped to us. We usually get them after the holidays. As the SAG Awards are typically held in late January, ahead of the Oscars in February, this leaves limited time for members to view the materials and can lead to less-informed SAG Awards votes. SAG should work to expedite this process.
The 25th SAG Awards will take place on Sunday, January 27, 2019 at Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall and will be hosted by Megan Mullally.