UK Film Unions For Different Crew Roles
So you are working in the film industry, have you considered joining a union? Production unions are not essential in the UK, but they have their benefits.
Film unions can help with training, legal advice and production crew rates.
Whether you are a student or a veteran filmmaker, unions can help with additional support throughout your career. But which one is right for you?
There are a lot of choices available; some film unions cater to all job roles. Whilst others are more specific and focused on departments.
So to make things easier, we have listed all production unions below. Now you can see clearly what your options are and what they all offer.
Group Film Unions
Category: Group Union
Firstly, this is the most prominent film crew union in the UK for all job roles apart from actors. They can also help both freelance and contract workers.
Membership perks include career advice, legal support, public liability insurance and pay rate guidance. However, they do only cover TV or major budget film sets and might not support indie filmmakers.
Category: Group Union
If you work in accounts, assistant directing, location, post, and VFX, this might be the right film crew union. They cover many job roles, but not everything, so check your position on their department’s list. Membership benefits include training, networking, and job listings. To join, you need to provide three references and also have a minimum of three film or TV credits.
Department Film Unions
Also known as WGGB is for all writers, including those working within both TV and film. Perks include pension, work rate advice, and contract feedback. You need to have two paid credits to join.
Category: Camera Department
The Guild of British Camera Technicians is for all roles in the camera department. Members gain training, workshops and career support. But you will need to provide at least four references to join.
British Society of Cinematographers is an invitation-only film crew union for talented DOP and camera operators. However, anyone can join the BSC club for £100, which holds events and networking socials.
Film unions are for all directors working in the UK entertainment industry. Benefits include pay rate advice, events and even access to legal services. To apply, you need to have at least one director credit on a paid film or TV production.
Category: Art Department
If you work in the art department within any position, you might want a film crew union made for you. Perks include portfolio advice, networking, insurance and also work alerts. To apply, you need to have worked in the art department for at least three years and three work credits.
Category: Casting Directors
CDG is for casting directors who have worked for at least five years. Assistant casting directors can apply too for probationary membership. If you’re interested in working within the casting team, by all means check out their vacancies page.
Category: Production Managers
The Production Managers Association is for PMs and line producers. Additionally, there is support for coordinators, accountants and secretaries. Benefits include job listings, discounts, training, networking and pension scheme. Also, you need at least two years experience, but anyone can take part in the training workshops.
Category: Costume Department
Costume in Theatre Entertainment and Arts is for anyone working with the costume department. This is a group set up to challenge bad working practices and offer support. Similarly to film unions, they provide work guidelines, pay rates and general support.
If you work as an editor or assistant editor. Perks include mentorship, magazine subscription and additionally networking opportunities. You can join as a student, but professionals must have five credits in their job role.
Category: Sound Department
The Association of Motion Picture Sound is for anyone working within the sound department, both production and post. Benefits include free events, forum access, mentoring, and discounts. In this case, you need two sponsors who are already AMPS members to recommend you to the Association.
Women in Film and TV is for women working within any job role. Benefits include networking events, discounts, and mentoring too. You can apply at any point within your career, and if you own a company, you can apply for a business membership.
Actor Film Unions
This is the biggest trade union for British actors and performers. Membership provides job listings, career advice, training and pay rate advice. To begin an application you need to have worked at least one paid acting job.
This is the biggest online casting site as such many casting directors use Spotlight. Furthermore, agents will require actors to have a membership. Benefits of joining production unions include a spotlight profile, events, discounts and career advice. To apply, you will need to have at least one paid speaking role in film, TV or Theatre.
Category: Production Companies
These film unions are not for individuals but for owners of TV or film companies. Benefits include legal advice, workshops, and industry/trade-related news. To begin with, you must register as a limited company and be trading.
Category: Production Companies
This is also a trade union for companies and not for individuals. Benefits of joining company production unions include events, promotion and also industry news. For the purpose of joining, you need to be a production, post-production VFX company in the UK.
Wrapping Up – Film Unions
To sum up, unions are an excellent way of making sure you are protected in your job role. However, many of them need you to have previous experience.
You can find this experience by networking and by working on independent films. In time you will meet the connections you need to start working on bigger productions.
There are many options available, so make sure to ask people you work with what film unions they are part of. Also, some people will join several production unions.
Have you ever joined a film crew union?