Sidelining Intro


Sidelining: how to find the work, and how it works for AFM Locals

Whenever you see a band playing in a movie, a string quartet in a commercial, or a drummer in a scene in TV show, musicians are doing Sideline work. Sidelining takes place all over North America, wherever Media production companies set up shop and need to film musicians playing. All too often those jobs are done non-AFM, even though all other jobs on the set are being done with appropriate Union contracts and benefits.

Let us help you to make those sidelining jobs AFM!

When a production company schedules a shoot, they will almost always need to get permits from local governments, park administrators, etc. Every state and province in the United States and Canada has a film commission to help the companies do permitting . These commissions have staff who will know far in advance what productions are coming to town, and often have a heads up on what sorts of local employment is available.

We have compiled a comprehensive list of film commissions here. In many cases those commissions may be able to refer you to a local film office or liaisons attached to the production shooting in your Local’s jurisdiction. Developing a relationship with your local film commission is one of the best ways of learning well in advance of trucks rolling in who will be filming in your community, and whether or not there is an opportunity for AFM musicians to sideline in the project.

When you identify a project that is using musicians, you can then assist the production company and aid local musicians in getting their employment on the appropriate AFM contract. You can also contact RMA or the EMSD for help with those organizing efforts.  When AFM musicians work under the appropriate sideline agreement for a motion picture or TV show,  they will not only be paid for their day’s work, with Pension and Health Benefits, but they will also become participants in the FIlm Musicians Secondary Markets Fund (FMSMF) for that project. When that film generates money in Secondary Markets, like DVD sales or Internet Downloads, they will receive residuals based on their original wages and the Secondary Market success of their project .

In most cases, sidelining happens well before the decision is made about where music underscoring will be done.  So, if the sidelining in your local is AFM, that also organizes the film or TV show – no matter where production moves next.  That means that all future scoring and use of Sound Recordings in the project will continue to be AFM, even after the sidelining in your Local is completed.

When sidelining is done AFM, your Local’s musicians benefit, and your Local can develop relationships with production companies that can generate future union employment and work dues. Meanwhile our Federation is strengthened financially and musicians across the AFM will also benefit. Our union contracts work!

 Posted by at 7:53 am