OK, friends, the confusion about SAG is over (I think).
This is straight from our casting director, Vicky Boone's mouth, so I know it's a FACT!! Turns out, contrary to popular belief, "professional actors" can still be in SAG films if they're not SAG. A bit more paperwork is involved, but they don't discriminate against people just because they're not SAG. And there's no extra fees that the production co. must pay. They get paid SAG rates, same as the other SAG actors, in the same category, on set. Now, because they get the same rates on SAG films, it's possible that the film's casting department would get questioned IF someone didn't have a "professional acting resume" (more extensive, I believe). In other words, if you ended up casting someone with little to no acting experience this could raise a red flag, and create a scenario in which the casting director (or person in charge) would have to prove that they auditioned many SAG actors but this non-sag, inexperienced person, one was the best choice.
This is great news for me personally.. as I have many "professional actor" friends I would like to see audition for our film. I'm not into casting "friends" just because they want to speak on film (non-speaking extras are a different story!). Simply put, our film could not even afford to do that. But I look forward to giving my actor friends the opportunity to expand on their acting portfolio with our project! It would overjoy me to see some familiar faces deliver some of the lines in my script.
As I find out more info, I'll let you know... dispelling the misnomers that make us go crazy!