Now is the right time to become an American Federation of Musicians member. From ragtime to rap, from the early phonograph to today's digital recordings, the AFM has been there for its members. And now there are more benefits available to AFM members than ever before, including a multi-million dollar pension fund, excellent contract protection, instrument and travelers insurance, work referral programs and access to licensed booking agents to keep you working.

As an AFM member, you are part of a membership of more than 80,000 musicians. Experience has proven that collective activity on behalf of individuals with similar interests is the most effective way to achieve a goal. The AFM can negotiate agreements and administer contracts, procure valuable benefits and achieve legislative goals. A single musician has no such power.

The AFM has a proud history of managing change rather than being victimized by it. We find strength in adversity, and when the going gets tough, we get creative - all on your behalf.

Like the industry, the AFM is also changing and evolving, and its policies and programs will move in new directions dictated by its members. As a member, you will determine these directions through your interest and involvement. Your membership card will be your key to participation in governing your union, keeping it responsive to your needs and enabling it to serve you better. To become a member now, visit www.afm.org/join.

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Home » Electronic Media Services » Sidelining in Motion Picture Films


Sidelining in Motion Picture Films

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by Matt Allen, AFM Electronic Media Services Division Contract Administrator

In films produced all across the United States and Canada, musicians are regularly employed by film producers for sideline work. Sidelining is when a musician is engaged to “mime” the playing of an instrument on camera, typically to a prerecording that is played back on the set.

In some instances, a musician will record his or her audio performance while being filmed. This requires an additional recording scale payment, on top of the on-camera sideline payment. When 10 or more musicians are employed, including a leader, for a sideline engagement, a contractor must also be employed. The contractor may be one of the sideline musicians.

The contractor must be physically present at all sessions to ensure all musical activities conform to the agreement. If a musician is offered sideline employment by a film producer, it is important to first find out if the producer is signatory to the AFM for the motion picture. The AFM can assist with this.

When the musician B-7 (see table on page 14) session report forms are filed at an AFM local, be sure to also file copies of the B-7 with the Film Musicians Secondary Markets Fund (FMSMF). This ensures that the FMSMF has the appropriate documentation on file to credit all participating musicians for any secondary market distribution. Also, please file a copy of the B-7 with the AFM EMSD office for our records. (Note: when submitting session report forms electronically, the email must be encrypted to protect the musicians’ personal and sensitive information.)

Filmmakers with smaller budgets, both professional and student, regularly employ live scoring musicians to create soundtracks for their films. For films whose final budgets are $2 million and under, the AFM has an Independent Film/Festival Film Agreement. The Independent Film/Festival Film Agreement allows for commercial release, as well as release in festivals. For more information about this agreement, please contact the AFM EMSD office.

Current theatrical motion picture or TV film scale summaries, for both instrumentalists and music prep musicians, are posted on afm.org under the “Our Musicians” tab. You do not need to log in to access the posted scales. Theatrical motion picture and TV film signatory documents are available upon request from the AFM EMSD office.







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