As noted before, I'm in that special category with the union where I can do non-union stuff without fear of penalty or reprisal. I can't argue for or against this category as it does carry some sort of stigma, especially with union members who haven't done this. If they figure out you do non-union stuff, they really can't do anything to you except talk crap about you, but you can expect that from most actors anyway, friend or foe.
I had a non-union audition last week, which I felt was pretty well executed. The project shoots next weekend up in San Luis Obispo. As it's non-union, I don't know how I'd get up there, other than the production company hiring a bus and taking the actors up there. If I had to drive, I wouldn't mind, unless they don't pay for the extra effort. But see, that's non-union. If it were union, you can bet they'd fly you up, and probably first class, which you could trade in for a cheaper seat and keep the difference. Being a weekend shoot, you'd get paid overtime, if not double time, plus per diem for incidentals.
Most union commercials are shot during the week, although I've done at least two on a weekend and they were very lucrative. Many non-union commercials are shot over the weekend because, well, they can and don't have to pay you one extra cent for it.
Today, I had a union audition, which I also think I did a decent job at, carrying the confidence I felt from the non-union audition into this one. Confidence is priceless, and I guess that's another good reason for doing non-union. You compete against mostly novices, the casting director knows you're union and knows you have experience, thus often recommending you to the client. But occasionally, you'll get cast in something that airs nonstop nationally and everyone thinks you're getting paid each time they see it. That's the really sad part of the equation. But I really do like going into an audition knowing that I have an edge over the competition. And I guess that's why I continue to see much more experienced actors, ones like Daniel Dae Kim, at auditions for national commercials: because they know they have an edge over the competition.
Tomorrow, I have a callback for the non-union job. I'd like to think I'll kick arse in that one.