Disclaimer: This blog is not for the actor who practices the art out of mere love or hobby. This is dedicated to those that plan to make this their career in the long run.
When making the decision to become an actor it is not uncommon to work on low budget and extremely low budget films. As a matter of fact, it builds character. It is also a great way to gain experience, knowledge and get those first few credits and footage for the much needed demo reel. Much like the new actor, many filmmakers are just getting started and need to be able to hire actors for free. This happens and is totally understandable.
However, there are also the filmmakers out there that continue to create multiple films and cast the same actors over and over on the indie level and never have anything of value to give to them. This is not okay. No food, no IMDb credit, no footage and no money. There are indie filmmakers that push out 6 or more projects a year and do not pay their actors. As a matter of fact, I have seen indie producers give advice to others about not paying actors because it helps them save on their budget. Ugh! What kind of malarkey is that?
It is one thing to work for free because acting is fresh and footage and credits are necessary. However, it is another thing to continue working for the same people over and over who obviously have the means to continue creating project after project, but refuse to break bread with your hard-working ass!
Realize your worth and add tax. Not saying that you deserve an RV and dressing room on your first set (though some are that lucky). All I am saying is that once you have gotten your feet wet and are putting in the work and sacrificing your time, gas, sanity, money, and self-esteem (yep, you sacrifice a little of that in this business); you should expect to be treated with the same respect!
Pay rates don’t have to be outrageously large, but it shows the time and effort put into your talent is valued.
If actors stop accepting roles from the same indie filmmakers that refuse to pay and feed on set, then those filmmakers will have no choice but to step up their game. Besides, until you realize your worth, no one else will and you will forever be stuck on the same level! Keep letting people not pay you what you are worth, and the Universe will continue to manifest those same opportunities into your life…but that’s a whole other blog!
Hit me up with questions and comments!