Acting : Advice needed! by Kerry Hurst

Kerry Hurst

Advice needed!

Hi, hope someone can help me! I am a non-union actor, at present and I have been offered a supporting (speaking) role in an independent feature. The role requires two days filming and on the second day of filming I am required to be scantily clad in a simulated sex scene. Not that this bothers me but I have to negotiate pay for this. The original offer of £200 for both days was, to me, unacceptable. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.

Aimee Theresa

This is a tough one. I think you need to determine what you are comfortable with doing and at what price. I think you can negotiate the pay, but I know a lot of non-union in the US pays pretty low per day, about $100. I'd ask to read the script and discuss the scene with the director. I understand you are comfortable with the idea, but you need to consider how you will be portrayed in the scene and what it will do to or for your career. I saw a great article on about nudity and I think it also applies to anything sexual. Best of luck to you!

Chiko Mendez

Think of what is important to you..the $$$ we all know dissipate and you should be able to live with seeing your work after the fact.. who ever pays gets what they paid for..)) I've done many films for free..where the clip for my reel is more important..of course when there is an important a supporting lead..or dramatic some cases i never got even a clip or the proejct we never finished...and THAT in itself is a bad experience where i still walk away with something learned..) depending on whether you have the experience to stand out..or get to the next''s all about finding a balance..where they get what they want..and you're happy with what you're getting in return )) As far as "sexual" situations..part of the negotiations on your part can be...that you "approve" of the final scenes that will be in the movie publicly.,,or get all your footage...or "SIGN OFF ON ONLY WHAT YOU APPROVE" or you can sue..<< of course not even Hollywood divas get to make that decision in some cases << realistically again..look at what you have in terms..or resume, experience..etc.....and not think what IT can do for your career...but what YOU can do with that project, clip or experience )) SIMULATED scenes are usually done in great taste..and have actually launched the careers of many..without the pretenses of having done hard xxx or porn )) it is what it is..SIMULATED ) anyone serious about "portraying a character" as opposed to "acting" should not discriminate against any role but you still have a choice even if there is no sex involved...some divas i've met wont even do "fake blood" unless they get paid...and are not even "union" actors )...if the role requires a "sex scene" it's up to you to make a choice..but when it's only adds more truth to your character...)) some the most well known actors have done sex scenes (Harvey Keitel, James Spader, Rosario Dawson, etc) you can also decide to do it for a much steeper price...but the competition is fierce and actresses with maybe alot more experience will wind up doing it for nothing.. ) so u can either say yes or no..)) before you do...write down all the reasons why you "CAN, SHOULD OR MUST" do it....and all the reasons why you "CANNOT, SHOULD NOT OR MUST NOT" do it...i believe that your answer will be clear as day and you'll feel it in your gut..<< with this comes additional and painful decisions of NOT taking everyone's advice or listenting to too many voices,, but simply absorbing ALL the information ...and on your own..quietly.. patiently.. DISSECT it and conclude for yourself )) if you wind up making a mistake..USE that as an experience of what "not to do" as well..on move on...))) REMEMBER if they are serious about YOU being in the scene...$$$ wont be an issue...)) if they are just interested in a body..and not your acting ....then neither $$ nor stripping naked is the issue ) and the answer will also be clear )..Being taken seriously as an actor..WILL at some point require sacrifices on both ends....more on the artist's end...but whatever you do ..have faith in you)) hope this helps )) "You tend to become what you thing about every day" Chiko Mendez 2015

Georgia Hilton

is this going to help your career 5 years down the road or hurt it... the money is secondary.

David W. Nichols

Is this scene paramount to the film? That is the question I would ask. Does this scene infer power, control, or some other message about the character or story to the audience? Gratuitous sex scenes could be the tale tell sign of a poor writer or director. If, and I do mean if the scene is purposeful than consider it. If not, forget the film and try to get something else that you are more comfortable with. As a character you must be the character (according to some acting theories). It is a question of do you understand what motivates this character to do this in the scene and what is the end game? Also, can this gig get you more paying work? If you can answer those questions to your satisfaction and the director understands your position completely then do it. You are an actress, this is acting, and we all understand. However, it isn't like your opening a door, sitting down, or getting up (three of the most awkward things to do as an actor). If you chose to do it, make it tasteful.

William Joseph Hill

Aimee's link to the backstage article is really good. I know that with union actors, there is a special rider to the contract that spells out exactly what parts will be shown, and the context of the scene. (I know one actress who protected herself from having too much shown by drawing on her body parts with a sharpie marker--that kept the DP honest!) Whatever you do, if you decide to go through with it, you should make sure to get everything spelled out in writing. As far as the money goes, if it's a very low budget film, pushing for more money could be a deal breaker--if you really like the role otherwise, you might not want to push too hard for the extra money. Is the simulated scene scripted? If so, then you can probably figure out how they're going to shoot it. But trust your instinct, if it feels sleazy and not in alignment with how you want your work to be presented to the world, feel free to turn it down. There are many more opportunities out there.

Scott Swanson

good advice. My only addition is, remember you are building your professional reputation one scene at a time, choose wisely because once captured on film or digitally, it may live forever.

C. D-Broughton

To be honest, Kerry, I'd advise that you take the money. If you're in Equity, you may get a slightly improved rate, but considering that you'll be working on a micro- or low-budget feature means that the producers have the right to pay you the minimum per scale (this means that a multi-million pound production has to pay more than something that costs £50k to make). The daily minimum rate a full-time employee needs to be paid, in accordance with British labour laws, is currently set at £54. Bear in mind that this is for full day's (8 hours) work (and on low budget films, extras are asked to work simply for experience). If you're uncomfortable with the sex scene, ask if you can bring someone along; this should be fine, albeit, your friend may have to wait outside of the - most likely - crowded room you'll be shooting in. The most important thing though is that you sign a contract guaranteeing that you'll receive a credit for your work. Remember: you're starting small and gradually building yourself up to bigger projects(/more pay), so obtaining a credit is a must. Yeah, the pay isn't great, but a good role could be worth 10 or even 100x what you could ever haggle, so you really only have to decide if this role's right for you and your career plans.

Kerry Hurst

Thank you all for your advice which was invaluable and very much appreciated. An agreement has been made and a contract is being sent to me. Now I must get an agent and join Equity! Have a great week everyone and huge thanks once again!

Marco Fiorini

Gee-wiz what a lot of FAZOOL. Miss, if you are truly an actor and your sex scene isn't with Brad Pitt, do your career a huge favor, Pass. BUT curiosity makes me ask," What was your audition for the role?"

Marco Fiorini

OOPS, I just did, too late.

Dave McCrea

DO IT. You're non-union so getting any money is a bonus. To make it as an actor you have to say yes to basically almost everything. This is the most competitive occupation on the planet. Everything I've experienced suggests that those who make it are those who are "down for whatever". I'm doing a web series right now and a short film and actors who are hesitant or want to design their career trajectory early on get passed over in favor of the willing, ready and able.

John William Sammon

SAG scale per day is $800. They're offering you $380. I'd keep my clothes on until I get more. Join the union. You must get beyond non-union ultra low. You're worth more.

C. D-Broughton

I have to point out that American and British rates are not the same. Kerry, one does not simply join Equity, however, any speaking role in a feature-length film does (if I recall correctly) provide adequate acting experience to apply for membership. Equity is not a closed shop, but its members do have to have a minimum level of acting training or experience. Good luck with your career.

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