If you’re a “filmmaker”, stop reading this. It’s not meant for you.
If you’re an actor, let’s wax lyrical about getting paid for your work.
While I am a writer, producer and director, I was & am an actor 1st.
As an actor, you yourself may have studied your craft and have amassed a sea of dept. You may have done theater; sacrificing your valuable time for months at a time to be a part of something that only a theater actor can fully appreciate. You may have acted in short films, feature films, teasers, trailers, pilots and webisodes.
As an actor you may have put years in to working on your craft. Why do you keep acting for free?
(Please allow me to clarify a point. Short films, feature films, teasers, trailers, pilots and webisodes should pay you. At the very least, they should offer deferments, so that if & when the filmmakers make money, the actors will make money. The only projects that should not have to pay their actors are student films and film challenges.)
You probably keep acting for free because “filmmakers” aren’t paying.
“Crafty, credit, drinks.” “You will be well fed.” “Professional set.” “Fun people to work with.” “Networking opportunities.” “Considered for future work.”
None of that pays the bills! It’s preposterous for “filmmakers” to pretend that those are incentives to audition for them. It is disrespectful! They’re supposed to offer that on their shoots!
Yes, I understand & appreciate the argument that actors have to first build up a resume. However, at what point should you get paid? For me, and on my projects, if an actor with no resume has the "look" and the ability to pull off the role, they should be paid! Often times, it’s not necessarily their resume that earns an actor their role. It’s their look and their abilities, but that's another post.
Whether or not they are a good person with a great energy also factors in on the casting, but that’s another post as well.
Fellow actors, let’s look at the power we posses. What if you stopped acting for free? What if all of your actor friends stopped acting for free? What if every actor stopped working for free? “Filmmakers” would have to start paying you.
How would “filmmakers” get money to pay you?
They’d have to secure funding for their projects.
How would “filmmakers” secure funding?
They’d have to approach investors or stage crowd-sourcing campaigns. They would have to write and/or find great screenplays that would attract investors and/or crowd-sourcing campaign donors. But really, that’s none of your concern. That’s the “filmmakers” job.
Some might ask, "isn’t that what a producer does?" Well, isn’t that what a “filmmaker” is?
Somewhere along the line, compensating the cast fell out of the job description of a “filmmaker”, and that is disgusting. It is unacceptable. It's disrespectful.
“Filmmakers” figure all costs in to their budgets. They should add the cost of paying you. You are bringing your skill set and your abilities to do the job you’ve been hired to do, just like everybody else on set.
This article isn’t meant for filmmakers. It is meant for actors. It is meant to get us thinking and talking about the powers that we posses. We can have a domino effect in getting paid. We deserve to be rightfully compensated. We are to be treated with respect.
I hope you all are well!
If this post resonates with you, please share it on social media.
Respectfully, Marcelo Dietrich