Filmmaking / Directing : Is this a scam? by Carolyn Alyce

Carolyn Alyce

Is this a scam?

So I have a question, more so seeking advice. I was asked to work on a "short film" with deferred payment. I began to ask questions, come to find out, it's actually a feature and they are not supplying anything. This will be a month and a half of no pay and my time, for only copy, credit, and meals. Should I just let this go, or should I work on this feature? They managed to get a whole crew together, but from what it seems, no one will be getting paid, correction deferred payment. I am 1 of 2 makeup artist, and they want nationality change, old age makeup, etc.

JD Hartman

Deferred pay is done all the time, both to cast and crew. Doesn't make it right, doesn't make it wrong either. It can be an opportunity for a job (if crew) like HOD or a leading role as an actor. Do your homework, has this production company/producer done this before? Do they have any successes, films that were actually distributed?

Matthew Jason Walsh

Given the fact that they were initially dishonest to you about exactly what they were making, it would definitely be in your best interest to at least research the company's (and, especially, the producer's) prior credits before accepting the job. But them lying about the nature of the production isn't usually a good sign. Also … are you saying that they're not at least paying for materials (molds, prosthetics, makeup kits, etc.)?

Carolyn Alyce

From what I've seen the only thing they have done is a bunch of Youtube videos. This is their first big production. @JD @Matthew they have now said it will only be a week, and they are not paying for ANYTHING, not even basic disposables.

JD Hartman

Feature film shot in a week? Wow, they must be good! @C.A. You're obviously smart enough to recognize a sham production.

Matthew Jason Walsh

I hate to say "Don't take this job!", but nothing about this sounds good.

Judie Tallman

you need to tell them that they have to pay for the materials used, especially the effects. If they can't do that, consider if you can pay for all of that, just for an IMDB credit.

Michael Wearing

There are times when I will work for free, but I always weigh up what's in it for me. Will doing this freebie advance my career? Dealing with your circumstances: The fact that they are new to features will mean they will make mistakes, sometimes big ones, such as one of the team not realising they are working on a feature, or totally underestimating the time it will take to shoot 90 minutes of film.... However see past that a little and consider whether any of the team will eventually progress in the industry. You can base that opinion on what they have already made, the quality of the current script, and their communication skills. A week of your time invested for free now may well pay off in the long term. You'll need to identify why two make up artists are required. Either a specialism is required, the cast is large, or two people applied for the same position and because they aren't paying they went with you both. You need to speak with the other person and identify each others roles... Can it be a "jobshare". You do a few days each... If after giving it due consideration you don't think it's worth it, don't do it. It is important to remember "deferred payment" is except in very exceptional cases just a nicer way of saying "no pay."

Simon © Simon

Free can be a platform to promote yourself, however read the script, consider the professionalism and those attached (names?-Not asking) However no pay should not include no lunch, and you paying for out of pocket for props or kits. That should be Upfront CASH before you start the day. Too many bad checks and it's in the mail. Just my opinion.

Dan Murphy

Don't do ANYTHING without getting paid.

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