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On Writing : Paying and Crediting actors in theater works by Allen Clark

Allen Clark

Paying and Crediting actors in theater works

Hello all I'm trying to get an understanding on how to pay actors that are non-union for theater projects how to get them credited for projects they complete. If anyone has suggestions or answers to this issue of mine please let me know..Thank you

Steve Trautmann

I have seen some theaters that will do a 50/50 split with actors that sell tickets to the show. So they get the benefit of promoting to their contacts.

Allen Clark

I just had this conversation last night. It turns out that actors want to make money but don;'t believe they should sell tickets to get paid.

Steve Trautmann

I guess it comes down to the type of theater you're running. If it's a professional stage, doing professional productions with paid staff and all the trimmings, then I get the reluctance of actors feeling put upon to actually do promotions and sales. We'll set aside all the free press that's built into film actors' contracts. But if you're running a theater that barely makes it's rent and loses money on most productions, then I feel it's an "All hands on deck," "everybody pitch in" type of affair. Are you asking your actors to pay dues to participate in productions? Or are they just auditioning, getting cast, and hoping to get some notice from CDs, reps, and producers? I guess what it comes down to is where is the money going? Are the actors benefiting from the prodcution/theater, or is the theater making money off of the free hard work of the participating artists. I'm a far cry from a socialist, but either you're in it for the art or the commerce. What's fair? I've seen both sides of the equation. Los Angeles and Actors Equity just went through an ugly period of rules changes for small theaters, and I think AE had it all wrong about LA.

Allen Clark

I have a small production company we just started out last year. Being that Underground Episodes is my first production i utilized a lot of the local talent from film,stage, theater and open mic poetry performances that came out to my audition. With that being said, i let them know this was my first production but that i didn't have money but i would reward them through: *Getting cast members professional head-shots done *Utilizing there images in both print and digital advertising *Getting them on-air radio time for interviews concerning the project and there current to do's *At rehearsals and shows providing necessities of -Meal and drinks -Assist in payment of props and or costumes if needed for actors *Copy of playbill with images of cast and bios intact *Provide digital portfolio.... In that years time they have seen me to be a man of my word. Many have gone forward to other projects and have gained experience from working with me as i them. I am currently making sure each member is rewarded with a small stipend as a token of appreciation for there time.. Many are also staying on as we move forward to our third run of the play but that is when the problem begins. I am in the process of my casting call and a new actor that is interested in trying out for the play asked if this was a paid project? My wonder is should i continue to do what i have been doing or find a way to start paying cast for there time when the show hasn't been about making a penny from it yet? What actually happened in Los Angeles with the Actors Equity and the rule changes for small theaters?

Steve Trautmann

The AEA board passed the minimum wage amendment for Los Angeles going against the vast majority of their members. It's a staged phase in, but will probably make it more difficult for AE members to participate in smaller productions, and more difficult for 99 seat houses to produce plays with larger casts.

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