Are You Paying Me For This?
Just recently I started casting a short film that I am working on and one of the first questions that was asking was whether it was paying or non-paying. I am an INDIE filmmaker and not one of those $100,000 budget indie filmmakers that have corporate backing. I am one of those, hey I have a camera and a script let’s do this, indie filmmaker. Yes, there is crowd-sourcing, that can only do so much, and will more than likely go to equipment, rentals, copy, and post-productions maintenance anyway. I’m sure any and every director would love the ability to pay those that helped them to make their vision into a viewing reality, but that’s not always possible.
Now with this question; I understand if you act for a living and doing a lo/no/deferred (low pay/no pay/paid AFTER film is made) film conflicts with a paying gig. That is what makes this questions viable. However, if you have a day job or a source of income and act on the side or are in any situation other than the previously stated exception, it is best to NOT ask this question up front. Even if you plan to pursue a role whether paid or not, this instantly puts in the head of the director that all you care about is your bottom line and what you get out of it. Now some might not care…I do. I want people who are willing to act for no payment because I’ll no that they act for the love of their craft and not for the dollar sign. Sticking your nose in the air to an unpaid role, I don’t care how many projects you have worked in, what letter on the celebrity list you are, is beyond disrespectful in my eyes, because if I can spend days, weeks, months working on something, putting my all into it, writing it, filming it, cutting it, editing it, all of that, with no guarantee of ANY monetary returns or even public recognition, then damn it you can say a few lines in front of a camera with the same expectation!
Now there are various ways for us to get an income on it, whether it crowd-funded, selling DVD copies or streaming for profit on Amazon or Youtube, but don’t be under the impression that you deserve payment over those that put that product together in the first place.
“You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off you.” – Maya Angelou