We understand how difficult it may be to feel empowered enough as an actor to demand what you deserve. When famine has been all you’ve known for such a long period of time, feast becomes a little frightening. We comprehend. However, this should not be the case!
As long as you maintain a professional, respectful, and reasonable demeanor, there is little that can go wrong! In my experience, production companies respect actors who advocate for themselves and establish boundaries for what constitutes an appropriate fee.
Before we begin, let us take a brief look at the differences between actors in the United States and Europe. It’s worth mentioning that performers rarely negotiate their compensation individually in the United States. Generally, we have representation who takes care of these problems for us. In regions of Europe, on the other hand, actors are significantly more likely to work without representation and receive remuneration directly from casting. For individuals that are represented, any talk of a raise should be conducted through their reps, as they will be negotiating with production. If you do not have representation, the following recommendations will assist you.
Additionally, avoid procrastination! I’d encourage anyone interested in negotiating their wage to avoid waiting until the last minute. This places an unneeded strain on casting, who may have assumed you were comfortable with the indicated compensation. This, of course, is situational.
When requesting a raise, keep the following in mind:
And what is a significant component of being reasonable? Recognize what is reasonable. This gets me to the second point I’d want to make…
While we thespians are rarely business savvy, understanding industry standards for various sorts of plays and scenarios is critical when negotiating a reasonable raise. You should conduct research into the standard day rate for your position, taking into account the breadth of the production, the workload, and, in some cases, the budget. What are the commercial rights if it is a commercial? How long do they remain valid? Is this a regional, national, or international advertisement?
Even knowing how much you’ll end up paying in taxes can be critical. In California, for example, freelancers, i.e. performers, must pay up to 30% of their salary in taxes, effectively lowering what may appear to be a sizable check to nearly nothing. Occasionally, the study is insufficient or does not relate to the specific scenario. In those cases, you must ask yourself, “What am I going to need to make this work?” And continue with that. In any case, you should always approach discussions with a fee in mind, as casting will almost certainly request it. Contact us for more information.