Photo by Debra Lopez
1% of the acting population is actually making a livable wage from their career.
Everyone else is unemployed, working for free or working for less than minimum wage or working two other jobs in another industry to support their acting careers (also known as paying the industry for the privilege of being an actor)
The reason is because we have so much of our self worth wrapped up in getting the job. If we get it, we’re worthy, if we don’t, something is wrong with us for not being able to make a living. We are basing our worth on a process that doesn’t value you unless you require it.
And why should the industry pay u more if it can get you for less?
For example, Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones), did the theatre thing, couldn’t get arrested. She paid her dues and the industry didn’t care. Then, she started thinking about what a corporation values (which is exactly what network, tv/films studios are- corporations). They value numbers that turn into paying/subscribing customers who will pay for the exorbitant production costs for a show like Game of Thrones. She found a way to bring 20,000 potential customers to the table with her 20,000 instagram followers where she was simply sharing her love of her artist life. Her negotiating process is now 20,000 times more powerful than other actors up for the job.
She got the job over more experienced actors because she was willing to go the extra mile for her craft: she was willing to also tackle the business as well as the craft.
And before you get on your high horse about art and actors and social media is degrading, blah, blah, blah....How many commercials, voice overs, videos, radio shows for plays you’re working on have you done?
That’s an ad, not art. Ads are what keep the Entertainment industry alive bec if no one is paying for the stories you want to star in, they won’t be made. Your social media following is your ad for your career. Your content is what you get your audience excited about supporting. That’s just smart business sense. You’re showing folks why what you do is important and worth supporting and if you don’t think this step is important, why should someone spend $100 to see you?
It’s no different from the opening night outfits, hairdos you’re wearing that were created by Beyoncé & Kardashians using their social media presence to keep awareness of the brand foremost in your mind. The result is that you continue to support those brands by talking about them, posting about them, buying their concert tix, CDs, movies, tv shows, clothing, hair & makeup & signature looks.
How does this apply to you booking gigs & moving your career to the next level? You give your agent/manager a list of requirements in the negotiation process based on your experience (and time served) and they immediately give you a laundry list of why you’re not going to get those things.
Waymenent....Just because u believe ur not going to get what u think u deserve, doesn’t mean u get to tell me what I deserve.
As long as ur willing to walk away from a negotiation process, you have nothing to lose.
You get that angle by adding up how much time, energy getting the job is going to cost you: hours preparing & traveling to the audition, clothing/hair, coaching for the audition
Then after taxes, union dues, agent manager fees —-just take 40-45% off the top of your salary...
Now how much do you need to make to make this job viable? Bec If u don’t factor that in, u will be working for pennies...
Always do the math...being a working actor is actually not more important than being an actor being paid a livable wage.
You deserve that and if you don’t start requiring it, not only will you never get it, u also create an industry that continually takes advantage of actors who think the only way to survive is by working for minimum wage.
What do u deserve and how are you going to get it?
Making Your Own Work involves 3 things
Over the next week, I’ll be sharing thos journey of Making Your Own Work using projects I’ve written, produced, crowdfunded, starred in and put into motion from idea to reality. I’m going to show you how to turn an idea into a job of a lifetime where you decide whose story will be told and how much you will be paid for your dream.
SignUp for the Make Your Own Work series now @www.TheDreamUnLocked.com
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April Yvette Thompson