Thursday, 13 December 2012

Credit Where Credit's Due

We’re used to seeing apologies in castings for projects being low budget. We hear all the usual excuses due to it being made my students or the fact that everyone’s working for free and it’s a labour of love. I know I have plenty of complaints about these types of castings but at least they're being honest and we know that money can be hard to come by. However, it’s a very different situation when it’s a well-known company that rewards its chief executive bonuses that are in their millions.

Today I saw a casting for Experian, the credit check company and it was for an internal corporate film. Now, it’s no advert but still, your image is being used for a massive company. And how much do they want to pay actors to be part of this film? The measly sum of £50. Their chief executive earned £9 million last year. If we presume that he works every single second of the year then it takes him just three minutes to earn £50. Isn’t it lovely to feel valued, actors?

I realise that just because a company makes a lot of money, it doesn’t necessarily mean they can chuck thousands at the actors that they hire. I’m not that naïve. However, when a chief executive can give himself a £1.5 million bonus, it can be a pretty bitter pill to swallow. As actors we give up our face to help these companies out. Our image can help them sell their product and our acting skills can help them train their staff better. Ultimately our work is helping them make a profit so why the heck are we finding ourselves being shoved further and further down the food chain? And this particular job is for an internal film meaning that the only exposure you’re likely to get is to Darren in the IT department.  At best you might get a little snippet to put on your showreel but, more likely, you’ll probably just find yourself leaving with a sense that you’ve sold yourself extremely short. It’s hardly surprising that a company that provides credit checks will probably just be providing you with a credit for your CV and nothing else. 

Unfortunately, it seems that these larger companies have now cottoned on to the fact that many actors will work for nothing, or for very little, and if they put out a casting offering the minimum amount of cash possible then they can be sure to get at least enough applicants to get the job done. This does us actors no favours and the only ones to benefit are the companies themselves who get to keep their cash and ensure these eye-watering bonuses keep being given out while we’re left wondering, yet again, how we’re going to pay our rent. 

As usual, I can only keep urging actors to think very carefully when taking on unpaid work. I know we want to fill our CVs up with jobs that are less that 5 years old and I know we want to take on anything so that we can feel like we’re at least doing something. But by doing these jobs, we’re turning the world of acting from a profession into a hobby. And if that happens then that means I’ll have to update my CV. Don’t make me deal with that level of rage.


  1. Uhm dunno where you found the casting call, the one I saw stated this for pay
    £50 for 1 hour only
    Now I can't really argue with a 50/h rate. Even if it took 2 hours instead it would still be in the range of the standard 200-300 per shooting day I usually see for this kind of work.

    1. Ah, I missed that it was just an hour. Fair play. However, there are very few filming jobs that are that quick and I'd fully expect it to overrun. Plus I've done corporate jobs for far smaller companies that have only required a couple of hours of my time that have paid far more than that.
      I think it's more that I'd like to see them paying more for the use of an actor's image. But hey, at least they're paying sometihng which is more than a lot of other companies are doing!
      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment. Much appreciated. :-)

      Miss L

    2. I wish you weren't anonymous because I would send you all my money, just for being generally amazing.

      Maybe if you weren't anonymous I'd have a different opinion... :)

    3. Haha! I fear I'd only waste it on crisps. You'd very quickly regret your generous donation. ;-)