Unpaid commercial

  • Sally Beaumont

    Actor

    Anyone else spotted the unpaid commercial on the casting board?

    Crikey- next we'll have to pay to endorse these products.

    Not sure CCP should have let that through- whilst I appreciate that CCP doesn't have to support Equity rates, I still think a commercial offers substantial financial reward for the product(else why would they do it?) and the actors involved deserve a part of that.

    Sad fact is, I'm sure quite a few people will go for it- the shape of things to come?

    • 14th May 2006
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  • User Deleted

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    Thats not all ITV are also looking for someone for three days unpaid but experience gained

    • 1st Jun 2006
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  • Thomas Matthews

    Actor

    Yes things are getting quite disgraceful of late. I keep seeing posts from a certain company who want voice-overs and whom i've worked for before saying they can't afford to pay but its great experience. Fact of the matter is their clients are big companies and even if it was below equity it would at least be something. don't tell me that everyone else working on these projects is donating their time. Likewise I was interested in a certain festival until i found out that it's only the actors that do not get paid and are made to feel privileged to even be considered for work.

    There's a fine line between gaining experience and being exploited and i think some larger companies know exactly how to do the latter because so many of us want the first.

    • 1st Jun 2006
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  • Alexander Helm

    Actor

    This seems to be quite commonplace even on mainstream television companies. Last year one of the main channels advertised for actors to promote one of their shows. Previously people attacked the actors for doing these kind of project when in fact it is television companies that are solely responsible for this exploitation. If you are trying to establish a career as an actor on film or television then an opportunity to gain experience of screen acting is very tempting.

    • 1st Jun 2006
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  • Sally Beaumont

    Actor

    It's also on the stage- but no mention of the lack of fee. Not sure if I'm cheeky enough to tell the stage...

    • 1st Jun 2006
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  • Victoria Denard

    Actor

    Saw it on Shooting People too, they are saying on there that its paying £250

    • 1st Jun 2006
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  • Sally Beaumont

    Actor

    Seriously?

    Sigh.

    • 1st Jun 2006
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  • Keith Patrick

    Actor

    It's a funny thing. Unpaid doesn't always mean unpaid, and no budget doesn't always mean what it implies. There are tons of jobs that can & cannot be found by trawling Internet sites. Different companies will run a business how they prefer.

    Sometimes it's plain old dis-information in order to stop people form pricing things up such as for rentals of various things. If some people guess there's cash to be had, prices rise.

    There are so many people competing for acting jobs (more by proportion than ever) that companies can negotiate. Businessmen always recognise and respect the ability to negotiate.

    If anything, actors must begin to see that business acumen is as vital (if not more so) as the skills of the arts.

    It's hugely unfortunate, but in this day of the Business we call Show, we are seeing more people attempting to place a lower price on specialist skills.

    However, we only need to look at other specialists

    like various musicians, and athletes and observe how someone can be stitched up like a kipper.

    One could take the postion of Antonio and gamble against a pound of flesh, be Shylock and demand it, or perhaps assume the approach of Portia and weigh up the known facts, and decide the right moves.

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 7
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    Hi guys.

    Firstly if you're talking about the commercial on the unpaid section, with 'Great guns' casting it, please don't call me biased when i mention this but...My brother is one of the directors there. Great Guns are a genuine company. They have directors who have filmed the latest radox ads - m and s food ads. Had a word with my bro and he said the reason they say no pay is because the competition out there is fierce. They want actors who are willing and hard working. There is always some sort of pay involved, maybe not lots but a bit. They are a great young company, go to there website if you want more info to make yourself happier, www.greatguns.co.uk.

    sorry if i rambled, i just wanted to set the record straight, remember im not saying this because i know all the guys there.

    Philly

    • 1st Jun 2006
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  • Sally Beaumont

    Actor

    But some places it says unpaid, some £250?

    Could you tell us which is it?

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 9
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    I won't see or speak to my brother till sunday night, so keep your eyes peeled on sunday night and i will try and get it out of him, ( i promise)I hope this will help. Sorry if im not much use till then.

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 10
  • Thomas Matthews

    Actor

    Sory Philly, but you're brother may seem to be honourable but if his competiveness means that his pitch is cheaper because they're not giong to pay actors then i don't think you'l find much sympathy here. We all know that producers etc have to stick to budges and avoid spiralling costs but the fact is actors should be included within the original budget and not tacked on as some annoying unpaid extra! And i doubt your brother has worked for zero pounds so why expect anyone else to. I think you're being naive not only to the current trend of hiring people for nothing but also to the long term dertriment it causes our industry, we all hear about how standads are lowered; its because professonal talented actors can no longer make a living and any wannabe with connections can use their influence accordingly. We should question why the actors are the lowest common demnominator in a country where most people are tv addicted vegeables!

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 11
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    Im sorry, but obviously you didn't read it when i said IM NOT BEING BIASED. secondly my brother has nothing to do with this commercial, and thirdly my brother has been working his way up the evil ladder of the directing profession and yes he has done various jobs where HE HASN'T BEEN PAYED. Also i think you've got you knickers in a twist if your calling me naive for not hiring anyone, I am not and nor has my brother got anything to do with this commercial, he's NOT the director of it,(HE IS ONLY 1 OF MANY DIRECTORS WORKING FOR THE PRDUCTION COMPANY). I only put in a post trying to be a little bit nice and trying to say that i might be able to find out a bit more about the commercial for people who are thinking about doing it. I'm sorry if i hurt anyones feelings!!!

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 12
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    It's all very well saying you want Hard working actors.

    I'm a hard working actor myself, I never object to long hours etc and I do what needs to be done.

    But I've got bills to pay, I've got to eat etc.

    So surely I should be paid for my work. Nothing against anyone or any company in particular.

    • 1st Jun 2006
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    Actually I think it was very decent of Philly to try and find out a bit more about this commercial. Thanks Philly.

    The choice here is very simple. CCP is just a conduit for employers to offer work on whatever terms they see fit. Whether you take the work is up to you. If you absolutely don't believe in taking unpaid work, don't. But be aware that someone else with a different attitude probably will. It may make them nothing or it may make them a star. Who knows?

    Despite what the doom and gloom merchants constantly predict, none of this automatically presages the end of the acting world as we know it.

    • 1st Jun 2006
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  • Sally Beaumont

    Actor

    True, true.

    Thanks for jumping into the Lion's den, Philly, you're braver than I!

    I've applied for this casting (the paid version) so we shall see. It could all be a mistake (they happen), and I'm not particularly interested in attacking one company. I just thought it would be an excellent conversation...and there's obviously plenty of opinion out there.

    I might add that anyone who feels actors being unpaid/taken advantage of is a bad thing would be very welcome in Equity...;) plug plug.

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 15
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    But the question is, Sally, in reality what can Equity do to change this situation? True, it can negotiate the best possible terms in an ideal situation from a theoretical point of view, and by and large the more reputable employers are likely to abide by those terms. But at the end of the day you're talking about market forces; only a certain group of actors will benefit. By all means encourage actors to join Equity, but don't expect the union to solve this particular bug-bear - because it can't.

    Some of us are very successful, some of us tick over nicely, and some of us are so desperate we'll do anything. It's the latter group that will grab at any straw and nothing Equity can do will prevent this, or its impact on the profession as a whole, because in this case both employers and actors are acting (no pun intended) according to the law of the land.

    I don't believe that money's everything in this business, and I've done my share of unpaid work for -as I saw it - the right reasons. I'll continue to do so. That doesn't mean I think that actors should be unpaid as a matter of course, but, in the end, how, where and for how much we work are decisions which will always be made on a personal basis according to circumstances, whether the individual is a union member or not.

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 16
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    dear philly,

    just a small point but I'm interested in your interpretation of your comment:

    "Had a word with my bro and he said the reason they say no pay is because the competition out there is fierce. They want actors who are willing and hard working."

    is your brother, or indeed any of his associates, implying that actors who consider themselves as professional and, therefore, will not accept work for no pay aren't willing and hard working?

    surely not.

    have they tried that line with any of the camera, sound or editing people?

    just interested.

    all the best,

    cliff

    art for art's sake, money for god's sake.

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 17
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    OK let's clarify here - we are talking about a commercial being made for Sony - a multinational company with a turnover of billions of pounds. Sony - who own film companies, huge factories, and half the recorded music industry. And who come down like a ton of bricks on anyone who dares deny them *their* dues (e.g. by downloading music or films).

    So if Great Guns are setting their tender so low for producing an advert for Sony that they will not be able to pay the actors, then they are either very bad at business or need their heads read. And actors applying to do commercials for no fee produced for companies such as Sony, are well and truly being exploited.

    Actors do commercials (that can pay very well indeed) so they can then have the opportunity to do less well paid theatre, and be in some art. So what's going to subsidise the art, if we do commercials for nothing?

    As for KDuklin's comments about market forces - It's not a market at all, if no money is involved. And if some actors are so desperate for work they find the market is continually forcing them to work in commercials for nothing, then the market is saying it has more actors than it needs for the jobs available. And if these actors really can't get paid for their commercials they should listen to the market, and do something else.

    Besides, like technical staff, actors agents don't work for nothing - they live on commission. And if actors start doing commercials for no fee, it will not be long before there are a lot fewer agents.

    • 1st Jun 2006
    • 18
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    Sovay, I totally agree with everything you say (except to note that the market I'm talking about is the producer's one rather than the actor's). I think this particular offer is exploitative, no question. That won't stop people going for it, though, will it?

    • 1st Jun 2006
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