Deferred Payment

  • Bronwyn Stallcup

    Production Assistant

    Has anyone else been seeing a lot of projects offering "deferred payment"? What are your thoughts on this growing subject?

    • 10th Jul 2020
    • 1453
    • 10
  • William Todesco


    Personally, I'm hesitant to take jobs who advertise deferred payment, but that may just be because I'm new to the industry and worried employers may try to rip me off due to my lack of experience. However, lack of experience isn't the same as common sense; I would prefer to get that deferred payment in writing., otherwise, I'd be wary.

    • 11th Oct 2019
    • 1
  • Toni Brooks


    Deferred payment usually means, in reality, unpaid. Any excuse can be made to defer payment indefinitely.

    • 11th Oct 2019
    • 2
  • Lauran Childs


    Deferred payment is usually a waste of time. It means IF the project gets financed and/or made, you paid.

    Many creative projects don’t make money and who can live on nothing - or even deferred payment? You can’t defer your bills.

    I’m a ghostwriter as well as screenwriter, and I’ve long been annoyed by people raving about their ideas and wanting me to work on them basically for free - they offer differed payment “When it’s a hit.”. Which is usually never.

    So now I charge a consultation fee to even listen to someone’s ideas.

    • 26th Nov 2019
    • 3
  • George Charles


    I am a filmmaker who has used deferred payment, and I've always been very up front to the people who worked for me. This is TRUE on almost all deferred payment positions: You probably won't get paid. But, if the movie is a success you'll make some money. But, the chance of the movie making anything is slim to none. That's true even with large features. But, micro-budget and DIY filmmakers it's almost impossible.

    I continue with "BUT, I can guarantee you'll enjoy your experience, gain knowledge and experience, and it'll be a project you'll be happy to add to your reel and resume". That's the difference between myself and many others.

    There are a lot of free opportunities. But, what is the process going to be like? Will the project actually get completed? Will they give you credit, and a copy for your reel? Will the acting be worthy of a reel? If you worked for me, it certainly would.

    If you're going to work for deferred payment, do a little research on the names that are offering the work. If they've done anything, it's probably online already. If it looks like garbage and it's not worth your while, don't accept. If it looks interesting and you can afford not to get paid. Any experience looks good on a resume. Because real companies want you to have experience. It's called paying your dues.

    Last thing: It's important to make sure that they'll pay transportation and food. If they want you to get yourself there, and not feed you. RUN in the other direction. Never lay out a cent UNLESS you've read the script and think it's the next Gone With The Wind.

    • 30th Nov 2019
    • 4
  • Jabari Clarke-Pennegan

    Director (Self Shooting)

    Deferred payment has been around for decades, it's suppose to mean that the project is intended to be sold and once it's sold you'll be paid out of the funds from that sale, however... if the production value of the project is low it's likely that it will never be sold. If you're just starting out it's ok because you may need the experience, footage for your reel and so on, make sure that is agreed upon with the filmmakers, but once you've got experience and you feel your time and talent are worth something, avoid deferred payment jobs. Honestly if filmmakers are smart, they will find a space where they can screen their film or project, charge a $10 or within reason cover, promote, promote, promote! with a trailer, poster or clips, get as many people to show up as you can, and then pay your actors/crew from that money.

    • 11th Dec 2019
    • 5
  • Pete Polyakov

    Visual Effects Artist

    Deferred payment means you will never get paid for it (close to the lottery probability).

    Don't do it.

    Unless... you're in love (underline: movie/director/producer/lead actor), and just wanna do it. Then do it. Feelings are more important than money.

    My point is very simple. Professionals - do - have - money. I work in Hollywood about 17 years and the story is always the same. If you have a good story, not a big deal to pull some money for it with the pipeline from pre-production to distribution. If you can't pull the money for your "good" movie, means you're lying yourself somewhere.

    So you meet two types of people.

    First type lying to you, because they know this is not going to go anywhere or go somewhere where the profit would be almost none and your % would be a dollar.

    Second, they're lying themselves and have no idea how they would distribute they "movie". Also, these movies look like shit in 99% and get usually "DeliGrocery" lol.

    On top of that. You, as a Production Assistant will not get anything from any success on the festivals. Only directors/producers and top 1-2 actors get some recognition.

    So, stay away from idiots who call themselves "Award Winning" (always vomit on them when I hear it) directors, and deferred payments and let the force be with you!

    • 27th Feb 2020
    • 6
  • Chuba Obi

    Director of Photography

    Folks, deferred payment is the ONLY feasible way most of us will transform from dreamers to actualists. Only 0.0000001% of very talented hard thriving people will be swept up by big sponsors and employed for life in the industry. The rest of us will have to INVEST in the business beyond training. That means we have to collaborate and get projects done from development to MONETISATION. That in turn means you give your time , talent, equipment etc where ever that is necessary in the entire life cycle. By life cycle, I mean from development to monetisation.

    If you take part in a low budget movie where your role requires you for say ten days, at £100 a day, that's £700. How many people will pay just £1.99 to stream the film on Amazon or iTunes etc, on account of your name and face? The producers need 350 people just to cover your pay. Do you have such following?, and what is the evidence of it? So why should an investor stake their money on you with all the alternative money making ventures they know? Why don't you gamble that £700 investment on your own career, whilst you do something else to pay the bills, and hope, like you expect someone else to do, that the business will make it and your £700 will multiply to £7,000, 0r 70,000, or more.

    Folks do you realise that even the biggest Hollywood stars do exactly what I've just described more often that you think? When you see five 'A' list stars in one film, who do think pays them? No body! They are in collaboration, hoping to make money from sales because investors don't always want to pay their high fees, even with their 'A' list guarantees.

    The experienced people will tell you to always get an agreement in writing be it deferred terms or daily cash payment. Make sure you understand it before you accept it. That way, you will know from start that you may get zero to any sum you dream of from the project. That way, at worse you will be disappointed the project didn't succeed financially, but not feel you were deceived or cheated. I.e. you will know before you sign up that you are investing in a business like a share holder and the value in the end could be zero to the millions you hope for.

    That's the reality folks. If you want to collaborate, get in touch and let's talk business.

    Hope this helps.

    • 2nd Jun 2020
    • 7
  • Marc Bentel

    Sound Editor

    Hi guys! I am new here, and I just noticed this too, I guess as my composer gig I can live without payment essentially and hopefully get something from usage or mechanical later?.. or does deferred payment cancel that too ? I mean essentially if its released as Movie online or anything I should get something right?

    • 10th Jul 2020
    • 8
  • Pete Polyakov

    Visual Effects Artist

    #8 my brother Marc, if the production has no money they never will in 99.998%.

    So, if you have free time to donate it to someone by all means. If not, say no thanks and do something for your own projects.

    If you want just a credit (which is going to be) In my opinion, the best way to do it, make Free for Commercial Use soundtracks like Kevin MacLeod.

    what he does, he drops some of his soundtracks for free to the public and... this madness

    all sort of films, over 3300 credits :)

    So, if you want credits do it his way. Actually, it brings him money as well.

    Deferred payments "producers" are thieves and you don't waste you time.

    • 10th Jul 2020
    • 9
  • Marc Bentel

    Sound Editor

    Hi Pete!

    Thanks for the data, will check it out , Appreciated.


    • 10th Jul 2020
    • 10