How to make sure that you are paid at least National Minimum Wage
I see so many castings for jobs that are under minimum wage and even unpaid, I try to avoid being on those casting sites that offer those companies to publish unpaid/low paid jobs, as actors we have to pay for those sites yet they offer no paying jobs. I actually find it quite disrespectful to us actors.
Even Spotlight are doing it at the moment which is highly frustrating as every working professional actor needs to be on spotlight and its not a cheap site to be on.
The best thing to do when you see these breakdowns is to not take the job or even apply if the job doesn't meet the national minimum wage bracket. (National minimum wage is lower than Equity minimum)
Most of the time, if you apply for the casting and they call you in, then you get offered the job, they will source the money from somewhere, if they don't, they are the ones missing out, not you.
If you are just starting out and want to gain experience, look into University projects, every University across the UK now offers a budget to pay for professional actors. So, if you get a few Uni students trying to pull the fast one, know the Law, they have a budget for professional actors, they are just deciding to use that money to pay for something else.. make sure you tell them you know that every Uni has a set budget for the use of professionals.
However, sometimes there are those rare roles and productions which are not offering enough that you just feel would benefit your career and experience. If this is the case, you still need to know your worth and know that in any other industry in the UK it is illegal to work for less than minimum wage and unpaid. In this industry, production companies and directors word it as 'Collaborative' or pay cash in hand (no invoices required) to avoid being illegal.
Ask the person who offers you the role if the crew are being paid.. I will guarantee the DOP will be getting paid!
Always invoice, so that it goes on your books, and there's. Its also helps at the end of the tax year so you can calculate your self assessment tax return.
You need to know your worth and know the worth of other actors, Equity are fighting a battle that will be lost if actors don't unite together and refuse underpaid jobs. You are providing a service, a service which you have trained for years to improve and continue to improve, a service that needs to be respected.
When you get offered the job, great, well done, but make sure you say that you do not work for less than the minimum wage as you are a professional working actor. Or if you have an agent, pass on your agents contact details and let them deal with the finances. Trust me, any decent agent wont accept a non/low paying job for their clients, they know that If the director/producer really wants you and wants their project to be good, they will find the money to pay you- Trust me.
If they don't, ask yourself, do you want to be involved in a project which doesn't respect its actors? Which gets actors involved who don't believe they are worth minimum wage?
Let them get in those 'actors' who are willing to work for next to nothing, pat yourself on the back for saying no and moving onto the next job.. these projects are really not worth your time and effort.
The only way to stop this from happening and to stop companies exploiting actors is to not do the jobs.
Best of luck!