Shop Talk Actors : Casting


Hello! I'm an aspiring screenwriter!

I have a question for professional actors:

What has been your experience with payment for VERY SUPER DEE DUPER small projects? As a result of my father's death, I will be inheriting some money. I'd like to use some of it to move my dream along. I plan to create two, maybe three short films and post them to a Youtube channel (yet to be created).

I am a firm believer in paying artists for their (our) work. I'm a freelance writer and I generally don't work for publications that don't pay (or, depending on the work I'm doing, don't pay enough). However, I will have very limited funds. Not trying to squander all the money first of all.

I know lots of folks turn to Kickstarter, Go Fund Me, etc. to raise money for their art. What has been your experience? Have you ever worked for little to no money? If so, what was the situation? Was it for a friend? A project you believed in? How would you suggest I go about casting in a way that honors actors' time, talent, and effort? And what is your standard? As in, every once in a blue moon you'll agree to less (or nothing) but generally your minimum is X?


Two words: Jeff Goldblum

Re: Casting

I've only ever lived in fairly small acting communities where paying jobs are few and far between. I have worked on many theatre and student film productions for no pay, which I'm fine with. One of the other theatre groups I worked with was a travelling one, so I was given free transportation, free meals, and paid anywhere from $50 - $100 for the actual performance. The most I've ever been paid for a small production was $500 per day I was on set.

Chances are you'll be working with actors who are quite eager to work and are just doing it for the love of it. Getting paid would certainly be nice, but it's typically not expected when the project is as small as what you're describing.

Why don't you take a pill, bake a cake, go read the encyclopaedia.'

Re: Casting

Anywhere between $60-$150 per day would be a fair wage on a really small project. Expenses would be on you as well. A word from experience: don't skip on the cinematographer.

Re: Casting

Here's a link to the Ultra Low Budget Agreement for theatrical films (SAG-AFTRA). I do not do anything but write and act, therefore I am not familiar with laws or production, but if nothing else, this could be a guide and possible help you figure out where/what/how to research more information. Good luck.

PS: as someone who has seen "coming into a little money" over the years and an old mom, LOL, I'd like to advise you to NOT put the money into a small budgeted film when you can raise small amounts; use your money to earn more money in a way that has a little more chance of recouping your investment AND give you a profit or continued earnings.