Pay Rates for Actors

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    • #49002
      Luis Maymi LopezLuis Maymi Lopez

      Hello Videomaker Community

      Found this interesting article “Pay Rates for Actors”. Talks about the minimum rates an actor should expects. Like the article mentions, check your local Screen Actors Guild before entering an agreement with someone.

    • #200849

      wait a minute.. we have to pay actors? I thought it was like shooting Arctic wolves or birds… you throw some scraps or birdseed around, then wait till they show up and start filming…. who knew?


      seriously, if you think our business is competitive… thiers is worse…. thanx for the article, wil read very carefully…

    • #200850


      Those rules are based off of SAG’s setup. If you’re not using SAG or other Union talent, the rules are much more flexible. When using Unionized talent, you need to get one of the agreements setup as mentioned in the article. Just be advised there will be a bunch of stipulations regarding SAG being able to take control of your project if you deviate from their rules and the expectations of compensation.

      When using non-union talent, obviously you want to take into account your budget but one thing has to be clear; nobody gets paid more than the person putting up the majority of the money and resources on the project. That means if you are wearing 3 or more hats that include; exec producer, director, etc. no one on the project should be getting more than you do. Now with that in mind, you take the base pay rates from the SAG listing and break it down per hour and adjust it to your budget.

      Remember, the biggest expenses that come with talent are; compensation, housing and meals. For the larger outfits, Per Diem plus Lodging are paid out in cash disbursements during the production. More than likely you won’t have the budget for that. However, if you are providing suitable housing (suitable is a very flexible term) and meals, then you can get around paying Per Diem and such.

      Lastly, even though you’re not paying non-union actors the same wages as required by SAG, you don’t want to fall too far below standard state wages for similar gigs in your state. Make sure that whether there is pay or no pay, you have everything laid out in a Plain English Contract / Agreement laying out what the compensation will be in any form and the schedule for when it should be expected. And stick to it! You’ll be surprised at how many actors will be willing to work with you again long as they know they’ll get a square deal from you. When you are in a position to have a larger budget, then you can pay more.

    • #200851
      Luis Maymi LopezLuis Maymi Lopez


      Excellent advice, really appreciated. I learn (from hard experience) that everything should be done with a signed contract/agreement to avoid any mayor problems with people.


      Funny, you are not too far from the truth, actors are treated like crap. They have to look for “scraps or birdseed” that successful producers or directors just happen to drop and they really need to work twice as hard. Actors experience so many frustrations in their life that it makes their business one of the worst and most brutal in the motion pictures world. I experience what is like going to an audition (I took acting classes) and that sucks. There are so many people doing their best with the hopes they will become the next star. Honestly I prefer being a video editor or a director of photography, but a career as an actor, forget about it.

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