Trish and Harold's Weblog

News, information, and random thoughts from the busy lives of Trish Egan and Harold Phillips.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Back To Business: What Does It Mean To Be "Paid?"

The Back-To-Business Series: Index

Hey everyone. Me again! Before I get started on today's topic, I want to apologize for my spotty posting schedule of late. Simply put... things are getting busy here in Portland, and it's leaving me less time for sitting in the office and writing. In coming weeks I'll still strive to post a new Back-To-Business entry every Monday... but if I don't make it, you can bet I'm probably on set or prepping for my next project (there are OODLES coming up - I'm going to have a very busy August!) Be sure to put your email address in the box on the right-hand-side of this page, so emails you when a new post is added - or follow me on Twitter or Facebook. That's the best way to assure you're in-the-know when a new post pops up here.

So... as I've mentioned in previous posts, I'm going to be spending the next several entries talking about the resources we actors - and all businesses - need to manage so we can be successful and stay in business. Before we get into the specific areas represented in the "golden triangle," though, I want to speak to something that's important to all of us: getting paid.

Chances are if you're reading this, you consider yourself a professional. Professionals don't work for nothing; they expect compensation for what they do... that's one of the things that makes them "a professional."

Compensation, though, isn't "all about the money." Remember, as I've said so many times before, money is just a resource... and you've got other resources to manage in your acting career. A professional actor is no different than any other professional - s/he should never work for nothing... but that doesn't mean money is an actor's only concern when looking at the compensation offered for his or her work.

Now, I can already feel some of you starting to steam... bear with me. I'm not saying that actors shouldn't be paid money - hell, I like money! I like money a lot! I'm just saying that there are considerations beyond the money. Look, read all the way to the end before you pass judgement on what I'm saying - and then let me know what you think via email or twitter. I can take it (and besides, we have to put SOMETHING up on Wednesday :) )

Take another look at the "golden triangle" above... go ahead, scroll up. I'll wait.

No, really... I'll wait.

Still waiting...

Ok, you're back. The triangle represents the resources we actors use to conduct business, and as I said in my last post we need to find a way to balance those resources. There's more to "the business" than that, though - the real trick of any business is finding a way to build these resources while finding a way to balance them.

You probably understand this concept when it comes to your money... we all want to increase our money without spending too much in the process. That's called profit, right?

Well, the other resources in our triangle work the same way... we all need more time, right? Never enough hours in the day to get everything done... but we don't want to spend so much time trying to "get organized" that we end up late for that next appointment! We also don't want to gain the reputation that we don't have the time to devote to a project, or an important contact who might bring us money. We have to find a way to build more time into our lives, while still being open to those who want to pay us that money we're so worried about!

And speaking of "worrying about the money..." we also don't want to get the reputation that we're always after money... that the paycheck takes precedence over everything else! We want to spend our time working on things that mean something to us, right? That means being comfortable enough with our money that we can negotiate - but not come across as greedy or desperate about our rent!

So, what's all this got to do with the topic of today's article... gettin' paid? Like I said above, actors need a pool of all three resources in the "golden triangle" to do business... and they need to add to that pool with every project - the more you have of one resource, the easier it is to balance the others! How do you get more of these resources, though, to add to the pool?

You get them from being compensated for your work, of course. An actor should never work for nothing... but s/he should keep all three resources in mind when considering how he or she will be paid for that work.

Yes, money is important... will that project you're considering add to your reputation? Will you meet important contacts who will help you gain money down the line? Will and those industry contacts see you work in the finished product, and tell their contacts about you... thus saving you time down the road when you skip the audition and go straight to the producers?

How much time will the project take? Will it save you the time it takes to build solid material for a demo reel that can increase your reputation with those people I just mentioned who are looking to hire you? Is the money you'll be paid worth the time you're putting into the project? If you don't think your reputation will be increased by the project (because it's for a small audience, for instance... or because you're not allowed to use it on your reel) - is the money you're being offered worth it?

Above all else, caveat emptor folks... no one's going to look out for your business. No one's out to be sure you have all your resources covered. When considering what you're going to be paid for a project, remember that YOU'RE the one who runs your business... you're the one who's in charge of building it up to the next level. You're the one in charge of building - and balancing - those resources.

Let's get to work...


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