Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Crime Against Actors

Every weekday, producers and casting directors are looking for actors to fill roles in their projects, which happily results in me getting dozens and dozens of similar casting notices in my inbox each day:

NYCastings is just one of the sites I use to find auditions. Many of the roles on there are for paid positions, but more often than not, the work is unpaid. Which is fine. I've done LOTS of unpaid work for resume and reel building purposes.

And when the producer isn't paying the actors it's almost always for a good reason -- you're working for a fledgling off-off-broadway theatre company that couldn't keep its doors open if it paid its staff, or for a production company doing fundraising short films to raise money for a bigger, more exciting project.

This notice, however, is for "Mystery Diagnosis." A nationally syndicated tv show. On TLC. There is absolutely no reason why the TLC producers can't afford to pay their actors, and it is a crime to ask them to work for free just because you're cheap. Even a flat rate of a couple of hundred dollars a day, which is still pennies to a production company and isn't even much to pay someone who spent weeks of auditioning to land this one gig, would make this less insulting.

To my fellow actors, doesn't this just make your blood boil? Please let's respect ourselves enough to not work for free for producers who can afford to pay us. The only way production companies get away with doing something like this is because they WILL find actors who are willing to work for free, even when it's unfair.



  1. I'm not an actor and I totally think that's crap! Tell TLC to take a mill of off Kate Gosselin's price tag and pay their real actors and extras!

  2. If I see "unpaid", I move on. Screw that noise. Not worth the time or energy. I'll only do unpaid if it's my own project or a friend's that I think is worth it. But this is insane BS. Come on TLC...

  3. Sad how they take advantage of the Non-Union status. TLC Fail.

  4. That's horrible! That really shouldn't exist. Good for you for pointing it out!

  5. I understand unpaid work is good for many - as you said, for resume building or for the good of the work. But for TLC not to pay their actors?! Ridiculous.

  6. It does make my blood boil. Years ago my first national gig was for The Travel Channel. I was picked to be in a focus group that they would be following while going on a new ride at Disney. The ride hadn't even opened yet (Mission: Space). I wasn't just going to be a "crowd" member, they were actually following me through the whole ride process, waiting in line, in the pre-boarding room, on the ride, and an interview afterwards. We had to shoot overnight seeing as they didn't want to do it when the park was open. They gave us a little food (snacks) in a trailer before we started and nothing else. We filmed from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. I didn't get copy, credit, or pay... just those few snacks and a thank you.