Less than one percent of SAG members make 99 percent of the real money from acting. Truth is, a working actor will have to work a real day job at some point before, during and after the “acting gig”.
If you live outside of the big production markets on the coasts, becoming a SAG member can hurt your career and your standard of living. Once you go SAG, you have to work in SAG (union) productions. Is the city where you live, going to provide enough “union” work to make this lifestyle feasible?
If you can get work in industrial videos, commercials, voice over and so forth, you may be able to make a decent living, but do not expect to live the life of luxury just being an actor. Also, those doing indie films and short films heed this advice: If you think such a project is going to pay all of your bills and make your life a Hollywood fantasy, wake the fuck up.
It just doesn’t happen.
I constantly work with newbies who think that starring in a low-budget film is their ticket to a new life, all within a few months of appearing in a film. Most indie films never make one cent of profit. And since most indie films can only be made with reduced wages, back end payment, deferred payment or even no payment, you have to realize this is not the key to becoming wealthy in most cases.
Now let’s say the little “film that could”, is a big indie hit. It’s successful beyond everyone’s imaginations, and your deferred payment gets paid. You and the producer part ways, and everyone’s happy.
Great. Now what? You gonna’ live off that money for life? Really?
But how about this scenario:
The film makes no money. In fact, it loses money.
Now, how are you going to afford that Lamborghini and beach front condo? And how the hell do you expect me to pay you, let alone recoup the thousands of dollars I spent making the damn film!? Furthermore, with no credits and little experience, what entitles you to becoming an overnight success and/or a millionaire?
There are thousands of stories of actors who had major careers, then ended up broke. This was due to bad spending habits, drug problems, or trusting their finances to unscrupulous “money men”. I cannot stress this enough, but if you want to make it in this business, have a freaking back up plan! Do not think you have “made it” after the cameras stop rolling. Plan for the “after life” of film. If you really want to survive in this business, instead of showing your pretty face on screen all the damn time, how about learning some of the jobs that make a difference?
Most actors never achieve real success until they produce,
direct and manage their own films.
Supporting your friends and their films is one key to reaching your goal, but in helping out, you have to have a clear plan for where you want to go in the film biz. No producer owes you success or a big check–unless they owe you that money based on your contract and the film profiting.
So THE FILM you are in, MAKES NO PROFIT.
Get MAD at the producer because he can’t pay you money he doesn’t have? Or have you already made a plan to take care of YOUR OWN BUSINESS with or without the film succeeding? Most legit film producers have every intention of making sure they keep their word, and honor their contract.
HE CANNOT GUARANTEE success for the film or YOU!
And, no Producer owes you a career.
They have enough on their plate as it is.
I remember an actor who had the gall to get pissed at me because I wouldn’t give him a free copy of the finished film, something rarely done even by Hollywood producers. He further stated that “I promised the film would be released worldwide and make him famous.” Hmmmmm. Really?
Just weeks earlier, he had written a “heartfelt” thank you note, telling me how grateful he was, and that he’d work for me until the day he died. Uh huh. Sure Bob.
The actor, in his deluded nightmare, confused himself. What I told him and the cast was that our film distributor at the time (2004) said he was “Working on getting the film released”, and expected a signed contract soon. PERIOD.
That was the extent of my commentary, and yet Bob mutated that very concise, practical bit of info into my “promise” of stardom and riches!
In fact we later found out my “former” distributor refused to sign that contract, because his cut wasn’t big enough. Of course, Bob said I was to blame for the malfeasance of our FORMER distributor.
Nice call Bob, but you are out of your tiny little mind.
I now repeatedly tell anyone who works with me to expect nothing, and hope for the best. You have to be real to make it in this game. Otherwise, keep your delusions and your anger at home–where it belongs.
That means you, Bob.
Be practical and stop daydreaming. The fantasy of this business is TRUMPED by BUSINESS.
And by the way, don’t quit your day job until you have a big check in hand, and the mansion is paid for.