'Hell no! We want ....what?!'
My friends know that I have always joked about walking past a protest group and being so caught up by the spirit, that one joins in without knowing what it is that is being called for.
So one would have to start shouting the title of this post.
This post is a follow up to my original post 'Don't put your daughters up for commercials in Cape Town, Mrs Worthington' which can be viewed at this link http://lawrencehilton.com/1/post/2012/06/dont-put-your-daughters-up-for-commercials-in-cape-town-mrs-worthington.html
On the facebook South African Guild of Actors page I wrote, 'I just thought it might be productive to start a thread of short comments on South African Guild of actors listing what it is - the nitty-gritty of what it is that SA actors want - in any list of guidelines that may be being drawn up. These could possibly be submitted to SAGA leaders for suggested inclusion in any negotiations.'
For me imaginary clause 17 below is the most pertinent to the source of my discomfort that I expressed in my article about attending auditions for commercials in Cape Town, and the misgivings I had.
So if you are pressed for time just read suggested clause 17 below.
That is what really used to freak me out! Its where any rip-off that might be happening, might be happening!
Currently working between SA and London
I am currently basing out of London but work between SA and UK and I take a great interest in these affairs.
On my return I will take up membership of SAGA, but in the meantime as a 'friend' of SAGA offer these that perhaps a member could put forward to the board for discussion and in the spirit of constructive improvement.
It does in the end boil down to a new set of guidelines being adopted by all the interested parties.
Just like one of Associations of producers offer on their websites to crew but perhaps not to actors
How or why any producer association would wish to resist a better fairer contract for actors with added clauses such as those suggested below and those that would be finalized, is beyond me - even to be implemented at this stage as a gentleman or gentlewoman's agreement.
Some may mean a little more forward time in ensuring that all aspects of the contract are discussed, negotiated and all signed. But that would be just good and proper management.
Producers Associations - Where are the guidelines for actors conditions? They have them for crew!
The fact that there are guidelines for crew on the CPSA (Commercial Producers Association of South African site) but not similar for actors is also beyond me.
I cannot see any on the site, but I do see guideline for crews. They may be there but I cannot find them.
Why if they are not there, is this so? Is this just an omission on their site?
Is it an oversight or the fact that this needs to pointed out, so that similar respect, courtesy and protection can be afforded to actors, as that shown to the great technical crews of SA by the CPSA.
But I have had some really unpleasant experiences as well where I have felt exploited. The current domino effect of a lack of respect for those lower down the production feeding chain, as demonstrated in the deals offered to actors and dancers, needs to be adjusted through proper adopted guidelines and excellent business practice and ethics!
And so on facebook I wrote 'I'll kick it off' and listed these suggestions. If I get a chance I will come back to this and expand the logic on some of these suggestions but in the meantime......
Daily rate portion of fees for commercial appearances to be invoiced for immediately, on confirmation of booking and paid with 30 days to actor
Invoicing for exposure rate portion of fees as opposed to daily rates to occur no later than the end of month in which commercial was shot (not current 90 days) and paid within 30 days of that.
Should any adjustments be needed as a result of anything see points 13 and 14 below - processing should continue with any reduction or increase being taken into account but only within guidelines as suggested in point 13 below
2. Contracts to always be signed by all parties prior to shoot day.
3. Full disclosure of scope of work and breadth of global exposure of campaign prior to signing of contract. Penalties in place should these be breached.
4.1 Whether commercial is being rolled out for another year
4.2 Where it is being rolled out or whether it no longer is being flighted.
4.3 Penalties and all fees owed should this ever be proved to be an untrue response
Note: One quick thought - these international commercial budgets are huge especially if one includes the amount it costs to buy the airtime in UK and US - we are talking millions - so as outrageous as it may sound - that actors may have a say in future positioning or their continued participation in a commercial in the future - well it would be a minute percentage of what is being spent on flighting it, a small percentage of what it would cost to produce a new commercial without them - so if full rates have not been paid and they want to bundle into a buyout - well that should be limited to the first year only.
Buyouts to never reflect less than 75% of total percentages of exposure rates that would normally be allocated for different media usage of image or performance - as far as print, point of sale, in-house, cinema and online exposure is concerned
Should an actor being optioned - a holding and cancellation fee would become due. Should the option to use the performer not be taken up - payment along similar lines to what is offered to crew by the CPSA
6A. Weather days, postponement or cancellation of shoots will be dealt with along similar lines as that offered to crew as per CPSA guidelines
Wardrobe and fitting days to be charged at a fixed agreed rate
8. Where actors are asked to bring their own clothes to shoots - they will be reimbursed at a set daily rate for dry cleaning as per guidelines CPSA unless negotiated with artiste
9 Transport and travel
Transport costs, unless provided and/or petrol costs to and from shoots and fitting days will be reimbursed along similar lines as to that afforded to crew guidelines on CPSA website
Actors should be able to state up front, 'Look this is my minimum daily rate.'
Although the casting agent may give a guideline as to how much producers are considering paying for the role, suitable actors that match the role description will be auditioned and video of audition will be shown to client or director - in spite of the fact that the actor's in question suggested daily rate is above that suggested.
This idea seem to be unfathomable to some on the other side of the table, but it would make sense as the full scope of the work or exposure has not always been clarified prior to audition. Actors are forced to sign acceptance at the audition before even knowing whats up! Sure the actor may lose jobs to those who will accept lower, but at least let them be seen by international directors who may decide that they want 'that one' so much they will low and behold 'negotiate' with the actor's agent. Where has that role or critical piece of this puzzle gone.
Why can actors never seem to get their agents to negotiate. Its all 'take it or leave!'
This minimum rate would be stated by agents upfront - not after the fact! When I suggested this, often some would counter we couldn't state it after the fact of the audition or negotiate after audition.
I agree one's minimum fee would be stated upfront! But how can it be that one can not negotiate. Give a little, take a little and negotiate until all parties are happy! That is not a new concept I am introducing! :)
Were the performer to be successful or interest shown, fees would then be negotiated once full disclosure of scope and exposure of work; and of course the inevitable vague buy-out packages offered to agent by client's producers are fully explained and notes and signed.
Any buy-outs should be fully described in writing with the percentage discounts that are being demanded.
More on this in the Clause 17 below
I am going to start looking into international fee guidelines as well that can be used as a guide - NAMA has some from 2007.
And my only beef with these was the fact that models earned more that 'characters' i.e.actors. The rates should of course adjustments for inflation. But they had exposure rates for different media on the NAMA document. I have it stored digitally somewhere so will look for it
Should an actor be cast in a role as lead, featured extra or non-featured extra and once commercial edited the roles importance is downgraded - no reduction of daily rate no more than 75% (?) reduction in exposure rates that were initially agreed to
14 Should an actor be cast as an extra or featured extra initially, but at the shoot find that their role has been underestimated - they will be paid at the upgraded rate that would normally apply to such levels of appearance- These levels of performance exposure to be clearly stated in guideline as per NAMA's suggested for models
There shall be no difference in the rates paid for models from model agencies or actors from acting agencies when cast in similar roles
Just have to include pic of Ru Paul who I think is so great! Actor, drag and model!
All actors to be addressed as Mr or Mrs or Ms by directors unless permission to use first name has been given and thy thou and thee to be used in any direction - as in 'it would please me if thou could find thy light!'
Okay just checking if anyone is reading this :)
I call it 'the lala clause' as it would make me sing to see it in place.
Others may call it the same to describe the land they thought I was living in!
Any discounts that actors have to offer, as far as being paid reduced rates which is what a 'buy out' is - must be shown to be and guaranteed to be passed on all the way though the production chain to end client!
We have all heard our agents mentioned the fact that the rate is a 'buy out' rate. In my previous article on this I call it a 'sell-out!' In the world of commercials, actors are supposed to be paid fixed percentages of their exposure rate.
By way of example - You shoot a commercial for a pharmaceutical company for an anti-depressant. Okay you are offered a daily rate of say R 1000 per day and then an exposure rate again of say R 1000 per day.
Now if the commercial is broadcast in the US then according to exposure rates which I do not have on hand ( who does?) so will guess - So for now if your commercial goes out in the US you would get say 1000% of your exposure rate per year. Basically 10 times your R 1000 exposure fee.
If it also goes out in the UK then it should be say an additional 400% (4 times your exposure rate)
So, so far one would be looking at in this example - a fee of 1000% (10 times) for the US plus the UK (4 times) giving a total of 1400% or 14 times your exposure rate which would be in this case R 14 000.
On top of this - if client wants to use the commercial in cinemas there is an additional percentage you should be paid for this. And for a print campaign using your image, or for an online viral campaign on the web and so on.
So if it is all added together it could say come to R 40 000 (this is just an example) but suddenly the actor is told that its a buy out rate on offer - where all the above rate guidelines are ignored and you will only receive R 12 000; and client can do what they want with it, wherever they want with it; and often for however long they want.
Okay then along the chain from casting agent, then local production house in SA, then the international production house through to the advertising agency and finally to client - everyone adds a standard mark-up profit percentage which say is 10%. Thats fine, its the way business works. But this mark-up should be limited and described as far as actors fees goes.
My point is - it should be guaranteed that the 'buy out' (heavily discounted) rate that the actors are expected to accept & currently without any negotiation, is not suddenly re-inflated (over an above standard mark-up percentage mentioned in previous paragraph) along the chain of production to the proper and full rates that the actor should have received according to the rate cards.
Whilst understanding the need for confidentiality of budgets, artiste management should be given a fair indication of mark-up percentages on their artiste fees along the chain from local representative producers through to both local and international ad agencies and end client, so as to ensure that both end client and actor AND local producers are treated fairly and in the spirit of business.
I know it needs more thought - SA producers need to remain competitive - however this cannot only just be at the actor's fees expense - ALL parties involved must be offering discounts then along the feeding chain - there needs to be some cut off level of whatever percentage to which buy-outs for various media usage and exposure and exclusivity options can be reduced to - it may 50% of what would normally be paid for say print etc.
Also built into buy out rates are the additional percentages due to actors in exclusivity rates (actors should get paid more if client wants to restrict you from appearing in any ad for a competitor) these would also have increased your fee.
I feel buyouts should also only be agreed to for a period of one year and renegotiated each year. And discounts requested in buy-outs should be clearly itemized in the contract so as to allow any future negotiations that may need to occur to happen.
A hugely successful campaign may take off yet the actor may no longer wish to be associated with it, especially at the first years discounted buyout rate when it is rolled over for another year. See the note again on point 4 above where I expand on this
While I was in CT I would not have minded accepting clearly laid out and limited to one year buy-outs discounted rates.
What frustrated me was the feeling or wondering if that somewhere along the line from agents, casting agents, local producers through to ad agencies and end client - that someone might still being paid the full and proper rates that would normally come to the actor.
In other words, perhaps someone else was pocketing it along the way. Fair production profit margins sure, but not that someone starts charging the full rates actors should have got in the first place!
I am not saying this occurred but who knows? That's why clause 17, the Lala clause is so pertinent to me.
It made me feel exploited to think that I may be being ripped off somewhere along the chain.
Don't force the actor to accept buy-out discounted rates without guaranteeing that these discounts are being passed all the way along....
Again I must emphasize that I have been lucky to work with many brilliant producers, agents and ad agencies as well.
I really don't think they should have a problem with a fair deal for actors, crew, producers and clients. Like fair's fair!
See La's Olympic Dreams http://lawrencehilton.com/1/category/las%20olympic%20dreams20ce1c2086/1.html
script © 2012 Lawrence Hilton
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