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ACTRA

Tools of the Trade

By | Blog Posts

All tradesmen and tradeswomen carry a toolbox. Your trade will determine the type of tools required.  A mechanic, for instance, will require wrenches and sockets; an electrician requires marettes and non-conductive hand tools. While as an Actor, you may use a less physical type of tool, your online tools and presence are just as vital to your career.

Your actors’ toolbox should allow you to have crucial bits of information readily at yours or your agent’s disposal. These are just guidelines! Discuss with your agent what they require of you, or go one step further and dig through your welcome packages and past correspondence to see what they have already requested.

Actors Access Profile – www.actorsaccess.com Some MAJOR key points, make sure to link your representation to your profile, or all your work will be for naught. Choose one of your photos and set it to ‘default’, otherwise it may not show on your profile. Complete all aspects of your Profile, Resume, Slate Shot, Size Card, and any other media if you have it.

Casting Workbook Profile – www.castingworkbook.com follow the same guidelines as Actors Access. The difference with this site, is how you update your resume. Casting Workbook requires a pdf version of your resume whereas Actors Access builds it for you.

Professional Headshots – Your business calling card if you will. Anyone can take a picture, it takes an industry professional to make a 420p thumbnail a work of art. Choosing your photographer and by extension the photos rendered could make or break your attractiveness to casting.

The following are pieces of information that your Agent needs to have on hand. Make sure you have everything updated!

SIN – It allows you to work legally in Canada. Don’t have one?! APPLY ASAP. Children included! Everyone who works in Canada is required to have a Social Insurance Number. Why does your agent need it? They are the one who set up everything between you and Production; make sure they have everything they need so that there are no last minute mistakes. Production waits for no one, you could even be passed over for a project if you do not have one readily available.

Valid Mailing Address- Production will take months to re-issue lost cheques if the mailing addresses are not correct. Your Agent will forward your cheques to you if they are payable to you direct. Your information MUST be up to date.

Passport – For most of the same reasoning you need your SIN, and you wouldn’t want to miss an opportunity because you didn’t have the foresight to apply before you needed it. There are lots of gigs that fly you to other countries to shoot.

CAVCO –  Canadian Audio-Visual Certification Office Personnel Number. It is a federal tax credit program the CRA. It is free to apply, click here. This is becoming a requirement for most Canadian Content productions, as it circumnavigates a lot of red tape for production.

It is crucial for parents of actors to update their children’s sizes consistently. Agents do not know your children’s sizes as they change and they cannot have their time wasted with incorrect submissions.The quality of your tools will directly impact your ability to even secure an audition. Make sure all your profiles are complete and up to date. Check them regularly, and add to them just as often!

MONEY MONEY MONEY

By | Blog Posts

Money makes the world go round, it doesn’t grow on trees, and it cannot buy happiness. Money can, however, buy coffee and biscotti, which is just about the same thing!

 
All joking aside, we all want to be compensated for our hardwork and effort. Sooner, rather than later! When it comes to being paid in the acting industry, the speed of which your cheque is received depends mainly on the project and the production company​.
 
 
Union projects are paid out according to union rules. SAG-AFTRA and ACTRA each have their own union specific policies. You can check out the links provided for their up to date information! Union cheques arrive quickly, usually within 3 weeks.​
 
 
Non-Union projects are really at the mercy of production. ​The law in Canada for payment of services is 90 days.​ ​Non union productions take their time, an Agency will submit the invoice the day after you shoot and then wait.​ There are a few production houses that are amazingly swift and on top of all accounts payable that pay out within 30 days. This is unfortunately not the norm. Some sage words of advice? Anticipate the worst but hope for the best. 30 day payout is a welcomed surprise, 90 days is the expectation.
 
 
​When it comes to buyouts it can be very very frustrating in the non-union world. A buyout is only paid to the actors that survive the final edit.​ So when you see a session rate and buyout listed on a breakdown, it doesn’t mean you will necessarily make the buyout amounts. An Agency has to wait for production to inform us on who made the edit and who’s buyout invoices they need. There are times when the campaign has started airing and they have still not requested the invoice for the buyout. There are few production companies that are very very slow moving to pay out buyouts. Buyouts are usually large sums of money and its hard for the actors not to assume it is their agency that is delaying payment. This is simply not the case, when the cheque arrives, you are notified, end of story.
 
 
While neither you, nor your Agent can control when your payment is issued, you can help the process by providing your information and having all necessary applications/contracts/paperwork done ahead of time or at least in a timely manner. General information to have on hand , and ideally already submitted to your agent:
 
 
Your email address 
Your Phone # (house & cell)
Your address – mailing and physical if applicable
Your SIN
 
Make sure all of your information is up to date, and let your agent know as soon as there are any changes.