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principal agent

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.

An Agent’s Purpose

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An Agent’s entire job is to get you an audition; to run an efficient and effective business where their entire roster is accountable and reliable. When a casting house calls or emails, they know without a shadow of a doubt that (barring hospitalization and already being booked for another project) the talent they want to see will be unequivocally available. This business never stops or even takes pause for sleep. 

Lets break down the purpose and directive of an agent; their sole purpose is to promote their signed talents. An agent is a full time, 16-20 hours a day communicating machine. Your agent is in constant communication with casting houses, production teams and directors. 

They already have the relationships built, they know the nuances, and they have committed themselves to being your biggest cheerleader. They only get paid when you do. The more you get paid, the more they get paid. Everything they tell you is to help push you in the right direction for your career. This is a well oiled machine! Don’t reinvent the wheel! And at the risk of adding in one too many tacky cliches, They know what they’re talking about! They would NEVER steer you in the wrong direction, their job and livelihood literally depend on it.

The risk isn’t ‘will your agent work for you’, the risk is, ‘will you work for your agent’? Once your goals align with each other, the sky’s the limit! Aligning your goals may take some time, but here are some surefire ways to help the process:

  • Be Punctual; with emails, confirming auditions, and attending meetings/auditions 
  • Always email. Phone lines are lighting up at all hours of the day and night, and are  reserved for casting/production/directors   
  • Read EVERY line of an email twice before emailing questions. The answer is 9/10 right in the correspondence 
  • Time change requests – Your agent doesn’t set these times, so no, they can’t change them 
  • Schedule yourself as though this were your job (it kind of is, right?) Write down (and have it easily accessible) all your Confirmed shoot dates, Outside dates if you are booked, but no dates have been confirmed and Auditions 
  • Do Not confirm conflicting dates 
  • Be accountable                 

Acting agents utilise a unique blend of customer service and marketing skills to give their talents the tools they need to succeed. Be receptive to their advice, and give them back just as much dedication. Your efforts won’t go unrewarded!