How do I afford an actor for my film?
If you are like most of us out there then your Dad’s last name is not Spielberg or Howard and you don’t go to fancy beach resorts with the likes of a swedish supermodel on your shoulder while watching Jeeves polish your Yacht. So that leaves us the question of how to afford actors first of all, and next, how to find actors.
One form of payment that is popular for first time filmmakers is called deferred pay. In this situation actors take no money or very little money up front in hopes of a big payout on the back end when you sell the film. Usually you have to offer more compensation than you normally would in the actor’s contract in order to get the actor to defer their payment until profits are seen. This is a tough sell for an actor but can be done.
If you want to use an actor in the Screen Actors Guild you will have to sign a SAG contract and pay them accordingly. The good thing here is that there are plenty of contract options. The contracts range all the way from Short films to Low Budget and then going up to Large budget films. With each different contract there are different scale rates for the actors and different requirements for payment upon distribution.
If you choose to go the route of having non-union actors then you can set their rate to be anything you want. There is no set scale wage for non-union actors which allows you more flexibility to pay what your budget will allow. Also there are very good non-union actors out there that want to work on films and this may be a good way to go for your first film.
How do I find an actor for my film?
Depending on what you are looking for this could be as easy as putting out a casting notice. You would be surprised at how many good actors will come out for a film casting call, even if there is little or no money attached. This happens for two reasons – for you it is a chance to make a movie, but for them it is their chance to show off their skills as a lead in a motion picture and add this to their reel.
Where to Look?
The first place to start looking for your actors is with local casting directors or the local talent agencies. Keep in mind they will be a little hesitant if you are offering little or no money but will usually help you for the same reasons as the actor. They may have some actors that need more film time.
A second place is online and with theater groups. I have posted many a casting online and had people come out from all over. In my last film we had 350 kids and their parents come out to the casting from over 3 hours away and for a free part just to get on the film.Tip#6