It’s well known that the entertainment industry is a fickle beast. Personalities are pushed out of the industry on a daily basis while others, who have the talent, fall by the wayside due to a lack of opportunities. To combat that problem many find themselves taking bookings at rates that are lower than expectations and some even take bookings without being paid. In the development of one’s career, we at the R&B Management Group are firmly against this practice.
Now you may ask, “Who would actually work for free?” Unfortunately, that idea comes up a lot within various aspects of the entertainment industry. For example, models are frequently asked to appear in music videos for exposure instead of payment for their time. Sometimes the lead model is provided with a stipend, but that isn’t always the case. Now these individuals can be on set for 6 to 12 hours a day – and not see a dime from their hard invested time. However, they have been convinced that the opportunity gives them exposure to grow their career while helping further others at the time. This could all be solved by asking one question:
“If there are individuals here whose talents are worth payment, why aren’t mine?”
Break it down. Majority of the time the project has multiple individuals that are being paid for their services. Yet, it is “OK” to ask for your services for free? That should show you what value those individuals are placing on your talent and make you reconsider working with them in on said project.
Yes, some opportunities do present themselves that are hard to turn down, but in the long run talented professionals have to be weary of lowering the bar when it comes to their work. Taking a project for free once may have a snowball effect that results in other opportunities expecting the same type of deal. This is where having a strong management team around you can help. Their services should help filter out these type of “opportunities” that are not worth your time in the big picture.
The Joker said it best in the Dark Knight: “If you’re good at something, never do it for free.”
This statement applies to your developing career in the entertainment industry.