Now we’ve all seen them before:
‘We’re Looking For <INSERT POSITION> to star in our film, <INSERT PROJECT TITLE>. Project is UNPAID.’
Let me get this straight:
You’re asking someone, possibly whom you’ve never met before, as in a complete stranger, to star in your film and generate you value in return all for the “opportunity”?
Shit, that’s gotta be deal of the century! I’ll take two…NOT!
There are a few reasons why you should pay people:
A bigger pool means more quality candidates. Sure you’ll get a few time wasters but the people that are truly talented will easily shine through the fluff. The more time and resources you spend getting the right pieces together for your film, the better the end result.
People take you seriously. In any human endeavour there’s always been a need to improve. To achieve the best results you’ve got to emulate those who are best at it. And what do they do? They pay for it. Search anywhere on the Web and people will always post questions like ‘Where’s the cheapest mechanic?’ or ‘Where can I get cheapest dog toys?’ Well, here’s the thing with that: good things aren’t cheap and cheap things aren’t good. You need to surround yourself with talented people (whom should be paid) to really fast-track improvement.
The good ones will always come back. Why? Because you showed them how serious you were with the craft of filmmaking. It doesn’t necessarily mean you need pay them more than before but should the film end up a success the rise in payment should be considered. It should be an unwritten law that you share the wealth among the group. This is what keeps everyone in the game.
All filmmakers can give up a bit of cash for their cast and crew. Those that claim they don’t have anything to give are making up excuses because if you didn’t have anything to give, you’d be broke and likely homeless – in which that case making a film would be the least of your worries.
If you truly love and respect the art of filmmaking you pay it forward.