Definition of VALUE – [val-yoo]
1. Relative worth, merit, or importance: the value of a college education; the value of a queen in chess.
2. Monetary or material worth, as in commerce or trade: This piece of land has greatly increased in value.
3. The worth of something in terms of the amount of other things for which it can be exchanged or in terms of some medium of exchange.
Do you realize your value, at this moment in time, to a project, production, group, or other industry related activity designed to move your career forward? You’ll need to be confident in the value you provide so that if you’re not getting paid, you at the very least, get your value in return. So is working for free a good idea? Consider this:
- If they are making or will be making money, you should be too (yes – even if they are your friend).
- The right job that shows off your creative genius is worth doing – but stick to groups that are similar in experience to you. As a general rule, if the people you’re working with are doing it for the love of it, the experience, or the possibilities for all concerned rather than the money, then you are all in similar positions and growing together and that’s a good thing.
- If you do choose to work for free, make sure they know that they are lucky (because they are), and how much you would normally charge for your work. I’m not suggesting you be cocky, but rather subtly ensure that they know you’re on an equal footing to them. Using the word ‘collaborating’, can be especially useful in driving this home. Remember though, the goal is to win friends and influence people. And once you’ve got your foot in the door, wiggle it around so you get some standing room!
- Know how to pick a winner. If you see a young Steven Spielberg, Judd Apatow, or Julie Taymor who wants to form a bond, by golly build your bridges.
Unfortunately when you start working, whether paid or unpaid, you’ll more than likely learn some lessons the hard way. But if you follow this advice, hopefully you’ll come out with some good experiences, some contacts, and a great resume credit or reel clip.
To make sure you do get that clip, my friends at Performer Track came up with a wonderful contract that you can ask the producer to sign ensuring it. You can also use it if you are a content creator hiring actors for your project. It’s smart because anything signed and agreed to in writing by two parties becomes legal and binding. Though you probably will never actually take someone to court over this (though you could), just by having them sign it brings significance and importance to your business. And you’ll begin to develop the habit of negotiating for yourself and protecting your actor asset…which has great value!
Any comments? As usual, I’d love to hear your thoughts!