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How Not To Fall For The “Okie Doke” When Starting Out In Independent Movies

When you’re just starting out as an actor, filmmaker or crew member you’ll want to get your foot in the door at some point. This most likely will include working on local independent projects with little to no resources or budget. This is a great way to make connections and learn from the ground up. However, be careful of some casting directors or filmmakers who have no intention on keeping their word when it comes to you being paid. Whether it’s intentional or by mistake, it is ultimately your own responsibility to be able to read between the lines on which projects will pay and on others you just shouldn’t hold your breath.

Below is a short list of keywords or phrases that should either be a red flag or give you a heads up that you’ll need more clarity of the pay if it isn’t listed in plain English. By no means do these keywords or phrases always mean you’ll get stiffed or won’t be paid, but in most cases you should expect to move on if you see this in the casting call or advertisement and there is no sign of what the pay is.

Signs You Probably Won’t Be Paid

  1. Collaboration = No pay
  2. Assistant = No pay
  3. Seeking Film Student = No pay
  4. Micro Budget = No pay
  5. Food & IMDB credits = No pay
  6. Internship = No pay
  7. Team Up = No pay
  8. We have “A-listers” onboard this project = No pay
  9. This project will be good for your portfolio = No pay
  10. This is the first of many projects = No pay
  11. Non Union = No pay
  12. Food and Credit = No pay
  13. Student Film = No pay
  14. Web Series and we will share ad revenue = No pay
  15. This is a great chance to make big contacts = No pay
  16. This is a HUGE opportunity for you = No pay
  17. Award Winning Director is attached = No pay
  19. We are in desperate need of = No pay
  20. I am producing, directing, writing and acting = No pay and project may never get through post
  21. Deferred pay = No pay
  22. This is great exposure for you = No pay
  23. Bad Grammar & Weird Email Responses = No pay (AND RUN!)
  24. Check will be sent in the mail later = No pay
  25. There is a fee that YOU have to pay to audition = No pay and definite scam

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