By Maurice Edwards
I was watching Netflicks when several questions about acting, film and television started to invade my mental space. Let’s start with the main question:
- How does the digital age affect actors and casting?
- How are actors really adjusting to the digital age?
To try and find some answers I went on Google to begin my search. Luckily for me I didn’t have to look to far before I found an article that was waiting for me called “An Actor’s Life in the Digital Age: Trying to Make New Media Pay“ by actor and author Gary Moore.
This new digital world has brought auditions to a whole new level of convenience for both actors and casting directors. Approximately 80 percent of all my auditions over the past two years have been recorded in my studio and edited on my computer. Then I send them off either to my agent or directly to a casting director. This process saves actors money; they no longer have to fly or drive to the location, purchase gas at ever-increasing prices, pay for wear and tear on their cars, or spend money on food and lodging at an out-of-town audition. Casting directors can now make their first cuts without having to bring 100 actors into the waiting room.
But new media projects come with challenges for actors. These days, I get my demo reel on all sorts of platforms, which is a great thing. But that has another side, too. With the multitude of platforms the Internet has to offer, we seem to be getting paid less for each gig. The newSAG-AFTRA union does have a new media contract, but I’ve rarely seen it used, mainly because I don’t think producers, actors and directors know exactly what’s considered “new media.” The new media contract says that the pay for actors under this agreement is as follows: “Initial pay is negotiable under the SAG New Media Agreement. There are no minimums under this contract; however, state and federal minimum wage laws still apply.”
Now, having no pay scale to start with is discouraging, but if that web series went to prime-time television and was a half-hour or longer, that actor would get paid approximately $2,400 (100 percent of the network ceiling). If an actor wants to risk small or no pay on a new media project, it may just pay off for him in the long run.
So as you read, the potential for actors and casting is positive but they are still in need of Quality Introductions to develop long term careers.