News Update


Header Ads Widget

WHY DOES AN ACTOR ACCEPT A ROLE - By Actor, Ijeoma Richards.

Ijeoma Richards.

Sometimes the role an actor loves the most is not the one that pay him best. 

When you get a character beamed at you as an actor that is, if you have reached the stage where you have the choice of choosing,( and some actors come in  already knowing they do have a choice) it is not constantly about the money. 

Sometimes, it is a potpourri of factors, who is asking, their relationship with you, if you owe them a favour. If at the time the filming will be done you're finishing a project nearby, if its the sort of character you've always wanted to play but has never recieved a script for, if it's the sort of project you've not been on. And there's that all important if the money is good. Because like everyone else actors do have bills to pay.

So your best role may not be the most financially rewarding. And your worst may be the one that allowed you get a new car. 

Sometimes you're flat out of money but still reject jobs. A producer I worked for once asked me what advice I'd give him after experiencing so many hiccups in his series. I told him, 'pay your actors yourself.' 

The greed in the chain of production is as is in our government offices.  A producer releases money for actors remuneration, the production people give the actor a quarter of it pleading, the perennial low budget as excuse, what happens in such cases is sooner than later, (especially if production stalls and takes longer than it should) the actors become impatient, uncooperative and sometimes walk away. 

Now the producer is feeling betrayed by the actor who is feeling exploited. While the person in the middle who has preyed on the actors goodwill is happy to keep their loot and blame it all on the actor and neither the actor nor the producer know they are pawns. And of course producers books read, 'I paid the actor well.  

(And at what point do some producers understand, that what an actor allowed you pay him is a personal decision. That because I am your friend and accepted this from you does not empower you to go around broadcasting it as my worth? Is wisdom so difficult to imbibe?) 

The above scenario is a loss for everyone. Producer is pissed at actor. Actor believes producer is a user. Suspicion has fertile ground to grow. Often, the real culprits are never found out. People just know they don't like each other, but can't be certain as to why. And many of these culprits are so close to these producers and production companies, it’s not likely to change. 

The worst offshoot of this circle of greed is that real, low budget productions often get penalised for the unscrupulousness from these acts. 

Now the trusted people in production. Many have no boundaries. No respect for the actors craft. When an actor works for you based on a relationship between you both, not charging you their full fees. You become entitled to their services.  

Thinking because they charged you so and so amount you'd continue paying them that until eternity. Yet, paying others their due. The result is that many actors will gladly pass up such projects even when they have no food. Rather sleep on an empty stomach than accept repetitive belittling.  

There is no science to this stuff. Sometimes these projects we turn down end up amazing. As I remember turning down a role in 93days, the Ebola film. I wanted to be clear about remuneration. I and two other friends were invited. They didn't worry too much about it. I do often need that part clearly spelt out. 

It ended up great and I missed out on meeting the Danny Glover, yet, all in all I find that, I may not be everywhere. Yet people are clear on my remuneration levels.

And, I have taken on a few projects with laughable remuneration because of the types of projects they were, very few they are. Because I am much more discerning and experienced now, they have been worthwhile in the end.

So the actor has several reasons he accepts to be on a project. Which is why sometimes an actor may be quite busy and quite broke. It is in the actor's interest to strike such balance that these times are few and far between. And especially it is in the actors interest to learn that 'No' is a good response to production houses and producers who see acting as a hobby that needs the littlest pay.


Ijeoma Richards is a Nollywood Actor and President, Nollywood Creative Minds.

Post a Comment