Sunday, April 11, 2010

Do I Smell a SCAM???: Working for Free

Kudos for LA Times and the Hollywood Reporter for shedding some light on this subject. Very few industries can get away with the whole "privilege-of-working-with-us-is-enough-compensation" as much as Entertainment Industries. These industries thrive on enthusiastic wannabe players who will do next to anything for that one lucky shot. Unfortunately, these prospective players drive down the market for others, as well as shoot themselves in the foot.

I'm all for volunteering and collaborating. It's a great way to network. But there is a very thin line between volunteering to help out and being used as free labor. It's so commonplace, many now-professionals even stress going the extra mile on these "free" positions in order to keep your foot in the door. As the practice spreads in other industries due to the economy, unemployed workers and the government are starting to question the legality of the so-called "adult internship."

Just as both articles point out, working for free for the direct financial benefit of a company is illegal. The "non-college intern" PA position on professional shoots has to stop. If the film cannot budget some type of compensation for you, then it probably will not help you advance your career. Be friendly and open to assignments, but be mindful.

Happy Filmmaking.


kidnplaya said...

Wow its a shame that a lot of companies only care about cutting costs, even at companies outside of entertainment.

Femme Fatale et Noire said...

Yeah, what's even sadder? Desperate people taking these free positions for the chance of a job later that is never guaranteed. To think we still have indentured servitude.