Monday, May 3, 2010

A Question Of Worth

So here's my dilemna.

The acting gig, as stated, was for the function of an actor. (No surprise there.)

When I arrived on location, however, they decided that based on my educational background I would be doing things in addition to the acting, that they would normally have hired someone at a higher rate to do.


How to ask for a raise. How to scale the pay. (I haven't done work in line with my education for many, many years and am somewhat rusty.) How to negotiate.

To do the above well, I need to believe in myself. To believe in my own worth.

The real question then, is do I?


Tuxedo said...

Yeah, I think you believe in yourself. You certainly should. I believe in you.

There are lots of rhetorical methods for trying to convince the other side to come your way in negotiation, but the key is that you have to be willing to walk away. If you tell these folks that your acting work and your $OTHER work are separate, and that working in your $OTHER capacity will require an increase in your fee, they may come back and tell you they only hired you to act because they wanted you to $OTHER too--and that they don't want to pay you for it.

Put it as baldly as that. "You expect me to do this for free? Really? Who else is working for free? Can I act for free and get paid for $OTHER, instead?"

The worst they can do is refuse to pay you for your non-acting services. They may threaten not to retain you for acting if you're not willing to do the $OTHER stuff. If that's the case, and if you don't intend to do that for free, you may have to be willing to walk away from the acting gig.

If you are willing to do that, you're in the strongest possible negotiating position. You can't lose. Either they pay you what you want, or you don't do what they want.

That's what it really comes down to: are you prepared to let your $OTHER principles prevent your landing this acting gig?

(For the record, I think you should stand fast. Maybe tell 'em "This is what I'd usually charge for my non-acting services, but I'm willing to give you a small discount." Then stick to it.)

Miche said...

Tuxedo: You rock. And thanks for believing in me. I wish I could bottle others' belief in me for the times when I'm not sure I'm mustering much of my own.

The tricky part for me, is that I don't meet all of their actor requirements (missing some training). And, having been out of my educational field for some time, don't have full $OTHER qualifications either.

And yes, lucky for me I was willing to just walk away from the whole tihng (after putting in my agreed to time). It's very liberating not feeling you're tied to something!

I went in, asking for more and left with an open ended question about what they were paying the $OTHERS. (In my mind, I wasn't going to ask full rate, based on the amount of my personal knowledge that I felt has evaporated.)

They replied, listing the laundry list of (very legitimate) reasons why they couldn't pay top $OTHER rate. Which, in my mind, means that they're aware of most of my gaps and therefore (in my head at least) can't expect too much from me.

Their first offer was the number I was going to settle for. So I took it. Master negotiator am I! *cough*

I'm likely still being paid less than I'm worth (if you consider I'm doing the work of at least 1.5, if not two), but I'm happy with the rate of pay -- for now!

Thanks, as always, for your careful consideration and detailed response!

Tuxedo said...

You are, indeed, a masterful negotiator. You got what you wanted on the first volley. Congratulations!