Want to know a question I get asked ALL the time in the Actors Who Get It Facebook group?
If you guessed “Should I take unpaid acting work?” you’re absolutely right.
And it makes sense! There are a lot of conflicting opinions on this subject, so right off the bat, I want to say there is no blanket yes or no answer.
So here are some questions to help you make the best decision for yourself.
Do you need reel footage?
The struggle is REAL when it comes to getting footage, especially when you’re just starting out. It can be worth your time to have a few unpaid short films under your belt to help build that reel! The important thing to remember is you might not get good footage. There’s never any guarantee. If you’re comfortable with that level of risk, it could definitely be worth your time.
Do you need experience on set?
This one!! There are so many specific experiences on a set that are really understood with experience. Even just a few unpaid student films can help boost your confidence, understand your angles, and teach you the flow of a set before your professional debut.
BONUS: Was it a hell yes?
When you read the script, got the offer, booked the job: was it a hell yes? Did you feel like you could commit 100% and enjoy your time on set? If the answer is no, then that means you should probably pass. Your intuition is POWERFUL, so trust you can let it guide you! Plus, it isn’t fair to production to show up on set under-prepared or with a sense of resentment. It will be better for everyone to let that opportunity go to another actor!
So, essentially, YES! Unpaid work can have great value to you, as long as you’re committed to doing your job fully. And of course, there is never anything wrong with saying no. Be honest with yourself, and you’ll be just fine.