Sunday, May 2, 2010

From Movie City to Music City, USA by Randall Rutledge

Randall Rutledge. From Movie City to Music City, USA. Calhoun, Ga.: Magic Valley Publishers, 2008.

The author was fascinated by the movie business when, at age 6, he saw a movie being filmed in his home town. He moved to Hollywood in 1982 and broke in as a non-union background artist (i.e. “extra”). His first job was being an extra in “Scarface” at $35 per eight hour day. Overtine, though, often resulted in a $100 daily pay.

Extras have to be on set by 5 am. He recommends bringing along something to do or read while facing hours of boredom.

Actors need 8”x10” black and white head shots. Agents who charge for a photographic portfolio are usually scam artists. In general, an agent more interested in obtaining money or sex from a client is probably a scam artist.

Check that an agent is franchised with the Screen Actors Guild and bonded by the City Clerk’s office. If you discover an agent is scamming you, report the agent to the Department of Consumer Affairs and Better Business Bureau. You can also sue the agent.

Central Casting is the largest legitimate casting agency. They have a (circa 2008) $20 one time photograph fee. Their number is 818-562-2755. Never accept a job and fail to appear without calling. That will end your castings forever. Non-uion registration occurs on Mondays, Wednesday, and Fridays from 10:30 to 11:30 am, exactly Non-union pay is $54 per eight hour day with time and a half overtime.

Background Talent charges $25 a month and finds work on TV commercials paying $85 to $125 per day.

From working as an extra, the author found work as a set manager of a movie and as an assistant casting director.

It is against the law for an agent to make you pay upfront. An agent receives 15% of a job the agent books for you.

The author recommends working on independent films over attending acting classes.

The author warns that acting is a cruel business, He quit his non-acting job to accept an acting job but didn’t find work afterwards for awhile. He was homeless for about a year.

There were 26,690 movie theaters or screens in the U.S., 12,886 in India, 4,579 in France, 4,070 in Germany, 3,100 in China, 2.500 in Spain, 2,224 in United Kingdom, 2,163 in Indonesia, about 2,000 in Israel, 1,500 in Mexico, 1,350 in Brazil, 1,317 in Australia, and 1,167 in Sweden.

A screenwriting agent should not charge to read and critique a script. This is an unethical business practice.

A producer seeks financing for a script. The Executive Director supervises the project, sometimes in cooperation with the Co-Producers and help from an Associate Producer. The Supervising Producer works for the Executive Director in overseeing the producers. A Segment Producer is in charge of a segment(s) or a project. A Coordinating Producer works coordinating with other producers to create specific goals. A Line Producer supervises the physical, non-creative part of a project.

Finding financing for a movie can be difficult. Be on the watch for scam artists. Do not violate Security and Exchange laws. Once a film is made it will still require a distribution deal to be seen by the public.

The minimum requirement to join the Producers Guild is to have, over the past three years, producer credits in two or more widely distributed movies, or on two TV movies, or 13 TV episodes on a series, or 26 non-series episodes, or two new media, such as DVD, Internet, game console, interactive TV, wireless, CD-Rom, etc. There is an initial $725 fee to join and $175 dues for every six months. The application fee is $35.

The author observes that everyone on a set treats the Director with the highest respect.

Directors Guild dues are $50 per quarter year plus 1 ½ % of gross earnings from directing, if annual earnings are from $10,000 to $300,000, as well as 1% of all residuals received/

Directors guide actors in acting, choose camera angles, and review the film.

The author warns against entering any screenwriting competition, or most any industry competition, that has an entry fee.

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