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Rob Wilson September 4th, 2003 11:25 AM

Pay for shooting a Pilot
I'm in the early stages of discussion about provided gear for and shooting a TV program pilot. Curious to know how others may have addressed pay issues. Do you charge standard rates and accept that there is no potential for future income should the pilot be sold? Charge a reduced rate with a clause that would include additional payment if sold? Free, and hope it sells so you'll get paid? Any info on what the potential sales price for a pilot would be? THANKS.

Robbie Smolinsky September 8th, 2003 09:38 AM

Hi Rob, let me start by saying that I have had no professional experience along the lines that you are requesting here, but reading your post I did have an idea I thought I'd share. I would think it may be beneficial for you to possibly accept some sort of reduced pay with deferred payment that you'll recieve if it is sold, because this demonstrates some level of your commitment to the project.

For example, if you charge a flat rate, essentially you wouldn't care whether it goes well or not (this is not meant to be a gross generalization, I'm just saying it to make a point)- at the end of the day you'll get paid. But if you accept that you have some faith in the project and will risk recieving pay only in the event that it is picked up, this shows some degree of your confidence and dedication to the project itself. I'm putting myself in the position of whoever is in charge of making the crew selections. If I were looking at multiple applicants, I would take the guy who accepted deferred pay upon the success of the pilot as opposed to someone just taking a flat rate. I would assume that the first person would be more likely to invest more of their time and concern in the project because their pay depends on the outcome. Not to mention that money is also a factor, so if I can pay you less than someone else in the event that the pilot flops, I would do so, there is much less risk and investment for me.

I don't know if you have much competition, but just think, it may be better to take a decrease in pay and hope for the best in the end than not get paid at all because someone else was chosen.

So I hope that my opinion helps you out. Again, this is hardly professional advise, just some suggestions from an outside party looking in.


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