The title is easy enough, you need to get paid for your work. But my point is not to state the obvious, because we all need to make money from our craft. However in the start, and we all had to do it, we worked for free or dirt cheap.
You may not be happy with yourself, but you were excited to have had the chance and show your stuff. You tell friends and family that you have the opportunity to do something and they ask, “How much you gettin’ paid?”. You hang your head low and say any number of reasons why you could not get paid but it’s so good for your portfolio or reel!
They don’t understand, they may never understand but that’s not why you do this business. You go at this business because you love to create, to think, to materialize, to make things happen that make others happy and escape! So THAT is your mission statement for Hollywood. THAT is your paycheck if you don’t get paid with the dollar, you must get paid in creativity.
Some may protest that you should always get paid. Yes you should but in the start that is not possible, so you should be compensated in creative ways at least. Isn’t that the reason why we started in this business in the first place? We took chances and risks to create and grow from it, with it, and within. Along the way, some of us are lucky to make lots of money from the creative work we do, but all of us should get paid in other ways. What ever job you do, always ask yourself if you will grow from this creatively? I am not talking about learning a new light or technical aspect. Will you grow from the soul because of this project? Will you push yourself to a new boundary or limit? Can you say you are more confident about a particular style because of this?
For those that have asked me about doing free work vs. paid, that is my advice. Get paid some how. If it is not with the dollar, then it MUST be with creativity. Otherwise you are creating a giant waste of time. Be happy with your product. Have more creative say. Put your foot down. Learn to negotiate. Learn to compromise. Learn to work with other talents. Do not finish the job without getting something back for YOU. That is the way to get paid on non-paid jobs.