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Can Actors Ask for a Raise?

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If you’ve landed a paying gig but are barely getting buy, it may have crossed your mind to ask for an increase.  But you may not know how to best share your intentions.  Here’s what Backstage has to say.

In the entertainment industry, most people are expecting and prepared to negotiate paychecks.  The important thing is that two parties are also prepared to be reasonable and amicable.  After all, the industry is also all about making and maintaining valuable connections.  

If you believe you should be making more than what’s been offered, head off the conversation by citing everything you love about the gig, why you believe you’re the best fit for the role, and why you want to take it on.  A compliment or two can go a long way.  Then, explain why you need a pay bump – you’re not looking to get rich, but need to pay the bills.  This is the only way you can make this opportunity work.  If you’re perfect for the job, your request is likely to be met with a favorable response.

Allow the other party to think about what you’re proposing, but don’t wait too long.  You want to find that perfect balance between appearing eager to take on the role and confident that you’re a valuable asset to the project.  You don’t want to come across as either desperate or arrogant.

Be ready for the possibility you won’t be able to pay you what you need, however.  If you truly do need an increase to make ends meet, this will mean you have to respectfully walk away and search for a better fit.  This may mean you will need to make it through a period of not being paid at all, and this is why it’s so important to really think long and hard about the pros and cons before asking for more money than what was offered and walking away if you don’t think you’re getting enough.  Can you get by while searching for a higher paying gig or do you need to try and make this work regardless of what’s offered?

If you give yourself some time to think it through and you’re set on asking for an increase, be prepared to negotiate.  You may not receive the first number you throw out there, but that doesn’t mean you won’t get a bump, so start a bit high.  Understanding what you truly need ahead of time is key to successfully negotiating your contract and making the conversation a win-win for both parties.

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