What About Compensating for Travel?
Oftentimes, you’ll spot a nationwide or even a worldwide casting that’s available for anyone, anywhere. However, this doesn’t mean that the casting crew is going to bring the set to you. You’ll have to note where the project is taking place and ensure you have the means to get there if it’s something you’re truly interested in. Don’t assume just because you’re an established, experienced actor who’s a perfect fit for the role the casting director is going to pay for your travels and accommodations, either. Some do, and some don’t, and this information will not always be immediately available.
Double- and triple-check the casting details so make sure you have a solid understanding of what is expected. Chances are a general location is provided, but you won’t be given an exact address unless the production crew is interested in booking you. If no details are offered upfront, you can still submit yourself for consideration. Just be mindful that there’s a chance you will need to travel on your own dime.
If a company offers to pay once you’re booked, you may be given a travel stipend ahead of time or be reimbursed later. Travel compensation may be worked into the total payment for the gig, offered separately at a set amount, or be provided after you’ve submitted receipts. Therefore, you may or may not be reimbursed down to the last penny. This is something you’ll need to consider when determining whether the project is right for you. Also, if the casting director gives you a threshold of allowable expenses, make sure you stay at this level or under if you expect to be fully reimbursed.
Whether you decide to accept a gig that’s far away from home in which you are solely responsible for your travel and accommodation expenses could depend on several factors. Is it a good resume builder? Is the project taking place somewhere you had planned to vacation, anyway? Does it sound like a fun experience that’s worth the cost? Some actors accept opportunities simply because of the adventure they offer. “I am sort of an adventurer,” says actor Edi Gathegi of The Blacklist: Redemption. “I like to explore new places.”
If you come across a listing for an unpaid role in Timbuktu, whether you decide to submit often depends entirely on personal preference. Consider whether the role is worth the trip, or whether there are similar or better projects closer to home.
Remember, too, that you will likely not be paid for any encounters with decision-makers prior to being booked. This means you could be asked to front expenses for any interviews or auditions. While many production crews will interview remote actors over skype, an in-person audition could be required.
Don’t feel like you have to accept every offer that comes your way. Bottom line, this is your career and you have the final say in the direction you decide to take!