Should actors work for free?

Hello, my superstars.   I don't like to look back on life with regrets, I prefer to see all the kinks in the road as learnings and stories to tell! Here's one thing I would tell myself though if I could go back 14 years in time.

"Work on films back to back for one solid year especially the non-paid ones. Then focus on competition films." And here is why.

To learn more about starting your acting career and getting your very own agent, check out my book on sale now!

Actors work for free for exposure and for the experience.  That's ok because you won't be doing this for too long.

Don’t expect to get paid to act in student films other than in food, experience, and a copy of your work.  But this experience is so worth it, especially if you have a strong role and a lot of exposure in this film.  

This is important

Always get a copy of the film, even if the film doesn't get completed.  You can ask for your raw footage. After all, payment is in the form of exposure and DVD or digital copy of your work.  

Contact the film school in case you can’t get a hold of the student for a copy of the video or DVD. In some cases, the instructor or administrators may be able to help.  

Also, ask them to send your headshot to the rest of the film department in case someone else needs an actor in their student film they can pick you out of the archives for an audition.  

You might not get paid in dollars and cents, but being in the film school’s database gives you bigger chances of working in more films.

To ensure that you’ll receive a copy of the film or at least the footage of your scenes, you can ask the student to sign an agreement or contract to release footage for services rendered.  

If they refuse, it’s up to you to accept the role or pass. 

Tips for getting paid in 'experience'

  • Know how to contact the student and the school film department in case something goes wrong.
  • Know who the student’s production teacher is.


You’ll find plenty of resources in the back of my e-book Getting an Agent in Texas which includes a list of film schools throughout Texas.  Contact a few schools and see if they are willing to keep a copy of your resume and headshot or contact information and pictures for any future student films.

Don’t be discouraged if they say ‘No’, simply call the next school and try again.

Thanks for reading!

P.S. Don't forget to subscribe to my e-mail list.

To learn more about starting your acting career and getting your very own agent, check out my book on sale now!

acting in texas

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Got questions? Comments? Leave a message below. If you want more resources or more detailed information on how to work as an extra and how to get gigs, check out my e-book.

Thank you so much for reading and break a leg.

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