By Kathy Wickline
In this world of mass media and quick turnarounds, often times the topic of ‘usage’ regarding talent is overlooked. As a casting director, I’m working for ad agencies and producers per project and it is my job to help the shoot go smoothly and without any hitches in regards to talent or models. So, the time has come again to resurface this subject regarding usage and Fair Trade when seeking talent and models. For seasoned producers it may be well-understood, however, for many others out there I can say it is often never thought of until it is too late. I attribute this to what I call the ‘GMQ (Give Me Quick) times’ when everything needs to be done now! So, this is where I come in….
My job is to ensure that only qualified talent or models are presented to you. I do not represent talent nor take commission so, making sure you have the best choices is my sole concern. This leads me to my biggest concern in these GMQ times: discussing usage with your client upfront when budgeting. I cannot stress enough that when this conversation is overlooked, it invariably bites you on set when you present that general release form to a talent for their signature.
You, undoubtedly, have been in this situation: The talent is hired for a commercial but the release states usage as all media buys; print, commercial, web, etc. The talent won’t sign because they were only told this was for one usage (this information of course originating from you - assuming - at the time.) Not a pretty situation given the fact that your client needs that release form with full usage rights.
Planning a Win-Win:
How do you properly budget talent regarding media buys? First, having upfront knowledge before discussing budget with your client is imperative in quoting ‘Fair Trade’ rates. With many of my clients (producers/ad agencies) they check in with me before giving their clients a quote. “Fair Trade” rates are based on each area of media purchase. Are rates negotiable? Absolutely! And often times you can get several areas of usage included. However, it is imperative to have this discussion as a starting point. Otherwise, it could be you digging into your budget when the talent won’t sign the release form because plans of full usage were never given upfront. Secondly, you want to maintain a good reputation amongst talent and their agents. They are our lifeline.
So, a little due-diligence on creating a good working budget will produce the best talent for your projects.
Kathy Wickline has over 30 years experience in the acting and modeling industry. She has over 10,000 credits from national commercials, print campaigns and corporate films to live events. Wickline Casting is located on Delaware Avenue. www.wicklinecasting.com
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