Actors and Crew All for Free – And They WANT To Do It!

It seems every second post in any of the Facebook groups for filmmaking is a request, nay a plea, for actors or crew to assist in making the latest and greatest (usually it seems so some sort of horror / slasher / apocalyptic type of thing – although recently there has been a growing number of “sexuality” based ones on offer).

And more often than not, these pleas are for non-paying positions, but with the tantalising bonus of a free meal, caffeine or even – gasp – an IMDB entry and a copy of the finished movie. On occasion, a promise is made for a profit sharing if all goes well.

My thoughts in this area are well documented on this site; in general, I am not in favour of it. If you want cast and crew in order to make something that is destined (ideally) to be a money-making venture, then they should be paid – especially if you are asking for use of their gear as well as time and often, many years of expertise.

To not do so, in my opinion, is an insult. You are using others to satisfy your own gratification most of the time it seems to me.

Having said that though, just recently I have come across a situation where unpaid crew and actors may be indeed a bonus to those who are – well, going to be unpaid.

Our Aging Society

We all know that as it stands right now, we are an aging society. Our TV screens are full of ads for so-called “retirement homes” for 55’s and above, promising a wonderful life style. If you believe these ads, you can whittle away your remaining years, joining in yoga classes, playing croquet, bridge and other riveting pastimes.

Around 18 months ago, I had necessity to make acquaintance with someone who lived in one of these places – I even stayed there for a short period. And it was Hell!

And why? Because it seems the folk that run these places seem to think that “over 50” means well past your use by date, hence the leisure pursuits are offered up are what our grandmas and grandads did.

But today’s 50, 55, 60s and beyond are a lot different to previous generations.

For those that don’t know, although I hate to admit it, I am these days the other side of the 55’s brigade, and the last thing I – and the friends and mates I have grown up with since we were teenagers – want to do, is be a part of that set those that run these places seem to think we are.

Fishing, Motor Sport and Home Brew

I go fishing in my boat, fly drones, get involved in motor racing and rallying, snorkelling, brew my own beer and many other pursuits. And yes, I am very, obviously, involved in film making and photography.

I certainly don’t want to go “walking in a swimming pool”, bash hammers in croquet, play Whist or Canasta all day long whilst sipping cups of Peppermint tea or roll a bowl down a piece of carpet.

I know of people, since semi-retired, who worked as camera operators, lighting techs, make up artists, script writers and audio boffins in TV, the movies and so on who badly miss the life they used to have. They cherish being able to get back into it, even on a voluntary basis. These people live in these supposed “retirement homes”.

In addition, there is a large group of people who are bored to death and would love to try their hand at acting, singing, dancing or having a crack behind the camera, lights, mixing desk and directing.

Get my drift?

So, if you need a crew or cast, have a chat to the “Occupational Therapist” or equivalent at your local retirement or even nursing homes. You might just be welcomed with open arms and even rediscover a genius – or one hell of a mentor.

At worst, you’ll bring a smile to faces, and maybe even get that movie finished.

If you want a head start, try clicking here for a list or there is a PDF of retirement homes in Australia you can download here.


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