The response so far to the Ultra-Low Budget Agreement has been overwhelmingly positive.
However, there have been a few angry calls and emails from people who still want to make feature films and defer the pay.
For those of you who already “get it” I apologize. Read no further. Go back to looking at porn.
Under the old Experimental Agreement actor salaries were completely deferred. However, if a filmmaker actually got a distribution deal he or she would have immediately owed all of the professional actors a minimum of $695 per day of work AND would have had to get the consent of every single performer before releasing the film. You read that correctly: If one performer refused to give consent for any reason (or no reason at all) the producer would not have been allowed to distribute the film with that performer in it. This has long been a complaint for producers.
The Ultra-Low Budget Agreement was created to give films with budgets less than $200,000 a real chance at getting distribution by eliminating the upgrade fees and the consent requirement. In exchange for this, the actors will be paid a small up-front payment of $100 per day. In addition, filmmakers can still “mix their cast” using both professional and non-professional performers. For example, your two leads could be SAG members and your supporting roles could be filled non-union actors.
Even an idiot can see that the Ultra-Low Budget Agreement is a much better deal.
Filmmakers make decisions and compromises all the time. Maybe they love the look of 35mm, but can’t afford it so they use 16mm or HDV. Maybe they’d love a 20-day schedule, but they can’t afford it so they shoot the film in 12 days. Maybe they can’t pay $100 a day to fifty cast members, so they just pay for the roles that really require good performances.
The new Ultra-Low Budget Agreement is a win-win for both actors and filmmakers.
And if you really just want to make a film for festivals or as a calling card, or an experimental art film, make a short. The new Short Film Agreement still allows for deferred pay.
And stop being mean to me. I’m a delicate flower.