• Ray Watters

Updated: Jan 25, 2020

Today I travelled to Orlando and attended an Actor’s Seminar at the SAK Comedy Club. Speaking and answering questions to a large group of actors were Lori Wyman (Lori Wyman Casting), John Peros (John Peros Casting) and John Lux (Executive Director, Film Florida).


Lori Wyman and John Peros were present to give valuable information about the casting process and answer questions, however, the main reason for the event was to promote the organization, Film Florida, and urge actors to join and get involved. To that end, the Executive Director, John Lux, explained the purpose of the organization and gave us an update on legislation now pending that, if passed, will provide incentives to production companies in the form of rebates to attract more filming to our state.


The yearly cost to join Film Florida is $75.00. I heard that amount compared to many things, the most common among many folks is the cost of a few trips to Starbucks, however, if we use that comparison, we are missing the point.


I will speak for myself only, however, I am sure what applies to me applies to most of my fellow actors.


If I were to add the cost of my SAG-AFTRA dues to my monthly fees paid to IMDb Pro, Casting Networks, and to the cost of keeping my website running, I would come up with a significant sum. Let’s add the cost of headshots as well…they are not cheap...and the cost of ongoing training to keep our instrument tuned. Those costs add up to an amount that makes the yearly cost of membership in Film Florida seem like pocket change. Yet, without the help of Film Florida, all the money spent on dues and other costs will mean little if we don't have films being made in our state.


It’s a no-brainer, my Florida Actor Friends. I joined a year ago. You should, too!


Check out Film Florida by clicking on the link below https://filmflorida.org

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  • Ray Watters

Friends have asked me what’s the difference between a star, co-star, guest star, etc. So, here’s the answer as I have learned. For now, I am only going to talk about television credits.


Credits differ in film and television and are listed separately on an actor’s resume. This is because in the past, the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) were separate unions. SAG-AFTRA is now one union, however, credits are still different and listed separately.


The lead in a television series is known as a Series Regular. This actor is in the main cast and appears in most, if not all, episodes and is central to the story.


A Guest Star is an actor who appears in one or more episodes and is an important part of the story. In many cases, the guest star is a named actor.


Now we come to the Co-star. A person with this title usually appears in one or two scenes, and, while important in the episode, is not really central to the story.


There are clear differences in pay between a Guest Star and Co-Star (sometimes referred to as a Day Player), but that’s a subject for a different blog.


In film and television, there are the background people, most referred to as Extras. These hard-working folks, while having no speaking parts, play a very important role. Without the pedestrians, office workers, people in the audience, etc., there would be no realism.


While Extras are, sadly, considered at the bottom of the food chain, their pay is nothing to sneeze at. A Commercial Extra who is a member of the performer’s union, SAG-AFTRA, makes around $342.00 a day. However, Commercial Extras do not get residual pay, i.e., pay for the amount of time the commercial airs.



A word of advice: When listing your credits on a resume, it is recommended to not list your roles as an extra. I have seen people fluff up an extra role to make it look like something else, but it still reads the same. I have also seen people use the term, “Series Regular” or “Series Regular Extra” when they have been an extra in several episodes. This reads “amateur” and will not further your career.

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  • Ray Watters

How many times have you seen a role listed that really looked promising, only to see one of the following phrases, “deferred”, “big opportunity”, “food and credit”, “student film”, “spec”, etc. Those phrases all translate to… “no pay”.


In my beginning as an actor, I worked several gigs for no financial reward, however, I learned that I did, indeed, receive compensation for my efforts…compensation that may not have been financial, but worth more than just money.


In acting class, you learn through scene study and working with another actor. You pay the coach quite a bit of money for this. In a non-paid gig, you learn the same thing, and have more opportunity to practice. In short, you are getting an acting class for free!


Another reason is that new actors usually need to show some experience in addition to their training. Working a student film or other non-paid gig allows the new actor to add it to their resumé which makes them more appealing to a talent agent.


One of the biggest reasons I had for doing non-paid gigs was the contacts I was able to make in the industry which helped me in future projects.


I no longer accept non-paid work, but I am thankful for the opportunities I had in the past that allowed me to be where I am today in my craft.

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