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Put Your Friends In Your Movies (And Pay Them)

two friends talking

When I was starting out as an actor, I remember thinking "Why won't these studios give an unknown a chance?"

Now that I make movies and have developed deep seated trust issues; I know the answer:

You need people who you know will show up.

I hope you never have the experience of being on set ready to film and discovering that some key personnel has flaked. It sucks.

But here is the solution. Hire your friends. Hire people you know.

I try to never write scenes that hinge on a brilliant emotional performance (eg I write "John is upset" rather than "A single tear rolls down John's face. He remains stoic, but his eyes burn with an inner turmoil..."etc.) But through luck, I happen to know a seriously large amount of talented people who are somehow willing to work with me.

So, I know people who will show up, are good at their job, and who I know well enough to cast appropriately. Why the hell would I have auditions unless I needed the actor some special skill that none of them have?

The danger in this, however; is that your friends may feel bad taking your money. Or, you may feel that you don't need to pay them since they are your friends. Pay them anyway.

If you would pay a stranger to do the job, why would you be cheap with your friends.

Paying people shows them that you respect their time and talent.

It doesn't need to be thousands of dollars. Couple hundred bucks a day and profit sharing, perhaps.

But if moviemaking is your business. Treat it as such. Work with professionals and be professional.

Hire your friends. Pay them.

Thanks for reading.

Edward Janis Gusts


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