A couple of days ago, a Craigslist post caught my eye. "Feature Film Editor" it said. "Compensation: $600 plus $4,500 deferred pay." Then down at the bottom, "*deferred pay is not guaranteed." It also noted "Must have access to an editing system that can handle 4K footage. Film is listed on IMDB."
Turns out, I wasn't the only one in town for whom this post raised a red flag. Luckily, the fantastic editing community here in Seattle has a sense of humor:
This post does raise some important questions, though, about how to get ahead in the film business, where working for free is often a rite of passage across the industry, from editing to film marketing.
So I asked a few friends what they thought, and here's what they had to say.
CB Shamah, director of the upcoming feature film "Worst Laid Plans":
I've never been opposed to "working for credit" (a.k.a. "working for free"). I've volunteered my time on tons of projects that I was interested in, with the idea that I could bring something to the table and help them see it through. I think using best judgment on a case by case basis is the best call. Meeting new people, making connections is no joke.
Kris Kristensen, writer/editor of the documentary "Razing the Bar" (and Creative Co-Director of Smarthouse Video) makes another good point:
There's plenty of people out there looking for experience, and I believe that you get what you pay for. It's a lose/lose for both parties unless you're looking for experience.
Where do you draw the line when it comes to "working for credit" and/or deferred payment? Let us know what you think in the comments.