In Los Angeles, there has been a recent push for all actors in small theaters to receive minimum wage as compensation for their time spent. These actors not only perform, but they make sure the production is put together properly so that shows are executed efficiently. They live up to the title “all in one,” but what do they have to show?
The actors are not paid for the time they spend behind the scene such as rehearsals, but they do receive a salary of $7 per hour which is less than minimum wage in California. Conditions such as this make it hard for actors to continue following their dreams because they are struggling each day to survive, forcing them to seek out more sustainable careers.
The actors union is working to provide these actors with paid salary. Some actors feel they should not receive pay because they are acting to gain experience and express their passion. Ms. Odell, a union representative, feels that the actors are “selling themselves short.” Compensation shouldn’t be forced upon anyone however there should be some type of program in place that helps actors out financially in some way especially, in states like California and New York where there is a high cost of living. Ironically, these are the states that have the most opportunities for aspiring actors.
The opposition to this movement is that a higher pay in salary will cause these smaller theaters to close because they will not be able to afford paying the works more money and sustaining the facility. The situation is difficult on both sides but there has to be a middle ground somewhere.
A possible solution would be to give actors a gradual increase over the course of a few months to a year which will help small theaters adjust to the difference of price. However there is a chance this solution may not work because these small theaters have a yearly budget of around $200,000 and many small theaters around the country are closing. California is trying to preserve these intimate style theaters but take care of the actors that help run them. While change may not happen overnight there is a chance that workers may see a slight increase sometime in the future.