Thursday, 17 May 2012
The Volunteer Performer Scam of The Century!
Warning! This blog entry is more of a rant than anything else...
"Volunteer performers needed!"
And with these words, the biggest scam of the 21st century begins! Now, I know that by the end of this blog post, I am not going to be favourable with alot of people within the "Arts world" however you wouldn't ask for a volunteer barmaid or a volunteer cashier, but by some amazing streak of industrial blagging, employers within the arts industry feel no remorse at refusing to pay people for performing. Furthermore, the victims of this industrial slave mentality are so engulfed by their stockholm syndrome for the arts that they begin to Thank! to Thank! those who have refused to pay them for their services for giving them "the opportunity" and the "experience"!
This is very simply a scam and please don't just take my word for it, lets take a look at the numbers! If I sell tickets to see a show at £8-10 and I get an audience of say 400, that £3200-4000 of income. If I only have to remove say £200 for the rent of a hall for an evening (this is often waved, especially if the venue has a bar as the bar intake is normally enough) and a further £300-500 for props and costume, then I, the very very crafty producer, am walking away with a profit of £2500-3500 for the first show and then a profit of £3000-3800 for every subsequent show! if I paid each of my actors just MINIMUM WAGE and the show lasted one hour, I would need to employ 455 people to make a loss. As it is the average show contains 10-25 actors and this means that, unless the show lasted for more than 18 hours, I am guaranteed a profit. Moreover I could, at these prices, afford to pay my actors £100 each night and still walk away with £500-1300 profit after the second show.
There is no reason why performers should be expected to use their skills for free under these circumstances!
There is also this second ridiculous notion that performers need to perform for free for a certain period at the beginnings of their career to somehow prove their dedication to the arts. This notion is absurd! Plumbers are not expected to plumb for free at the beginnings of their career to prove their dedication to their craft, neither are shop assistants, nor bakers, nor even the armed forces! It is simply part of the indoctrination into this scam.
Simply put, if you are working for someone and making them money, then you should ensure that you are not doing it for free.