Friday, July 27, 2012

Who pays the staff?

Pre-production costs, shooting costs, actors maintenance, payment of fees, oodles of taxes, documentation, pleasing the audiences – after reading all this, one must think that producers are indeed a worried and bankrupt lot. They bear the brunt of star tantrums, additional percentage of taxes, flops and hits, and they still stand tall and deliver the best of films to the nation. An actor is never alone on the set. He brings along a driver, a make-up person, a hairdresser, a PA, a spot boy, maybe even a cook. They are paid daily wages/salary in thousands. So the daily maintenance cost of an actor can range from nearly Rs.15000 to Rs.75000 per day. And if a movie shoot consumes about 100 days, the producer ends up spending nearly a couple of crores per actor, more than what his studio technician maybe paid. A multi-starrer invites its own monetary woes and outbursts. In a move to ease their worries, the Producers Guild has moved that actors and actresses should pay for their own maintenance henceforth, and that the producers would not be responsible for the same.

Producer Mukesh Bhatt
We started approaching the principal actors about 10 days ago and they have all agreed to support our cause. But all this is not verbal. They have signed in agreement. They all understand where we are coming from. I met all of them personally. We are just saying that the stars take a lump sum amount from the producers and pay their staff directly from that. Once everyone agrees, we’ll take this to the guild level. So far we’ve got a heartening response from the actors. We are sure the actresses would also understand our concern as well.

Producer Vipul Shah
Sometimes under the name of the star, the staff asks for undue amounts and even throws tantrums. But if they have to take money from their own star, we believe they will become more reasonable. 

Producer Ramesh Taurani
If this new system comes into effect, it will save the producer the hassle of additional paperwork and also negotiating with actors for their staff expenses.

A producers financial woes may seem never ending, but by streamlining the flow of finance through various sections of the industry they aim to make a difference. However the implementation may not be that easy. Staff members also have their own unions and they won’t take such a major change lying down. Interestingly the major actors have signed. Let’s see how the issue unfolds. 

Quote credits: Mumbai Mirror,. Bombay Times (dated 24 July Tuesday) 

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