Below is a piece I wrote on my website (http://danieljudegennis.webs.com) concerning a situation my agent and I have been dealing with in terms of getting no response to her communiques concerning payment for a commercial I worked on back in May. My agent did everything she could in order to get this matter resolved to now avail. I decided to bite the bullet and take some direct action and responsibility myself. Not the done thing but I needed to get this resolved. Keeping the very roof over my head depended on it. There is my story of what transpired.
“This Relunctant Banker decided to bite the bullet and take direct action. I called the production company. My agent was doing all she could and her email messages were not being answered. So I dug out the call sheet for AHC Post Limited and called the main number. The producer of all people answered the ‘phone. Being polite (not even firm,) I explained my position and got very little understanding. He explained he had been out of the Country and didn’t know what I was talking about. I found this odd given that the name of Andrew Cummings was listed on the Call Sheet as being a producer. He told me to call back the middle of next week and see what the situation is.
Thinking no more of this, I called my agent and gave her an update. She in turn called him as it was the first opportunity she would have of talking to anyone from the Company. The feedback I got was that Mr. Cummings ‘was pissed’ at my calling him up. Why? Why would some no-name actor get the better of some high powered producer? I was not demanding money with menaces. I was merely enquiring about why I had not been paid for work I had done on the behalf of his client. I was merely trying to get what was rightfully mine. Why would Mr. Cummings get so pissed?
It does seem there exists an attitude that actors should not been paid for work they undertake in good faith with the understanding they will be paid for their efforts. Mr. Cummings had the opportunity and pleasure to travel abroad and take in the experience of his travels be it work or pleasure. However while Mr. Cummings was getting “pissed” at my calling him up to find out why I had not been paid for work I did for his client, he neglected to realise that I may have wanted to get out of the UK for a while and take my family away for a while. Maybe I wanted to do what he had just returned from doing, or, use the money owed to me for mundane things like paying my rent, household bills, debts, top up my Oyster Card or buy a travelcard to get about London in order to conduct my business, attend auditions, castings or just meet up or visit friends.
Maybe Mr. Cummings if you were able to look beyond your overly sensitive ego and small mindedness, you may realise that some of us work hard for our money, have commitments, obligations, responsibilities and others who rely us. So maybe before you get pissed with me for asking for what is mine, you can reflect on your attitude, behaviour and business practices. My not getting paid has been a frustrating, annoying, irritating and austere experience for me, however, I did not allow myself to get pissed about it. My agent allowed you thirty days to settle things did she not? I worked on your production on Thursday 27th May. When I called you it was Friday 8th July. How many days is that Mr. Cummings? I rest my case.”
And so I have rested my case. The above is not a unique situation and goes to show just how undervalued the acting profession has become when this kind of behaviour described above is so commonplace here in the UK.