While we perform and act out of a passion for the craft and the industry, its always important to ensure we are taking care of business and maintaining a healthy income, so we can afford to continue! In this article we'll explore the concept of 'Residuals' and how they work. Let's dive in...
In the film industry, 'Residuals' refers to payments made to actors, writers, directors, and other creative personnel for the re-use or re-run of their work. These payments are often made when a movie or TV show is broadcast on television, streamed online, or syndicated.
The word 'Residuals' is derived from 'residual income', the ongoing money that is paid to performers and creators for their contribution to a project. The residuals are paid to performers and creators based on a percentage of the revenue generated by the project. The revenue generated by the project can come from a variety of sources, such as ticket sales, streaming revenue, etc.
Residuals are a good way to compensate performers and creators for their work, even after the project has been completed. Residuals are often negotiated as part of a performer's contract, and the payment amount and frequency can vary based on the project and the individual's contribution.
Residuals were first introduced in the 1950s as a way to compensate performers and creators for the continued use of their work. At the time, television was a new medium, and the idea of rerunning shows was just starting to catch on. The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and other industry unions negotiated residual payment structures to ensure that performers and creators were fairly compensated for their work and continued to benefit from the money it generated down the line.
Today, residuals are an essential part of the film and television industry, and they are paid to a wide range of individuals, including actors, writers, directors, and musicians. The amount of residuals paid can vary widely but it is typically based on the individual's contribution to the project, the medium in which the project is distributed, and the success of the project.
For example, if a lead actor in a major motion picture negotiates a residual payment of 3% of the film's gross box office revenue. This means that for every $100 million the film earns at the box office, the actor would receive a residual payment of $3 million. In contrast, a background actor may only receive a one-time payment for their work on a project.
Residuals are an important source of income for many performers and creators, especially those who work in the television industry. Since television shows are often rerun for years after their initial broadcast, residuals can provide a steady source of income for performers and creators long after the project has been completed.
So the lesson here for actors, performers and creators is when negotiating payment for your work, don't focus on the day rate alone ;)
This blog os co-authored by The ISA Team