Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pay to Play

A friend posted on Facebook that she had a lead for a producing job and to contact her if interested. This woman, let's call her Jane, wait... that's her name... let's call her Zane, has been a big part of my career. 15 years ago she trained me when I was a PA on how to be a producer. She also got me a couple of key jobs in my early career. Zane told me she wanted a finder's fee if I got the job. Zane said she was screwed out of money people owed her in the past. She wanted to cash in.

Zane said she'd send in my stuff in a few days for free or today for a finder's fee. Zane refused to tell me the name of the show or the genre of talk. She asked if I had court TV experience. I have tons. In fact, that's what I'm doing now. I said if she got me the job, I was fine with it. She hinted she wanted me to write an email of intent and put $2,000. So I did. $2,000 for Supervising Producer job, which I don't have on my resume and would be a stretch, and $500 for a Producer job, which should be a no brainer. Zane sends back a re-written email of intent with $5,000 for Supervise and $1,000 for Producer. She raised her own price. I called her on it and she said she realized she deserved more, but would settle on $3,000. I wrote back immediately, "Done."

The next morning I get an email from Zane saying she talked it over with her husband and she wants the first two weeks of my salary, if I get and take the job. You have to remember, if I get a job, I have to pay someone else 10% or my salary to negotiate the contract. So it's 10% off before taxes, two weeks before taxes, taxes and then I keep the rest. I told her we had a deal and she can't keep changing it. In fact, I figured she's change it again if I said yes to the "two week" offer. Zane wrote an email back and I wrote a nice email telling her how much she meant to me and my career, but I didn't want to do business with her. Zane was touched and we ended it. The next day, I find out that two shows I thought I was going to be up for, were already staffed. I freaked out. $5,000 did not sound like a lot of money to make money. Today was a different day then two days ago. It was a day with less hope and slight more desperation. What did I do? I just flushed away the only option I had for a job. I write Zane, "$5,000. I'm in. Make it happen." Zane writes back, "OK."

 The next day I see listed on, a court show job in LA. My guess is that it's the same job. I don't want to apply for it twice, I don't want to look like I was trying to get the job behind Zane's back and I definitely don't want to get the job on my own and then pay $5,000 for an email. I send the job posting to Zane and ask if it's the same job. She says she never put me up the job because I never made it clear what I wanted to do. Ugh. All that running around nothing to show for it. It was days later, so the $5,000 no longer got me a premium. Zane let me apply for the show on my own. Which I did. After all that the show was "Paternity Court." One guy in my office described it as "The last show on my list to work on. But I would work on it." Do you think it's worth to pay to play?

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