What Happened To Ethics In Our Industry?

I was speaking to a forty year veteran makeup artist sometime ago and he brought up a valid point. He said that there was a time when you were able to do business in the entertainment industry on a hand shake. It really seems the days of ethical behavior has really gone out the window and dog-eat-dog has taken its place. I think it’s really is a sad day when you feel like you can trust anyone. I know things are tough right now, and everyone is in survival mode, but does that mean that you have to screw other people over just to get ahead? One of the biggest issues that that has been raised is the practice of severely under cutting the rates of other artists. There has been a lot of talk about how the newest generation of hair and makeup artists have been under cutting the veteran makeup artists rates so low that they can’t seem to make a decent wage anymore. I know the makeup and hair schools are pumping out new people into the work force every day. I realize that the new people just want to get their foot in the door, but you need to think about who you are hurting in the long run. It’s really important for the new generation to realize that when you grossly under bid for a job, or when you’re afraid to negotiate a higher rate, you are driving the rate down. We the experienced artists, are trying really hard to piece together a decent middle class lifestyle, and that won’t happen for anyone if the new people keep agreeing to work for $100 or for free. The union had the right idea from the beginning, keep the union rates standard and don’t go below that amount. They understood something very basic, when one person works for less then slowly everyone else will too. If this practice keeps up then very soon from now, there won’t be an industry for us to make a living from. It will all just be a cute hobby.

Years ago, when I worked in Washington DC, the makeup artists there all had set rate that everyone adhered to. It was considered to be a huge “no-no” to undercut someone because they wanted to keep the wages at a high standard. We live in Los Angeles here where union is king, but more and more of the work is coming from non-union. It astounds me that there really aren’t any standard non-union rates here. When I moved here, I asked a person who runs a well know workshop what the going rates were in Los Angeles. To my surprise she told me, “its whatever the market will bare.” I’m sorry but that is an unacceptable answer! Now we are in a recession and the “market” or producers will bare $100 for a day. I don’t know about you, but my rent won’t be covered on that day rate! I’m asking you to think long and hard about what you bid for a job and to do your homework before you start quoting numbers. If you don’t know what the going rate is for your craft then call a few other artists or a few local agencies. But please stop working for bare minimum! We must stick together on this issue if we want to keep making a living at our craft. I can guarantee you the day that the standard is $250 a day for 14 hours the producers will get very comfortable keeping it there.

For more information about rate negotiation watch our virtual classroom video on “Negotiating Rates With Cloutier Agency”: http://www.hmartistsnetwork.com/video_list

Michelle Lee
Makeup Maverick
www.hmartistsnetwork.com

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March 9, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Hair & Makeup Jobs, Hair & Makeup Marketing, Working as a Hair or Makeup Artist.

One Comment

  1. Michele Ahlswede replied:

    Thank you, this is the norm and not the exception in our industry. Newbies need to all read this and listen, they are only hurting themselves in the long run.

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