How to Get Paid
What to Do When You’re Not Paid
by a Production Company
Non-payment occurs when a production company fails to pay you for work you have done, either by promising payment at a later date or without explanation. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s important to know your legal rights and take appropriate action.
If you work in the entertainment industry, non-payment is unfortunately a common issue that you may encounter. It can be frustrating and stressful to not receive the compensation you earned, but there are legal steps you can take to protect your rights and recover your unpaid wages. In this section, you can find out what to do when you’re not paid by a production company, including how to gather evidence, contact the appropriate individuals, and seek legal assistance if necessary.
Collect all relevant documents, emails, and contracts related to the work you did and the compensation promised to you. This evidence will be crucial in proving your case if you need to escalate the matter.
Contact the Person or Company Who Owes You Payment
Try to reach out to the person or company who owes you payment and ask them to pay what they owe. Provide them with the evidence you have collected. Be sure to communicate with the appropriate individual – for example, if you’re a low-ranking crew member, it may be better to first speak with your department head rather than going directly to a producer.
Send a Demand Letter
If contacting the producer directly does not result in payment, you can send a demand letter outlining the amount owed, the work you performed, and the deadline for payment. This letter can serve as a formal reminder and may prompt the producer to take action.
File a complaint with the labor board
If you have not received payment after contacting the producer and sending a demand letter, you can file a complaint with the labor board in your state or country. The labor board can investigate the case and may be able to help you recover your unpaid wages.
Consult an entertainment lawyer
If the amount owed is substantial, or if you are experiencing ongoing issues with the producer, it may be necessary to consult an entertainment lawyer. A lawyer can advise you on your legal options and help you take further action if necessary, such as filing a lawsuit.
Go to court
If the matter is not resolved within a specified time frame, consider threatening to take legal action. Small claims court is available in most states, although the rules vary. Keep in mind that legal battles can be costly, so you’ll need to weigh the potential benefits against the risks.
List of unions and organizations in the UK and USA:
Here is a list of unions and organizations in the UK and USA that offer support and advice on non-payment issues. Contacting them may be a helpful step in resolving your situation.
- http://www.equity.org.uk/– They offer support and advice to their members on a range of issues, including non-payment.
- https://www.bectu.org.uk/– BECTU is the trade union representing workers in the creative industries in the UK, including film, television, theatre, and live events. They provide support and advice to their members on a range of issues, including non-payment
- https://www.itc-arts.org/– The Independent Theatre Council (ITC) is a national association of performing arts companies and individuals. They provide support and advice to the independent theatre sector, including guidance on non-payment issues.
- https://www.musiciansunion.org.uk/ – The Musicians’ Union (MU) is a trade union representing professional musicians in the UK. They provide support and advice to their members on a range of issues, including non-payment.
- http://www.actorsequity.org/– Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) is the labor union representing actors and stage managers in the US. They provide support and advocacy for their members, including assistance with non-payment issues.
- https://www.sagaftra.org/ – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists – Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) is the labor union representing performers in film, television, and radio in the US. They offer support and resources to their members, including assistance with non-payment issues
- http://www.dga.org/ – Directors Guild of America (DGA) is the labor union representing directors and assistant directors in film, television, and other media in the US. They provide support and advocacy for their members, including assistance with non-payment issues.