Casting Professionals
How does payment work?

What should you be paying talent?

On StarNow, Casting Professionals connect directly with the talent, and can offer whatever fee they feel is fair for the job on offer, within reason.

StarNow talent range from complete beginners through to highly experienced professionals, and will have different pay expectations accordingly. 
Some beginners may be happy to work for a lower budget to gain credits; while some more experienced talent will be looking for a commercial rate they feel reflects the skills they will bring to the job.

StarNow doesn’t provide a set rate card, or take a booking fee or commission from what you pay the talent.   We do encourage you to pay industry recommended rates where possible.

As an advertiser it is your responsibilty to be aware of local wage laws in your area, and to determine if these apply to your production - paying at least National Minimum Wage to workers is a legal requirement. A key thing you will need to define is whether the job you have on offer requires a 'worker' to do the role.

If your production looks professional and is not paid, you can expect us to get in touch to query this, and we may also get in touch if the rate of pay looks to be well below industry norms, to point you towards some resources that should help explain what is expected.

We also reserve the right to decline listings for any reason, one of which may be if payment is deemed too low in relation to the opportunity/size of the company behind the production.

What if I can’t pay anything?

If you are an individual or a company (including start-ups) hoping to book talent to work for free, it's likely we will need to decline your opportunity.  We're also unable to accept offers of vouchers in leiu of payment (with the exception of some contra offers being acceptable in our influencer category).

If you are looking to collaborate, rather than engage someone to work, we can probably help.  Genuine collaborations can be great for building experience, networks, showreels, and portfolios.

Collaborations should mutually benefit both parties, without commercial gain and nearly always with no exposure involved for the talent.  Good examples of collaboration include student films, where talent gain showreel material, or 'Time for Print', where models and photographers collaborate for portfolio material.

If you’re a student filmmaker or someone looking to collaborate, or you're just not sure if the job you have on offer is one where payment should be discussed, check out our no/low pay advice or head to the bottom of this page where we talk about commercial versus very low budget productions.

Or, feel free to email us at

Please note we do not accept collaboration opportunties that require nudity or implied nudity.  We have strict guidelines around what we will consider in this space and this includes minimum payment requirements.

I have a budget, but don’t know what kind of fee I should offer?

We encourage you to be fair and to aim to pay something that rewards the time the talent has put into working for you, and the skill they bring to the role.

A good starting place is to take a look at National Minimum Wage in your area. This is the bare minimum talent will be expecting as an hourly rate, if you have a budget and intend to pay your talent. It’s also the law!

Ideally though, a fee encompasses more than just a simple hourly rate.

Shoot Fee, or a BSF (Basic Shoot Fee)
 As a general guide, paying a shoot fee (for time on set) and usage (for exposure to talent) is standard. For a shoot fee, setting a '4 hour minimum' brings you more in line with industry guidelines. This means the talent are paid the agreed hourly rate x 4, for working 4 hours or less. An additional hourly rate is paid should they work more than 4 hours.

Usage is an additional fee and buys you the right to use footage for an agreed time period on an agreed medium (e.g. 6 months online).

Fixed Fee
If you are not buying specific usage, some advertisers offer a higher, fixed 'all inclusive' fee, instead of a shoot fee + usage.

This may start from $200 - 250.00 (in dollars or sterling) but will often go into the thousands.

The more exposure the talent will receive from the project, and the more skill required to do the job, the higher the rate should be (e.g a nationwide TVC would command a higher fee than stills for regional use).  A fixed fee needs to meet National Minimum Wage per hour at least.

Fixed fees can be used to cover a set period or set types of use. 

Buy outs

If an advertiser is looking to have no use restrictions at all, this is generally called a 'buy out' and this should be made clear to the talent, as the material can be used again and again. A buy out will generally be paid well, but some talent may avoid this work as not knowing the levels of possible exposure over time can potentially put future work at risk.  

Here are some good questions to ask yourself:

Exposure: What kind of exposure will the talent receive for doing this work? Generally speaking more exposure equals greater fees. While you might think talent would be excited about exposure and do anything to book a part that offers this, remember that if an actor or model becomes associated with your brand, it may mean that they don’t book other work for a time, as other producers prefer a fresh face. For example, if a model books a job doing a Coke TV commercial, you can be sure that no other beverage company will be booking them for a very long time.

Usage: How many places will the talents work appear? Are you booking them for a TV commercial? Great, but hang on, will that commercial also appear in the cinema, along with stills from the commercial showing up in every bus stop in town? Producers will often calculate a fee to cover every area of usage.

Rollovers: Will the work appear once? Will it play on TV relentlessly for a month, and then come back again a year later? Contracts will often state that work can be used for an agreed period of time, and beyond that time, the talent will be paid a percentage of their fee again (up to 100%).

Deferred payment: Research this option if you are doing a feature film that may get a distribution deal at a later date. You can arrange to make payment at that point, rather than at the time the work is done.

What else will help me decide how much to pay?

Have a think about the level of skill you need, to nail this job. 

Do you need someone experienced to pull this off, or could someone up and coming work well?

Less experienced talent may be willing to work for less to gain credits in the industry, while more experienced talent may expect to be paid more for their skills. So, it will be a trade-off.

Remember, experienced talent can make life easier on set:

  • Do you need an actor who can to hit a mark and find their light first time?
  • Do you need a photographer with good quality camera equipment?
  • Do you need a model with a wide range of clothes and great experience to suit your shoot?
  • Do you need a sound technician with their own equipment?
  • Do you need a make-up artist with a good range of make-up?

Have a think about the kind of production you’re putting together

If you have a super small budget, and all the talent are being treated the same, understand what is involved and are keen to take part (For example, an Indie film set where everyone is living on the smell of an oily rag), pay what you can. Be honest and up front about it, and it will probably be a valuable experience for all involved. Short films, webisodes, no budget feature films, small business promotions such as website stills often fall into this bucket.

For commercial productions with professional crews that will have bigger industry reach, we strongly encourage you to consider whether you are paying what the job is worth, whatever the experience level of the talent.

Some factors that would generally indicate a production is commercial include: most people on set being paid, a profit is intended to made from the end product (e.g. ticket sales, increased product sales from improved website), or budget being assigned to the production in other areas (e.g. script, marketing, location).

If you still need help, you can also search the Internet for union rates in your area. These provide a good guide for the minimum rates expected and some unions even have template contracts you can use.

Has this answered your question? If not, please contact us