Press Release – ActionActors
Bruce Hopkins, a 30yr veteran in the NZ performing arts, film & TV scene and founder of the unique Temp HR agency, ActionActors, which sources temp work to support actors who are between paid acting jobs, has questioned a recent claim made on Radio …ActionActors refutes producers statement re TPPA copyright extension
Bruce Hopkins, a 30yr veteran in the NZ performing arts, film & TV scene and founder of the unique Temp HR agency, ActionActors, which sources temp work to support actors who are between paid acting jobs, has questioned a recent claim made on Radio New Zealand by a senior figure and one of the most significant producers of NZs television & film industry. The comment was made in support of a potential 20yr extension of copyright term protections in the recently signed TPP agreement. During the interview it was claimed that;
“… any of the productions that we make, the writers, the directors, the actors, are all participants in the pool, so as long as that money keeps coming in they will continue to receive something”.
Hopkins said “As someone who has attempted to make as much of my living as possible from acting, during what is now a 30yr acting career, I would like to point out that in fact actors in NZ have not had the benefit of having a residual payment clause in their contracts since the late 1980s. It would be very difficult to find any living NZ actor who has benefited from the receipt of residual payments for any film or television work, including the major offshore productions that have filmed here, such as Hercules, Xena & Lord of The Rings, let alone our very own tax payer funded local product.”
It was not until 2014 that NZ actors & actors agents have been able to enjoy the real possibility of including a back end/residual clause for actors contribution to the IP of a production, in their contracts.
Hopkins says “ Residuals can be a significant contribution to an actors ability to survive financially. This is the case in all other english speaking film making countries such as the US, UK, Australia, & Canada. So the claim that was made in the interview on Radio New Zealand is actually very misleading, and it would be a shame to see actors used for the purpose of supporting this extension of copyright terms as part of the TPPA.”
“After 30 yrs in this industry & having had featured roles in international money spinners such as Hercules, Xena & Lord Of The Rings, roles for which I would have received significant residual payments had I lived in any of the countries named above, I have finally received 2 recent cheques for residual payments. However these are related to my miniscule role in the local movie ‘Housebound’, which has gone on to become an international hit. I worked 3 days on that film, for $150/day, spread over 3 yrs, due to the fact that the film twice ran out of funds, so the crew & cast had to go off and get on with life while further funds were sourced. Now with Housebounds’ success & because the NZ Film Commission had the great sense to include a back end clause in contracts for key crew & cast dedicating time to such a low budget production, I have earned at least 200% of my total original fee in residuals to date, so who knows maybe I’ll keep receiving those particular payments & one day live the life style of George Clooney!”
Hopkins says “I believe in sensible copyright protection and I believe that all creatives in all industries should be able to share in the profits made from their work, essentially the concept of trickle down. In fact I take it even further & believe that visual artists should receive something like a 5-10% residual of profits made by investors who buy & sell their works for profit while the artist is alive. Bottom line being that probably 99.99% of actors in NZ have never received a residual payment thanks to copyright laws, even if they were the lead role for a hugely successful film or TV series. Instead the vast majority rely on the type of temp & casual work that my agency ActionActors tries to source for them. Work such as live promotions, role play, hospitality, customer service etc, all jobs in which actors have experience and rely on to pay their bills while waiting for another role or a residual cheque!”