Watching the first episode of “Christine,” I couldn’t help myself from cringing. This is a testament to the writer’s skills and America Ferrara’s watchability – the series of shorts follows Christine during one (seemingly endless) night of speed dating. The conversations are often uncomfortable and awkward, just like actual dating! And sometimes, it’s a bit too true to life – some of these dates, especially the rough ones, seem to stretch into eternity. And the one above, the mildly creepy set up (with a cocky guy and strange interracial asides), is both compelling and repulsive at the same time.
Ferrara’s project is part of a larger YouTube channel called WIGS – a lauded launch that is targeting women with short films featuring recognizable stars. The business side of this is fascinating:
We know what you’re thinking. How can YouTube afford to pay A-list actors to sign on for such a project? This is the beauty of it. According to Avnet, they’re being paid “very little.”
What does that mean? Essentially, the actors are getting paid the equivalent of SAG actors with all actors earning the exact same amount regardless of name or talent.
According to last year’s SAG contract summary page five, performers make anywhere from $825 for a day performance to $2,921 for weekly performances. 1/2 hour programs pay upwards of $4,600. Keep in mind these shows are several minutes. Very little indeed.
So, why would stars commit to doing something for peanuts?
Well, exposure for one. This is a unique opportunity for stars who have been out of the limelight for a while, but who still resonate with viewers (i.e. Garner and Stiles). It’s also a great opportunity for break out stars such as Caitlin Gerard in “Jan.”
Avnet says it’s also for the experience. They’re getting be a part of something that hasn’t been done before and that has the potential to be huge. Again, the snowball effect also comes into play here. Once one mega star is signed on, it’s the cool thing to do.