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How do actor's royalties work?

joxerlives

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Report this Jan. 30 2010, 10:54 am

Always intrigued me. Nowadays any TV show/film is repeated thousands of times on satellite/cable. So do the actors get money every time they're shown? Will Star Trek put the 3rd Klingon on the right's children through college? Or do you have to have a speaking part? Or is it just the regular/recurring characters? And how much do they get? Anyone know?

Jadzia22

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Report this Jan. 30 2010, 12:20 pm

Depends on what there contract says. You won't get an accurate amount unless becuase each one is different depending on contract.

Goodchild

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Report this Jan. 31 2010, 12:46 am

Just like Jadz posted.

For Movies, they will get a sum and can negotiate for a percentage of the profits; I remember seeing a docco on tv about royalties being given to sitcom from the early eighties, a few people in sitcoms from the 70's missed out. A network gets money according to the ratings or how many people watch their shows, as well as advertising dollars. Music has a lifespan of 50-70 years for royalties; I would assume tv shows would be similar.

Hawklord

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Report this Jan. 31 2010, 6:27 am

I think it used to be that they got paid for so many repeats.

I'd heard Pat Priest (Marilyn #2 on The Munsters) say that they got royalties for . . . I forget now, but it was, like, the first 1500 repeats in syndication.

That number was gone through in about two years of syndication, by, around, 1967.

I would imagine that everyone on '60s TV got the same.

That's why whenever actors go on strike, you hear them go for a bigger piece of the pie.

Now, there's syndication, plus DVD sales.

Even still, '3rd Klingon on the right' probably isn't going to get much.

joxerlives

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Report this Jan. 31 2010, 6:47 am

I remember David Soul saying he never got a penny from all the repeats of Starsky and Hutch and for the money he'd have to spend it wouldn't be worth going to court for. But shows like Star Trek are just repeated constantly around the world, even if you got $1 an ep you'd still make thousands per year. Michael Beihn says he got more money from Alien 3 (worst film EVER!;) where the makers used his image for about 2 seconds than he did from the whole of Aliens.

Goodchild

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Report this Jan. 31 2010, 10:11 am

Quote (joxerlives @ Jan. 31 2010, 2:47 am)
I remember David Soul saying he never got a penny from all the repeats of Starsky and Hutch and for the money he'd have to spend it wouldn't be worth going to court for. But shows like Star Trek are just repeated constantly around the world, even if you got $1 an ep you'd still make thousands per year. Michael Beihn says he got more money from Alien 3 (worst film EVER!;) where the makers used his image for about 2 seconds than he did from the whole of Aliens.

I think that Michael Biehn was in Aliens the movie or #2.

The third one had her crashing somewhere and her becoming a host to an Alien and dying at the end..

Jim Cameron did the first and possibly the second one, it seems that he has a longtime relationship with certain actors that he will consider for his movies.

Sigourney and Michael Biehn and his EX has worked on 4-5 movies of his?

joxerlives

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Report this Jan. 31 2010, 12:11 pm

Alien, fantastic, best sci-fi horror ever only rivalled by The Fly and The Thing

Aliens, for a long time my favourite ever film, just superb.

Alien3 worst film of all time, unique amongst sequals in that not only is it terrible in itself but it ruins your enjoyment of what came before. There a clip near the beginning of Michael Biehn in Aliens and that's what he got the money for

Cameron worked with Sigourney in Aliens and Avatar. Cameron worked with Michael Biehn in Terminator, Aliens and The Abyss and Lance Henriksen in Terminator and Aliens (Biehn jokes that he has the same scene in every film, holding a large gun and yelling "Let's get out of here!"). Bill Paxton is in Terminator, Aliens and Titanic (he holds the distinction of being killed onscreen by an Alien, Terminator and Predator although arguably you could say the same of Henriksen). Jeanine Goldstein is also a three time Cameron collaborator, Vasquez in Aliens, John Connor's foster mother in T2 and one of the Irish immigrants in Titanic
¿You can also check out Paxton, Goldstein and Henriksen in Kathryn Bigelow's brilliant vampire movie Near Dark (along with Heroes Adrian Pasdar)
Apparently Cameron seriously considered casting Biehn as the colonel in Avatar and having him scarred and unnamed implying that he's actually Corporal Hicks from Aliens and Alien 3 never happened (a lot of the technology etc in Avatar is reminiscent of the Colonial Marines in Aliens whilst Michelle Rodrigeuz's character is a dead ringer for Vasquez). In the end he decided against it because him and Sigourney in the same movie would be too much for most people to buy. ¿ ¿

Now when you say James Cameron's ex you could mean either the great Kathryn Bigelow (Blue Steel, Strange Days, Point Break, The Hurt Locker, Near Dark, all terrific) or Gale Anne Hurd who helped him produce Aliens and The Terminator

DS9TREK

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Report this Jan. 31 2010, 2:10 pm

Quote (joxerlives @ Jan. 30 2010, 3:54 pm)
Always intrigued me. Nowadays any TV show/film is repeated thousands of times on satellite/cable. So do the actors get money every time they're shown? Will Star Trek put the 3rd Klingon on the right's children through college? Or do you have to have a speaking part? Or is it just the regular/recurring characters? And how much do they get? Anyone know?

It varies from country to country. In America it currently goes:

first repeat: 90% of original pay
second/third repeat: 75%
fourth: 50%
fifth & sixth: 25%
seventh: 10% I can't remember if it stays at 10% for every other repeat or drops to 5%, I'll look it up later. For foreign broadcasts of US series, payments vary on the size of the country, in Britain it'd be 10% every time.

In Britain they sign an individual contract that allows the maker of the show to repeat it on their channel for up to 5 years for a set fee each time. After that is up they're free to ask for any amount per repeat (this is why the BBC complains it's usually cheaper to make a new programme than repeat a popular older one). When repeats are shown on UK satellite channels those who are entitled to a repeat fee share 17% of the advertising shown during the repeat.

/ When TOS was made Shatner & Co signed contracts giving them 100% fees for only the first 13 repeats of TOS, they haven't received a penny for any broadcast since.

// In the UK you get repeat fees if: you had a spoken line, performed a stunt or choreographed dance, you're the writer(s), director or you wrote any of the music.

DS9TREK

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Report this Jan. 31 2010, 2:15 pm

Quote (Goodchild @ Jan. 31 2010, 5:46 am)
Music has a lifespan of 50-70 years for royalties; I would assume tv shows would be similar.

It's lifetime of author(s) + 70 years.

joxerlives

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Report this Jan. 31 2010, 2:44 pm

Quote (DS9TREK @ Jan. 31 2010, 2:10 pm)
Quote (joxerlives @ Jan. 30 2010, 3:54 pm)
Always intrigued me. Nowadays any TV show/film is repeated thousands of times on satellite/cable. So do the actors get money every time they're shown? Will Star Trek put the 3rd Klingon on the right's children through college? Or do you have to have a speaking part? Or is it just the regular/recurring characters? And how much do they get? Anyone know?

It varies from country to country. In America it currently goes:

first repeat: 90% of original pay
second/third repeat: 75%
fourth: 50%
fifth & sixth: 25%
seventh: 10% I can't remember if it stays at 10% for every other repeat or drops to 5%, I'll look it up later. For foreign broadcasts of US series, payments vary on the size of the country, in Britain it'd be 10% every time.

In Britain they sign an individual contract that allows the maker of the show to repeat it on their channel for up to 5 years for a set fee each time. After that is up they're free to ask for any amount per repeat (this is why the BBC complains it's usually cheaper to make a new programme than repeat a popular older one). When repeats are shown on UK satellite channels those who are entitled to a repeat fee share 17% of the advertising shown during the repeat.

/ When TOS was made Shatner & Co signed contracts giving them 100% fees for only the first 13 repeats of TOS, they haven't received a penny for any broadcast since.

// In the UK you get repeat fees if: you had a spoken line, performed a stunt or choreographed dance, you're the writer(s), director or you wrote any of the music.

That's interesting. So if you're an actor on say Babylon 5 or Xena you could still be getting 5% of your pay for the series over a decade later? But if the series is shown twice a year on ten different channels you could still be earning your full fee without even lifting a finger! Nice work if you can get it :)

QdonQ

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Report this Jan. 31 2010, 5:23 pm

The longer the show is on the air the less amount of money you get...  

Actors have been known to get residual payments as low as .01 cents

joxerlives

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Report this Jan. 31 2010, 8:12 pm

I remember David Duchovny saying he made very little money from the repeats of The Red Show Diaries (a fixture of late night TV all over the world). But surely he must make a mint from the endless repeats of The X-files?

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