« on: Apr 07, 2016, 12:47 pm »
This is very tricky.
I usually start at 10% over minimum (This is a number that most producers are aware of because usually agents don't get a fee unless their actors are being paid the 10% of minimum).
But, a lot of the times, the budget is the budget and you don't get a lot of wiggle room on negotiating the salary (and if you are in favored nations, well that complicates things).
Yes, negotiate the other things - travel, housing, car, parking, higher per diem (this is often how I have gotten around the favored nations issue . . .), a firm petty cash situation (So you won't be spending any of your money), taxi/metro reimbursement, meals during tech, and extra day off, etc.
If you have to negotiate the salary, you need to start up-selling yourself on what you bring over the minimum . . . do you have a long history with that producer? long history with the director? history with that type of production (musical, dance, etc)? supervision and training of interns, PA's, house ASMs? Are you going to be a doing a lot of work prior to the event . . . can you negotiate a longer contract, thus raising your income. (Seasonal work, if I have gotten two weeks of prep . . . and that extra week of work helped make up for the lower weekly salary.)
These are all tricky up-sells since there are probably other SMs who are willing to do the job for less. So, the thing about negotiating the higher salary you might need to be prepared to lose the job or do it for minimum.
I often "accept" the job, and deal with the details at a later date. Often then they have released other potential SMs, and then I negotiate the details - yes, I am prepared to work for minimum at the contract level I work at . . . but it gives me a wee bit of negotiation room if they don't have three other people chomping at the bit. I tend to start conversations "Yes, I am doing this job, but it would be nice to if we can find a higher salary for the job" - and then I go into the sell.
But the best answer is to work on larger contracts where the minimum is meets or exceeds your minimum needs.