As creative people, we can be intimidated or even mystified by the gritty “business” parts of the industry. Do you sometimes wonder if you should be negotiating better? Or if you’re getting paid less because of your gender? Expert negotiator and industry executive, Victoria Slater, has given us an INNER VIEW Part 2 with some important insights! We were honored to feature Victoria for an Influence Webinar in 2022, but there were some key questions she didn’t have time to respond to during the webinar. Read below for more expert tips on the art of negotiation in the industry!
Victoria Slater spent over twenty years in the entertainment industry. Her career took her to foreign lands and negotiating deals on the sets of many feature films and television projects. These include Twentieth Century Fox’s mega blockbuster disaster film VOLCANO, Paramount’s STAR TREK VII: GENERATIONS, and BAYWATCH. She is a Producers Guild of America member, serving on the PGA Board of Directors for nine years, and chaired their Mentoring Program for over seven years. In 2007 Victoria was awarded the prestigious AP Council Commitment Award for her service to the Guild.
Kathleen Cooke: Do female writers get the same compensation as their male counterparts?
Victoria Slater: I don’t think it is so much male vs female but experience and credits. Do you have an agent, and are you willing to negotiate? If you feel you are not getting the same deal as a male counterpart for the same work with the same experience, stand strong and negotiate for better pay and terms.
Kathleen: Why are writers the least recognized when productions cannot happen without them?
Victoria: When work is a set pay, you can be out of the picture once your work is delivered. Someone with a creative vision for your work (producer/director) takes over and often no longer wants your input. It is the nature of the industry. That is why writers often become producers and directors.
Kathleen: What is a good way to negotiate with a name(d) actor to be in an independent film?
Victoria: Tell them the advantage it will be to them. If you don’t have the money for their quote, approach them differently. Is your project one that appeals to them for some other reason, like a cause they champion, helping a friend out, or is it a chance to play a part not normally offered to them? It can be any number of reasons.
Kathleen: How do you respond to biases presented towards women in the negotiation process?
Victoria: This is the whole reason I wrote my book, How to Negotiate Without Freaking Out to help women get over the fear of negotiating. Biases often derive from social norms. Women are often afraid of offending. There are ways to negotiate that are not offensive. Get my book!
Want to read Part 1 of Victoria’s INNER VIEW? Click here!