Though I struggle to sometimes come to terms with the concept of fame and how it translates into real money in our part of the world, I think every reasonable person would admit, that the reward of labour is salary—as such, we must place value on our services and talents.
I regularly throw stones at most of our celebrities for wearing the ‘FAKIES’ and trying so hard to parade a lifestyle which their circumstances cannot sustain but deep down, I genuinely feel sorry for some of these people, who continue to trade their time and talent for worthless fame.
I recently got into a long conversation with a certain Ghana actress. I wouldn’t call her an “A-lister” but surely a “B-lister” (That reminds me, I need to complete a page to place our Ghanaian entertainers under A, B, C and Z list).
Despite the fact that I am aware some of these “wannabe” stars work for free, enduring all sorts of abuse and contempt, I was shocked when the actress mentioned how much she is mostly paid for a movie role. And the fact that she does not even get paid sometimes by some of the long standing production houses nearly broke my heart.
“If an A-lister is starring in the movie for free, who are you to be getting paid”; this is something she has been told several times—and that, begging for your payment after you have finished working is a well accepted practice in today’s Ghana Movie Industry.
I understand things are hard but does the hardship not demand that a person must be paid for work done so he or she can have something to fall on?
According to this movie star, most of her colleagues including herself are mostly ticked on 1,000 GHS and when things are better, some of the A-listers are given 3,000 GHS per movie. Even with this, you would have to go to the church to thank God if the cheque clears—and that means, the pastor will take his share too.
“The money is very bad and that is why some of these girls have to find other ways to live the high life they desperately want” she added. I do understand where she is coming from with this but I wouldn’t accept that as a prudent alternative even in my intoxicated state.
Over the years, I have realized Ghanaians find it increasingly difficult to pay for things they cannot see with their eyes or touch —and that includes paying for services, no matter how valuable that service is to their business or operations. They want it for FREE and this is the bigger umbrella some of our movie stars are living under with those who hire their services.
No reasonable person would waste his or her time providing any real service for free, especially when that service will fetch someone money in the long run—but many of our movie stars are doing this, having bought into the vaguely placed notion of “you will become famous” by working for free… How long are you going to be working for free?
The truth is, these movie makers are not handing over their VCDs or Movie Rights for free, so why should any person who places value on his or her acting career be working for them for free—and then, continue to struggle to the extent that, another woman’s husband has to become the Messiah…
Then again, most of these people we call actors/actresses do not have any valid worth, so why should anyone pay for a “worthless talent”?
Most of these actors/actresses do not place any value on themselves, their talents and have not invested a dime on their career. Therefore, there is nothing worth paying for when you decide to use them in a movie. Instead of being assets by making you money, they become liabilities, fetching you a bank debt.
There is a limit on how far you can fake your value and with time, the holes begin to show. Those who have invested in building a real value will continue winning, to the shock and aversion of those without any real value/talent but take pride in being called actors.
Of course some cheap movie makers may call a bluff on those with worthy talents when they demand to be paid their worth but like a fine metal, those with real value will live to see the return of the master, ready to pay more for their worth.
It is indeed sad that after all these years, some of our top actors/actresses continue to WORK for free—not by choice but by virtue of the situations they find themselves.
But it is far depressing to know that these same actors/actresses have not improved themselves/skills or talents all these years—riding on the same wheels that brought them into the industry…How many have bothered to take a single class?
Let your worth, work and talent fetch you the pay you desire. And since we cannot bridge the gap between fame and real money in our corner of the world, fame should always be an opportunity cost to getting paid—for those who can see beyond.