Fot those of you who are subscribed to Shooting People (a website dedicated to filmmakers and other related industries) you'll know all about the poll that they're conducting over whether Shooting People should continue letting people advertise for unpaid staff, both in front of and behind the camera.
It's throwing up the argument from filmmkers that filmmaking will only be accessible to the people that can afford it, if the National Minimum Wage is enforced. Anyone from a non priviledged background will be unable to make films, they claim.
Have they ever stopped to think about the actors that they are requesting to work for free? How it is changing the demographic of those in the industry?
Actors are professionals. A lot of us are not rich. We need to be paid or we cannot afford to be an actor any more. How is that any more acceptable?
To those on no budget, then carry on making your films, beg borrow or steal what equipment you can, blag your best and enjoy what you do. Just get used to the idea that you cannot use professionals any more than you can afford to shoot on 35mm. A fact of life if you have no money. Find drama students or enthusiastic amateurs and you won't fall foul of the law.
To those with higher aspirations, shooting on 35mm and not having any money left for cast- what is the point of a good looking film if the people delivering it cannot live up to the high production values? Without actors you don't have a drama. Remember who is delivering your ideas onto the screen; who is speaking your words. If that's not important to you, then you might want to take a long hard look at why you're in this industry.
Lastly, there is the argument that some no pay jobs are fine and some (like jobs on a funded film) are not. Trying to separate the charlatans from the honest collaborations is like trying to separate water. It's not going to work. My conclusion is, if you don't have the money for your film, then turn some of that inventiveness into ways of raising a bit of cash. Think of ideas that you can do on a shoestring and keep things simple. Do you need ten crew when three will do? Keep the grand ideas for when you can afford them. If your ideas are sound and your voice distinctive, you'll grow.