Sad to say, when the pay is good, the decision gets a little tougher. I did turn down an audition once for a group trying to kill health reform. That was a no-brainer. On the other hand, I've auditioned for tobacco industry stuff. I'm anti-smoking and pretty intolerant of the habit, but it is legal for now. In fact, I think it's ridiculous to restrict advertising for a legal product.
But when the pay is terrible, it's kind of a relief. I don't have to worry about ethics or my reputation. Last week I got a call for a commercial audition that would have required two trips to Milwaukee (audition then callback with the client) plus a shoot in Madison, which is 3.5 hours away.
All for the princely sum of $540. Subtract three, quite possibly four, days of car rentals (about $200), gas (maybe another $100) and agency commission. Add in two half-days, at least another full day and maybe even an overnight away from home and work and you get yourself down to an hourly wage that's less than what a starting barista might make.
Maybe I'd get a hundred bucks of that back in reimbursed travel expenses if I booked it. On the other hand, maybe I'd go through two auditions and have nothing at all to show for $100-plus in expenditures.
That was a pretty easy call. I think even for someone who actually owns a car it would be a pretty bad deal. On the other hand, the script was kind of funny, which is pretty unusual for a low-budget production. But not nearly funny enough.
So I will not be taking the rural Missouri television market by storm. Not just yet anyway.