When Selena: The Series was inexperienced lit for the first time, the cast and crew couldn’t have been happier. The venture was a high-profile alternative for Latinx creators to indicate the world what they may do. And in a manner it was sort of a no brainer: a TV present about the life of one of the hottest Latin American musicians, whose music crossed borders and languages? How can that not be Netflix’s subsequent large hit?
And it was. While the streaming large is understood for not revealing precise numbers in relation to viewership of its reveals, it was no secret that Selena: The Series dominated Netflix’s Top 10 charts in a number of international locations as quickly because it was launched. More importantly, Netflix has even confirmed that half of the present’s viewers was from the US, the place, Selena held the number one spot of the platform throughout its first week.
So why have been the Selena: The Series cast & crew paid considerably lower than folks in comparable positions, in comparable high-profile initiatives? The reply lies in a current Los Angeles Times exposé that exposed some unflattering behind-the-scenes particulars of the Netflix manufacturing.
High profile, low funds
When we predict of “Netflix Originals” we are likely to suppose of all of them beneath the identical kind of manufacturing blanket. The actuality is extra difficult than that. For occasion, Selena: The Series shouldn’t be an American Netflix authentic, however moderately a Latin American Netflix authentic. The essential distinction? One kind of Netflix manufacturing has a a lot bigger funds. We’re certain you’ll be able to guess which one.
According to the LA Times, a number of sources talked about the funds for Selena: The Series as lower than $2 million per episode. For comparability, The crown launched with a reported funds of $13 million per episode (and who is aware of how a lot it prices as of late). The staggering distinction in manufacturing funds was mirrored in the manufacturing worth, regardless of the Selena: The Series cast & crew’s finest efforts.
And but, Selena: The Series was nonetheless a convincing success in the face of a a lot decrease funds than what it warranted. Still, that triumph didn’t translate into compensation for these concerned in making the present. A smaller funds meant decrease salaries for the cast & crew of Selena: The Series – an unlucky flip of occasions that almost all determined to comply with via as a result of of their love for the venture.
Still at the door
“You have to pay your dues” is the sort of assertion that ensures that new expertise shouldn’t be discouraged by ill-treatment of these above them. It can also be a mentality that permits these in energy to use these beneath them. In the case of the Selena: The Series cast & crew, the LA Times states that they bought a nasty deal as a result of that was the just one accessible to them – and they actually believed in the venture.
In idea, the leisure trade has a system designed to stop this type of state of affairs. For instance, the Writers Guild of America has guidelines for minimal charges for streaming series based mostly on episode size, episodic funds, and quantity of subscribers on the platform. When Netflix’s Budget For Selena: The Series went beneath $2.5 million per episode, minimal compensation charges dropped.
What this meant for workers writers on the present was that they have been paid between 30% and 50% much less per week than they have been then Selena: The Series had been a Netflix US authentic. To make issues worse, the manufacturing schedule was grueling. The authentic expectation was that the staff would full eighteen episodes in twenty weeks – the time normally spent on eight or ten episodes. In quick: extra work for much less pay.
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Based on all this, some would argue that Netflix performed the system. They took a venture that was very prone to be an enormous hit, however they funds it as a smaller manufacturing. It appears to be the sort of factor you will get away with when coping with artists wanting to get their work on display screen. According to the makers interviewed in the LA Times piece, it’s even worse in case you’re a minority.
Netflix’s response was to assert innocence. An organization spokesperson informed the LA Times that’s the purpose Selena: The Series was a Latin American authentic is that the Latin American staff at Netflix is the one who has pursued the venture – a venture that was ultimately given the inexperienced gentle due to the reputation of the singer in Mexico. So Netflix says that so far as Netflix US is worried, the present wouldn’t be in style in the US(!!!).
Obviously, as has already been established, that turned out to not be the case. But regardless of how a lot Netflix believed or disbelieved Selena: The Series, would the firm agree that the cast and crew have been underpaid? Not actually. The LA Times quotes a Netflix spokesperson as saying they imagine “the writers were fairly compensated based on quotes negotiated by their US representation.” Blame the brokers!
Here’s a constructive spin on the Selena: The Series expertise for his cast & crew. The subsequent time they’re engaged on a venture, there’s a great likelihood the good buzz from this Netflix present will assist them strike a fairer deal. We can solely hope that’s the case.