The Million Dollar Lesson from Hollywood


You are a four-time Oscar nominated actress. Your costar is a popular actor.

He gets paid $1.5 mil for a reshoot and you get paid $80.
Whose fault is that?

If you are following the Gender disparity happenings of Hollywood, you will be familiar with the recent story of Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg. Due to the Kevin Spacey sexual harassment allegations they needed to reshoot some scenes from the movie without Kevin. Mark was Paid $1.5 million for his time. Michelle got scale pay of $80 per day.

So how did this happen? Mark asked, and Michelle did not. Simple. He placed a bet and she just checked.

If you are like me your first reaction is: That it is outrageous! How could this happen! Are these people crazy? And to add insult to injury they both are represented by the same talent agency.

The fact that this can even happen is mind boggling and infuriating. But it shows how important it is to learn to ask. If two people are applying for two jobs and you want them both and one asks for a $300,000 salary and the other asks for double, you are certainly not going to say to the underbidder we like you so here’s $600,000. In many cases its all about the negotiation and women typically have not been as aggressive in this arena. If this can happen to Michelle Williams it can happen to anyone. Here is what she said regarding the reshoot:

“I’d be wherever they needed me, whenever they needed me. And they could have my salary, they could have my holiday, whatever they wanted. Because I appreciated so much that they were making this massive effort.”

Mark on the other hand asked for a seven-figure payout and got it. Now Michelle could try and “check raise” go back and ask for more. Sometimes it works and sometimes they fold. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. At the very least she needs to find a new agent.

Hollywood women have shown outrage over the incident and I understand why but the million-dollar lesson here is ASK. In poker we say be the bettor. Make people pay to play with you.


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