Soapie Salaries Revealed, Generations The Legacy dragged for exploiting background actors, Scandal pays more
SABC 1 longest-serving soapie Generations The Legacy has been called out on social media for exploiting and unfairly paying cast members who feature as extras. Renowned entertainment reporter Phil Mphela alleges that Generations The Legacy and other few soapies pay their background extras salaries of R160 to R550 per day.
Generations The Legacy background extras are paid R160 while Scandal and Skeem Saam pays R550 per day despite paying expenses like transport fees and food and often paying a percentage to their agencies.
Scandal and Skeem Saam were praised for better paying their background actors despite a drop in soapie viewers over time. Generations The Legacy is one of the most paying soapies with the highest-paid and lead actor Manaka Ranaka who plays Lucy Diale role bagging R95 000 per month, Vuyo Dabula and Letoya Makhene earned R110 000 and R120 000 per month respectively.
Phil Mphela calls for implementation and enforcement of standard rates for background acting to avoid exploitation. He advocates these salaries revisited as the industry makes more from rights and advertisements.
We definitely need a standard rate for background acting work to protect people from this exploitation. These soapies & telenovelas make millions of rands, and millions of rands exchange hands in this industry. Surely, morally, since there is no legislation, we can do better.
What are extras on soapies?
Extras are actors who support the cast by appearing in the background of a scene in a non-speaking or non-singing capacity. They are critical in film productions because they make scenes look real. Over the years, we have seen extras promoted to leading roles on sets. Ntombifuthi Dlamini, who plays MaMadlala on Uzalo and Cebo Mthembu, who plays detective Nyawo started as extras in the soapie.
Background actors speak out about their treatment on various sets
They revealed that despite working 9 to 10 hours, they continued to face discrimination and exploitation, showrunners treated them differently from the main cast.
The worst part, the crew and cast ate better food right in front of extras. I did extras in every soapie in SA that was the only place I felt so discriminated against & exploited; I hated going there – @TaylorForresta
Yes I have been, we were doing Blood & water S1 and we were never paid till this day
We did 10 days without payment.
— Luxolo (@LooKxN) November 29, 2021
I did Generations and Isidingo in 2014/2015.
We got R180 per show. Didn't matter how long you were there for or how many scenes and you did. Sometimes we were there for 6-10 hours. Some of them did not even offer food. From that R180 you deduct transport and food. 👎🏾
— Joan Aphane ♥ (@AphaneJ) November 29, 2021
There was this famous "extra" agency that I joined that took what was said to be 25% of my earnings and the full amount was not disclosed.I got paid R250 until I approached the production and asked to be booked directly and they paid me R550 per call and this back in 2018.
— Lerato Nkhatho (@LERATOTHELOVE) November 29, 2021