Hollywood assistants have long been known for having to endure low pay and long hours, but that seems to be changing. On Monday, the Creative Artists Agency announced that it would raise the starting hourly rates for its assistants by $3 an hour. “We were shocked to learn via Twitter that our assistants could not afford to live at $15/hr.,” said a rep for CAA. “But now that they’re making $18/hr everyone should stop complaining for a while, right?”
The pay increase is the result of the #PayUpHollywood campaign in which Hollywood assistants shared stories about being overworked and under-compensated to the shock of the industry that has been overworking and under-compensating them. “We had no idea our assistants were being exploited before Twitter told us,” dictated a senior member of CAA’s PR team to an assistant before asking her to go downstairs to pick her up a rosemary and parmesan scone from the Coffee Bean.
But not everyone is satisfied with the increased hourly wage. The Avocado spoke to several CAA assistants who feel that while the $3/hr raise is “cool, I guess” believe the modest monetary increase unfairly discriminates against assistants who come from wealthy families.
“I don’t want to sound ungrateful for the money I earn at CAA which is super cute,” said 25-year-old assistant Karen Wasserman whose West Hollywood rent is paid through a trust set up by her Grandfather, the late producer Herb Wasserman, “but what am I going to do with an extra $24 a day? Buy 3 Xanax?”
To accommodate Ms. Wasserman and similarly situated wealthy assistants, CAA has agreed to give assistants the option of foregoing a raise for an associate-producing credit on a scripted streaming series picked at random from a hat.
“This is a great opportunity,” said Bradford Hendricks, a recent Dartmouth grad who will be listed as one of 18 associate-producers on season two of Apple TV’s The Morning Show. “When I pulled that show out of the hat I was so stoked because my dad is actually the executive producer of The Morning Show,” said Hendricks.
“Our associate-producer bonus program has become a highly popular option among our assistants,” said a senior executive at CAA on condition of I forgot to ask him how to spell his name which was sort of complicated and I think Asian. “Our assistants work hard and it’s only right that we give them the choice between a still unaffordable salary or a vanity credit on one of the 500 streaming shows we have in development.”
Full-Disclosure: The author of this article is a CAA assistant, aspiring screenwriter, and will be an associate producer on the upcoming second season of Netflix’s I Think You Should Leave.