CAN I STILL HAVE MY 25%?
21st October, 2007
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I’ve been watching Ricky Gervais’ Extras recently and the role played by his co-writer, Stephen Merchant, particularly interests me. Merchant plays the agent of Gervais’ out of work actor – perhaps the ultimate contractor, entrusted with a performer’s entire career. I can often see the parallels between what Merchant spectacularly fails to do and the role of a contractor in any area of industry.
One particular episode was a bit too close to the bone for anyone who has ever had to consider whether a contractor’s bill is actually worth paying. Merchant was attempting to convince Gervais that he has won him a role with the BBC. Gervais patiently explained that he knew Merchant had had nothing to do with the success. Merchant replied, “Even if that is completely true, can I still have my 25%?”
As a PR consultant the role of contractors is close to my heart. Not only am I a contractor myself but those sub contractors that I employ in turn are absolutely vital to my business.
For my part, I attempt to integrate as closely as possible with my client’s companies. In doing so I sometimes take on a little more work than I’m actually paid for (a universal problem in the PR industry, but that’s another topic) but in exchange the familiarity and understanding bred makes the working process a hell of a lot easier.
Naturally, I look for similar traits in my contractors, who provide translation, design, web design, clippings facilities and media databases. In some cases this isn’t possible – one simply doesn’t get that kind of service from a large company. However, in other cases the relationship works well from day one. I hope that by integrating like this, we all get a bit closer to understanding how to avoid the traits of Stephen Merchant’s useless agent in Extras.