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"The Space Between" undercutting dilemma...


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#1 Hugh Bell

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Posted 08 October 2009 - 09:36 PM

I'm not sure the etiquette in posting actual names of productions who are attempting to undercut, but in this case I hope it is alright. I just accepted a job this morning at a certain rate (was looking forward to working with the DP again and actually paid for a ticket out of pocket to fly back to LA from a current production). They knew I was buying an airline ticket and I just now received a call that they have found another steadicam operator at a lower price. They say that the DP still would like to work with me, so if I match the lower price the job is still mine. At this point I would normally say screw you, but I am now $1000 bucks in the hole for buying airline tickets. So please, if anyone has been contacted about the movie "The Space Between" please get in touch with me so that they cannot get away with undercutting.

Hugh
htbell@gmail.com
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#2 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 10:46 AM

Sorry this happened to you Hugh!

This isn't so much about undercutting as it is good business practices.

What screwed you here was that you did not have a Deal Memo before you bought the ticket and it was compounded by you not making Production buy the ticket for you. You committed to the job but the client kept shopping it because they really were not committed to you.

You've probably heard my rant before but "Our job is not to be Steadicam Operators, our job is to run a Steadicam Operator Business". Businesses are built and run on traditional business models which include marketing/networking, advertising, accounting, contracts / paperwork, negotiations and other sound business practices. Building, running and protecting your business comes first and foremost.

I'm not picking on you as we've all been there, done that in some way or another. As soon as any of us drop our guard there's going to be some jerk-face there to give you a good hosing.

Accept it as a lesson learned and use that ticket to fly to another job where you have a contract and can get reimbursed or use it to fly out and do some networking.

All the best!

Robert
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#3 Hugh Bell

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 10:49 AM

UPDATE:

I have said NO to the project, and I hope the person they were playing me against finds out somehow they were undercutting. Was really looking forward to doing the project and I am pretty bummed that things have turned out the way they have. Back to the grind...

Hugh.
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#4 Hugh Bell

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 10:52 AM

Completely agree Robert, let my guard down because I had worked with the DP before... never again!
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#5 RobVanGelder

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 11:25 AM

ouch, this sounds so similar as my recent experience.
After one full week of phonecalls, emails, chats and confirmations I was booked for a shooting in Kuala Lumpur.
I too arranged and paid the ticket in advance, it would be re-imbursed.....
Leaving on Saturday morning..... but the Friday afternoon before I get the phone call that they decided NOT to use me , because of location, DoP changed his mind, etc.

Yes, they agreed to pay me 1 day cancellation fee and the ticket...... but they are in Malaysia and I am in Thailand.......

Big lesson learned: Pay me in advance! No more Mr. nice guy here!

Oh, and don't even start about contracts, deal memos or insurance here in Asia - they don't exists or have nil value!
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#6 RobVanGelder

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 11:25 AM

oops, sorry, double upload of last message due to network failure
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#7 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 03:04 AM

That's a bummer Hugh. Did you ask who the operator in question was? I've had this same type of experience in the past and I'm often shocked that when I ask who the operator is, they tell me! A simple phone call and explanation to the operator to explain the situation may help both of you avoid this happening in the future. Also, I think a call to the DP is in order.
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#8 Charles Papert

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 03:29 AM

What screwed you here was that you did not have a Deal Memo before you bought the ticket and it was compounded by you not making Production buy the ticket for you.


Deal memo yes, ticket no. Hugh lives in LA, the production was in LA, he was hired as a local and thus there is no reason to think that production would pick up a ticket to fly him into his home city, unless there was a specific reason for them to do so. It's always worth a try to get that kind of thing covered but without knowing any more details, this doesn't stick out as something obvious.
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