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Day Playing and Call Sheets


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#1 Jamie McIntyre

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 10:43 AM

Hi Guys,

It would be cool if someone could shed some light on this matter. I am on a shoot tomorrow and it's my first 'day play'. I have yet to recieve any information about what the call time will be, if I will have a grip - nothing really. I have no idea whether I have to be there at 6am or 6pm so planning my weekend has been slightly challenging. I don't have a producers phone number or email, which concerns me. I'm doing it for 'expenses only' as it's my first 35 job. What would anyone else do in this situation? Should I have been told a little more information by now? I don't even know where the shoot is!

Please excuse my poor grammar in this post,

Cheers (from an iPhone)

Jamie Mc
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#2 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 01:55 PM

You probably won't get a call sheet until later tonight or you'll just get a phone call from production. If it gets too late don't be afraid to call someone since as a day player you could be shuffled under the radar at the end of a long day. Be patient.

As to whether you'll have a grip, approximate shoot times, contact information and other details, that is all information you should have discussed / requested when you first got the call and before you accepted the job... regardless of pay. That should have been followed up with a Deal Memo that you sent or one from Production along with a request for a Certificate of Insurance; all the basics of operating your business not just operating the rig.

If you don't have a proper Deal Memo form and the proper wording to request a COI email me and I'll be happy to send you a basic template you can use.

Robert
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#3 Charles Papert

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 02:59 PM

Robert's advice is good for all to follow. After years of being casual about deal memos I've finally made it an across-the-board policy. In smaller markets or non-union type jobs, it's even more important; in Robert's case, being in Las Vegas means producers and production companies coming in from all over the world, which is a lot of opportunity for shadiness and miscommunication, whether accidental or not. In the big markets when you work for studio shows, there's many fewer shenanigans but occasionally you get some scumbag UPM who likes to play the "we never talked about that" game. After a bad experience this year, I'm even requiring a liability agreement when lending gear for freebies (with or without me being on the job).

As far as starting out, Jamie, you will have more questions than not going into a given job, so it might help to make yourself a checklist now and use it for next time. Presumably this is the gig you prepped with the XL, so you've met the AC's--do they have any more info on the shoot (generally they will)? And someone must have called you about the job in the first place--are they just not answering the phone?

Again, as Robert says, often the call time comes late in the day, especially if they have been shooting today, so don't fret yet.
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#4 Jamie McIntyre

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 06:32 PM

Thanks! It's always great that you guys are so helpful with noobies such as myself. It turns out that the production did not have insurance for me for the shoot tomorrow. They sent me the insurance info and my name wasn't mentioned on it, neither was anything about any steadicam equipment. I spoke to the producer and told them that I would need to be insured as I'm bringing expensive equipment to set and operating with it all day - I would need to be covered - goes without saying really I guess.

The only thing I am slightly worried about is that it seems as if the DP is blaming me for not bringing up insurance questions at an earlier date and therefore ruining the 'big steadicam day'. My defense to that is I was never contacted by any producer from the shoot and had no contact details (phone, email) to get a hold of them to ask questions. The only person I had been in contact with is the DP, and from my limited experience one does not talk about insurance with the DP (I'm trying to be as professional as I can be), surely it's the producers job to contact me at some point just to touch base and give me all the info on the shoot so this sort of situation can be resolved from the get go.

Ofcourse I am not being paid for this but I am worried that I will be seen as the guy who 'ruined a whole days shoot'. It's also a massive disappointment for me as I feel it's a lost opportunity for me to fly on 35. I'm new to this business and the admin that needs to take place before a shoot is still new to me. Contracts, deal memos, insurance etc...

Am I wrong to say to the DP/Producer that I can't work without being insured on the production?
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#5 Ari Gertler

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 08:12 PM

"Am I wrong to say to the DP/Producer that I can't work without being insured on the production?"

You are not wrong at all. You must have a certificate of insurance before you start unloading your car. Remember that even though you are using this as a learning experience/on the job training, you are doing the production a favor and I don't think anyone on this site is willing to risk the loss of their personal and very expensive equipment in a situation like this (or any). The chances of anything happening to your equipment is quite low, but things do happen from theft, on set breakage, to a spilled cup of coffee on your electronics.
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#6 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 28 November 2009 - 09:31 PM

Jamie,

All productions should have General Liability Insurance and Rented Equipment coverage. You have to ask yourself if you break your rig due to an accident was the job worth whatever price it costs you to replace or repair your rig. If you collided with someone on-set or they tripped over your docking stand can you afford to cover their injuries, loss of income, loss of companionship... whatever? Imagine they hire the nastiest greasiest personal injury attorney who will sue EVERYONE in one big filing and you have to defend it with attorneys and maybe even lose everything you own... even if it was not your fault but they had a "good" attorney. Could you afford a $10,000 retainer just to have an attorney answer the lawsuit? What if you won but it still cost you $50,000 in attorney fees? Do you have your own insurance that covers your gear AND General Liability?

It's ugly stuff and accidents and ugly stuff happens to good people all the time. Do you trust our legal system to act smartly and use common sense? I don't !!!

You should have insurance as well on both fronts. Sometimes production will try to guilt you with "you're in control of your rig so why should we insure it" or "what if you break it to get a new rig". The way it would work is that Production's insurance provides the first line of coverage and in the case of loss or liability they carry the burden to prove it was YOUR fault / negligence. If they can prove that it was your fault due to negligence or EAO (Errors and Omissions) , then they Subrogate the claim to your insurance or if you're not insured they will come after YOU.

You can try to protect yourself with a corporate "veil" but the corporate veil is easy to "pierce" if at anytime you've breached the threshold of allowing anything personal to intermix with your corporation. Again, a smart, jerk, aggressive lawyer is going to cast a wide net and you'll be forced to disprove and defend yourself and that won't be cheap.

The "DP" should know production needs to have insurance for EVERYTHING so don't let him/her throw it back on you. Shame on them and I'd be happy to take their call if they want to debate the point.

I got bit in the A$$ on this one time by working with a local company that I had a long relationship and comfort level with. I knew they were insured and I didn't have any question as to whether they'd do the right thing if something happened. Then came the day that I was double booked and passed the job on to a friend to cover me. When he asked for a COI they said "Robert doesn't ask for one"... SHAME ON ME!!!! Being lax bit me in the A$$ and I was professionally embarrassed with a fellow operator who was doing me a favor to cover a local gig. I still feel stupid about that but it will never happen again!

Decline the job, learn a lesson and let the DP learn that same lesson if in fact he/she was that ignorant and tried to bone you on it.

Your job is to run a Steadicam business, not to be a Steadicam Operator; if you don't get the first part right you'll struggle with the second part.

All the best!

Robert
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#7 Jamie McIntyre

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 10:03 AM

Thanks for these informative replies guys. It really helps me learn the business side of things. I have learnt from this little experience of mine in the past 24 hours and I will make every effort to make sure this doesn't happen to me again in the future. I am making a check list today of everything that needs to be done before a job. It sucks that the DP tried to lay this on me but I have sent a polite email to draw the curtains on this particular situation and put it to bed. I'm going to learn and move on.

Regarding my insurance, I have insurance that covers my gear, not any liability. I am only covered for accidental damage in my home, to and from the job, theft, fire etc etc. I will investigate the public liability side of things first thing tomorrow morning.

Again, thank you very much for all of your generous replies. It all helps someone new like me to learn and become more professional.

Cheers,

Jamie McIntyre
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#8 Jerry Franck

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 12:59 PM

Jamie,

this does sound like a bad situation. Did you end up doing the job or did you decline it? Didn't know what you meant by "ruining the steadicam day", which by the way is the lamest and most unprofessional response in this whole situation. At least you tried to inquire about insurance and tried to be the most professional you can.

As Charles and Robert already pointed out, ask a lot of questions when you get the call. Before you even accept the job you should ask them a few questions like: where is the shoot, how many shots, what kind (running, vehicle etc?), the camera package and the insurance coverage. This is also a help for you to establish a proper rate, according to the job, especially in non-union, low budget, student and similar jobs. After you accept the job you should try to talk to the DP about the shots. I know on day-playing it's not always possible but establishing a relationship with the DP before you get on set is a great plus. He will know you a little bit (first impressions can tell a lot about people) and will understand you situation. You will fit in better if you have the DP's support.

I'm always very cautious about freebies. Unless it's a special occasion or a really good friend I don't do freebies because it's not something people should get used to. Because I'm rather new to the business too, here's what I say: "You don't have to pay me, but there is a fee for my equipment". Set yourself a rate that you feel comfortable with, that's not too high but also not a cheat to you. And sometimes it's just better to say NO. I've been in that position more than once and as Robert stated, declining the job if it doesn't feel right is the best. There's nothing worse than going on set and everyone knows about the dilemma you had prior arriving there. You won't be able to before as well either...

Anyways, hope this helps. Just wanted to add my 2 cents to the great responses by all of the above.

PS: Robert would you be able to send me those templates too? Deal memos are new to me too. here my email: jerryfranck@gmail.com

Thank you!
Best,
Jerry
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#9 RonBaldwin

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 02:22 PM

Robert...love to have a copy myself -- always looking to improve the one I have

rb
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#10 Jess Haas SOC

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 02:39 PM

Back to the origional question of finding out your call time. I find it helps a lot to be friendly with the ACs. While I never let production off the hook of telling me when to show up and I try to find out in advance what the schedule is like often call times are changing up until wrap time and sometimes especially on smaller productions it will take production even longer to get you your call time or a call sheet after that. If I am friendly with the AC I will usually ask them to let me know via text message when they have some idea what my call time is going to be for the next day. A few times this has saved my ass when production really dropped the ball. (think call sheet gets emailed at 1am with a 5am call time an hour+ drive away)

Robert-Just post it already. I think most of us would like to see it.

~Jess
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#11 Brian Freesh

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Posted 29 November 2009 - 10:04 PM

Robert, you're on your way to running our Steadicam Businesses for us. Should you ever decide to put down the sled, you could start a new business as an agent and compete with Russell Todd for clients! |-)~
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#12 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 30 November 2009 - 12:21 AM

Thank you Brian, you're always too kind and very thoughtful.

Don't count on me putting the rig down for a long time and I don't think Russell would even notice if I did. :P :P :P

The key here is to not look at each other as competitors but to look at and treat each other as colleagues. We may sometimes vie for some of the same work but we're all much stronger as friends and colleagues. The ego of competition is what has causes so many to make poor decisions that are not good for our profession, businesses and art.

Colleagues work together and even individually with big picture respect for each other, our work and our profession. Part of that is sharing what you know and helping others.
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#13 chris fawcett

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Posted 01 December 2009 - 03:51 AM

Thanks, Robert!
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#14 Santiago Yniguez

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Posted 01 December 2009 - 11:36 AM

If you don't have a proper Deal Memo form and the proper wording to request a COI email me and I'll be happy to send you a basic template you can use.




Hey Robert. Would it be possible to get that template?
Thanks,
Santiago Yniguez
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