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What can we do to turn this around?


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#1 Tom Land

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 04:45 PM

I will not name names but here’s my frustration. I just found out that I was outbid out of a job by an operator who is somewhat established. Now, I am not established yet and my steadicam career is just getting started. I have a relationship with this company already and have worked with them in the past. I gave them a quote for the day witch was roughly 1% of my investment in my rig.

I have worked with this company in the past and they like my work but due to the fact that they would have to rent a wireless follow focus and do without a video transmitter, they decided to post on craigslist to see what they could get for $250.00 for that day. What they got surprisingly was several replies.

They went with the first response they got. This ope came out with his Professional grade HD “big rig”, a preston wireless follow focus, and a wirless video transmitter for a full day. Let me try to put that in perspective, you can’t even rent a preston for that price.

This blew my mind. 1% of my gear was more then that and this ope comes out with $80,000 to $100,000 plus dollars worth of gear. Apparently this individual was not the only one willing to do this. I know times are tough but how an earth are we going to recover from this if you are known as the guy who will do it for $250.00 if you’re “not booked that day” and chances are you wont be. This is a producers dream. I feel like even if the economy turns it’s going to take our industry a whole lot longer to turn around because of this situation. I guess I’m just venting but please let me know what you guys think. What can we all do to turn this around?

Edited by Tom Land, 21 April 2010 - 04:47 PM.

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#2 Brian Freesh

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 05:07 PM

Welcome to the Forum, Tom, I see you are in LA. I look forward to meeting you and being in touch. As to your post:

Yep. And they can get similar for less.

Sending you an email you may be interested in.

As a side note, I hope your 1% is the gear rental and you have a day rate on top of that.
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#3 Mike Germond SOC

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 06:36 PM

That's embarassing...I wouldn't even show up with my Flyer LE for that rate. My rule of thumb is to charge the average of operators in the region that I'm working in (which has sadly decreased since moving to FL). I don't feel that I can charge more given the gear that I have, but I also don't want to be the guy in the above stated situation.

Mike (pullin for the community) Germond

Edited by Mike Germond, 21 April 2010 - 06:37 PM.

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#4 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 08:58 PM

Call the operator, introduce yourself, chat a few minutes and then very gently / politely / professionally ask about the details of the job and how it came to be. It's a tough call to make and to keep non-adversarial but I've done it and worked my way through it with a veteran operator. The spread wasn't quite so extreme but none-the-less a regular client of mine now knows if he calls enough people he'll find someone to do the job at a rate $500 less than what I've worked so hard to build up in Las Vegas. Don't discount the fact too that some clients / productions will lie and play you against another op. You may not have the full story.

You younger guys out there should be developing relationships with established operators to mentor you into the business side of the business. Developing relationships with your colleagues and peers is invaluable. I think most of the vets are more than happy to mentor and help bring along those who are dedicated, passionate and humble in their approach to our profession.

Production's job is to divide and conquer, part of our job is to stick together.

Robert
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#5 Daniel Abboud

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Posted 21 April 2010 - 10:06 PM

Call the operator, introduce yourself, chat a few minutes and then very gently / politely / professionally ask about the details of the job and how it came to be. It's a tough call to make and to keep non-adversarial but I've done it and worked my way through it with a veteran operator. The spread wasn't quite so extreme but none-the-less a regular client of mine now knows if he calls enough people he'll find someone to do the job at a rate $500 less than what I've worked so hard to build up in Las Vegas. Don't discount the fact too that some clients / productions will lie and play you against another op. You may not have the full story.

You younger guys out there should be developing relationships with established operators to mentor you into the business side of the business. Developing relationships with your colleagues and peers is invaluable. I think most of the vets are more than happy to mentor and help bring along those who are dedicated, passionate and humble in their approach to our profession.

Production's job is to divide and conquer, part of our job is to stick together.

Robert


AMEN, ROBERT!!

That's gotta be a tough phone call to make, but if you're civil and professional, it should be ok.
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#6 RonBaldwin

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 12:42 AM

Don't tease us...who was it?!
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#7 David Hepburn

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 01:10 AM

Great advice, Robert. As one of the younger guys, and a newbie, I can say that forming relationships with the established veteran ops is something that I am greatly looking forward to! Standing together as a community of like-minded people is definitely better than letting production tear us apart. :-)
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#8 Tom Land

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 01:51 AM

Thanks you guys for all of your responses. Mr. Baldwin, I am just starting out and don’t really want to make enemies. I’m sure this operator and a few other operators are sweating while reading this wondering if I’m talking about them. I don’t know their situation and I believe that it’s important to be professional and civil. I hope to one day be able to shake their hand and say, I sure am glad those hard times are behind all of us.

My post was more of a frustration and honestly it just blew me away. I honestly thought the project would get some lower level rigs but when I heard what they got I was baffled.

Thanks again guys.

Edited by Tom Land, 22 April 2010 - 01:54 AM.

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#9 Matteo Quagliano

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 04:17 AM

Here in Italy (the other side of the world in many senses) I go out for not less then 800 dollars for me, the rig and focus device... sometimes I go for less but there's always a reason for that... It might be the case of this op... He should show up and explain the situation.

reagards,
maqu
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#10 Santiago Yniguez

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 09:01 AM

Welcome to the forum Tom.

I'm curious to know how you were able to find out who this was and how much he did accept the job for.

-Santi
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#11 Janice Arthur

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 09:20 AM

Tom and all the others;

Great advice. I think one point Robert didn't point out specifically is, over time, pressure.

Make friends, establish relationship etc., but then its we the experienced operators will start recommending you for jobs.

If he, the under charging guy, keeps doing this then guess what no referrals from us and therefore its going to be harder to move up to the big money (i.e. your carrot you dangle).

You just start the process every time you run into him or talk to him over the period of a year or more.

An idea that usually works if they're smart, if not the guy's stupid forever.


JA
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#12 Rob Vuona SOC

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Posted 22 April 2010 - 01:13 PM

Tom,
Robert and Janice give the best advice here!

In the live TV world all of us talk all the time and we encourage the producers to call around, they get the same response and rate from all of us.

The info you acquired about the other operator was second hand and hearsay or was it confirmed onstage?
The reason I ask is sometimes you will be told one thing and a whole other thing, actually happened.

Either way, you handled it with dignitity and understand that those guys won't be around in the long run
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#13 Mikael Kern

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Posted 23 April 2010 - 06:30 AM

Did you go to the set and see the gear yourself? Met the operator?
How do you really know what gear and rate? There is no end to the lies and half stories producers and assistants tell.

- Mikael Kern

Edited by Mikael Kern, 23 April 2010 - 06:30 AM.

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