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TURN THIS RATE DOWN!!!!


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#1 Michael Stumpf

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 10:03 PM

Hello All,

Once again, I am going to turn down a show because of the rate for the betterment of the Steadicam community!
I was offered, and for the past week or so. in negotiations for the second season of
a hit cable network TV show (supposedly one of, the highest rated cable TV shows last year).

I was offered $63 an hour to do A Camera/Steadicam.

As of August 1st, 2012 that is a measly $4.64 an hour higher than standard operator rate.
On a 12 hour day that amounts to LESS THAN $65 a DAY to do Steadicam!

$65 a day more to carry around 70 pounds and do what we do for a living, compared to doing standard operating.

That is a kick in the balls and a slap in the face at the same time. The respect for what we do as Steadicam Operators has
pretty much sunk to the lowest point ever, and it will continue to fall if someone accepts this rate.

PLEASE, PLEASE for the love of our jobs, DO NOT accept this show if/when they call and offer you $63 an hour.
Please do not low ball our rates and our profession over this.

If someone takes this job for this $63 an hour rate, you are a low baller, plain and simple.
You are contributing to the continued decline of our Steadicam rates and how hard we work doing what we do.
The next step would be $1 an hour above scale operating rate.

We have to work physically and mentally much harder as Steadicam Operators. We have to develop many more skills to do what we do.
That is surely worth more than $4.64 an hour more.

If everyone turns this abominable rate down, this Fox backed production (and therefore Fox Studios) will be FORCED to raise their rates.

I would love to do the show, and work with the DP who've I've worked with for 11 years, but the betterment of our jobs and our
Steadicam community takes precedence to me. I hope it does for you all too.

Thanks
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#2 matthew pearce

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Posted 26 June 2012 - 10:57 PM

Respect...... To you sir.
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#3 David M. Aronson

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 02:22 AM

What and I repeat, WHAT? Who in their right mind would even offer such a low rate? Tell them to go buy a glidecam and bugger off. Thanks for looking out for the community.
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#4 RonBaldwin

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 07:28 AM

We need to start posting names of people who do this
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#5 Michael Stumpf

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 09:34 AM

We need to start posting names of people who do this




I agree Ron and I am not one to be afraid of calling low ballers out. I always have and will do again.
So to whomever takes this terrible rate, I will post it and let them know too.
I have turned down much work over my career because of low offers only to have some low baller accept the
rate. Even having a Steadicam Operator do a show for operator scale. It's just not acceptable to me and should not
be to all of us, otherwise, why do the job?
I'd rather just sit on the dolly and buy other gear that gets the rental money
and make the same amount as I would carrying 70 lbs around all day long.

As I said, it's just completely unacceptable to pay the Steadicam Operator $4.64 an hour above scale.

The problem is/was, the first season of the show they used a camera operator who is NOT a Steadicam Operator, and
what he did was sub-rent a rig. He was paid $60 an hour when scale daily was $56.66 an hour!!!!

So Fox feels that going to $63 an hour this season is an acceptable rate.
However, I explained to them, the first season operator was NOT a steadicam operator (there's a reason he was not asked back) and
low balled the rate for the job. I told them I am a seasoned, veteran steadicam operator who works with this DP a lot and knows the crew and how
to run things smoothly and efficiently.
My experience is worth more than an operator who was moonlighting as a Steadicam Operator, and low balled the rate.

Fox did not care, they said it's a "tightly shut door" on the hourly rate.

I will not do Steadicam for $65 an DAY more than the B operator who will be sitting on the dolly while I bust my butt (was told there is a lot of Steadicam).


In this instance I do not blame the producers fully (however they should of pushed for a better rate for the first season too).
But Fox has tied the hands of the producer apparently (as he explained it to me).

So if anybody gets the call for a show paying $63 an hour, please by all means, stand up for the Steadicam community and tell them, sorry, the rate is
WAY too low for the work/job we do.
Maybe they will actually reconsider raising their rates and call me back.
Doing so will establish with Fox that the low rates will not be tolerated by us all, and it will HELP you all in the future with better rates.

I have always had all of our backs with this issue and I hope you all have mine (and therefore ultimately your own too) on this one.

Cheers
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#6 James Davis

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 09:40 AM

Is that with your kit included in that rate also?

If so thats pretty shocking.
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#7 Lawrence Karman

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 09:53 AM

Discussing rate specifics on a public forum is foolish.
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#8 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 09:59 AM

Michael,

First, Bravo for making a stand. I just want to caution you about posting an Op's name as soon as you hear they are doing the show. Call them first. Multiple times, I have seen Producers come up on the rate after several people have turned down the job, but for whatever reason they never return to the first person who declined. In this case that sucks for you, but you will never see this job. I have been both that first person and the guy that lands the job (when they get realistic about the rate).

Good luck!
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#9 Michael Stumpf

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 10:03 AM

Is that with your kit included in that rate also?

If so thats pretty shocking.


No, of course not.

But the kit rental is for bringing in the $150,000 in gear I have for my Steadicam.

It's the hourly that is what you are PAID for to DO the job.


I could be a regular operator, and bring in $150,000 in gear that's not Steadicam gear (heads, Prestons, etc) and make
the same weekly rental as I do for my Steadicam gear.
Then sit on the dolly and make only $65 an DAY less than I would having to lug the 70 lbs of Steadicam around all
day, and the additional talent (as well as wear and tear on my body) that requires.

It's not worth the wear and tear on the body, the sweating the extra talent and work needed to do Steadicam and be PAID
only $65 per DAY more than I would as a regular operator.


I'm pretty sure the Line Producer makes more than $65 a day than the UPM?
I'm positive the UPM only makes more than $65 a day than the Production Coordinator?


A Scorpio Head, Libra Head, or other head Tech makes $60-65 per hour and they just set the stuff up then
usually sit around most of the day (or most of the time, help with the 1-2 shots that involve the head).
I think the A Camera/Steadicam Operator who not only sets up his gear, but uses it and all the other camera gear on
every shot all day long deserves a bit more than that for his payment.


Let's FINALLY DO THIS GUYS, let's FINALLY take a stand on our diminishing rates as Steadicam operators.
I understand some of you need the work and the money. But take the job as a regular operator then, do not hurt us all by
accepting to do work that requires much more talent, ability, stress, endurance and physical abuse on your body for $4.64 an hour more.

Let's FINALLY be united, please take a stand, do not accept this job.
Send a message to the Studios: We are worth more than that for what we do, for how hard we work, and for the "let's just do it on Steadicam, it's faster and easier" line
we all get. Which means, "we need to do this fast and save us time and therefore money, so let's make the Steadicam Operator work harder/more even though it's not
a necessary or needed Steadicam shot, but who cares, it's only abusing him."
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#10 Michael Stumpf

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 10:07 AM

Michael,

First, Bravo for making a stand. I just want to caution you about posting an Op's name as soon as you hear they are doing the show. Call them first. Multiple times, I have seen Producers come up on the rate after several people have turned down the job, but their ego never allows them to return to the first person that declined. In this case that sucks for you, but you will never see this job. I have been both that first person and the guy that lands the job (when they get realistic about the rate).

Good luck!


I agree Alec.
I would contact them first.
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#11 Michael Stumpf

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 10:09 AM

Discussing rate specifics on a public forum is foolish.


I disagree Doc.
For far too long too many people have felt that way and it's gotten us nowhere but the continued declining rates.
That needs to change and therefore the "hush hush" on the rates does too.
Without full disclosure, things will never change or get better. Keeping secrets isn't the way to improving things for us all.
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#12 William Demeritt

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 10:54 AM

Perhaps a public forum no, but perhaps open discussions about rates yes? Public forums have too much opportunity for vigilante-ism.

I had an idea a few weeks ago for doing a mailing list where everyone lists the jobs they're doing, the rates they're getting, etc. For the cost of no judgments (unless you quietly take it up between yourself and someone specific), everyone hears what rates they're getting on what shows. More importantly, in there: we name names.

That data lends itself to establishing historical data, so if Operator B gets a call for a show that Operator A usually does, not only does Operator B know what A gets, but he also knows what people have gotten in years prior, or for the same company/studio.

Compliance with this list also lets other operators know you're not out on the fringe.

If everyone vouched for 5 operators, and those guys vouched for 5 operators... I think we'd have everyone on board quickly.

Just an idea?
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#13 Michael Stumpf

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 01:34 PM

Update:

Called the producer to turn it down and now he said he is going to meet with studio execs on Friday and will "wave a white flag" and
see if they'll allow a higher rate for me, stating, "he is worth it" and "it's in the best interest of the show".

Will keep you all posted.

Thanks
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#14 David M. Aronson

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 04:50 PM

Perhaps a public forum no, but perhaps open discussions about rates yes? Public forums have too much opportunity for vigilante-ism.

I had an idea a few weeks ago for doing a mailing list where everyone lists the jobs they're doing, the rates they're getting, etc. For the cost of no judgments (unless you quietly take it up between yourself and someone specific), everyone hears what rates they're getting on what shows. More importantly, in there: we name names.

That data lends itself to establishing historical data, so if Operator B gets a call for a show that Operator A usually does, not only does Operator B know what A gets, but he also knows what people have gotten in years prior, or for the same company/studio.

Compliance with this list also lets other operators know you're not out on the fringe.

If everyone vouched for 5 operators, and those guys vouched for 5 operators... I think we'd have everyone on board quickly.

Just an idea?



I'd be up for this.
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#15 Afton Grant

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 05:41 PM

I dunno. I'm all for informative websites, but a place where people post their rates, I don't feel would be terribly useful. Anybody doing any undercutting wouldn't post on there anyway.

Call me old fashioned, but I still like the good old telephone when it comes to these matters. What someone is making in LA on whatever the production is is of little importance to me here in NY beyond mere curiosity. It's a job I would never be up for, there are union rules that apply out there that don't here, the market is very different there, etc. However, just by picking up the phone and keeping in touch with my local brothers and sisters, I feel I have a pretty good idea of what the rates are on the various productions in the city. If I ever am unsure about a rate, I'll call around and see what the comparable gigs are paying....though, having an agent is quite helpful in answering these questions and more.

Everybody in town knows who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. The ops know. The assistants know. The DPs know. The producers know. You DON'T want that stink on you.

Pick up the phone. Go get a beer with someone. It could be the best thing you can do for your career.
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