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Another Ridiculous Rate Offer


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#1 Alfeo Dixon SOC

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 10:07 AM

Was just offered $1000 for 12hrs on a music video...

Sure that's a lot of cash for someone with NO experience, but please DO NOT ACCEPT these ridiculous offers. If you too the workshop and own your gear... you deserve your rate.

These people know the rates for good steadicam operators and their gear, if they don't... then educate them and walk away from the lowball offers. They WILL find the money if everyone sticks to THIER rate.

They are not idiots they know the simple math:


Steadicam = $$ LOTS $$

...but they will play you for an idiot
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#2 Charles Papert

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 12:52 PM

Not that I think the idea isn't right and you guys should be fighting for good rates, but it does depend on the budget of the project. I shot five or six music videos for major label artists a couple years ago and helped produced a couple of them, so I saw the balance sheet and it wasn't pretty. When you have $20-25K for production and post, you aren't going to be spending 1/10 of it on Steadicam. Obviously there are much bigger budgets out there and maybe this is one of them, but it's good to temper one's expectations to the size of the project.
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#3 Brian Freesh

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 02:56 PM

Serious question: Why should I be worth less just because my next project has a smaller budget than my last project?

To me it seems illogical, but I've heard this theory before and would love to learn the justification. Last time a project told me my rate for the run of the show was 1/10 the budget they rented a dolly instead and compromised a couple of shots. No big deal.

In my opinion, if a production cannot afford something they want, they should not be able to get it. If they cannot afford something they NEED they should get more money. Rarely will steadicam be necessary for a production to be successful. It is almost always a luxury.

It's hard for people trying to "break in" cause they feel (perhaps rightly so) that they are not worth as much as the veterans, so they go for less. It's hard for the veterans because they lose jobs to undercutters who don't know (or possibly care) better.

Personally, I try very hard to hold out for better rates, so I have passed on plenty of gigs. Unfortunately, as I am not an established veteran, I do not have another gig around the corner to make up for it. So I don't make as much money at Steadicam as many of my peers, because I work less. I find other work to fill in the gaps and I get by. In the long run I'll either survive it or I won't. But at least if I do survive it I'll be earning what I'm worth, and not a struggling to buy a house, cars, and raise a family while working 14 hour days for 300 days a year just to barely get by.

My $.02
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#4 Osvaldo Silvera SOC

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 03:33 PM

Several weeks ago I was called for a 2 day MV here in town. They started saying the artist was from Europe and was coming to shoot a MV in Miami. It was being shot on an Alexa and they had a budget of $600 for a steadicam operator and gear. I told the lady on the phone, I was sorry but I could not do it for that rate, the next words out of her mouth were. "I could Double it to $1200 would that work?" I kindly declined and told her the rate that would work, she said she'd get back to me, and I never heard back.

This is not the first time a similar situation happens, in my case, it is always with the Hispanic or Latin clients, it's in their nature to start at the bottom and slowly go up to their limit. Sometimes there are many phone calls, each increasing the rate until either I accept, or the job is passed to another.

I don't know if they even used Steadicam for that project. But the fact that the rate doubled in mere seconds led me to believe they were either playing around or had more than they originally intended.

Having been married to 2 production managers, I can tell you, the budget is not ever set in stone. if production wants something, they will figure out a way to get it. Maybe switching the executives rental from a corvette to a chevy aveo will get the funds needed for the toy they want.

Ozzie
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#5 JobScholtze

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Posted 09 August 2012 - 02:46 PM

Having been married to 2 production managers, I can tell you, the budget is not ever set in stone.
Ozzie


Wow, you need to married them for the job? :lol:

(sorry) :P
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#6 Nelson Villamil

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 12:22 PM

Guys ... LONG AND SAD REALITY.

And this happens where you have a good level of organization and respect.

the problem is bigger in other places (one more reason why I change my home).

But friends and colleagues, WHO, WHERE, or HOW, we can generate a somewhat standard in rates? I know, is a crazy question, but for example, and I know many of you have the top platform of thousands of dollars, but is also market a line of platforms "light" but that also have investment value and more importantly, my personal opinion, the training and experience is what is most important and what we charge. No team (steadicam, camera, crane etc) is operated alone.

Budgets and projects are different, it is true, but, but, but .. The same set of producers.

I hope to read more comments on this topic.

All the best
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#7 RonBaldwin

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 01:09 PM

I strive to make at least as much as a plumber (and perhaps we should all try to equal a helper?!). I just Wiki'd "what is the average hourly rate for a plumber?" and got:

"If they are decent journeymen $90+ per hr if they are Master plumbers around $200 per hr, Helpers normally $50 per hr"

and "In Indiana, you'll find rates from $60 to $100 dollars per hour or more, for general service work. If the plumber has to use special equipment such as a drain machine, their is an extra charge or a higher rate for that. This is how the plumber maintains this extremely expensive equipment. Sewer machines are $500 to $5000 dollars. Kink one cable and it costs the plumber $200 or more dollars and at least an hour to repair the machine. Our specialized tools are quite expensive as well. I spend an average of $600 per year on just hand tools. You call a plumber to run a camera down your sewer drain to see what the problem is and then find out he wants $200 or $300 dollars... Just the head of that camera cost him $10,000."

hmmmm...$10,000 dollars eh?

http://wiki.answers....e_for_a_plumber
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#8 Charles Papert

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 01:37 PM

Yeah but: they have to work with poop every day. Not just the metaphorical poop that we deal with in the film industry, the literal kind. That counts for a lot.
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#9 RonBaldwin

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 01:44 PM

Good point...so maybe knock off a percentage for not dealing with real poop.
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#10 Osvaldo Silvera SOC

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 01:51 PM

I always ask the PM if the set will smell nice before passing on any discounts.
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#11 matthew pearce

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 03:12 PM

something else to think about....
I did one of these in my first year of steadicam.
It was a lot of cash, I was a newbie and I needed the experience and contacts.
I dont think I did a bad job, (they used footage from every set up that I operated on) but I never heard from the DP or producer again..... they did pass my info onto some other low budget jobs though, which I was able to decline.

I think the problem is I was the guy who said yes to the rate- in their eyes I'm not worth paying more money to.
So, when a higher budget job comes along and they want a bigger budget guy, I'm guessing they are calling one of the guys who turned down the job I took at the rate they offered.

What I learned was never do "favors" for DP 's or producers who you dont have prior experience with.
A super low rate usually involves working with inexperienced crew/ producers under less than optimal circumstances...... and in all likely hood you wont get the opertunity to do your best work, unfortunately earning you the label of "the guy who came out and was good enough to bring in for $1000"

just my inexperienced, but hopefully wiser, 5 cents
matthew
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#12 Charles Papert

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 06:43 PM

Matthew, that may well have been the case in the scenario, and there is some truth to what you describe. However, in a hypothetical version of this (i.e. no longer referring to you personally), there's always the possibility that the DP or director or producer didn't care for one or another aspect of what the operator did, or how they acted on set, or what kind of pants they wore. Sure, they may use all of the footage because they need it to tell the story. Doesn't mean they loved it, just that they had to use it.

I have heard plenty of times about operators who thought they "nailed it" "rocked it", "they loved my work" etc, only to later hear quite the opposite from the director or the DP. It's probably happened to most if not all operators at different times. Plenty of DP's will smile and shake your hand and say "good job" and then turn to their 1st's and say "lose that guy's number". Our business is a passive/agressive one!

It certainly possible to go out there and work for a low rate and get taken along on the "big one". I can't quite quote chapter and verse in my own shadowy past, but I know it happened here and there. I Recently I had the opportunity to recommend an operator to a network series and I immediately thought of one of our brethren who has been toiling in the low-budg world and has helped me out on a couple of low to no budget shoots. He worked hard, did a good job, has the right attitude and approach, and I felt confident recommending him up to the big show. So it can happen.
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#13 Alfeo Dixon SOC

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 07:09 PM

How ironic that I just got a call from this DP that just flew in from LA and thinks he's a big shot and "All Knowing" cause he use to be a steadicam op too... and man that rate is ridiculous also...

So lets have a beer at my watering hole Charles and I tell you all about it, I'm Midtown near Piedmont Park, what side of town they got you in? Posted Image
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#14 Amando Crespo

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 08:12 PM

Was just offered $1000 for 12hrs on a music video...

Sure that's a lot of cash for someone with NO experience, but please DO NOT ACCEPT these ridiculous offers. If you too the workshop and own your gear... you deserve your rate.

These people know the rates for good steadicam operators and their gear, if they don't... then educate them and walk away from the lowball offers. They WILL find the money if everyone sticks to THIER rate.

They are not idiots they know the simple math:


Steadicam = $$ LOTS $$

...but they will play you for an idiot


I CAN UNDERSTAND YOU....
Here at Spain, a "good" rate for some-big-greats-operators is: 20 journeys/moth (10-12 hours)(... Sled+op+focus+... 10.000€/moth.. It is 500€/day... FUxxS!!!...
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#15 William Demeritt

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Posted 14 August 2012 - 08:41 PM

When you take a low rate with that employer, you will most likely never get more. Not saying you won't EVER, but unless you have fertile grounds to create a long-lasting relationship with them where you take care of each other, then your investment is a bad one.

Think of it this way: you walk into a barber shop, and the sign on the wall says "haircuts $30". You then start going to that barber for the next 2 years, and every time you pay $30. After 2 years of going, you'll never ever say to that barber: "You know what... you do such a good job cutting my hair... I'm going to pay for $45 from now on."

Now, within the same analogy, you get 5 years down the road paying the same barber $30 per haircut, and one day you walk in to see his rates are now "haircuts $50". You're might say, "Damn, but this guy is such a great barber, he's worth the extra money." However, you can bet a large amount of his clientele will say, "Nah, no thanks, I'll go find another $30 barber. You're the low cost barber, I don't see you as a $50 barber."

So logically, it makes sense to bring your rates into congruency with your peers as soon as possible. Otherwise, you're robbing them of work, you're lowering the bar, giving them the impression that lower cost work is out there (and somehow desireable), and worst of all: you'll NEVER get above it. Your clients think of you as "cheap" and your peers at the "next level" see you as a low-baller.

"No" is a powerful word. Take it out for a spin. Bad negotiators agree to the first thing on the table unless it's absolutely optimal and unprecedented at THAT level (not at YOUR level).
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