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Operators - Optional

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#1 nealnorton


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Posted 14 March 2006 - 12:16 AM

Now that we have a new contract that makes the operator position optional, what kind of impact will we feel in our chosen field?

I fear that this will doom the operator to a sideline role as producers make operating a requirement for D.P.'s even if they would prefer to have an operator involved. The door is now open for the producers to make the DP/Operator the new standard for the industry.

Any thoughts?


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#2 Marc_Abernathy


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Posted 14 March 2006 - 08:31 PM

its all about the bottom line. the producers want the maximum for the minimum. the a/steadi role is a luxury on big ticket productions. no doubt the producers love it as operating steadi does reduce time and setups on set to an exxtent so it does help the bottom line, but yeah no doubt it will move up the "first to go" list if the DP says s/he will handle steadi.

maybe at the least they wil reduce it to dayplaying instead of eliminating the role alltogether.

somehow i think this ripple effect will take some time to settle in so i think for the short term things will still work as usual...

if the union operators saw this imminent train wreck sooner with a "heads up" from the admins over the Locals this would have no doubt havebeen avoided....
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#3 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 14 March 2006 - 08:58 PM

"maybe at the least they wil reduce it to dayplaying instead of eliminating the role alltogether."

Day-playing? Sounds like the old times. Day-play the Steadicam because "the operator doesn't do that" (just insert "DP" now).

Personally, I think as of Aug 1st (when the new contract kicks in) we should all double our rates and just tell the producers that it is necessary since becoming "optional." Sadly, we could never pull this off because there are simply too many, too hungry.
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#4 JamieSilverstein


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Posted 15 March 2006 - 01:44 AM

if the union operators saw this imminent train wreck sooner with a "heads up" from the admins over the Locals this would have no doubt havebeen avoided....

I have to take issue with this statement. Operators within the Local have been trying to restrict the pratice of DPs operating for many years, and have tried to do so in many ways. I wrote a paper when I was on the executive board addressing this question in the late '90s. The question of letting the DP operate is a very complex one, that is tied in to creative preference, political power, and producer/director pressure.
If there is blame to be had, its on the whole Local, not the operators. We never banded together as Locals should and defended the position. We never showed the Producers and the International how valuable the position is and necessary to most film sets. Now that the horse is out of the barn, the Local is working on showing a united front. With hope this will send the message, at least to the International, that the operator is necessary on a film set, and that we need to find a way to support the position.
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#5 Sandy Hays

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 12:24 PM

greetings all

Take a peak at the Smoking Gun website. They give the budget breakdown of The Village. Notice the amount paid to the operator. The savings on future films will be profound!!! My favorite is the "Entourage" allocation.


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#6 Eric Young

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Posted 17 March 2006 - 04:05 AM

Great link Sandy - a very interesting read, and proof that rich people almost can't help getting richer!
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#7 Michael Stumpf

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Posted 29 March 2006 - 12:41 PM

Sorry to rehash this, but did anybody ever find out how the voting results went?
I know Local 600 and 44 were the only to unions to have a majority NO vote, but...

I'd like to know how many crew members of other locals actually supported us
by voting NO on the ballots.
Particularly the Grips and Electrics!

If anybody knows of where we can get the actual voting results
for each union, please post it here.

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