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Back End Points

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#1 Tom Petropoulos

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 09:59 AM


I was wondering if you could give me some advise.
I will be DP/Steadicam on a very low budget horror film. how may back end points is fair to ask for?

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#2 Dave Bittner

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 01:00 PM

All of them.

But seriously, folks, while I can't speak to this issue directly, I do recall GB sharing that his decision to take the "safe" choice with Rocky and simply get paid day-rate instead of taking points on the film has cost him over half a million bucks over the years.

I would imagine this is one of the areas where having an agent really pays off.
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#3 Dan Coplan

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 03:21 PM

I'm with Dave. In my experience, "back end points" and "deferred pay" is the equivalent of "you ain't gonna see dick". "Great for your reel", on the other hand...[rolling my eyes].

The thing with back end points is even if the movie makes a profit (unlikely), the producers can make the numbers say whatever the hell they want so unless you're working in the big leagues, it's a waste of breath.

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#4 Christopher T. Paul- SOC

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Posted 29 June 2006 - 04:07 PM

I am still waiting for my money from the back end of a film called "Cry Wolf" where I provided Additional Photography. The pay was terrible up front, but the film grossed well over the breakpoint- and I have still yet to see a dime- now a year after it opened. This was a union picture and the union has proven to be effectively powerless to do jack shit about it. The lawyers & producers involved on the other end simply don't answer the phones, return calls or seem to care in any way.

On a positive note, I did Steadicam and additional camera operating on a small indie called "Twelve and Holding" about two years ago, and got an email last month asking me where to send the back-end check.

My experience has been mixed, as you can see- and I guess that there are plenty of stories on either side of the issue. Bottom line: read the script and see what you think the story will do. Factor in the director's, DP's and Producer's reputations, and also your level of, well, desperation for the footage for your reel, and also the time committment required, and what star power is attached. Once you get beyond the basics of horizon and headroom, reels today are more about faces than anything else in some people's eyes.

Caveat Emptor
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