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#1 Nikk Hearn-Sutton SOC

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Posted 19 June 2004 - 09:06 PM

Well here we are are...THE NEW GENERATION OF STEADI OPS....
At first I was pissed because we "THE NEWBIES" was given a separate forum from the vets, like we were being singled out for our questions and lack of knowledge of operating!!!!!! :angry: Then I begain to think this is pretty cool that the one that have little experence to the ones with none get a chance to talk and see how many of the new ones there actually are so I'm down with that and I've been operating for about 9mos, I'm still alittle green but I'm rippening up.THANKS :D

Now question at hand... when it come to scale for a half day or full rate what should I charge cause at this moment I'm getting noticed and I wanted to know what standard scale is so I can base my rate on that.
Thanks.

Nikk "Proud to be a NEWBIE" Sutton
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#2 David Allen Grove

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Posted 19 June 2004 - 09:43 PM

Hi Nick,

There is no set rate. It depends on where you are, what money the production is willing to part with and ... well, this is a tough question to ask and an even a tougher answer to get a lot of times..

I was told one time by a seasoned operator, $1,500 for 10 hours is/was considered average. If you are really good you can get $1,000 for the rental and $100-$125/hour for big budget TV. For big features.. $1,000-$1,200/day for rental and $125-$150/hour for operating. I'm just quoting here.

For a new operator.... the total rate could be anything from $0 to ???????
You have to decide what your equipment rental is worth and what your time and skills are worth.

My only advice is to make sure you don't undercut anyone.. word gets around really quick when you do that and that could be (goldmember accent) "Bad News Bears for yooou-who!" Do unto others.... you get the idea.
Plus, make sure you make a contract that spells out the hours you will be working.

I'm sure I'll be "Corrected" by someone on this subject... and I'm sure some will agree with me. (at least I hope) ;)

Welcome to the world of Steadicam, Nick.

David "Bracing for Impact" Grove
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#3 chrisgosch

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Posted 19 June 2004 - 11:10 PM

I seem to be finding that a good newbie rate is $500 for 12 hours though there are quite a few operators that are working for less. I have ove $60,000 in my system and I hate working for less than I made as an AC. Lets try to set a low limit with so we aren't undercutting each other.

Just my .02 :P
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#4 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 19 June 2004 - 11:37 PM

$500/12?

At this price, you ARE working for FREE. Which, on occasion, may be called for when you are greener than a well manicured lawn. Just be sure to watch what kind of project you do this on. Student films, etc. are okay. Don't risk being in over your head or taking work from someone just because you are cheap. Oh, but you said $500; not free. I repeat, you ARE working for FREE at this rate. $500 pays for your equipment rental (although Production in getting a HUGE break; maybe 1/2 price depending on your package). Never forget this. Make sure they know this. You don't have to rub it in or anything, but make damn sure they know this. And, because you are working for free, you are only willing to give them 10 hours (maybe even 8). The more you force them to respect you, the more they will. The more you let them walk over you, the more they will.

Here in NYC, I've noticed a disturbing trend of guys who just bought rigs hopping on Indie features, which can afford generators, street lock ups, etc but "not Steadicam". Therefore, the new operator thinks he is not taking any work away from others when he works for a few hundred bucks. I know times have changed, but I seem to recall doing similar sized films for $1000/10. Again, that was gear rental. Since I was working for free, after ten they had to pay my usual O.T. rate. $150/hour for the first two; $200/hour thereafter. Believe it or not, I made this deal on a number of films. So, don't just give it away.

By the way, an A.C, makes more than $500 a day. And I think going rate for ops today (with gear, national average) is closer to $2000 instead of $1500.

Obviously, it depends on the market you are in, etc. My point is, don't assume you are not worth it. If you do, they most certainly will. I can even think of some commercial clients who chuckle when someone quotes a rate too low. They automatically assume that you don't know what you are doing and they move down the list.
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#5 Bryan Trieb SOC

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 03:02 AM

I would like to add that perhaps it's a good idea to only accept gigs that are "stepping stone" type gigs which will continue to give you the experience and operatating growth which will eventually lead you to where you want to be in the business.
Learn from this lesson: I accepted a 3 day show 6 years ago for which I wasn't ready. I had a rented provid rig that was a piece of crap (vest and arm mostly)and admittedly blew my brains out the first day.....better the second and decent on the third day. Didn't even know that I had a bad stigma attached to my name untill I tried to get one of the top tv gigs in the country last year. I had to really hustle but I finally proved myself and got the job. How did I have to hustle? Offered to go in for free on a 4hr call to show my skills....but ended up landing the contract.
The worst thing you can do is think you can do anything while still ramping up to what is considered a standard level of operating. We all learn at a different pace but I'm sure many will agree that a standard level of professional operating isn't reached in one year. So be patient, hustle your dollars and practice practice practice.

May not be what you want to hear but there's a long path before most can charge $2000.00USD per day. .....try quoting that in Toronto sometime!

All the best of luck,

Bryan
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#6 Erwin Landau

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 04:17 AM

There is nothing put in stone as of... ever.

I worked for $400.- a day on a feature as A Camera/Steadicam as a favor for the Producer and the DP.

I did a couple of gigs for TNT @ $1000.- for gear and $175.- for garantied 10 hrs. The regular rate that they quoted me was $1500.- for gear and $250.- for 10 hrs. with OT. But they asked me for a break[!] (I worked usually 4 to 6 hrs, as Magic Johnson does not do 2nd takes and has to run to another meeting... every time).

I lost jobs when I quoted them $1000.- for Gear and $100.- for 10. The guy that got the job quoted $1200.- and $150.- and got the job. (He had the same qualifications as I did...)

My first job ever was a Student gig, I had to borrow a Donkey box and a Gimbal to be able to do it, I got $200.- for a total of 5 hours of work... I stupidly redesigned 3 shots into one... and almost got my butt kicked there...

I did a Student Film for $400.-, one shot, pull back over a used car sales lot. I was in and out in 90 minutes. Including set up, breakfast, rehearsal and pack up.


Every gig, every show is different and unique circumstances apply...

I still do Student Films, because todays Student is tomorrows working Filmmaker that will or will not remeber you (Most of the time not, but you never know). I don't go out for less then $500.- (usually) and don't work for longer then 8 hrs.

One important fact: THERE ARE NO HALF DAYS!!!!!
How often can you book a second job for the rest of the day, especially if they call you at 10 AM and keep you till 3PM. And they will. So basically the day is toast. And it's the same amount of work... you have to drive out there, you have to set up your rig and convert the camera... once you are done it does not matter how long the day is.

Once you establish that, they will not ask and pay your "day rate" even for an hour or so. Don't be the one that inplants that Idea into a Producers head, it's impossible to get it out again. Also negotiate new every show or you will be very quickly the $250.- Dollar guy, or the $300.- Dollar guy.

I received a call the other day from a Producer I did Steadicam for a couple of years ago when I was just starting out. He was like "hi there, it's me form a couple of years back. Are you still working for the $325.- for the half day that you charged us back then? We have $300.- for a 14 hours day. Can you be a sport and do US that FAVOR again?" Hell NO... I was the cheap guy he had used once so he kept my number just in case he had such a job... he never called me for the other 100 well paying jobs he did since the one job I did...

Did he call me because I was good? I would like to belive that... It was good enough to keep my number...
Did he call me because I was cheap? You bet...

I did a show free, when I got the call from the crew of "Something Gotta Give" Just to work with an A-Crew and there experience was worth it. Everybody including Frances McDormand teamed up to shoot a short, everybody worked for free.
It was fun because nobody got paid, so no pressure... at least not to much.

I turned down a show with Glen Close, Holly Hunter and Sissy Spacek after they offered me $140.- a day with a possible backend deal, but I had to commit to 3 weeks. I have a Music video on the first shooting day where I will make more then for the entire show...
Should I have taken the job, possibly, GB lost, what was it..., over $600'000.- so far on Rocky because he insistead on beeing paid in front... You never know.

It's up to you, which job you will take... How much your time, equipment, body is worth to you... try to make the best desicion at that particular moment...
Try not to under cut your fellow operators, if it sounds fishy walk away. You will quickly start smelling them...

I rather stay home and enjoy the time with my wife and my daughter... then to get chased through the woods of Lake Tahoe with a G2 without conversion for $150.- a day and share my bedroom with 9 other Crew members for 10 days...

Sorry... enough rambling.

I hope it made any sence... it's late.

Erwin "Charge what you're worth" Landau, SOC
www.landaucamera.com
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#7 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 05:27 AM

Hi,

Nice to see you guys are still arguing about this - I thought it was just me!

I've never been paid anything extra to do Steadicam, normally I end up doing it alongside doing something else (lighting camera most often) and it ends up sitting on the stand most of the day anyway.

Phil
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#8 David Allen Grove

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 01:40 PM

$1,200 a day for rental and $150 an hour!
David, surely you gest.
That would be $3,300 for a 12 hour day!!!!

I swear that was exactly what I was told, (actually emailed). This was back when I asked this very same question and don't call me shirley! ha.

And Phil! Your back! Where'd you go? :o
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#9 David Allen Grove

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 01:46 PM

I lost jobs when I quoted them $1000.- for Gear and $100.- for 10. The guy that got the job quoted $1200.- and $150.- and got the job. (He had the same qualifications as I did...)

Erwin "Charge what you're worth" Landau, SOC
www.landaucamera.com

I ALMOST lost a job this way.. Quoting to low can make producers nervous.
The producer actually said,"oh, that's lower than I've been quoted, can I call you back." She called back and then requested a reel. They saw my work and I was hired. Whew!
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#10 Howard J Smith

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 04:30 PM

Hi Dave

I totally agree - it is good to be "reasuringly expensive" it is 'easy' to lower your daily rate if you feel you need too, but impossible to put it up if you are too cheap - plus as the guys said you may not be taken seriously.

Just my 2p

All the best

Howard J Smith
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#11 David Allen Grove

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 08:43 PM

Yea! We should all have a "Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price" (Like car dealerships) of $3,000 for 10 and work our way down!

(Just kidding, Eric. Easy boy...ha!)
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#12 mikesmith

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 09:42 PM

My rate when I started in 1983 was 1200 a day withgear. It was 2000.00 a day in the early 90's. Last week I was paid 2 pounds of seal blubber and some used aluminum foil for 13 hours of work. My latest invention of the artificial appendix also made no money. Thanks!!
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#13 geoff shotz

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Posted 20 June 2004 - 11:39 PM

hey guys- although this discussion has been had many a time, the question remains, "what is a fair price at different steps of the success ladder?" there is no answer. the game we play is tricky. sometimes we price ourselves too low and shoot ourselves in the foot. we either get the job because we low balled someone else, or we don't get it because we under priced ourselves and they think less of our talent to price ratio. but, then again, we sometimes lowball the rates to work with some director or dp we really want to work with. there is no ryhme or reason to the rates at certain times. the skill of negotiating, of feeling out a deal can be harder than operating many times. it too is a learned skill. in the beginning especially, it is really hard to say no to a job, any job, no matter what the rate. but learn that skill, and learn it well, because it will serve you well. here in l.a. there are a gaggle of operators who i seem to be up against for jobs on a regular basis and we have all become friends. and, we keep each other appraised of what is happening on the job front. we hate to accidentally blow a deal for each other. production will play us against each other thinking that we never talk. ask who they are talking to when they say they are in discussion with another operator. you may kow him well. and, when i do say no to a job because of a rate, i reccommend they call some of the other guys. when they realize that i was either giving them a fair deal or that they(the producer or production manager) had underestimated the prices for our services they tend to pay what is fair, wether to me or the other guy. it is hard to lose a job because you are standing firm, but from experience, the jobs that were lowballing the hardest are the ones that beat you up the hardest and take advantage of you the most. i don't really want those jobs anyways. on the other side of all this is, when a high paying job does come along, make sure you can deliver. unless you are sleeping with the producer, the d.p., the director, or all of them (and there are those that do, no names on location) you better be able to do the job to their satisfaction. mostly importantly though, set what is a fair and realistic value for your skill, your gear, and the project/market(do your homework) and negotiate with that in mind. don't be afraid to say, "no thank you." my 20 cents worth from the look of it.

geoff
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#14 JasonMcKelvey

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Posted 21 June 2004 - 11:05 PM

I freelanced camera for years and was so glad I started out saying "NO" to half days. I was good enough that I still got called. If you have the skills and the confidence to perform, don't start a bad precedent. Just say no.
Jason
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#15 Osvaldo Silvera SOC

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Posted 23 June 2004 - 08:47 PM

I tell folks in the business here in Miami all the time."Don't breed cheap producers by working for free", they're like Rabbits, they multiply.
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