Here's a new one, "Sure we will issue you a insurance cert, just sign the box rental form first."
So I read the form....
Crewmember/Loanout agree that the equipment listed herein is rented to Production Company for use under Crewmember/Loanout's direction and control. Crewmember/Loanout are solely responsible for any damage to or loss of such equipment however caused and hereby waive any claims against Entertainment Partners and Production Company for any loss or damage of any kind whatsoever. In no event shall Entertainment Partners and Production Company have an obligation to indemnify Crewmember/Loanout against any losses, or damage or to provide any insurance coverage for the benefit of Crewmember/Loanout covering the equipment herein described, except that Production Company will provide insurance coverage for the fair market value of the equipment lost or damaged as a direct result of fire, catastrophic loss, provable breaking-and-entering or burglary, and for the decline in the fair market value of the equipment physically damaged as a direct result of the sole negligence of Production Company or it workers.** Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, Crewmember/Loanout understands and agrees that Production Company will have no responsibility for, and will neither indemnify Crewmember/Loanout for nor provide insurance with respect to, the mysterious disappearance, ordinary wear and tear, or breakage of the equipment. Crewmember/Loanout represents and warrants that all equipment complies with and will continue to comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws, rules, regulations, ordinances, licensing requirements and business codes, as well as all applicable manufacturer's specifications. Further, the Production Company and Crewmember/Loanout certify that the equipment listed herein is being rented at competitive rates.
Ummm No that will not fly.
I told them it was a deal breaker, They are getting back to me ASAP...
eric- a few months back i went to do a few days on a pilot for a dp of mine. the deal and rental was fine and the producer was a guy i liked in the past, but they had a production company name and never let on that it was an nbc show. after the job, i turn in my invoice as usual only to have accounting call me and tell me box rental only, no invoices! fine, fax me a box rental form and i'll fill it out, i say. well, you've shown what the box rental form says! i was appalled and angry and vocal with them. i pointed out the idiocy of the wording and the form in general. their response was, 'it's really to protect us from the bad operators. the one's who are trying to take advantage of us and rip us off! we've had problems in the past and this is just to protect nbc. but, we know you and we trust you. don't worry, we'll always cover your gear.' i asked them what happens if their boss in corporate decides he doesn't want to cover my gear? if there's a problem, then what? i pointed out that by signing the box rental i give up all claims if they decide not to pay. i ask if they are aware of my options then? silence. they just kept saying trust us! i kept saying if you trusted me, i might trust you! eventually, after a couple of weeks of this, i had to submit the box rental to get paid. but under advisement from a lawyer friend, i wrote in large print across the the form, 'sign and submitted under duress. terms not agreed.' best i could do. since then, i have turned down a full show simply because they said it was box rental only and will continue to do so until that behavior changes on nbc's part. let us know how it goes. i'm curious how we're gonna get a precedent set here. hopefully, you'll be the one! good luck!
A line producer told me today that she is getting pressure from the studio beancounters about the Steadicam rentals--"why can't we just get that from a rental house? We don't want to rent from crewpeople any more". Will they never get it?
I received a very very similar contract from Scripps Network in May for the 2008 Country Music Awards and they in-fact quoted specifically NBC as an example was doing this already. Despite the fact that the previous year Scripps had provided a proper Certificate of Insurance in less than an hour.
It took over three weeks going back and forth this year and finally a six page contract for us to negotiate through it and for me to get the Cert.
Just this past week a smaller production company coming from the East Coast tried the same thing; I politely declined the job, then they came back and NAMED "three other Steadicam ops" they "claimed" who told them they don't require a Cert. Again, I politely declined the job and told them that all operators are independent businesses and some may elect to take the risk. I also told them the ops they named were known, talented and if they could get them to do the job without a Cert to go ahead because I was not willing to risk my gear and my own insurance for a few thousand bucks. Ultimately I got the gig and got my Cert and hopefully they were lying about the other ops.
One of the best things about this Forum and Steadicam ops in general is that for the most part we communicate very openly to protect ourselves, our rates and our working conditions against unfair business practices and unscrupulous vendors/clients. I've mistakenly taken a few jobs without Certs in the past because I forgot to ask in the rush to book and shoot the job. One of those came back to haunt me and another operator when I needed him to fill-in for me and they told him "Starling didn't require a Cert".. Big Shame On Me and embarrassing but a perfect example how my inattention to one detail on one job was inherited by another op who rightfully called me on it.
Thanks for posting the details Eric and thanks for taking a stand. The only way we can win these kinds of battles against these corporate bullies is to stick together and be willing to say no.... all of us!
First, how many false clames could NBC possibly have had? There aren't that many steadicam operators that do network television for NBC. It sounds like every third operator's rig is 'stolen' and they ask production to buy them a new one. I've had a similar issue with USA network. The offered to pay for my personal insurance instead of providing my own. Ofcourse I (or rather Russ) said no and they ended up providing coverage. Which brings me to my next point.
"The only way we can win these kinds of legal battles...... stick to gether..." I know I hit this point a lot but if we all had agents we would, in effect, be stuck together.
and, @ charles........ I guess you could just give them an EXACT list of what you want and tell them to get it from the rental house. Then sub rent your gear to the rental house and let them rent it to production. You would ofcourse charge an extra 20% to the rental house so when they passed that cost along to production it wouldn't be worth while...
First, how many false clames could NBC possibly have had? There aren't that many steadicam operators that do network television for NBC. It sounds like every third operator's rig is 'stolen' and they ask production to buy them a new one. I've had a similar issue with USA network. The offered to pay for my personal insurance instead of providing my own. Ofcourse I (or rather Russ) said no and they ended up providing coverage.
just a question from europe. Cant you insure your gear yourself? Why do the client need to insure your equipment? In europe, the operator has its own insurance, and in case of damage becose of the job, the client pays for the own risk part, but thats about it. We dont have your system at all, and i am curius why.
Not to start a war here, just trying to figure out stuff and learn. For instance, i now work with contracts, as we didnt in the past, and that helps a lot.
My insurance company (in Canada) covers my gear ONLY while on my property and en route to the job site, NOT while on the job site when being rented to productions. This is standard practice and is why I must get a cert. or I won't do the job. A PM once told me it only takes production 5 min. to add my gear to their insurance coverage. No big deal at all.
I've said it before, try pulling this on Panavision and there'd be no cameras on set. PMs need to understand that our gear is NOT KIT RENTAL but EQUIPMENT RENTAL.
Safe to say that most if not all of us carry our own insurance that covers the gear when it is not working. When it is working, it is being rented by the production just like all the rest of the production package. We are not around the gear full-time, we have to be on set operating conventionally or watching rehearsals etc. and can't babysit it (are you supposed to sit next to it when eating lunch?!) so it is unfair to expect that we are responsible for covering it against theft or damage that can occur.
If your clients are renting equipment from rental houses, I'm sure they are assuming the responsibility of insurance for that--why shouldn't they have to do the same for your gear?
Thx for the answer guys. I guess it works a little different overhere. In our case its our own insurance. And when its stolen on set, my insurance pays me back, and claims it back at the production compagny. in other words, i dont have to hassle at all, its a case between the insurance compagnys. I get my claim payd within a few days, including rental lose, and the will do the rest.
And when its stolen on set, my insurance pays me back, and claims it back at the production compagny.
Hi Job, it works similarly but usually in the opposite direction here in the US; that process is called Subrogation.
A common objection I've heard from Production is "what if you as the operator are at fault and damage your gear or something is claimed stolen so you can get a new rig etc? Your insurance should cover that not Production".
The simple answer is yes my insurance would cover it minus the deductible but why should I assume any risk for their production when my equipment can sit perfectly safe in my house with little or no additional risk? Granted it's not making any money sitting in my closet but why risk such expensive gear for a few thousand bucks a day?
At this point we're only talking about Rented Equipment Coverage. General Liability Coverage is needed as well and that is where the potential for substantial perhaps devastating financial liability comes into play for us. Example: Actor and operator collide for whatever reason, actor breaks face on rig which also breaks rig. Actor can't work, greedy lawyers sue everyone within 100 yards for some form of negligence which is very hard to prove but also extremely expensive to defend against. At this point getting your monitor or sled repaired is a pittance compared to the cost of defending yourself. If you think being incorporated or an LLC protects you personally you should research how easy it is for lawyers to "pierce the corporate veil" to get to you and your assets; it's easier than you think.
The more accurate answer though is that while the equipment is insured under Productions coverage, if there were a covered loss or damage where it was determined that I the operator was either negligent or at fault, Productions insurer would pay the claim and then Subrogate the claim back to my insurer. The difference is the burden of proof and hassle is on their shoulders not mine. Whereas in your scenario it's on you and your insurer to prove Production or some part of it was at fault.
Yes, it can work the same way in our insurance system where I could have my insurer pay the claim and then try to Subrogate backward but why should I / we as operators take any risks at all? If I'm going to insure anything on their shoot then that is when my crew member hat comes off and my Producers hat goes on which comes with a different price tag and level of control / influence.
If we as operators really wanted to be sticklers about it we could also request that in addition to be added as "Loss Payee and Additionally Insured", we would be smart to request "Waiver of Subrogation" as well. In some of the low-level aerial cinematography I've done, particularly along the Las Vegas Strip we've had to deal with Waiver of Subrogation due to the extreme nature / consequence and location of what we're doing.
The bottom line for us is that the big companies have full-time 800 pound gorillas in Risk Management and Legal Departments and it's their job all day long to protect their employer. We're our own Risk Managers and it's our job to protect our interests as best as we can.
The following opinion may not be popular but here goes....
I work in a small regional market here in Australia where Steadicam gigs are few and far between but I accept that insurance is part of the cost of doing business, anyway it's a write off. My big gig for the year was the Beijing Olympics where they specifically stated they aren't responsible for my gear in any way, shape or form.
I have about $100K of production gear and only insure the hi ticket items that leave the premises. My insurance bill is just over $3000 for $65k of world wide cover. When charging $1000-1500 as a day player, that's probably not even 3 days work for a lot of ops in major markets. I'm not sure why you guys are whinging?
Why not save your selves the agro and get insurance, raise your rates slightly to cover and then you don't get production's knickers in a twist about the whole issue. You may even end up on their preferred list because you're user friendly and get more work.
Off the top of my head I can't think of too many businesses where the client pays an extra charge to look after your business capital investment. If I were a auto mechanic I wouldn't give a bill that itemized my service plus the insurance on my socket set, wrenches, etc.
Maybe I don't have a complete grasp of all aspects of this issue but it seems some ops on occasion slip into become elitist and a lttle precious about who they are and what they do.
Please correct me if my view is misinformed or just plain stupid.
Interesting pov....... I think I can see both sides pretty well from where I sit. I'm in Miami which is not a 'major' market but it's also not a hole in the wall. I can see (and have in the distant past) the advantage of just saying, "sure, whatever, my insurance will cover it". And it does make you popular with production.......
However, when your dealing with a network or major studio, something your more likley to do in LA, the odds of monster litigation goes up greatly. I think that's probably the reason you hear the more 'Hollywood' operators take such a hard line stance on insurance and the more 'Backwood' operators scratch their collective heads (no offense to smaller market operators intended, I'm one myself).
I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before (detect sarcasm here) but if you have an agent (or at least one as great as Russell Todd) none of this is really an issue because he deals with all of it for you.