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#1 Philip J. Martinez SOC

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 12:31 PM

What to do when you find out about people working for sub-par rates? I got a call to do a shoot this weekend for $400.00 per day and flat out turned it down!

I have done some jobs like this however it has been for friends that are putting up there own money to make a film, they have hired me at my rate many times before and are very aware of the favor I was doing. I have sometimes asked other operators to cover me on a job like this and maybe I was wrong to do so.

Student films and projects that friends are doing is one thing. This is a COMPLETELY different thing!! Anyone can go look at my rate at www.steadicam-ops.com when working on low budget jobs the rate conversation starts at what the gear rents for. Producers do not ask dolly grips to show up with a Fisher dolly they do not ask AC?s to show up with cameras we as steadicam operators should not have to show up with are gear with out being paid for it!!! This is how we feed are families and pay are mortgage. DO NOT under cut $400.00 is an insulting rate for a rig that can pick up a camera over 15lbs.

A Bartech starts at $120.00 a day
A low budget video transmitter starts at $210.00 a day

Now think about how much you paid for your bartech vs. how much you paid for your rig and base the rental rate accordingly. If your are new work for free but charge for your gear. Look on the Internet to see what full rig?s start at. Pro rents one so does Film Friends in NYC
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#2 RobVanGelder

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 10:05 PM

Nothing new here..... <_<

2 weeks ago I got a phonecall from the largest production company here in Thailand,inviting me for a talk with a director for a action movie to be shot in a resort at the beach.
This is an American production.
3 cameras, (moviecam compact, 435 and 235) with Steadicam on every day.
After a good talk with the director, I got a call from the producer, stating that they were very happy to have me and that the rate for me, as second camera/steadicam op. was fixed at 50.000 baht per week, 12 hours per day. That is for my work only.
That is at the current rate $ 1.470 per week.....$245 per day.

I told him, that although Thailand has lower incomes in general and also a lower cost-of-living, the going rate for normal 2nd camera operator is minimum 80.000 baht per week. ($ 2.350). And that Steadicam operating normally means an increase of this rate...

He said that this was not true, that the operator that he normally works with (a Thai guy) has been doing movies for him (big movies, with stars like Nicolas Cage) for this 50.000 baht per week and that his equipment is rented for about 40.000 per week.

I told him that I cannot do this, that my minimum is that 80.000 per week, in line with other, normal cameramen and that my equipment is a minimum of 60.000 per week because my rig and accessories are more modern than my competitor's.

He told me a bit later that they decided not to work with me, because 1) my attitude was not good for the director and 2) this other guy has set the standard for them, so they budget on this for every project........

I told him politely that he'll get what he pays for, wished him good luck and ended the conversation.


Tomorrow I am discussing a short project with a video-company, they offered me $ 400 per day right away for operating THEIR little Steadicam Pilot with a Sony EX-1 camera. Sure I'll do this, it is a good rate, no investment of my side, a lightweight camera instead of a Moviecam Compact, No chaotic running in action scenes but just making beautiful flowing pictures of Thailand!
Making more money in 4 comfortable days than I would otherwise could make in 6 heavy chaotic days.

Anyway, the problem is still out there, one guy destroying the market for every body. He can not even buy anything new from his rate, that's why he came to me just before all this happened, asking if he could buy some used equipment from me.
I declined, I cannot help him as it will only hurt my position. He will just continue undercutting with equipment he bought from me!

Rob
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#3 Philip J. Martinez SOC

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 11:42 AM

Looks like I was wrong. I just herd from the Op who did the job and it sounds like he got a fair rate. Maybe i rubbed the producer the wrong way when he told me what he wanted to pay. It sounds like he paid someone what I said I'd do the job for. So to the Op who did the job I'm sorry for the misunderstanding.
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#4 Joseph Arena SOC

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 12:28 PM

[What about the jobs where they ask you to work hourly ,
when I said hourly I mean literally 2 hours ,
what I usually find out after laughing at the producers is that they have another guy who will do it .
Now, as you already mentioned before I would not mind if we are talking about shorts or non profit jobs ,
I know everyone wants to get some experience at some point ,
but the reality is that these jobs are regular productions ,
Should we start to list some names of operators that they actually do this on a daily bases?
I know it would be really bad , but we need to all come up we some sort of solution .
I am aware that now is not a great time for a lot of people , but that it does not mean that we need to degrade
ours skills and investments .
We are not maids we don`t work that works couple of ours left and couple of our right .
opinions and solutions are welcome
ciaoooo...
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#5 Alec Jarnagin SOC

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 01:43 PM

Guys,

As much as this issue can (& should) drive us nuts, we should not resort to listing operators here. As Phil just pointed out, mistakes and misunderstandings can happen very easily. This forum was not designed to humiliate people or even keep them in line. The best solution is for people to talk with one another and COMMUNICATE! Young ops should be shown the way by the veterans. There will always be a few bad apples that piss us off, but more often than not, I'd like to believe it is ignorance and desperation that cause this behavior. Education should be the answer.

Thank you.
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#6 Mike Germond SOC

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 10:26 PM

I'll admit that I've worked for rates that are less than desired, and probably considered terrible by most. But these were student related projects, as Phillip mentioned, so I feel it was completely justified. On one production, the subject of the project was a Producer from my home town with whom I made a great connection. He has a feature film a few years down the road, and I can assure you that I will work for no less than a professional rate on a project like that..

I'm not afraid to turn down a project when the director is trying to pit me against other operators...It's already been said, but you get what you pay for..
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#7 Nicholas Davidoff

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 02:26 AM

I just got off the phone with a producer who offered me $300 a day to work on a SAG low budget feature film. I politely turned him down, but I GUARANTEE he'll find somebody. One of the big problems in the low budget steadicam league is the ridiculous amount of losers with junkyard rigs who call themselves steadicam operators. These guys (and girls) don't even know the difference between drop time and spin balance let alone anything about camerawork and composition. But yet they're happily taking jobs for $100 a day and delivering godawful work. Producers and directors on these "projects" can't tell good camerawork from a hole in their ass and they think they got a great deal. Meanwhile rates continue to plummet thanks to all the "weekend flyers" out there. Most of the "A" list operators aren't exposed to these rate massacres but I'm sure it's slowly trickling up the ladder. Yes, it's a sad state of affairs. Instead of going off on a rant, I offer some solutions to consider.

1. EASE BACK ON ENCOURAGEMENT. The good people of this steadicam forum are extremely kindhearted and supportive of every newbie who wants to start flying professionally. But there is a TREMENDOUS backlash to this, especially in the big cities. Coming up as an AC I developed a great respect for the craft of the steadicam operator. Steadicam is a sacred and respectable tradition which is currently being desecrated by any joe-schmoe with a credit card. Every half assed film school kid and their grandma is getting a rig these days and making a joke out of steadicam. Unlike ten years ago, there is no longer a shortage of steadicam ops and work is really hard to come by. I'm not trying to be a prick here, I'm just trying to separate the men from the boys. If you're going to SERIOUSLY get into this, then make a proper commitment. Raise proper funds and invest in quality, reliable equipment. You're investing in an expensive business so if you can't afford it, then hold off. Whatever you think you're gonna spend, add about 30 percent. Or save your money and get a Red camera and start calling yourself a DP. Invest the time and sweat to train hard and learn proper operating techniques so when you show up on a set you don't embarass yourself and the entire steadicam institution. The point here is, if you want to be a professional steadicam op, you must do it with TOTAL dedication, passion and commitment. If you're a "weekend flyer" going in half-assed with no funds, then PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, do something else.

2. MINIMUM RATES - It's been said time and time again here so all I can do is re-iterate. Let's make a commitment folks to stick together. In the low budget world, let's agree on a rock bottom minimum of let's say $500 for 12 hours. And this is ROCK BOTTOM. Not too long ago when I was starting out, this is what I charged for student projects. Consider $400 for 8 hours as an alternative. Explain to the person hiring you that you're giving them a huge break. You're working for free and charging for equipment rental only. After 12 hours worked, overtime is in order and should be firmly addressed. Maybe we can agree on some minimums for low budget features in the neighborhood of $700 a day? These numbers suck but it's the reality out there.

If they can't afford these minimum rates then here's where your commitment is tested. If you agree to work for peanuts, then you've just stabbed all your fellow operators in the back. Keep this in mind as you say "sure, I'll do it". If you hear of someone working below these rate minimums, give them a call. Ask them to be more respectful of the steadicam profession. Let's be more communicative with eachother, stand firm on our minimum rates and have "pep talks" with fellow operators who are screwing us all. I, for one, am willing to make these commitments. Is anybody else? Or is this whole idea ridiculous?
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#8 RobVanGelder

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 04:46 AM

Good points, Nick.
I for one am happy that I read at least some actual number of those "low budget" shootings, as considered in the States.
Though I am not living there, I think my situation in Thailand is not much different than LA or NY.
So in general you could say:
$500 for student movies
$700 for "low budget" features
Commercials?
High budget projects?
Corporate videos?

It might be interesting to have a list available of the sorts of projects with their "normal" rate.

I just talked to another Thai operator that was asked for the same project that I mentioned earlier. He declined the job as well, though he is asking less then me. (His equipment is also of lesser quality)

So it is really only one guy here, in Thailand, who is messing things up. And he is not willing to do anything about it, which makes us hope he will break a leg soon..... sad but true.

Please fill in the gaps for the normal rates of certain projects.

Thanks,
Rob
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#9 Jess Haas SOC

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 01:51 PM

I know some people don't really like talking about actual numbers on the forum but I personally feel it can help more than hurt.

As far as minimums go for a real rate $1200/day seems about right. That is $600 for gear and $600 for the operator. Again that is minimum as many operators make more just as they should. Also if you have all the latest and greatest toys charging more than that for gear is definitely justifiable.

As far as overtime goes are peoples hourly rates normally based off of the whole rate or the rate without the gear portion?

~Jess
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#10 Nicholas Davidoff

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 03:52 PM

Steadicam job on Craiglslist for $175 a day feature film - gigs-953131603@craigslist.org

Good luck to all you backstabbers and undercutters!
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#11 Mike Germond SOC

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 04:21 PM

that must be a joke! I wouldn't even accept that rate if I was desperate!!
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#12 Jess Haas SOC

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 05:03 PM

Steadicam job on Craiglslist for $175 a day feature film - gigs-953131603@craigslist.org

Good luck to all you backstabbers and undercutters!

Your mistaken. They aren't looking for a Steadicam operator they are looking for a Steadycam operator. I think that's one of those crazy contraptions made out of bungycords and used bike parts that you strap to your head. $175 is a great rate for that as normally you have to pay people to let you walk around set and look cool with it.

~Jess
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#13 Louis Puli SOC

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 01:39 AM

Steadicam job on Craiglslist for $175 a day feature film - gigs-953131603@craigslist.org

Good luck to all you backstabbers and undercutters!

Your mistaken. They aren't looking for a Steadicam operator they are looking for a Steadycam operator. I think that's one of those crazy contraptions made out of bungycords and used bike parts that you strap to your head. $175 is a great rate for that as normally you have to pay people to let you walk around set and look cool with it.

~Jess



Hi Everyone
Ha Jess I would give them this guys No #333##3333 lol Thats all they deserve Backstabbers and undercutters
Fly safe
Louis Puli B)
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#14 Fabrizio Sciarra SOC ACO

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 04:56 AM

LOL can't stop laughing.... but what the hell he's looking at?!?!?

Edited by Fabrizio Sciarra, 12 December 2008 - 04:58 AM.

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#15 John Buzz Moyer

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Posted 12 December 2008 - 08:42 AM

Iggy...you're my hero, oh sorry...Nick

JBM
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