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Feature Film - Ridiculous rate


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#1 Nicholas Davidoff

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Posted 21 January 2009 - 10:44 PM

It has come to my attention that there is a feature film here in L.A. currently seeking a professional steadicam operator. The rate they are offering is $250 a day for operator and equipment. I won't go into further detail except that the initials of the DP are N.R.

Please be aware of this production as I'm sure some of you will hear from them with this ridiculous offer. I hope we are all able to support eachother and stand together on this (and future productions) by explaining to these people that their offer is a joke. Even a newbie shouldn't consider anything less than DOUBLE this rate.

If one of our fellow steadicam brothers does end up accepting this job at this rate I'm sure your fellow operators will hear about it. Please be aware of your contribution to the decline of steadicam respectability and your newly minted status as a STEADICAM HACK.

Happy flying!
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#2 Matteo Quagliano

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 04:50 AM

WOW... that's not even half of my rate... and I'm on the other side of the world in all senses... (equipment, experience, sets, etc.)
Crazy that in L.A. they go like this...
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#3 RonBaldwin

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 10:27 AM

Crazy that in L.A. they go like this...


you'll see alot of this until sag gets their shiite together. There are hundreds of steadi-ops and not that much going on right now. Sad, but they'll get someone.

rb
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#4 Brian Freesh

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 11:58 AM

Someone should totally take this gig. Then, 2 - 3 hours into the first day, look at their watch and start packing up. When the AD walks over and asks what is going on, simply reply, "Oh, I've worked off my $250, see ya tomorrow morning!" And then just leave. If for some reason they don't call at all, show up the next day to do it again!
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#5 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 01:28 PM

This topic brings up an interesting question. What rate is the right rate on a low budget feature? Lets say it's a $1,000,000 feature and they want steadicam every day. What's fair? $250 is obviously too low, but they can't pay full rate either (or can they?). What's an acceptable rate on a feature of that size?
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#6 Jess Haas SOC

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 02:31 PM

And what about when that $250,000 feature calls.... :-)

~Jess
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#7 Brant S. Fagan SOC

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 03:21 PM

Gents--

Sure, I like Brian's plan the best! And whoever has the balls to pull that off, make sure to have your AC get it on tape to post on YouTube!

But the reality of the situation is this. Producers and UPMs need to hear what the operator and gear are actually worth even if you cut a deal.

Too many cling to the illusion that "well, so and so did it for that." or "We never budgeted for Steadicam and now the director has to have it." or my favorite "do it for us this time and we'll make it up to you on the next big show."

If no one ever educates these up and coming producers and UPMs of tomorrow about the reality of rates and rentals, how can the rates that so many worked very, very hard to establish many years ago be maintained or improved upon in the future?

"I say let 'em crash!" "Airplane! The Movie" (1977)
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#8 Alfeo Dixon SOC

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 04:59 PM

Someone should totally take this gig. Then, 2 - 3 hours into the first day, look at their watch and start packing up. When the AD walks over and asks what is going on, simply reply, "Oh, I've worked off my $250, see ya tomorrow morning!" And then just leave. If for some reason they don't call at all, show up the next day to do it again!

If it wouldn't cost me 4x that much to fly in I would totally do it.... ROTFL!!!

This topic brings up an interesting question. What rate is the right rate on a low budget feature? Lets say it's a $1,000,000 feature and they want steadicam every day. What's fair? $250 is obviously too low, but they can't pay full rate either (or can they?). What's an acceptable rate on a feature of that size?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but off the scale rate at least a $20/h bump above operator rate... again, if you have to work at the scale min. of the contract + your kit
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#9 Aaron Medick SOC

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 05:32 PM

It's sad, but people do take these rates. Though $250 is lower than I have heard. I did zero features last year, because of the low offers. I know guys are working for scale Op rate for the hours. Boy, do we need the hours, but if you get 8 days a year at full rate that covers a full year of health benefits ($15000) and $5000 into a retirement plan of your choosing.
For a while I followed who was taking these jobs, but it is too frustrating, so I try to negotiate a deal that works for all of us, then let it go if the PM is being unreasonable. I will say that most of the time the job was taken by a seasoned OP. These were all Union features. The budgets were between 1 and 8 million, i think. Some of them didn't shoot do the SAG issue.
The offers I passed on last year were scale plus $1000 a week gear rental. I figure most of the time on a Low budget feature they need to get to $5000 a week in rate and gear.
We are a community and as such we are only as strong as our weakest link. Times are Tough, Good luck in 2009 everyone.

Regards,
Aaron
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#10 Mike McGowan SOC

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 06:44 PM

$250 an hour is actually a pretty good rate, I don't know what you guys are talking about.......................

For real though, while $250 a day is obviously a totally rediculous rate (for an AC with no gear, hell, for a good PA), the motion picture world is changing big and fast. I've done quite a few jobs in the last 12 months or so that were music videos that had a final delivery of YouTube. No intent to go on MTV or BET just straight to YouTube. And they actually had decent budgets. And, if you thought that HD was coming on stronger and stronger, it has really kicked it into high gear recently. Take my January for example... January 1,2,3 (435). January 13,14,15 (Varicam). January 21 (Red). January 25,26,27,28 (Phantom). And there is more and more stuf shot on the higher end mini DV cameras. I've done a few jobs where I was making more than the director and the camera man combined.

Feature films have gone from expensive and released in the theater to straight to dvd and now straight to the internet.

I would never suggest sombody work for 250 a day but I will say, times, they are a changing.

mm.
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#11 Philip J. Martinez SOC

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 09:38 PM

You get what you pay for.

Imagine what a $250.00 a day steadicam shot looks like.

I bet most of us could do better hand held then someone who works for that rate.

If you are starting out and need practice buy a Steadicam Pilot or other light weight rig and work low budget.
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#12 Amando Crespo

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Posted 22 January 2009 - 11:58 PM

mmmmm..... Low rates....Ridiculous rates..... F.ck......RATES.
Wellcome to Spain!!!.
The paradise of the offensively absurd rates... (Not proud about this post mine).... But it´s the really working way in my country.....
Hey...!!!...Producers...Do you want know t where can you find the complete pack?.... ****steadicam operator+camera operator+gear for Tv. series**** working 10 or more hours per day (no extra hour rate, of course), not meal plus, not travell.... FOR ONLY 340€ EVERY DAY and without assistant, foccus puller or.... No problem, alone the work is funny?..... COME HERE AND ASK FOR...
Well... This is really here... And some of these "operators" are in this forum.
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#13 G. Grammatikos

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Posted 23 January 2009 - 05:09 AM

hi guys if i remember good 4 years before i have start a topic about a tv serial (director and DOP want me).producucer want for me to work with the same ridiculus rate ,ofcourse i denied and an "operator with an agb rig"work for this serial .When i start the topic many guys for the forum attact to me and one off them (hoolywood operator !!!)send me email to continue this ... The point is that this office still work with low(i say no) budget steadicam operators/owner , this is no problem for me (they get that they pay)but other producers come and ask for the rest of us lower rates bechause of this producer ,and 2-3 operators.they use to say tv serial can not pay that rates .... i use to answer use dolly and sometimes iam the bad guy!
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#14 Nikolay Kerezov

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Posted 24 January 2009 - 02:57 AM

hi guys if i remember good 4 years before i have start a topic about a tv serial (director and DOP want me).producucer want for me to work with the same ridiculus rate ,ofcourse i denied and an "operator with an agb rig"work for this serial .When i start the topic many guys for the forum attact to me and one off them (hoolywood operator !!!)send me email to continue this ... The point is that this office still work with low(i say no) budget steadicam operators/owner , this is no problem for me (they get that they pay)but other producers come and ask for the rest of us lower rates bechause of this producer ,and 2-3 operators.they use to say tv serial can not pay that rates .... i use to answer use dolly and sometimes iam the bad guy!

Totaly agree with you!
Same think happens to me-8 months ,8 days of work.
Few days ago I had someone telling me:" Maybe not the others are working for low rates,but you are the only one keeping the high ones".AT the end he might be right I'm the only one around whose not working.
Anyways I'm still not going out of home for less than 500eur,you must ask yourself the question:"How much I worth?"
If someone is working for 250 usd a day is probably what hi is thinking for himself.

Regards to All,and don't be cheap guys!

Nikolay "the expensive one around" Kerezov
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#15 Marc_Abernathy

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Posted 25 January 2009 - 11:28 AM

the reality is there are steadicam "ops" growing on trees everywhere, thanks to glidecam, handy cam, action cam, fill in the blank cam, more and more people are taking on the job-- with no formal training or 2 days of training and letting them loose! (as CNN is doing which is absurd).

someone WILL take this low rate and its only going to get worse. just like actors will work for chump change, so too will steadi ops. gone are the days of the Steadicam "cartel" where there were only a handful of ops where they could demand certain prices, but with everyone with their own rig and with the way people are used to the "reality tv" shaky cam un-necessary zoom look, things will be different.

Turner here in ATL is not using Steadi much if at all anymore--their clients dont "need it".

times indeed are changing...... the fact that this is happening in LA is scary... they should all know better out there....

Edited by Marc_Abernathy, 25 January 2009 - 11:36 AM.

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