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TV Show low balling for dayplayer...DO NOT TAKE JOB


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#1 Michael Stumpf

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 07:19 PM

Just a note: There is a TV show/pilot with an established DP that is making the rounds for a dayplaying steadicam operator.

They are only willing to pay operator scale (like $51.50 per hour...last years operator scale for 1st season/pilot shows) and $750 for the daily rental.

For the love of decent rates and sustaining what we do as more technical and exhaustive than a regular camera operator, DO NOT TAKE THIS JOB!!

Doing so hurts us all. And won't win you any friends. This is just unacceptable for a TV show!
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#2 Kevin M. Andersen

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Posted 12 March 2009 - 07:57 PM

Just a note: There is a TV show/pilot with an established DP that is making the rounds for a dayplaying steadicam operator.

They are only willing to pay operator scale (like $51.50 per hour...last years operator scale for 1st season/pilot shows) and $750 for the daily rental.

For the love of decent rates and sustaining what we do as more technical and exhaustive than a regular camera operator, DO NOT TAKE THIS JOB!!

Doing so hurts us all. And won't win you any friends. This is just unacceptable for a TV show!


$750 for daily rental and $51.50 is not a tragedy...What is a "decent rate" please? I would not want to make any enemies for accepting any less than a "decent rate."
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#3 Michael Stumpf

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 09:58 AM

$750 for daily rental and $51.50 is not a tragedy...What is a "decent rate" please? I would not want to make any enemies for accepting any less than a "decent rate."


Kevin, yes it is. That is normal dolly operator rate.
Accepting a job that pays normal union operator rate to do STEADICAM is just unacceptable and will just set a precedence that their are people willing to do a much more technical and physically exhaustive job for no more money.
That would be like a producer asking a stunt person to do stunts for SAG daily rate scale (the same money as a person would make to show up on a film set and say one word on camera).

It would be a bit tragic for someone to accept that and begin to set that precedence that will surely only then be followed by more and more offers like that.
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#4 RonBaldwin

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 01:10 PM

I've been called for a few tv shows for operator scale (it's funny how the gear rental usually matches the crappy rate). When they say they can't pay more I ask if the 1st assistant is getting tech-rate for working with me (there's ALWAYS an assistant getting tech-rate, which is about a 20% bump). Since the assistant gets 20% more just to use my preston, I figure I should get AT LEAST 20% over a standard operator rate for schlepping the rig. For a $750/day rental I'd be tempted to use my bfd or only give them one motor with the preston. It's no mystery what a steadicam costs, they know this when they schedule and budget the show and are just seeing what they can get away with. They will find someone to do it...especially in these bad times.

So if a production is being particularly stingy and ridiculous, that's where I begin...20% over what the operator on the other dolly is making. It's not the best deal, but it's a lot closer to being fair. In the example cited above, that would put the steadi-op at almost $62/hr which is in the ballpark for episodic tv (the rates however are considerably higher in live tv...more money, more stamina, more cables, more headroom). I'd be less likely to be accommodating if I didn't know anyone or if it was HD -- those rolling resets kill me. "Keep it rolling...back to one" at the end of a 3 minute take is a bummer, doing it again and again I start to feel beaten like a Grand Canyon mule...or one of the toothless strippers at Jumbos.
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#5 Rob Vuona SOC

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 05:02 PM

I've been called for a few tv shows for operator scale (it's funny how the gear rental usually matches the crappy rate). When they say they can't pay more I ask if the 1st assistant is getting tech-rate for working with me (there's ALWAYS an assistant getting tech-rate, which is about a 20% bump). Since the assistant gets 20% more just to use my preston, I figure I should get AT LEAST 20% over a standard operator rate for schlepping the rig. For a $750/day rental I'd be tempted to use my bfd or only give them one motor with the preston. It's no mystery what a steadicam costs, they know this when they schedule and budget the show and are just seeing what they can get away with. They will find someone to do it...especially in these bad times.

So if a production is being particularly stingy and ridiculous, that's where I begin...20% over what the operator on the other dolly is making. It's not the best deal, but it's a lot closer to being fair. In the example cited above, that would put the steadi-op at almost $62/hr which is in the ballpark for tv. I'd be less likely to be accommodating if I didn't know anyone or if it was HD -- those rolling resets kill me. "Keep it rolling...back to one" at the end of a 3 minute take is a bummer, doing it again and again I start to feel beaten like a Grand Canyon mule...or one of the toothless strippers at Jumbos.


Maybe another way to quote them when they are asking for 30 percent lower than your normal rate is telling them you would be willing to come do it for that rate but you can only do 70 percent of the shots asked of you and you'll only bring 70 percent of your gear, if they want the other 30 percent, like the Preston then it will be extra . . . . .LOL . . . .
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#6 RonBaldwin

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 05:55 PM

Maybe another way to quote them when they are asking for 30 percent lower than your normal rate is telling them you would be willing to come do it for that rate but you can only do 70 percent of the shots asked of you and you'll only bring 70 percent of your gear, if they want the other 30 percent, like the Preston then it will be extra . . . . .LOL . . . .


I've actually said something like that before -- most upm's have no sense of humor.
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#7 JimBartell

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 06:06 PM

For a $750/day rental I'd be tempted to use my bfd


Ouch.

Jim "but I thought we were friends" Bartell
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#8 RonBaldwin

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 06:20 PM

I meant a 1 motor option as compared to the 3 motor preston. If you think you are gonna guilt me into buying you booze...
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#9 Alfeo Dixon SOC

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 08:12 PM

Hey Ron... Never been to Jumbos and not sure if I want to :blink: But in the ATL we have Goldie (Claremont Lounge) and she is one beer-can-tit-bashin-broad... Alec, not sure if you ever got to that spot? anyway back to the subject. The most recent pilot I shot here, the producer was quoting way too low rates, but I did get them to agree to 20% above the ped ops.

The Kit was equally low $600/day but I was also able to negotiate my HD wireless at a discounted rate of $200/day where as the rental houses charge $300~$350/day. So in all, It got up to a decent rate, but I never put the rig down... so I earned every penny of it.

Even better, is that they are way late on payment (even the actors) so all my discounts do not apply, so now I'm due full rate. It's a good thing I ALWAYS invoice full rate and then apply the discounts along with payment terms on the invoice.
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#10 Lawrence Karman

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Posted 16 March 2009 - 09:44 PM

and again I start to feel beaten like a Grand Canyon mule...or one of the toothless strippers at Jumbos.

Perhaps a few singles shoved into your g-string might make you more willing to do longer takes?

Whoever suggested that scale wasn't a tragedy consider this: We are a business. That entails a certain amount of overhead; Insurance, payments or a lease on a vehicle large enough to haul all this crap around, a place to live in this LA market, not one of the cheapest places to live in this country last time I checked real estate prices, constant upgrades to our equipment, medical costs, reel creation costs, agent fees for some of us, taxes, business meetings at Jumbos and most important of all is the fact that this is not a steady job. There are long down periods between jobs which must be supported by an hourly rate that is higher than that of the person with a regular weekly paycheck. We are a talent pool and a resource for productions and they need to provide us with a livable wage to keep us around and in business!
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