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Borrow my rig?


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#1 Shawn Sutherland

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 10:16 AM

I searched high and low for the answer to this question, but couldn't find it anywhere.

So here goes:

What should I say to a client who wants to borrow my rig and use it without me?

I don't want to be rude and just say NO!!

That's a bit like biting the hand that feeds me.

But how do I let them down gently and still keep their business?

Please let me know.

Shawn

steditrak@yahoo.com
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#2 thomas-english

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 12:20 PM

Dear Shawn,

Now is a great time to practice saying no to producers. A resounding no. Simple and without excuses. You can add a sorry before hand like "sorry but no" as lip service to courtesy although I personally would be more like "... chuckle... No" .

Best regards

Thomas
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#3 Kelsey W. Smith

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 01:23 PM

Hey Shawn. First off, I think you have to ask yourself "why" your client wants to "borrow" your rig. Is it borrow or rent? Does he want to use it himself or does he want someone else to use it? One of my famous lines is it's a very expensive piece of equipment, and I can't afford for something to happen to it or tell him that he's not coverd under your insurance policy, which is probably true anyways.

I also agree with Thomas, you have to get use to saying the "no" word....... in a nice way. When you don't want to sound rude to someone, starting with the word "sorry" usually works!

Good luck.

Cheers,
Kelsey W.
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#4 William Demeritt

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 01:30 PM

I'm very curious to hear the majority opinion on how to handle this sort of situation. Do people favor the up front "I'm sorry, but no, I cannot allow that" and leave it simple? Or do you concoct a more compelling "fib" to tell them?

I tend to agree with the up front "no", since it'd be akin to you asking them to borrow several thousand dollars worth of equipment that represents their ability to generate revenue stream, and let you take it from their office and out into the field beyond their vision or control.
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#5 Shawn Sutherland

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 08:21 PM

I'm very curious to hear the majority opinion on how to handle this sort of situation. Do people favor the up front "I'm sorry, but no, I cannot allow that" and leave it simple? Or do you concoct a more compelling "fib" to tell them?

I tend to agree with the up front "no", since it'd be akin to you asking them to borrow several thousand dollars worth of equipment that represents their ability to generate revenue stream, and let you take it from their office and out into the field beyond their vision or control.


Here's my situation.

I have a steady job 5 days a week, so the steadicam gig is for weekends only. The way this economy is heading, the last thing I want to do is risk losing the only job that pays.

Oh, and get this:

I don't even have my rig yet, and I probably won't get it before May.

Then there's the little issue of practice.

Let's face it. Nobody wants their shots turning out bad just because I don't know how to use it yet.

Since I never owned a rig before, this is inevitable.

Allow another month or so for that.

Probably more.

I suppose I could just wear the rig, stand on a platform truck, and frame the shot while somebody pushes it down the hallway. There are always a couple of hands on set to do that.

Most humbling.

Needless to say, my lack of experience guarantees that I won't be seen anywhere near a high budget production any time soon.

That means I'll be working with other amateurs like myself.

And that's fine.

The problem occurs when the shoot goes way past our schedule on a Sunday night when I have to be at work tomorrow morning by 06:30AM.

We're amateurs, remember? We do it all the time.

That's about the moment someone pipes up and says:

"Can we borrow your rig to finish the shoot? You're not using it all week and we gotta get this done before Wednesday. C'mon, man!"

Gives me the Willies just thinking about it.

By the way, has this ever happened to any one here?

Shawn

steditrak@yahoo.com
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#6 Eric Fletcher S.O.C.

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 09:34 PM

I searched high and low for the answer to this question, but couldn't find it anywhere....

By the way, has this ever happened to any one here?



Hate to sound Harsh but NO.

You won't find an answer here because it's never been asked. Why? Because this is a board of professionals. People who make their living's by operating steadicam.

Yes we do loan gear to each other but we don't loan our gear to clients. If you do you set a very bad precedent.
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#7 Tom Wills

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 10:03 PM

Here's my situation.
...
The problem occurs when the shoot goes way past our schedule on a Sunday night when I have to be at work tomorrow morning by 06:30AM.

We're amateurs, remember? We do it all the time.

That's about the moment someone pipes up and says:

"Can we borrow your rig to finish the shoot? You're not using it all week and we gotta get this done before Wednesday. C'mon, man!"

Gives me the Willies just thinking about it.

By the way, has this ever happened to any one here?

Shawn


I'm far from a professional - probably about as new as you to all of this, but there is a point to be made about the idea of just loaning the production your rig. Who else knows how to use it? Steadicam is not a skill you can pick up from watching an operator. Is there another person on the crew who flies Steadicams? If not, their footage is most likely going to end up looking pretty bad. That might help convince the producer that it's not a good idea, if you want to try to win him over, rather than just saying "No".
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#8 Brian Freesh

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 10:10 PM

Shawn, if you (and your gear) are only available on the weekends, make sure your client knows that. Don't take a job if there is real potential for the timing to run into your day job. And if that's unpredictable, just make sure they know when you have to leave. If the day calls for 9am to 9pm with possibility of overtime, just tell them when you absolutely have to leave. If that doesn't work for them they will tell you. If they have to shoot during the week, they will know that before 6:30am Monday morning. When they ask your availability, be honest, tell them you are available Saturday and Sunday. They cannot fault you for not being available on tuesday. They may not hire you, but them's the brakes. You simply were not available for that shoot. If by some craziness some client asks to borrow your rig, you can be honest again by telling them you don't loan it out, and be honest about the reasons if they ask.

This is all very hypothetical though, as you are a ways from this anyway. So don't worry, this question should never come up. I have the same schedule as you and I simply work the jobs I can work and turn down the ones I cannot work. No one has ever asked for myself or my equipment after I have already told them I am not available.

Best,
Brian |-)~
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#9 Afton Grant

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Posted 05 April 2009 - 10:33 PM

Shawn, if you're truly worried about losing business, there's no better way to do it than to show a client that the "operator" in the Steadicam equation is irrelevant.
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#10 Dave Gish

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 12:15 AM

Oh, and get this:
I don't even have my rig yet, and I probably won't get it before May.

Then there's the little issue of practice. Let's face it. Nobody wants their shots turning out bad just because I don't know how to use it yet. Since I never owned a rig before, this is inevitable. Allow another month or so for that.
Probably more.

In order to get shots that you'll want to show professionally, it will probably take you 4-8 months, plus a 2-day workshop somewhere in there. At that point, you will be good enough to work on student films, weddings, cheap industrials, etc.. In order to get good enough to work on high budget feature films, it will take years.

Also, it doesn't really matter if you stand on a platform truck, and frame the shot while somebody pushes it down the hallway. The steadicam arm will eliminate the bounce in your walking. But as a beginner, keeping the frame level and steady will be nearly impossible, whether you're walking or being pushed on a cart.

The point here is that steadicam work is different than other production expenses. Typically, a production will hire people and rent equipment separately. But for a steadicam op, you hire/rent the person and the equipment together. That's because it takes years to get really good, and each rig is somewhat customized to the operator.

So I would think the best way to say "no" is to explain this concept.

Edited by Dave Gish, 06 April 2009 - 12:17 AM.

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#11 Erwin Landau

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 01:26 AM

What is the word I'm looking for...? Oh... I remember... "Hell NO!"

Having spend almost a half a million of my own money. They can find another fool to do so...

I had calls and do from time to time rent parts of my kit, usually spares, to other ops or production companies. But keep in mind the famous words that I'm sure many have uttered or have heard in the past: "Oh don't worry about it, It's a rental!" and that's your "Baby" that they are talking about... They will treat and handle it like it's a rental.

I categorically refuse to rent my whole rig... Don't want someone else to sweat into my personal Vest. Don't want someone else to put more dents into my PRO arm... I remember every nick and ding and when and where I did that boo boo.
Don't want someone that is not familiar at how my little nick nacks go together to break any of my mostly ancient artifacts that I carry around or worse lose them... How will you charge someone especially a Producer for little scratches or huge dents that they will dismiss as regular wear and tear even though you just bought it brand new and it still had the factory smell when it left you a couple of days ago... but not anymore.

There are a few actually very few friends that can have all of my stuff... and for free... but that are a few and they will treat it as if it's there own... but none of them is a Producer.

Also what does that tell you about you as the operator when your "client" will rent your rig but not you with it? "Oh by the way you suck, but can we have your stuff for that other kid that is better but he has no gear..." "F@%# you too!"


Just my 2 cents...


PS: If you are serious about your craft, and it is a craft, not just a job... You will have to take the full week one and not just a two day one, maybe even several times (It's said that Jim Muro, THE all mighty crazy steadi guy, didn't get it until the second time around)... I have only been doing it for a little over 9 years and only now I'm starting to get the bigger shows (that's after hundred plus features and many many shorts, commercials and Music Videos on top) and I took six refresher Workshops with PRO and I still learned something new every single time I took one. And I will take the next one again...

You will suck the first time around... and as you gather more experience and you are honest with yourself, you will go back and look at your old stuff and admit you sucked... but only then when you can admit that you truly sucked you can excel and get better... I look at some stuff I did a couple of years ago and am shacking my head that they didn't fire me then and there... I got better... but there are still days when I shake my head... AFTER the director jumped of the chair and proclaims that that was the best shot he has ever seen... and I'm asking myself if we where watching the same image... because in my eyes... it sucked.

Oh well... rant. Appreciate or Ignore... your choice.
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#12 Imran Naqvi

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 01:52 AM

NO.

For all the reasons everyone else said.

To be a pro you need to act like a pro, and that means being willing to say no.
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#13 Alfeo Dixon SOC

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 08:07 AM

Just tell the producer that you and 'your' rig, even if it is not actually yours, "My rig and I have a deep personal relationship and we're really not looking to add another into our relationship... it's really like some stranger asking you to borrow your girlfriend or wife, for their own personal enjoyment and pleasure..."

And that is very true my man!
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#14 Jess Haas SOC

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 01:09 PM

So you shouldn't loan out your wife? I learn something new every day.... ;-)
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#15 Aaron Medick SOC

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Posted 06 April 2009 - 03:14 PM

It is a simple, No. I have had companies call and ask if I rent my gear, separately. I told them NO. They told me about a DP coming in from Europe that is a steadicam op and needs to rent gear. I told them, "Good luck, I don't know of a place that rents a steadicam package."

In your particular situation, You tell them that is it a very delicate apparatus and only a trained and qualified operator can use it.

Get the training!!! Steadicams are not toys, if used incorrectly you can hurt yourself, not to mention with out a workshop you will be trying to reinvent the wheel, so to speak. Just learn it right from the start.

Or

Go to a truck stop and ask one of the guys to drive his truck. Then tell the producer what ever the trucker tells you.

I've ignored the borrow my gear part because that is just silly.
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