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#21 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 07:59 PM

I think it is a false analogy to compare lending a digital camera to a production as the same as giving film stock. Film stock is finite and expendable whereas digital cameras are not (in the functional sense.) Even if you count "wear and tear" then this argument can lead to expecting consumers to pay mechanics extra for their tools "wear and tear" because it costs them out of pocket.

 

 

I'm more than happy to provide the tools of my trade for free. That's why I arrive at every job with my lightmeter, my pan glass and my viewfinder. Anything else production wants, I'm happy to provide, but they are going to have to pay either me or the rental house for it. Asking me to provide hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment as 'tools of the trade' is stretching the definition in to the realms of insanity.


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#22 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 12:00 AM

Asking me to provide hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment as 'tools of the trade' is stretching the definition in to the realms of insanity.

Okay, so next time you go to a restaurant and order a burger, tell me that you would be okay with them charging you a price for the burger as a "base rate" and then tacking on the cost of the cook to make it, a fee for the dishwasher to wash the dishes, a fee to cover the depreciation of the grill, a fee to amortize the cost of their ventilation system (which can easily be up there with any camera), the cost of the permits and insurance they have to hold, on and on you get the drift. That is how ridiculous the notion is of non-flat rate pricing. The cost of gear is as irrelevant as the above scenario I gave you.


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#23 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 02:21 AM

When I get a burger, I don't expect the guy making them to have provided all the kitchen equipment himself.

 

Historically, the studios owned all the physical means of production, and crew were employees using that equipment. As the industry has shifted toward a self employed workforce, it has become rental houses that own the gear, with owner/operators in the lower budget end of the market. Someone has to pay for that equipment, and that is always going to be the production.

 

You talk about tools of the trade as if other industries are different. A mechanic might own his set of Snap-On wrenches, but he sure doesn't own the vehicle lifts and the servicing bays. A builder may own hand tools, but when he needs heavy plant he rents and passes the cost on. This is standard practice in just about every industry.

 

I find it staggering that you as a producer think that cameras and lights should be provided free of charge.


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#24 Dom Jaeger

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 02:57 AM

Amen. I have never understood why people rent lenses either unless they either 1) are just a filmmaker on a single project 2) want to use a lens they cant afford or 3) a pro who is too cheap to invest in it because they would rather "bill it to production." To hell with group #3. :D

 

There are plenty of reasons to rent lenses:

 

to get the right focal length range and look for a project without making a huge investment

to be able to compare and test lenses in order to make that decision

to choose a lens size or weight that best suits the project

to make sure the lenses will all be properly collimated and in good condition

to access lenses immediately, without needing to spend time finding, purchasing, testing and possibly having to get them serviced

to have a back up if a lens is dropped or damaged

to try out different lenses

to access lenses that may be rare or otherwise hard to find

to use lenses that match a particular camera mount or format

to use specialty lenses like probes or macros or extreme telephotos or shift and tilts etc for specific shots

to access the knowledge bank and technical resources of rental house staff

to ensure that a production isn't dependent on a particular crew member for a vital part of the gear list 

to ensure that questions of liability in case of damage and associated insurance are well understood

etc

 

Some of these reasons may be more obvious to working professionals than someone trying to make their first feature on a very low budget. Clearly there is no single lens set that suits every project, and on many productions the cost of time lost due to faulty or inappropriate gear or desperately sourcing replacements is not a risk worth taking.

 

I'm not sure who you mean by the "pros" who you believe should invest in lenses - DPs, camera assistants, directors? - but calling them cheap because they won't cover costs that are rightfully production costs is ludicrous. 

 

The better restaurant analogy is if you were running a restaurant and expected the waiters to bring all the cutlery and crockery and the chefs to bring all their own pots, pans and ovens.

(Edit: as Stuart just said.)


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#25 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 09:08 AM

I find it staggering that you as a producer think that cameras and lights should be provided free of charge.

I don't think that. But I also dont hire DPs either. I dont know why anyone has a problem with flat rate pricing unless you are trying to deceive by making your rate sound more competitive than the next guy just to drop the bomb after you are hired.

 

You can talk all you want about this or that but you, or anyone else on this forum, have no excuse for being against being honest and straight forward about all of your fees and requirements up front. No different than labs who add hidden fees or use other underhanded tactics. And you are in charge of whatever quote you give so if you get ripped off, it is your own fault.


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#26 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 09:10 AM

 

The better restaurant analogy is if you were running a restaurant and expected the waiters to bring all the cutlery and crockery and the chefs to bring all their own pots, pans and ovens.

(Edit: as Stuart just said.)

Ah, but chefs do bring their own knives which are usually more expensive than pots and pans. And I do not believe they charge their employers more for that.

 

This is all irrelevant anyway because we can all argue about what is right or wrong and you are not exactly objective in this (don't you own a rental house?)

 

The point is...the market will determine what is normal in the coming days and people either make themselves competitive or they will have to find other ways to support themselves.


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#27 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 09:49 AM

 I dont know why anyone has a problem with flat rate pricing 

 

 

If I quoted a flat rate for Myself, Camera, and  G&E, my rate would be over $10,000 a week for even a low budget feature. The very first thing the producer would request would be an itemized breakdown so they could see what they were paying for, and when they had that they'd start striking stuff off my quote and sourcing it elsewhere to get the best deal. If they're going to do that anyway, there's no point in me investing in all that equipment.


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#28 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 09:57 AM

If I quoted a flat rate for Myself, Camera, and  G&E, my rate would be over $10,000 a week for even a low budget feature. The very first thing the producer would request would be an itemized breakdown so they could see what they were paying for, and when they had that they'd start striking stuff off my quote and sourcing it elsewhere to get the best deal. If they're going to do that anyway, there's no point in me investing in all that equipment.

I was referring to asking a Producer first what they require and then quoting them your rate. If a Producer doesnt want a DP/Op with camera then I am sure they would not require you to have one. But if he wants one with gear and you either cant provide it or want too much to provide it then you arent getting the job anyway. I dont see the issue.


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#29 Stuart Brereton

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 10:34 AM

The only reason a producer wants a DP/OP with gear is because they think they are going to get a better deal that way. There is no other advantage to them. Most owner operators will end up sub renting parts of the package anyway.

 

Personally, I find the idea that it's my camera package that gets me the job, rather than my ability, to be quite offensive. I've certainly lost a few jobs to 21 year old 'DPs' who 'own a RED'

 

You say you want a flat rate, but you also want it broken down. Those things fly in the face of each other. Flat rates are always higher than an itemized rate because they have a safety net built in to cover unforeseen circumstances and the inevitable additions. Only a fool is going to quote you cost.


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#30 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 18 June 2014 - 10:37 AM

 Only a fool is going to quote you cost.

I guess I am not a good person to ask because I am in Northern California where you cant get a job without gear. No one around here cares about your skill level if you dont have tools of the trade. We dont even have rental houses here so a camera becomes a necessity. And if a filmmaker owns a camera here, they figure they have more experience than some wannabee DP/Op that doesnt own a camera because they have more access and practice. In certain areas, the classic Hollywood style is drying up if it ever existed in the first place.


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