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DP 16mm student film etiquette


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#1 Mike Pasky

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 02:13 PM

Hello,

I am going to be DP'ing a 16mm short (2 long weekends of filming) film other than one of my own for the first time. I have DP'ed DV and HD projects before (pro bono) and have shot my own short 16mm projects but this will be my first paid gig as a DP on a (student) 16mm film. The director and I have agreed on a set pay rate for the entire project and I have told the director I will send him an informal agreement in the next couple of days.

I was thinking of saying in the agreement that I require half the money when I arrive on the set and the other half at the end of the last day of shooting. Does that make sense? Is that standard (or close to it)? If that sounds like a bad idea please let me know what any of you think would be a better idea.

Thank you in advance.

Mike
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#2 Dickson Sorensen

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 07:27 PM

The only time I heard of someone being paid before they did the job was with a producer with very bad credit. Normally one gets paid upon completion or weekly if its a longer job. If you are acting as a production service, renting equipment, hiring crew and other out of pocket expences it might not be unusual to ask for up front money as you will be spending your own cash before getting paid.

A friend who learned the photo business from his father told me that his father always told him:

The most important thing to remember about photography is GET THE MONEY.

Also your agreement should not be "informal" it should be "formal". Usually these agreements are called "Deal Memo's" and perhaps someone who has one handy could post an example.

Edited by Dickson Sorensen, 28 March 2006 - 07:31 PM.

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#3 Dickson Sorensen

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 07:39 PM

Here's a link to a deal memo

http://www.aicp.com/...P-Deal-Memo.pdf
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#4 Mike Pasky

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 08:26 PM

Here's a link to a deal memo

http://www.aicp.com/...P-Deal-Memo.pdf


Awesome! Thanks so much Dickson...I really appreciate it. I just finished going through the Memo Deal.

...And yeah I realize now that it would be too early to ask for part of the money before shooting anything. Now I'm thinking of asking (changing the Memo Deal billing section) for half the money upon completion the first long weekend of shooting and asking for the other half upon completion the second (and last) long weekend of shooting. Does that sound better/smart? I've never met the director/producer before so I figure that might be a safe way to go.
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#5 Mitch Gross

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Posted 28 March 2006 - 10:17 PM

I would say that getting paid at the end of each weekend is completely fair.

For my contractual work where I am providing production services and/or gear (as opposed to simply serving as a crew member), I usually contract in thirds. Thus, 1/3 upon both parties signing the contract, 1/3 when commencing production and 1/3 upon completion of the contract (end of shoot or delivering of product, depending upon what I'm responsible for). This is standard in the industry.
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#6 Travis Cline

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Posted 30 March 2006 - 04:46 PM

When I'm the DP I also often am paid in thirds like Mitch said. Other times and depending upon the length of course, I get paid weekly.

Travis
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#7 Matt Frank

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Posted 03 April 2006 - 11:52 AM

I always do it in 3rds, before shooting, aftershooting and delievery of final product (if I am overseeing that)
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#8 Phil Connolly

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Posted 12 April 2006 - 12:26 PM

It may be that the film school has a in house policy on how freelancers get paid - sometimes its slightly different than the industry norm and you get paid as a staff member of an educational institution - with all the red tape that goes with it.

I worked on a Student Project as a DP last year, at the NFTS in the UK, this meant invoicing the schools payroll department rather than going through the students. It seems they pay freelancers at the same time as staff members - so I had to wait until the first "payday" after the shoot finished. Annoying - but to be honest it was a bonus to get paid anything on a student project.

You may be able to get cash directly from the production budget - but some schools seem to have layers of paper work, partially for insurance purposes this requires official contracts. In my case because I had to go on the schools vehicle insurance to drive the equipment van - which resulted in even more paperwork.
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#9 Galen Carter-Jeffrey

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Posted 07 May 2006 - 01:09 AM

From a Students point of View I would like to ask how yall, professional DPs, like Student work? Do yall offer discounts?
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The Slider

Ritter Battery

Wooden Camera

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Tai Audio

FJS International, LLC

Opal

Willys Widgets

Visual Products

Technodolly

rebotnix Technologies

Metropolis Post

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS