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Overseas Rates & Workflow


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#1 Andrew Brinkhaus

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Posted 27 December 2007 - 01:56 PM

I have just been offered to shoot a film in Oslo, Norway this Fall. The budget for the film is 2 million, and they asked about my rates.

Because I am not a part of any union, or Cinematographers organization, I resort to calculating my rates based on the production's budget, here it would be $350 a day for a 40 day principle shoot schedule in August, and a 2 week previz shoot in July.

Because I am coming from the U.S, what expendables should I make sure the production covers? Obviously housing, transportation, ticket prices, etc?

This is the first time I've worked on a budget large enough to dictate needing paperwork, insurance, etc. I am unsure how to approach this, in order to secure my payment, and safety while shooting.

What (if any) insurance would I need? Or would that be covered by the Production Co.? Should I simply send them a deal memo, and use that as the legal document of my being hired?

Sorry for all the questions, but this is my first time overseas, shooting such a big project.

Thanks in advance.
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#2 Andrew Brinkhaus

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Posted 27 December 2007 - 06:25 PM

Recalculated my rates for this budget, and I'm looking at somewhere between $600-$700/day.

Edited by Andrew Brinkhaus, 27 December 2007 - 06:25 PM.

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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 02:17 AM

The production has insurance (normally). You'd only need insurance if you owned expensive equipment. What sort of insurance were you thinking of? Health insurance? Workers comp?

$600-700/day is basically minimum DP rates in the union, but since this is a 2-mil non-union film in a foreign country, I'm not sure you're going to get that much, but there is no harm in asking.

They should pay air fare, housing costs, and give you a per diem, plus arrange ground transportation, whether that means renting you a car or providing a driver whenever you need one, just depends. How many days of paid prep you want to ask for, whether to get paid for travelling days, etc. it's up to you. Hopefully you can get paid for at least 3 weeks of prep even if you put in more. Ask for a work guarantee, like two weeks of salary no matter what happens (like production is cancelled.)

It's a bit early to be asking about expendables as the DP; you'd talk to your keys first (1st AC, Key Grip, Gaffer). Did you mean "expenses" not "expendables"? Hard to send them a deal memo until they've made an offer with details. They usually type it up, not you.

Maybe you should try to get an agent at this point.
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#4 Andrew Brinkhaus

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Posted 28 December 2007 - 12:19 PM

Yeah, it seems like an agent would make sense about now, though gigs this large don't seem to come by too often. I realize I have a lot to learn in the business end of the industry, but experiences like this will help boost that knowledge.

Sorry about the typo, I did mean expenses, not expendables. I'm so used to using that word as an AC.

At any rate, thanks for the help, I have a great place to start now in negotiation with the production.

Edited by Andrew Brinkhaus, 28 December 2007 - 12:22 PM.

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#5 Warwick Hempleman

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Posted 05 February 2008 - 04:46 PM

You'll want to make sure your per diems are based on the real cost of living in the country or city you're in. The producer may say he's working from a standard p.d. table, but check with a U.S. source as to what costs really are where you'll be. The German rate for Norway is EUR 57 /day. Production should also pick up any and all shipping and customs costs for any gear you bring with you.

Based on the way the dollar is moving these days, make sure you agree on a currency and an exchange rate. Also see if you're liable for any tax bite from the country you'll be working in, or if there's any tax or insurance fee structure, etc., that's not immediately apparent. It may be matter-of-fact for them but news to you. Do you need a temporary work permit? On these points the producer will probably be well-informed and straightforward with you. Also be sure to get in touch with the equipment house well before you travel, and really go through your equipment list in detail. Expendables (that word again) that are givens in the US may not be available where you're going. From the grip side two things that come to mind are showcards and sash. Talk with your local crew heads, as much as anything to determine their English skills (in Norway they'll be pretty good).

Ask your local guys if a standard contract exists, and what the working conditions are like. There will certainly be things missing that you're used to but there may be a few pleasant surprises, if the producer honors the contract. Finally, make sure you get at least some money up front. Insist on that - European production funding can often be linked to final cut approval from a network, and can drag things out for months. Be very, very clear about the payment schedule. It's not unheard of to ask for 40% at the start of shooting, 30% at midpoint and 30% at conclusion.
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