The Egyptian Music Video
Posted 24 February 2008 - 04:38 PM
The people that were asking me to come with a camera and lighting package would cringe at anything over $450/day; that included HVX-200, 35mm Adapter, a ton of lights, Myself...etc
i think that was the start of how underpaid and how shallow this town really is. I've always know that this is one of the more expensive towns to live in, and there is tons of money circulating. It has become increasingly more apparent that the circulating money is not trickling down to the video/film productions. I know this is common knowledge for any of you reading this.
I want you to understand that I applied blindly to a Craigslist posting, and got hired to shoot the same video again. I think it's a curse. The director offered me $200 for the same setup I was going to bring on the previous videos. $200 is nothing when it comes to me, gear, and my time. I'm broke, so I signed up. A deal with the devil.
I want you to know as well, that I was going to have to take little hits off of everyone working with me, so I could recuperate some of my costs, just to shoot this video for some artist I didn't know and didn't like, and for a director that is also selling his soul.
I want to appologize for having to think this about my friends and loyal people that I work with. I now know better, and when being faced with this situation again, I will turn it down no matter what. The people I work with are truly great and talented people. They should make 5x's more than they were being offered.
Hard times lead to shitty decisions....The director spoke with me yesterday and informed me that the client didn't think that my gear setup was high enough quality (HD and 35mm lenses???), and that the director found someone in the city with a RED camera that is willing to shoot the video for the SAME RATE as me. Unbelievable. He said the clients were willing to settle with the 4K quality.
What the hell is going on here? Have we all lost our spines trying to get low paying work? Have directors lost sight of everything in hopes of shooting a shallow, unoriginal, unprepared video; while pissing off the crews that diligently serve the SF community?
I think about moving all the time. This city isn't for me anymore, and it's not like it's going to be any better anywhere else, but atleast I'll be around people trying to do bigger things, and not trying to fight over scraps.
If I could bring in tons of paid work, I would. I would pay everyone what they deserved, but alas this is a dream.
What does all this mean to SF? Apparently nothing. It's going to continue forever until we all collectively decide on what is a minimum day rate for us, for our equipment, for our time and for our crew. This terrible decline in respect mustn't be returned the same way, but we have to take a stance against future clients and not get low balled. We ar responsible for getting our friends work and trying to get them as much as possible.
I love SF, and what I thought it was going to be. Anyone I've worked with and will in the future, I love you too.
Love someone else before you love yourself.
Posted 24 February 2008 - 06:46 PM
I think one of the problems you're facing is that there are several strata of film workers here: the high end union pros who make good union wages and work mainly on commercials, the mid-level guys who own a lot of gear and stay afloat with docs, music videos, interviews, adult, etc. and then the no-budget film student types who grab up whatever is left on craigslist. The producers and clients also fall into the same categories. It can bad news when those boundaries get crossed. I think you're problems come from the fact that you're straddling the mid-level and no-budget categories, and that the mid-level work is a lot harder to find than the no-budget stuff. Maybe it's time to stop shooting the no-budget stuff altogether and stick to AC or grip/electric on mid to hi-end shows, then only shoot mid-level stuff when it comes? I'm kinda in the same boat myself, I hate having to ask my friends who deserve to be paid to work for free or practically for free when I DP stuff, so I won't do those projects anymore.
Anyway, whatever you decide, good luck man. You've got a lot of talent and a great attitude, so I'm sure you'll come out alright wherever you decide to work. We still gotta have that BBQ though.
Posted 25 February 2008 - 10:28 PM
Yeah, we hardly have a smidge of anything that would be considered an "industry". I've been to a couple fundraisers as I've interned at Film Arts, and something that I see constantly is that all these filmmakers praise themselves for pulling off some no-budget 20 minute short film. Well, yeah, it's pretty easy when everybody's working for free and the camera is donated by someone who just wants to shoot SOMETHING!
They piss me off with how cheap they are, but at least I'm there at the moment where they're showing their work and actually have a paid opportunity coming up.
An internship is just another non-paid gig, but I've made some really great and fruitful connections that way, it's something to consider.
Hopefully we'll all get to that level of union workers where we're called out to various locations where there's work, and we won't have to keep fishing around CL or Mandy.com all the time.
Posted 25 February 2008 - 10:45 PM
And I also have been "selling" myself, to put it nicely as far out as DC and Pitt, just in the hopes of shooting, as you say, something!
Still, all the best of luck to all of you, to all of us!
Posted 26 February 2008 - 01:16 AM
I have even had to resort to some wierd fetish shoots coming up just to pay the bills!
Hey, that's where Sonnenfeld first started out!