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#1 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 10:05 PM

At what point do you just give up on a shoot? I've been prepping a little digital video shoot. It's 5 pages, 2 days, 2 characters, one exterior location, one interior stage set. My G/E package is very small, my camera package is very basic, yet I keep hearing I'm ordering way too much stuff, and now I hear there's no money to put together the set that's been in the script from day one. What's the professional thing to do? I could suggest pushing, but what if they forge ahead? Do I just show up and shoot whatever they put in front of the camera? If it comes to my shooting something that's totally ridiculous (and unusable), I'd rather just stay home for the day.
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#2 Gus Sacks

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 10:24 PM

Well... What's the pay like?

Because I recently was shooting two projects like that for a rate lower than I normally would, as favors, basically... and I regretted doing them and no longer will work for said rate anymore.

So. Is it worth it worth it?
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#3 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 11:23 PM

A big Key Grip once told me about doing prep on a big action movie, that kept getting pushed, but they didn't want him to leave the production ... So, for months he showed up at the studio everyday, left after a few hours and hit the golf course.

So, what do I do, show up Sunday and if there's no set to shoot, just hand them my bill?
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#4 Daniel Wallens

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Posted 28 July 2008 - 11:55 PM

Well, I?m not so sure that what that key grip did was the most professional thing in the world to do, unless he was specifically dismissed (ie, told that at least his department/unit was wrapped), but, honestly, judgment is what comes into play here, and assuming he was responsible and experienced, he knew the situation at hand and how to respond to it.

As for your situation, it really depends, as Gus alluded to. In the ?real world,? if you arrive on set, and the production is, for whatever reason, not ready to shoot, you get paid. Production companies have production insurance for a reason. A little story: I was once on set, as was everyone else, and it was about an hour past call time, all ready to work. We had blocked, lit, and everything was in place. When the actress came out of H&MU, she announced that she was too sick to go on (she had already been suffering through 2 hours of H&MU with a bad flu). The producer had to call wrap. Did everyone still get their day rate? Damn straight we did. We were booked on a job for that day, we all showed up to do it, and we were all ready. Now, certain contracts have ?force majeure? clauses in them, which allow for things like bad weather or other factors that are completely out of the hands of the production. But an actor?s health or an incomplete set are well within the controls of the production personnel. So, technically, if you show up on Sunday, and the director says you can?t shoot because the set?s not ready, and calls wrap, you should, in the ?real world,? get paid. You were booked, you showed up. Then, it?s up to you how long you stick around.

Now, it doesn?t really sound like the shoot you are on is one of these shoots. If there is a contract, take a close look at what it says. If there isn?t, consider, most importantly, who you?re working with. A lot (most?) of this business is what your working relationships with others are like, and what you do for people. Looking at it in this way, only you can make the decision of what?s the best route to take.


-DW
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#5 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 29 July 2008 - 01:01 AM

It's important to consider the adage that "they need you more than you need them." That said, how a push or cancellation gets handled depends a lot on the relationship you have with the production company. It's important to not burn bridges, so if you feel that it is in your best interest to not do a shoot, then handle it professionally as soon as possible.

I once bowed out of a shoot after a week. The DP wasn't exactly the most professional and there were serious safety concerns arising. I was considerate and gave the UPM a week to find a replacement. I was the good guy, I guess, because most of the grip and electric departments walked the following day. ;)

Ideally, when we get a call to work, we are given all of the parameters before we say "yes" or "no." If we are hired "with gear" and the production later chooses to amend that deal, then we have the right to back out. If the day changes, if the script changes significantly, if the money varies, etc., then it's our right to gracefully bow out.
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#6 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 30 July 2008 - 09:54 PM

After my last shoot, during which some of the film got mishandled, I determined it's not my job to say "I told you so," but to prevent my having to say it. It's too late to back out ... But things are coming together, even as others are threatening to fall apart. Now I know why DP's make so much money.
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#7 Jon Rosenbloom

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Posted 04 August 2008 - 08:49 PM

Well, it was pretty classic low-bugdet nonsense (two 18 hour shooting days for me and my two AC's on flat rates), but we seem to have made a film out of it. So does that mean the producer was right to book a package of crap equipment that I didn't want, and not buy ANY of the expendables I asked for?

I specifically added a turnaround clause to my contract, but they "asked" to break it ... Can't wait to shoot the next one.
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#8 George Ebersole

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Posted 07 August 2008 - 09:36 PM

At what point do you just give up on a shoot? I've been prepping a little digital video shoot. It's 5 pages, 2 days, 2 characters, one exterior location, one interior stage set. My G/E package is very small, my camera package is very basic, yet I keep hearing I'm ordering way too much stuff, and now I hear there's no money to put together the set that's been in the script from day one. What's the professional thing to do? I could suggest pushing, but what if they forge ahead? Do I just show up and shoot whatever they put in front of the camera? If it comes to my shooting something that's totally ridiculous (and unusable), I'd rather just stay home for the day.

Bill them for your time, but maybe cut them a deal depending on what the reasons were as to why they weren't ready.

One time I was asked to do a series of martial arts videos for an old acquaintance I had known for over ten years. I booked stages, arranged for free equipment, a Umatic 3/4" deck, lights, location and editing facilities. The whole nine yards.

The guy never showed up. Not just once. Not just twice. But he failed to show up on three different occasions, and never explained why he didn't.

I was doing it as a favor, so I wasn't too happy with him flaking out. But I finished the opening sequence to see what he thought, and hoped his interest would be sparked. No dice.

Needless to say it's the last time I did a project like that for free. I could've billed him for everything, but it was supposed to be a project for the local club. I never brought it up again.

If it had been anybody else I would've sent them an invoice and billed them for a half day rate and any rented equipment.
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Visual Products

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Wooden Camera

The Slider

Technodolly

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