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#1 Jennifer Medvin

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 03:50 PM

Hi Everyone,
I was hoping someone could answer my question.
We are in preproduction with a short film under the SAG short film contract. The monies are deferred but the actors receive SAG credit. Is there something similar I could use for my DP? He wants to get into the union.
I also would like to do this for the rest of my crew as well: lighting, wardrobe, etc.
I would love to pay everyone, but it is a really small budget.
Thanks!
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#2 Michael LaVoie

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 11:55 AM

Offering deferred pay for a short film is a great way of testing the level of experience of your crew. If they take you seriously and actually expect to recieve pay eventually, you know that they're kind of new. Short films don't make any money. Everyone knows this. So how would you eventually pay them back? The best you could do is offer your DP the "right of first refusal" to shoot your next film if you have a script ready.
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#3 Andrew Koch

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 01:34 PM

For people in the camera department (including operator, DP, camera assistants) The union is Local 600. To get into Local 600 you need 30 Union days or 100 non-union days. Since you are on a tight budget, I'll assume you are a non-union show. These need to be 100 PAID days. I believe the pay has to be at least minimum wage, which is $112 for 12 hours (8 dollars for the first 8 hours, time and a half for the remaining 4) A letter from the producer, copy of the checks written, call sheets, etc.. This is what LOCAL 600 told me. If there are any union guys out there, please correct me if I'm wrong

The electrics can only get into the union (this one is Local 728) with 30 days of UNION work. So whether you pay them or not, you will not be directly helping them get in the union unless your show flips and becomes union. This same requirement applies for the grip union (Local 80)

Most of us crew people know that deferred pay means we ain't getting a dime, however I wouldn't object to getting a paycheck if a movie makes some money. Even if you decide to do deferred payment for the crew, put it in writing and have everyone sign deal memos. And if you do become fortunate enough to make money on the film, follow through and pay everyone back. (as I'm sure you would)

One last thing go into "my controls" and change your screen name to your first and last name as this is a requirement of this forum
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#4 Jennifer Medvin

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 09:01 PM

Thanks for answering my post. I appreciate the information.
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#5 Tyler Leisher

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Posted 14 August 2008 - 08:00 PM

For people in the camera department (including operator, DP, camera assistants) The union is Local 600. To get into Local 600 you need 30 Union days or 100 non-union days. Since you are on a tight budget, I'll assume you are a non-union show. These need to be 100 PAID days. I believe the pay has to be at least minimum wage, which is $112 for 12 hours (8 dollars for the first 8 hours, time and a half for the remaining 4) A letter from the producer, copy of the checks written, call sheets, etc.. This is what LOCAL 600 told me. If there are any union guys out there, please correct me if I'm wrong

The electrics can only get into the union (this one is Local 728) with 30 days of UNION work. So whether you pay them or not, you will not be directly helping them get in the union unless your show flips and becomes union. This same requirement applies for the grip union (Local 80)

Most of us crew people know that deferred pay means we ain't getting a dime, however I wouldn't object to getting a paycheck if a movie makes some money. Even if you decide to do deferred payment for the crew, put it in writing and have everyone sign deal memos. And if you do become fortunate enough to make money on the film, follow through and pay everyone back. (as I'm sure you would)

One last thing go into "my controls" and change your screen name to your first and last name as this is a requirement of this forum


So here's something I've never been able to understand. I'm a producer-director, and I would love to be able to tell people that working on my film will help them get into the union. But how does it work if I sign with the unions, how do I hire non-union people?

If I sign with the Camera union, then turn around and hire a non-union 1st AC, won't that get me into trouble? I have never been able to understand unions.
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#6 Chris Keth

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 07:06 PM

So here's something I've never been able to understand. I'm a producer-director, and I would love to be able to tell people that working on my film will help them get into the union. But how does it work if I sign with the unions, how do I hire non-union people?

You don't. That's the point.

If I sign with the Camera union, then turn around and hire a non-union 1st AC, won't that get me into trouble?

Yes, you would be violating your union agreement.

I have never been able to understand unions.


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#7 Tyler Leisher

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 08:34 PM

So how does one get into the union, if you have to work on a union set but a producer can't hire non-union crew for a union set?
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#8 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 08:35 PM

Regarding the IATSE Local 600, International Cinematographers Guild, the requirements for documenting working 30 days on a Union show in a year or 100 days non-union is not a union Bylaw; they are the rules of the Contract Services Administration Trust Fund and are the requirements imposed by CSATF to get your name on the Industry Experience Roster. The Union and CSATF / IER are not related but "interrelated".

Article One - Section 1 of the Local 600 BYLAWS basically state that (paraphrasing for length) "any resident of, or person eligible to work in the United States" "who pays their dues and complies with Article Two - Section 1 of the CONSTITUTION" can be accepted into membership

Article One - Section 3 of the Local 600 Bylaws say you may be "admitted based on work experience or a test" (again shortened / paraphrased for length)

Article One - Section 2 of the CONSTITUTION elaborates that you must be "18 years old, competent, qualified, good moral character etc". (again shortened and paraphrased)

There are NO specifics to the 30 day / 100 day rules in either the Local 600 Constitution or Bylaws.

This is where the CSATF steps in by administrating the Industry Experience Roster and the Safety Passport program. If you're not on the Roster and you don't take the safety courses specific for your job class, theoretically you are not allowed to work in the Studio Zone on Union productions. CSATF administrates this not the union. Back to theory; you could join the union, they'd take your dues but if you're not on the Roster you're stuck.

By the same token, you can get on the Roster, take the Safety courses and then not join the union but once CSATF notifies the union you're on the Roster you have only 60 or 90 days to join the Union. If you fail to join, then they tell CSATF and they will take you off the Roster.

So, by paying a decent wage (whatever that is) and providing the documentation to crew members on smaller productions you can eventually help them toward their goal of getting on the Roster and on to union work if they so desire.

Please understand that this is just a very very basic explanation, shortened, distilled, not detailed but essentially accurate as I am reading it out of the Constitution and Bylaws which is a 62 page booklet that goes along with the actual 212 page AGREEMENT between the Motion Picture and Television Producers and the Local 600.

There are other labor and right to work questions asked earlier in this thread that depend on your State and a zillion other things that are too complex to try to explain in a Forum thread.

Go to the web sites for CSATF and the ICG and read for yourself, look around online as well I think there are some individual sites that explain a lot of this.

All the best,

Robert Starling, SOC
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IATSE Local 600 Camera Operator
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#9 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 08:48 PM

Every bit of detail like this I read about IATSE convinces me ever more that it's stacked to the gills with what's colloquially referred to as "bullshit". These rules are sufficiently arbitrary that an interpretation leading to more or less any outcome is possible - they do guarantee people's ability, they don't, you have enough days to get in, you don't...

At first sight, unions appear to be there to work very, very hard to prevent people from working in order to artificially rarify the labour pool, which is great for those who are in but disastrous for those who are not. Then you read the propaganda, and you think, oh, OK, they have all these aims and ideals. Then you come across a forum post like this, and you realise that you were right in the first place and they're clearly making it up as they go along.
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#10 Robert Starling SOC

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 08:53 PM

So how does one get into the union, if you have to work on a union set but a producer can't hire non-union crew for a union set?


Hi Tyler,

Go to the cameraguild.com web site, click on the Know Your Rights link on the left hand side and then scroll down to the section on Right To Work and read that section. There's a lot more to it than that but it is possible for Producers to hire non-union workers on a union show depending on the state and the circumstances. We just had a large episodic show shooting in Las Vegas this past weekend and there were both union and non-union workers in the camera department.

Robert Starling, SOC
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