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Impact of economy


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#1 Paul Bruening

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 10:28 AM

We weave in and out of the "condition of the economy" topic, understandable, given the general scariness of things. If you'll tolerate it, I was wondering if posters could report changes they've observed in the current ebb and flow of production. Are there less productions? Are productions cutting costs or production value? Are productions canceling out? Are productions shifting to new techniques like digital to avoid the costs of lab and stock? Are they dropping back to lesser talent to save money? Any news on trends would be welcome. Anecdotes are fine. Let rip.
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#2 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 10:51 AM

Well, this past week was my first this year with no work. Two days were scheduled, but they canceled. And I'm getting calls from people I haven't heard from in a while "just checking in." And I'm hearing from people at various companies that have entire divisions just being shut down.

Some people are working, but on the whole, it's slowing down quite a bit.
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#3 Stephen Williams

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 11:03 AM

Well, this past week was my first this year with no work. Two days were scheduled, but they canceled. And I'm getting calls from people I haven't heard from in a while "just checking in." And I'm hearing from people at various companies that have entire divisions just being shut down.

Some people are working, but on the whole, it's slowing down quite a bit.



Hi,

I have had loads of work for the last 3 months, however the last has to been paid for was 2nd September!

Styephen
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#4 Ram Shani

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 11:09 AM

same here

i am off for 2 weeks now. had 4 day's that got canceled :(
i talked with the owner of the biggest rental company in israel, who is good friend of me,
and he said, it's dry like a summer desert.

lucky me i start new series week and half from now :)
but got call from the producer saying he can't pay me the regular price
and even a little less then the union minimum
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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 01:39 PM

Well, I worked twice as much this year as I normally do, so I guess I can weather a slow year... Got a call the other day from a school asking me if I want to teach HD for the spring semester, but I probably won't do it. I'm already booked in January for reshoots on "Jennifer's Body" but otherwise, I don't have any plans after that.

I hear contradictory rumors -- one is that due to the WGA strike, a lot of productions that were held up will go into production, but the other rumor is that the studios bought up some existing titles to fill their slate and aren't ramping up production due to the lack of credit right now. I hear rumors of movies starting up in the spring.
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#6 K Borowski

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 08:21 PM

Well, I worked twice as much this year as I normally do, so I guess I can weather a slow year... Got a call the other day from a school asking me if I want to teach HD for the spring semester, but I probably won't do it. I'm already booked in January for reshoots on "Jennifer's Body" but otherwise, I don't have any plans after that.


Congratulations on a teaching offer! So, did they approach you out of the blue for the position, or have you been looking for teaching jobs after all David?

As far as "Jennifer's Body" goes, why do they *need* reshoots?


This is a personal pet peeve of mine, but all of this talk of recession, slow economy, is bad.

Gas is the cheapest it's been in a while, and it's a hell of a good time to make investments, and buy a car if you're working. Instead people like to blame everything and anything, whether it is actually the case or not, on the economy, which is silly.

I AM coming off of a job where the economy directly affected us. I was working in the automotive industry, and we were still working well into this "recession" of ours, so if anyone has a right to gripe, it's me! I have heard TV is slower, but there is still plenty more work out there. After all, some crooked lobbyists did lobby for graft for the film industry, so those stimulus dollars are out there for those of you in the states. Go out and get 'em!

As for me, I've decided that now is as good a time as any to make my start. Granted, wage cuts aren't something that is as often encountered with the Union in film, but I figure now is a great time to get out there and get my name around, and do some solid work for a discount to build a good reel up.

Let's be positive everybody! If you're making that travel doc., again, great time to do it with the price of gas. Don't further a recession by buying in to this gloom and doom; it's mass insanity at it's worst!
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#7 Serge Teulon

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 06:43 AM

I've been busy for the last 3 months but it has all grounded to a halt, as it seems here in the UK, with most ppl I speak to, that there is a significant slow down throughout.
Fingers crossed its a periodic slow down and not a recession led one.

Edited by Serge Teulon, 17 November 2008 - 06:44 AM.

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#8 Paul Bruening

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 12:24 PM

This is kind of the info I was looking for. Are you fine gentlemen saying that the industry is reacting to the economy by simply shutting down? I was really hoping to hear that producers were finding ways to keep the river of production flowing by changing techniques or strategies. Simply quitting isn't such great news. Has anyone seen significant changes in methods associated with getting the job done but without spending the insane kind of money that Hellywood usually spends?
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#9 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 01:36 PM

This is kind of the info I was looking for. Are you fine gentlemen saying that the industry is reacting to the economy by simply shutting down? I was really hoping to hear that producers were finding ways to keep the river of production flowing by changing techniques or strategies. Simply quitting isn't such great news. Has anyone seen significant changes in methods associated with getting the job done but without spending the insane kind of money that Hellywood usually spends?


Insane amounts? Talk with any UPM or Producer and you'll learn that they don't spend a dime more than they have to. Quality and experience cost money, so to create a high quality product, experience people need to be paid and quality resources need to be rented or bought.

"Changing techniques or strategies" is another way to say "we're shipping jobs elsewhere to exploit workers for less money." If they don't do that, and they don't want to pay for quality crews at home, then yes, they simply stop making products.

It's really no different than what happens to the rest of the economy. Movies are a product, just like cars or T-shirts or IPods. It takes money and people to make those items. That money to make those things comes from profit from sales. But sales don't happen if consumers don't have money to spend. And if consumers don't have money to spend, then products don't get purchased. And if products aren't purchased, then companies have to cut back production. If they cut back production, then they have to lay off workers. And when they stop hiring and paying workers, then consumers have less money to spend on things that businesses make.

That's an economy. That's why "trickle down" Reaganomics never worked and will never work. Economies are built from the bottom up, not the other way around. If consumers don't have income to spend on things companies make, then businesses have no reason to exist. When that happens, they shut down and those at the top take their money and retire to a luxury home somewhere happy that they aren't poor like everyone else.
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#10 Paul Bruening

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 01:52 PM

Insane amounts? Talk with any UPM or Producer and you'll learn that they don't spend a dime more than they have to. Quality and experience cost money, so to create a high quality product, experience people need to be paid and quality resources need to be rented or bought.

"Changing techniques or strategies" is another way to say "we're shipping jobs elsewhere to exploit workers for less money." If they don't do that, and they don't want to pay for quality crews at home, then yes, they simply stop making products.

It's really no different than what happens to the rest of the economy. Movies are a product, just like cars or T-shirts or IPods. It takes money and people to make those items. That money to make those things comes from profit from sales. But sales don't happen if consumers don't have money to spend. And if consumers don't have money to spend, then products don't get purchased. And if products aren't purchased, then companies have to cut back production. If they cut back production, then they have to lay off workers. And when they stop hiring and paying workers, then consumers have less money to spend on things that businesses make.

That's an economy. That's why "trickle down" Reaganomics never worked and will never work. Economies are built from the bottom up, not the other way around. If consumers don't have income to spend on things companies make, then businesses have no reason to exist. When that happens, they shut down and those at the top take their money and retire to a luxury home somewhere happy that they aren't poor like everyone else.


I didn't see 225 million on the screen in Quantum.
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#11 David Rakoczy

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 04:31 PM

That's why "trickle down" Reaganomics never worked and will never work. Economies are built from the bottom up, not the other way around._Brian Dzyak

Interesting... because I have never ever been employed by someone from that 'bottom' you mentioned... I have always been hired by people at the top, the risk takers, the ones who take chances and 'hire' people. If the movers and shakers aren't given insentives, they take their business elsewhere... like Hollywood went to Canada.. now Louisiana. You always employ people from the 'top'... not the bottom. Now, no doubt the 'bottom' needs money to spend and that is where tax relief and a smaller less intrusive government can make all the difference. Obviously that is not happening no matter who is in the Office....
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#12 Sean Bagley

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 05:23 PM

Utah started this year off strong, but has ended this Fall and Winter with only two films in local production. Leaving the vast majority of us out of work. I'm very, very new to the industry, and after interning on a couple of shows, thought I'd quit my regular day time job and hopefully get to swing into work on sets regularly, but... due to the lack of film production here, have had to go back to working at the theater. :( Supposedly, it's going to pick back up next year with a change in the tax incentives. We'll see.
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#13 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 05:24 PM

That's why "trickle down" Reaganomics never worked and will never work. Economies are built from the bottom up, not the other way around._Brian Dzyak

Interesting... because I have never ever been employed by someone from that 'bottom' you mentioned... I have always been hired by people at the top, the risk takers, the ones who take chances and 'hire' people. If the movers and shakers aren't given insentives, they take their business elsewhere... like Hollywood went to Canada.. now Louisiana. You always employ people from the 'top'... not the bottom. Now, no doubt the 'bottom' needs money to spend and that is where tax relief and a smaller less intrusive government can make all the difference. Obviously that is not happening no matter who is in the Office....


Problem comes when people at the top cut the ones at the bottom, whom the risk takers need to build their empires in the first place. Top Walmart shareholders surely would not be as rich as they are if they paid their associates decent wages with benefits, but why are the people at the bottom less deserving than the 'risk takers'? Why are state and federal agencies left to care for the well being of Walmart employees, when the shareholders reap untold profits?

The argument that the entrepreneurs deserve infinitely more than the foot soldiers because they take the risk is disingenuous at best. The 'risk takers' need the foot soldiers as much as the latter need the former, at least until robot manufacturing and services-provining becomes reality.

The now infamous "spreading the wealth" Obama comment meant that yes, the risk takers are entitled to more money than the foot soldiers, but it is necessary than those at the top contribute to the well being of the ones at the bottom. Decent wages, top notch education, affordable health care, proportional income taxes, etc should be no conest when it comes to political discourse and economic policy.

Why are so many conservatives scared of the ethics of reciprocity? http://en.wikipedia...._of_reciprocity
Did not Jesus say "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you"?
How are the risk takers more entitled to quality of life than the people who build their empires with the sweat of their brow?

The idea that people are islands is nonsensical. No party or policy that espouses the notion that oversized, unchecked and predatory greed is the law of the land is sure to keep power for too long, as the recent election showed.
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#14 David Rakoczy

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 05:51 PM

But why are the people at the bottom less deserving than the 'risk takers'? - Saul

Because the risk takers are the ones 'risking'... hey, everyone has the same opportunities Saul... this election just proved that once and (I hope) for all.. If you want to make more.. go do it! Make it! If you don't like where you are at.. change it.

That is why the Producer makes more than Craft Service... and the Distributor even more... more risk.. more reward. It is pretty simple.

Placing earnings caps is against the grain of this Country and what it was built on.. "Go, build your own". Earnings caps will only lessen any remaining incentives to nill.

As far as Jesus goes.. I have the freedom to take a job or leave and find another job... or create my own business... opportunity is everywhere... what more could one ask for! In that regard we are a very blessed Country and I thank Jesus (since you brought Him up) for the opportunities we ALL have. If you are not earning the quality of life you want.. then move the sweat of your brow to another arena where you can make more... or do something completely different. Maybe getting a better education would have helped.. but hey, that was all up to each and every one of us.

I do treat my crew as I would like to be treated as when I was doing their job.. but I am not responsible to give them the life they 'think' they deserve. It is up to them to go make that happen.

Education? We have never spent more and gotten less.....

Edited by David Rakoczy, 17 November 2008 - 05:55 PM.

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#15 David Rakoczy

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 06:06 PM

cont'd.. my brother opened a Blues Club in LA. He struggled for years and years.. ran up an INCREDIBLE debt to keep it afloat.. almost lost his house.. then after seven years it began working for him. Now Saul, you are asking why the cocktail waitress isn't making as much as my brother.. that is (with all due respect) insane.

Are you sure you don't want to live in a socialist country.. you see they are all doing very well.....(?) Lot's of motivating factors in those countries... sheeesh.

Edited by David Rakoczy, 17 November 2008 - 06:08 PM.

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#16 David Rakoczy

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 06:17 PM

It just occured to me.. the way things are going.. you may not have to move! :o
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#17 Saul Rodgar

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 06:21 PM

David I agree with you as long as the people on top are not incredibly wealthy and the ones at the bottom incredibly poor, which is happening right now all over the world, and slowly the US is seeing some more and more of it.

I agree that the people who risk more are entitled to more, but when one has a CEO who makes 500 times (and usually more) than your average worker, who can't afford health insurance, is living pay check to pay check and cannot afford to send his/ her kids to college, then there is something horribly wrong going on. And some of these CEO's, when their business malpractices catch up with them, then go to congress for a bailout. Sound familiar? So the fat cats espouse capitalism UNTIL the water reaches up to their necks and government assistance becomes all the rage.

One thing must be made clear: I don't favor free everything, but I also don't favor extreme capitalism. There's got to be a middle ground where rich people aren't indecently rich and poor people are indecently poor. It used to be called middle class, but cut throat capitalist practices are shrinking it everyday.

Edited by Saul Rodgar, 17 November 2008 - 06:23 PM.

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#18 Sam Wells

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 06:27 PM

Everyone who works hard is a risk taker. IMO.

-Sam
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#19 Richard Boddington

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 06:34 PM

Well I can offer a unique bit of insight from the stock footage world. Since almost every production uses stock footage at some point, the more stock footage being sold the more productions being done out there. I'm also well hooked into two of the biggest stock footage operations in the USA and I'm the phone with the managers there weekly. Definitely every one has seen a steep drop off in sales for 2008, no doubt about that.

Not dead mind you...shows being made for Discovery/TLC for example use a lot of stock footage, they have to or they can't get their shows done. Most of these shows have full time staff researchers that do nothing except track down and license footage. These shows are still buying at about the same rate.

The real hit has been corporate video, those guys have been stone cold dead for about a year now.

I'm well into pre-production on my next feature and I expect there will be no shortage of crew willing to work. So from a producers point of view that is a positive. Thousands are out of work here in Hollywood North as well.

On the plus side, during recessions DVD rentals go way way up. Look at the price Blockbuster Video stock today vs 18 months ago. Investors bet that more unemployed people means more DVD renters, and they are right.

It's kind of a sad commentary I know, you'd like to say that laid off people take the bull by the horns and work like banshees to start their own companies and carpe diem!! That is typically not the case, most will sit at home and watch DVD and after DVD until a new job comes along. This is good for Blockbuster and the people that supply Blockbuster. Even people on unemployment can afford to rent a DVD. Netflix is seeing their business go up as well.

So when my movie gets released in the USA in Feb maybe the timing will be good for me? Maybe the rental market will be hot again?

I will tell you guys one thing that is affecting the bottom line for us all and that is the on-line bootlegging. Hollywood mega budget movies are fairly well protected from this because they have guaranteed theatrical releases.

Lower budget direct to DVD projects are being destroyed by the bootleggers. Many buyers won't touch this product any more since it ends up every where even before the distributor gets the DVD onto store shelves. Fewer buyers for the end product means fewer direct to DVD titles will be made and this is an area where many new film workers get their feet wet.

So the bootleggers are literally taking bread off of the table of people on this forum. I know they've stolen a truck load of loafs from me!!!

I'm working on inventing an exploding DVD that can detect the touch of a bootlegger :D

R,

PS: To David Rakoczy, you will really open a giant can of worms on this forum promoting the Second Amendment like that. If it hasn't happened already, it surely will.
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#20 Paul Bruening

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 06:39 PM

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