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30 minute film shoot - Rates


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#1 Eduardo Sausa

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 07:55 AM

Hi all,

I am about to take on a 30 minute film project. Production will have two cameras, a camera operator, two camera assistants and my self as the DoP. Filming will go for 10 days over 2 weeks.
Production budget is not big - around $30,000.
I am a bit confused about what to charge. What do you say?
Any thought and information will be greatly appreciated...
Thank you
Eduardo

Edited by Eduardo Sausa, 01 May 2009 - 07:56 AM.

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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 01 May 2009 - 11:30 AM

Hi all,

I am about to take on a 30 minute film project. Production will have two cameras, a camera operator, two camera assistants and my self as the DoP. Filming will go for 10 days over 2 weeks.
Production budget is not big - around $30,000.
I am a bit confused about what to charge. What do you say?
Any thought and information will be greatly appreciated...
Thank you
Eduardo


For myself, I book any part of a day as a full day and at a full day's rate because I generally can't schedule anything else that day.
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#3 Shawn kessler

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 03:19 PM

Eduardo,
Why in the world would you do a short with 30 grand thats a complete waste of budget money!
you could do a real good feature with that kind of money! better yet get some great talent. A short will
get you nothing maybe a festival credit and ya maybe some money but screw that make a feature
and get your money back and some through distribution. I would seriously consider how your going to
use that money use it wisely.

Shawn Kessler
Digital Film Pictures

Edited by Shawn kessler, 21 June 2009 - 03:20 PM.

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#4 Chris Burke

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 06:02 PM

Eduardo,
Why in the world would you do a short with 30 grand thats a complete waste of budget money!
you could do a real good feature with that kind of money! better yet get some great talent. A short will
get you nothing maybe a festival credit and ya maybe some money but screw that make a feature
and get your money back and some through distribution. I would seriously consider how your going to
use that money use it wisely.

Shawn Kessler
Digital Film Pictures


whoa! You could make a really good feature for 30,000? I'd love to see what you pay your crew. What does that work out to? Pennies an hour or pennies a day, I don't have a calculator in front of me. 30000 for a short is quite normal, actually kind of cheap considering it is a ten day shoot. Shorts are by no means a waste of time, I made one for 20,000 + and it opened many doors for me and is now allowing me to make a feature. If your story is a 30 minute one, then that is what you make.


As for rates, are you asking about your pay? It depends on the project. For a budgeted indie, I'd ask for 2000 flat, your not breaking the bank and 1000 a week isn't bad these days. If it is a labor of love and you really want to do it, perhaps less, but make sure the money goes up on the screen. How much prep do you have to do? Are locations and lighting a hassle?
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#5 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 08:32 PM

Shorts are by no means a waste of time, I made one for 20,000 + and it opened many doors for me and is now allowing me to make a feature.


For the sake of posterity and the wellbeing of any wide-eyed wannabes who unwittingly end up trawling this thread in a couple of years' time, this is so crushingly unusual as to bring severe doubt on Mr. Burke's veracity.

-P
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#6 Tom Jensen

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 09:43 PM

I always asked what had they budgeted. Here's what a producer does, he makes a budget, he calls you, he asks you your rate and you say x. He either says, "That's too high" or "OK." He or she has budgeted in a DP rate. If you you come in too low he keeps the extra so I learned to ask what have you budgeted. They will try to get you to do it for less but there is usually a bottom line figure they have to meet before they move on to the next guy.
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#7 Jason Hinkle (RIP)

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Posted 21 June 2009 - 11:45 PM

For the sake of posterity and the wellbeing of any wide-eyed wannabes who unwittingly end up trawling this thread in a couple of years' time, this is so crushingly unusual as to bring severe doubt on Mr. Burke's veracity.


I couldn't tell if you were saying that making shorts it pointless, or rather just that one is not likely to get noticed these days by making shorts? (or is my sarcasm detector entirely broken today.?!)

To Shawn, some people may feel that making a $30k low-budget feature is a total waste of money when you could instead make a high quality short for the same budget. It doesn't mean that one of you is right and the other is wrong, you just have totally different goals. The price is all relative depending on what you want to do.
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#8 Patrick Neary

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 09:44 AM

I am a bit confused about what to charge. What do you say?
Any thought and information will be greatly appreciated...
Thank you
Eduardo


Hi-

Like Tom sez- On any kind of no/low-budget project there is no such thing as a "standard rate"; you ask "what are you paying?" and then you look to see if the project has other redeeming qualities (good script, visual opportunities, nice people, chance to work with cool gear, etc) and say yes or no.

If you say no to their rate, maybe the producers can find a little more cash for you, or they'll go on to the next candidate.
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#9 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 09:53 AM

Often when I'm faced with a low budget shoot which I really want to do, I simply say "So long as I can pay my rent, I'm happy." What I mean by that is, of course, you have to look at the film, as mentioned, for it's qualities, and look at what they're offering, or what they counter your offer with, and say to yourself, can I make my LIFE work on this amount of money and do I think this amount is fair to me for my talent given the constraints of the project. That being said, if the offer is $0.00/day then you better be shooting IMAX in space or something else really redeeming ;)
I don't think there has ever been a consensus on a "standard" DP day rate. It's a range, just like subcontractors who work on your house, it varies.
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#10 Gus Sacks

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 09:56 PM

I'm doing a roughly $30,000 feature later this year. We're shooting two 6-day weeks, and my boys/girls and I are being paid standard low budget rates. It certainly can be done.
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#11 Chris Keth

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 04:31 AM

I'm doing a roughly $30,000 feature later this year. We're shooting two 6-day weeks, and my boys/girls and I are being paid standard low budget rates. It certainly can be done.


Those producers need to write a book. Then that book has to be thrust into the hands of every indie producer in LA.
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#12 Frank Barrera

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 10:24 PM

For the sake of posterity and the wellbeing of any wide-eyed wannabes who unwittingly end up trawling this thread in a couple of years' time, this is so crushingly unusual as to bring severe doubt on Mr. Burke's veracity.

-P


mmm... then i must hang around with quite a few unusual cases. i know of many instances where short films have led to feature work for directors. obviously it is somewhat rare and the odds are against your success and i do live in NYC with a high concentration of talented people.

but it does happen.
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#13 Tom Jensen

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Posted 26 June 2009 - 10:31 PM

I'm doing a roughly $30,000 feature later this year. We're shooting two 6-day weeks, and my boys/girls and I are being paid standard low budget rates. It certainly can be done.


When the film screens let us know what the final budget was.
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#14 Gus Sacks

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Posted 27 June 2009 - 02:13 PM

Those producers need to write a book. Then that book has to be thrust into the hands of every indie producer in LA.


Haha, yeah. We'll see. It's a pretty stripped down comedy. New York - lots of shooting in Greenpoint in particular. In September - maybe I'll keep a log or whatever.

When the film screens let us know what the final budget was.


Yeah, I think 30 was their production budget. I don't know what they've planned for post, but I'm assuming they'll need to fundraise a little more after it's in the can. Post production nightmare.
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#15 Dan Salzmann

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Posted 01 July 2009 - 03:14 PM

The original post mentioned 4 people in the camera department plus the DP. No mention of how many grips and electrics. Better get ready to earn very little if there is going to be any real production value to the film.
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#16 Sasha Riu

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Posted 09 July 2009 - 11:19 AM

The original post mentioned 4 people in the camera department plus the DP. No mention of how many grips and electrics. Better get ready to earn very little if there is going to be any real production value to the film.



Define "production value"?

:)
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#17 Lindsay Mann

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 12:14 AM

I'm doing a roughly $30,000 feature later this year. We're shooting two 6-day weeks, and my boys/girls and I are being paid standard low budget rates. It certainly can be done.


Agreed, Gus. A great crew I went to school with made a feature for around the $30k budget mark (I think), and it went to Cannes' Directors Fortnight. They shot on 16mm too. Their second feature just went to Cannes again. Definitely an organic, creative crew who hire friends as actors, but sometimes those are the best movies.

Check them out: www.redbucketfilms.com

As far as what to charge, I struggle with that constantly. I always either undersell myself or bid too high and scare them off. I do remember my old boss telling me to raise my rates and I would make more money. It totally worked. I would work for free if the script is good, but not having the right help, and enough of it, REALLY sucks. Crew and gear.

Whatever you decide, let us know. I'm curious.
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#18 Mark Dunn

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 10:59 AM

Define "production value"?

:)

Being able to see the money on the screen. Think 'Barry Lyndon', not 'Eyes Wide Shut'.
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#19 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 14 July 2009 - 12:12 PM

C'mon Mark, we all know the "money" in EWS was for Nicole Kidman to get Naked.
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#20 Chris Keth

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Posted 15 July 2009 - 01:01 AM

C'mon Mark, we all know the "money" in EWS was for Nicole Kidman to get Naked.


Which was well enough spent.
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