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DP rates in the UK?


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#1 XiaoSu Han

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 04:48 PM

Hi

we are in the shortlist for a feature film in the UK, the budget is about a million GBP and it's an action film. Now the producers are asking for our rate, and the rate for our RED package.

Are there any guidelines for low budget UK productions?

Any recommendations?

cheers, Xax
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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 23 May 2009 - 06:05 PM

Here are the BECTU rates: http://www.bectu.org...ces/library/167

Although, I suspect the producers on a £1m feature film may want to pay less.
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#3 Karel Bata

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 04:00 AM

Although all rates are negotiable, the people I've worked with have always regarded them as a minimum. The idea is the more experienced you are, the more you can ask for. And union rates can have ridiculous disparities. One feature I was on a few years back (the budget details were a secret, but my girlfriend was the producer so I sneaked a look) was budgeted at £1million too. The runners got pocket money, but the first-time writer/director got £350,000. Ridiculous. And he was rubbish. We got some great deals and favours from hire companies, which they were happy to do, and were told we were all "on union minimums", but I suspect that if they'd seen the figure I've just quoted...
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#4 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 05:42 AM

I suspect there are many imbalances, I heard of £1m features paying well below the BECTU minimums and that includes head of departments.

A first time director isn't doing any favours to their film by taking disproportionate fee on such a low budget film. They must've imagined they were directing a high end commercial rather than working on a low budget job.
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#5 Arni Heimir

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Posted 24 May 2009 - 11:28 AM

I suspect there are many imbalances, I heard of £1m features paying well below the BECTU minimums and that includes head of departments.

A first time director isn't doing any favours to their film by taking disproportionate fee on such a low budget film. They must've imagined they were directing a high end commercial rather than working on a low budget job.


This quote seems a little high. I could imagine producers getting away with paying a lot less.
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#6 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 03:17 AM

Bectu's has no real power and don't enforce anything. So in effect those figures are meaningless. They're just a recommendation. So it's most likely going to be a lot less than that.

In the commercial world and music video here one tends to get APA-rate. This is basically the producers association once got together and set a price they thought was fair that they stick to - "We pay APA and that's it". At best. There is no minimum - you get paid what the producers want to pay you.
You can either take the job or choose not to. The fundamentals of that I don't have a problem with as I'm a believer in free trade and not protectionism (i.e. trade unions), but the reality of that is that I earn less per day than I did 10 years ago in Sweden, whilst still having to bear the high cost of living in London.

I can choose to work abroad and earn much better, which I do. But not all of us have that option. Also it means a brain drain thing - the best DP's will probably choose to work and live abroad if they can't make enough in England. On the other hand, one good thing with the low wages in England is that it will probably make it rather attractive to shoot in the country now and one can already see quite a bit of big productions choosing to stay here rather than go away, like Clash Of The Titans, Nottingham, Wolfman, Gulliver's Travels etc.
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#7 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 25 May 2009 - 04:32 AM

Certainly it's possible to earn more over the same period shooting local news for the regional news programme than being DP on a £1m feature film.
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