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WARNING SIGN !!!


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#1 Damon Tidwell

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 10:08 PM

Hey Fellas,

What "sign" I should've look out for...Producer, Director/Producer or even so called wannabe producer ?

In the past, I had worked with B.S. producers who wanted me to shoot their short for a little money or no money. It was cool when I was in film school (Class of '99) because we struggled and learned together. Now, I am knowledgeable and talented. Sometime I'll do a favor for a friend, but not someone I don't know. There was a time I was asked to shoot the short(s) which were unorganized, unprofessional and lack of funding. The projects either non-commited or haven't start post production.

The worst part is when the same people, who were unorganized or unprofessional etc, finally have the money and resources they're hire the PROFESSIONALS: DP's who worked on Budget features and music video with top notch/a list artists. The bad part is they called me to shoot their next project with no money. Can you believe this ? I don't want to be considered as " no budget or shoestring" DP. Any thought gentlemen ?

Thanks.
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#2 Brian Dzyak

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Posted 25 July 2009 - 11:08 PM

Hey Fellas,

What "sign" I should've look out for...Producer, Director/Producer or even so called wannabe producer ?

In the past, I had worked with B.S. producers who wanted me to shoot their short for a little money or no money. It was cool when I was in film school (Class of '99) because we struggled and learned together. Now, I am knowledgeable and talented. Sometime I'll do a favor for a friend, but not someone I don't know. There was a time I was asked to shoot the short(s) which were unorganized, unprofessional and lack of funding. The projects either non-commited or haven't start post production.

The worst part is when the same people, who were unorganized or unprofessional etc, finally have the money and resources they're hire the PROFESSIONALS: DP's who worked on Budget features and music video with top notch/a list artists. The bad part is they called me to shoot their next project with no money. Can you believe this ? I don't want to be considered as " no budget or shoestring" DP. Any thought gentlemen ?

Thanks.


You may lose work by turning down low or no budget productions, but do you really want to work for them anyway? The point is, your skills, talent, and personality are worth something. How much? I don't know, but if you feel you're worth more than $XXX.XX then you simply work for clients who will pay $YYY.YY. Again, you'll lose days, but how valuable are those days to you if you're selling yourself short.

I've heard more stories than I can count of established people who get called for jobs they DON'T want to do... so instead of just saying that they don't want to do it, they instead quote a super-high rate believing that they'll price themselves right out of it and the production will move on to someone cheaper.... but amazingly enough, these companies accept the offer! Really! So, while the guys didn't really want to do the job, the extra money makes going there worth any pain they thought they'd feel in the first place.

Figure out what everyone else around you is making (doing the same kind of work). Then figure out if YOU'RE good enough to ask/demand that same rate. Then decide if you're going to hold the line on that number even if it means losing days of work that are for less than what you want/need.

It's very easy to get trapped into a strata of the business or a "genre" ("He's a music video guy" or "He's a low-budget DP" or "He's an Action movie guy"). We have some choice into how our careers will progress, but a lot of that depends on how free you are to NOT work on projects while you wait for the right opportunities to arise. Keep your overhead expenses low and that will free you up from HAVING TO take jobs you don't want to take as you fashion your career in the direction you prefer.
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#3 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 26 July 2009 - 05:10 AM

I've heard many people say, "If you work for nothing, that's what you're worth" a lot in the past. There are exceptions of course, but that's basically true. Those people who get you to work for free or almost free for them almost never call you when they have a paid gig. They call the person who wouldn't do it for the rate when they were called about the freebie. That's standard operating procedure.
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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 26 July 2009 - 07:02 AM

I've just shot an EPK for very little money, as a favour, for a band with whom I'd like to work on a music video. Money is almost there.

But they'll obviously go with someone else, when that money arrives, because I'll be "the EPK guy".

For some reason, knowing this, I did it anyway. This sort of desperately needy hopeful enthusiasm is what defines this industry I think...

P
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#5 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 26 July 2009 - 08:30 PM

Yeah Phil, it goes back to the comment you made saying that the bigger jerk you are the more respect you get. I agree with that in most cases. Unfortunately, I can't bring myself to be a big enough jerk to really make may career go through the roof.
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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 08:09 AM

Amen to that. Though at the same time, sometimes you'll get lucky on a low budget, for free shoot, by working with people who have some form of a soul, or an idea of camaraderie. I got lucky on that shooting a doco for this girl for free as it was my first doco shoot and I wanted to add that to my belt. Then after, I am her first call for all project. Granted, most of these are little corporate industrial videos, not really all that interesting, but It'll be a fair day rate. I get a few of those a year, so I'm happy with that.
You need to really feel people out, all the time. I generally meet up with everyone I work with and I see if I like their personality etc, their own commitment/concept etc. Of course, I got burned a few times by misjudging people, but I'm getting better at it.
As for working out how much you should make, You gotta do it strategically. For myself, I always send a FULL invoice, even if I'm working cheaper, which shows how much I really would've cost and then shows how big a discount I gave 'em (advice i got on here) so the next time they call me up for a shoot I can tell them, well last time I gave you a x% discount, but this time I can't do that, I can do y or z maybe. It's all negotiation ;)
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#7 Michele Peterson

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 03:15 PM

What "sign" I should've look out for...Producer, Director/Producer or even so called wannabe producer ?

The worst part is when the same people, who were unorganized or unprofessional etc, finally have the money and resources they're hire the PROFESSIONALS: DP's who worked on Budget features and music video with top notch/a list artists. The bad part is they called me to shoot their next project with no money. Can you believe this ? I don't want to be considered as " no budget or shoestring" DP. Any thought gentlemen ?



I have found that the "sign" to look for is that they are willing to take advantage of you in the first place and have you work without fair compensation.

Although a few seem to have had luck with getting good work out of doing favors, but I never had. I learned quickly that once they know you'll work for little pay, they'll never pay you more. I don't work for free or next to nothing unless it's a friend I would do any other favor for, or I get something I want/need out of it, like specific experience I want on some new piece of gear I don't want to have to pay to rent myself.
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#8 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 30 July 2009 - 05:03 PM

On a slightly more positive note (what on earth's come over me?) I think there are things you can do in order to maximise the chances of freebies turning up real work later.

- Know the people involved, on as personal a level as possible. This makes it psychologically more difficult for them to stiff you, and it makes you more memorable to them.

- Be extremely clear and upfront about what the arrangement is. Do all the tricks like invoicing the full amount and showing the discount, but also say it, out loud, face to face. If you don't know them well enough to do this, you probably don't know them well enough (see point one above).This is always risky, as you can come over as arrogant, implying that they should be grateful for your doing them this favour. The counterargument is: they bloody should.

Twice so far I've had people say things like "I don't want you to feel like you're doing me a favour". At that point I tend to have a bit of a sense of humour failure.

P
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#9 Ram Shani

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Posted 31 July 2009 - 02:17 AM

i think that one of the problems is the trap you get in to when you go with this kind of productions:

they ask you to do it for low/no budget ,no money for you but also no money for equipment and crew

so you go out with a poop camera almost no lighting/grip equipment/crew NO AC

no time

and most of the time you will work endlessly.

now the end result is not good and most of the times bad.

know what happen is they see the result and say "well we did't have budget so we had to work with this low end camera men"

next time when they have the budget they say " we want high end dp not the last one how did bad job(they forget about the no/low budget)

so instead of building reputation you killing it


as the great cinematographer Gordon Willis said :" NO is very important word actually NO will give you more work then yes.

if you say YES to something and it turn out bad they don't forget it."


so my advice is if you go for this kind of job make shore at list to have all your need's to bring your talent foreword

so at list in worst case you will have something good to show on your reel
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#10 Damon Tidwell

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Posted 31 July 2009 - 10:31 PM

I Love this thread. I will apply these input. Thanks again Fellas.
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#11 Paul Bruening

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 11:15 AM

Where are all of these free productions distributing? It sounds, here, like there's a lot of it going on. Are they going to festivals? Forgive my ignorance. I just get the impression that there is a lot of product getting made at the free labor level.
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#12 Oliver Christoph Kochs

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Posted 01 August 2009 - 11:35 PM

Where are all of these free productions distributing? It sounds, here, like there's a lot of it going on. Are they going to festivals? Forgive my ignorance. I just get the impression that there is a lot of product getting made at the free labor level.

Probably most of them go to YT or vimeo straight away. Bands trying to promote themselves, film people getting stuff on their showreels.
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#13 Luis Villalon Meunier

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 04:57 PM

Hey Fellas,

What "sign" I should've look out for...Producer, Director/Producer or even so called wannabe producer ?

In the past, I had worked with B.S. producers who wanted me to shoot their short for a little money or no money. It was cool when I was in film school (Class of '99) because we struggled and learned together. Now, I am knowledgeable and talented. Sometime I'll do a favor for a friend, but not someone I don't know. There was a time I was asked to shoot the short(s) which were unorganized, unprofessional and lack of funding. The projects either non-commited or haven't start post production.

The worst part is when the same people, who were unorganized or unprofessional etc, finally have the money and resources they're hire the PROFESSIONALS: DP's who worked on Budget features and music video with top notch/a list artists. The bad part is they called me to shoot their next project with no money. Can you believe this ? I don't want to be considered as " no budget or shoestring" DP. Any thought gentlemen ?

Thanks.


Unfortunately, that's the way it works a lot of times. If there's no money "you are the best there is", "Next Academy Award", but when they get a budget, big or small, they always hire someone with a name "Better than you are". Of course, that person will have a full crew and all the goodies to make the film look good. When you do it, is a case with 3 1ks and your brother in law as crew.
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CineLab

Ritter Battery

Visual Products

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Glidecam

Tai Audio

The Slider

Metropolis Post

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Technodolly

Wooden Camera

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