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The Right Moment for Local 600


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#1 Drew Maw

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 05:08 PM

So, I became aware of how close I am to being eligible to getting into the Local 600 as a DP. And I wanted to get an idea of what that means, in regards to what I can work on, and what I can't? Whether there is a right time to join or instances where waiting is more beneficial? I know once you join, you start paying down your entry fee dues, plus 150 bucks every three months, plus something like 1.4 percent of your total income. I can understand the pros and cons of the fees, but I'm curious about when it is the right time to join, or if joining is a no-brainer?

I'm assuming that when you join, you're at the bottom of the totem pole, and I'm sure you don't get very much work through the Local 600 itself. The Local 600 isn't an agency obviously, but i've heard that people do get "some" work from being apart of the union. The obvious benefit of being in the union is working union gigs, but there again, all the gigs I DP aren't union anyways. So, that all being said, I hope that you can see the various thoughts that are rolling through my mind, and if any of you can point this lost lamb in the right direction.

All the best,
Drew Maw

Edited by Drew Maw, 20 July 2010 - 05:12 PM.

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#2 Rob Vogt

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 06:22 PM

You probably don't want to join until you get some union work as a DP... IE a feature not just a commercial. If you join you will probably loose some if not all of your business with nonunion projects. There are a lot of topics like this and this seems to be the general consensus.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 06:32 PM

Well, you can work non-union even after you become an IA member; the main issue to wait is just that it is so darn expensive to join, so wait until you are likely to be getting hired on IA jobs anyway, so the higher income rate helps pay for the cost of joining. Unless you are joining at the bottom rung, which is cheaper. I joined as a DP and it cost me nearly $10,000.

But if you have the hours and are likely to be interviewing for IA jobs, then you should join. My income doubled and then tripled in the first few years of joining (non-union features pay crap wages to be honest...) Plus I have healthcare and a pension plan.
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#4 Drew Maw

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 06:39 PM

Well, you can work non-union even after you become an IA member; the main issue to wait is just that it is so darn expensive to join, so wait until you are likely to be getting hired on IA jobs anyway, so the higher income rate helps pay for the cost of joining. Unless you are joining at the bottom rung, which is cheaper. I joined as a DP and it cost me nearly $10,000.

But if you have the hours and are likely to be interviewing for IA jobs, then you should join. My income doubled and then tripled in the first few years of joining (non-union features pay crap wages to be honest...) Plus I have healthcare and a pension plan.


Thanks Mr. Mullen for replying. I'm a fan of your work. I guess the better question to ask then, is how do I take advantage of being in the IA? Besides Mandy.com and "networking as usual," I'm not sure how to take advantage of this new world of "union" work. From what I understand the entry fee for DP's now is $14,000, but you can pay it off over many many years, but there again, I don't even begin to know where to find IA DP jobs. What do you suggest?

Edited by Drew Maw, 20 July 2010 - 06:40 PM.

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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 20 July 2010 - 10:15 PM

Well, that's the problem, if you are not already in the loop for getting interviews for IA jobs, then maybe it's not time to join the IA as a DP. I can't really tell you how to get into the loop -- it just happened gradually for me: the budgets of the shows I was doing kept rising, entering the realm where the union gets interested, and the producers and directors I knew were starting to move up into union jobs. My first union feature was for a producer I did a short film for, but was familiar with my work on the Polish Brothers movies. My second union job was for a producer who worked on one of those Polish Brothers movies. It just sort of snowballs over time.
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#6 Frank Barrera

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 08:42 AM

Getting IA jobs is an alchemy all of it's own. Good luck with that.

What I do know is that the current DP fee is just over $12K ($3K down upon membership). For Operators it's just over $7K ($2K down upon membership). You then make monthly payments for your balance spread out over 2 years.

I just joined as an operator in NY. Most of my clients are still non union (I am starting to get a couple of calls for union work) but the way I look at it is that someday I would have joined this union anyway and the longer I wait the more expensive the initiation fee will be as it steadily increases over time. So join now: save money.

Also if you join as an operator you can still be hired as a DP. Once you've logged 40 days as a DP then you must upgrade your classification and pay the difference in fees.

But don't take it from me, just call up the union membership officer. He's a friendly guy who's job is to answer all of your questions.

good luck

f
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#7 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 09:22 PM

No point in joining until you're being offered union work. What you should do is submit your paperwork and get on the roster so that when you do get offered union work you can join quickly. It takes quite a while for them to approve you once you submit your paperwork, so getting offered a union job and joining in a few days or even weeks isn't going to happen. If you're already on the roster then all you need to do is pay your dues and you're in.
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#8 Chris Durham

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Posted 05 August 2010 - 12:39 PM

I was recently talking to a union rep here in NY trying to gauge how I should approach membership (probably as a AC, but we'll see) and if I recall correctly, he told me that the only way to come in as a DP is to be hired on a union production. You could come in as another category and upgrade later but you can't otherwise come straight in as a DP. I may have misunderstood but I don't think so. Does this fit with anyone else's knowledge?
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#9 Brad Grimmett

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Posted 05 August 2010 - 04:38 PM

Does this fit with anyone else's knowledge?

No, not at all. Of course, I joined as an operator, not a DP.... From what I've heard, you get in as a DP the same way as any other position. Of course, NY may be a little different from LA.
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#10 GrahamRobbins

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Posted 30 October 2010 - 03:06 PM

Im kind of in the same boat as you I am close to being eligible to join but I am still early 20's so all of the shows I work are non union.

However I also have a friend who is in the union as an operator and even on non union shows he makes a lot more money. Being in the union seems to be like a calling card saying your worth some extra cash. Personally I am gonna hold off until I pick up like a decent TV show, or feature that is union. Or that I feel is going to flip. For me right now its not really about making a bigger day rate its just about having fun doing what I love.

hope that helps,

Graham Robbins
www.grahamrobbinsdp.com
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