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Producers not Paying


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#1 ben goldberg

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Posted 22 March 2012 - 10:33 PM

So I worked a small indie feature last month and have not been paid by the producers. Neither has anyone else in the G&E crew.

Does anyone know the proper steps I should take legally?

Thanks. I am in LA By the way and did sign a deal memo. It has been about 30 days since the end of production.
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#2 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 23 March 2012 - 06:57 AM

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Sorry I can't be more help.
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#3 jeremy mauger

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Posted 05 April 2012 - 09:24 PM

ben,

i have unfortunately had alot of experience in this area,
a number of times foreign producers have come here to nz, hired crews and then simply got on a plane a couple of days before they are supposed to leave. of the five or so times it has happened i have ended up getting paid.
because the one thing i have learned is that they all hate bad press.
threaten him with naming and shaming him to all his clients, his boss if he has one, directors, dops, and most importantly to all crew he may hire in the future.
make sure its all true, so you don't get sued.
hes sure to have a big ego and also if he gets a reputation as a squeltcher he wont be able to hire crews in the future without paying cash up front.
you don't actually have to do it just threaten him with it.
worked for me

jerry
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#4 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 06:27 PM

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Sorry I can't be more help.


Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!
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#5 Tom Jensen

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Posted 06 April 2012 - 08:16 PM

I had the strangest thing happen once. A friend of mine invited me to lunch in Santa Monica. So we have lunch and a few beers. Then we stop by a production company which just happens to be around the corner. My friend said to come in with him, so I go in not knowing what's in store. Long story short my buddy grabs the producer by the neck and says he's not **(obscenity removed)** around and he better write the check or he was going to get the worse ass kicking of his life. I'm beside myself and pretty much in shock. The producer writes him a check and we leave. On the way out my friends says, "This better not bounce and to call me if you need an operator." The check cleared and the police were never involved. I do not recommend this but it worked.
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#6 Kieran Scannell

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 01:15 PM

30 days is not long Ben! I would start worrying after about 60 days! have you contacted them?

I was once payed 13 months after wrapping! It's not uncommon in our business!!
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#7 Freya Black

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 03:45 AM

There's this in the Uk:

https://payontime.co.uk/

love

Freya

Edited by Freya Black, 25 April 2012 - 03:48 AM.

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#8 Chris Burke

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 09:10 AM

30 days is not long Ben! I would start worrying after about 60 days! have you contacted them?

I was once payed 13 months after wrapping! It's not uncommon in our business!!


this is what I was going to say. 30 days is common and can often take longer. Very politely send them another invoice, always take the high road so you don't come off as the bad guy. When two months click by, then I would switch to public humiliation. I had to resort to that here on this site because of a non paying individual who entirely blew me off until I outed them. Failing that, make sure you have them write the check or give you the cash before you show them a close up of a Louisville slugger.
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#9 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 30 April 2012 - 11:01 AM

After 120 days, these days, I generally send a 3rd invoice, certified mail to a physical location. Also I have listed in my deal memos, when I can, that late accounts will be charged late fees of 10% per week late accruing. I also make sure to send that, which we have both signed, certified mail, when needed.

Though honestly, 30 days is the norm for being paid most of the time. And sometimes you just gotta take the hit; which really sucks, but not everyone is gonna cough up the dough.
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#10 Richard Boddington

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 10:46 PM

then I would switch to public humiliation. I had to resort to that here on this site because of a non paying individual who entirely blew me off until I outed them.



I would be very careful with this method. Yes, it stinks to not get paid. However, there are things you can and cannot do. In the USA it is against the law to publish a debt under the fair debt collection practices act.

So publicly outing a non-payer and naming names, may put you in a position where the non-paying person now has some leverage over you.

So as the lawyers say....kindly govern yourself accordingly.

Have a look:

§ 806. Harassment or abuse [15 USC 1692d]
A debt collector may not engage in any conduct the natural consequence of which is to harass, oppress, or abuse any person in connection with the collection of a debt. Without limiting the general application of the foregoing, the following conduct is a violation of this section:

(1) The use or threat of use of violence or other criminal means to harm the physical person, reputation, or property of any person.

(2) The use of obscene or profane language or language the natural consequence of which is to abuse the hearer or reader.

(3) The publication of a list of consumers who allegedly refuse to pay debts, except to a consumer reporting agency or to persons meeting the requirements of section 603(f) or 604(3)1 of this Act.

(4) The advertisement for sale of any debt to coerce payment of the debt.

(5) Causing a telephone to ring or engaging any person in telephone conversation repeatedly or continuously with intent to annoy, abuse, or harass any person at the called number.

(6) Except as provided in section 804, the placement of telephone calls without meaningful disclosure of the caller's identity.

R,
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#11 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 11:01 PM

Yes, but on the other hand, some unions (mine included) regularly publish lists of entities who've failed to pay members, so that isn't the whole story.
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#12 Mark Dunn

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 04:01 AM

Yes, but on the other hand, some unions (mine included) regularly publish lists of entities who've failed to pay members, so that isn't the whole story.

It's not per se illegal here.
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#13 Richard Boddington

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 11:38 AM

Yes, but on the other hand, some unions (mine included) regularly publish lists of entities who've failed to pay members, so that isn't the whole story.


You belong to a union Phil?

R,
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#14 michael best

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Posted 02 May 2012 - 01:42 PM

You have a lot of Legal options...

If you worked in the state of California no matter what you signed as a film tech you are an employee. As such they are required by law to pay you at the time of your termination. (aka when you are laid off due to the job ending.) We normally give producers 2 weeks on a time card job and 30 days on an invoice. What lawyers have had me do in the past for non paying employers is at 30 days send a friendly notice saying something to the effect of just a friendly reminders that I have not been paid, if there has been a problem with my time card/invoice please let me know. If you dont hear back from them and no check comes at 45 days send them a firm 2nd notice via certified mail or ups fedex ect. And take a video of you putting the invoice/letter (if its a time card) and handing it to the mail clerk. At the same time contact you local labor office http://www.dir.ca.go...rictOffices.htm and start a non payment claim. If you want and it is recommended hire a lawyer. And you will get paided pretty quick and they will go after out of state companies if you where hired in the state of CA. Most companies pay as soon as they are served by the Labor office and you most likely will get a small amount of intrest and you can ask for lawyer fees to be added if you hired one. However if the company challenges your claim you will end up in civil court but these judges tend to rule harshly on non-paying employers.

This does take time and energy but its the best legal way to get paid. However do watch out of companies that claim bankrupsy as if they do they can avoid paying you all together. If that's the case you need to get a lawyer right away to get on the list of creditors.

Also when invoicing never include labor and equipment in the same invoice as it makes it easier for an employer to claim you are not an employee but an "company" or independent contractor, which would fall under different laws. But once they give you a call time, and tell you when you can break for lunch and release you, you are an employee as stated under state labor laws. (this also means they have to pay SS, taxes, and provide workman's comp. regardless if you are invoice or payroll. The things we let slide in our line of work...)
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#15 Sam Rothafel

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 07:16 PM

some time ago worked on nonunion feature,
Crew was fired after two weeks and not paid
new crew hired for two weeks and fired, not paid
teamsters then stole the gels and acs took the unexposed film
all items sold and money divied up amongst crew.

met the producer at screening in westwood,
what? who me?

we pushed him in front of traffic and his foot got run over.

what? who us?
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