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A Question on Rates


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#1 Sean Elder

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Posted 24 May 2012 - 04:01 PM

Hello all!!! I have a few questions, and I'm not sure that they have been answered. In all actuality, some of them might have been answered for other markets. If anyone here is based in the South: Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, and places in between please feel free to message me. I have been planning out my next few moves with my career in becoming, as someone here stated "the best DP in the universe". I am one of those guys that puts up my 3-5-10 yr plans on a board and even if they get altered drastically, at least I had a plan to begin with. My Disclaimer: I by NO MEANS am leaving my day job as of yet; they are concerned as is and I need not give them any other reason. This is out of MY OWN curiosity, and planning for the next step for my family, art, and career!

So my questions:

A) What is the difference between Union and Non-Union rates?
1)Is there a drastic difference between the two?
2)Do Non-Union rates have more wiggle room (room for negotiating?)

B) What is the rate difference (if any) between the ASC(Guild) and the ICG(Union?)?

C) Other than call sheets, and (if I gleened this right) paycheck stubs? would someone be able to verify time billed as a DP?
1)Are there any hard-lined guidelines for accumulating hours?
2)Is there any way to ensure that the hours that are accrued go to the "right place" I.e. Union hours vs. Non Union hours (does it matter)?

D) If starting out is there a "basic" or "entry-level" rate to quote?
1)What would be the "acceptable" range for 8hr, 10hr, 12hr, 14hr, and weekly rates?


I'm sure that I will have more questions, but these are the only ones that I can think of at the moment.

Thank you in advance for any and all help!
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#2 John David Miller

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 12:46 AM

So my questions:

A) What is the difference between Union and Non-Union rates?
1)Is there a drastic difference between the two?
2)Do Non-Union rates have more wiggle room (room for negotiating?)

B) What is the rate difference (if any) between the ASC(Guild) and the ICG(Union?)?

C) Other than call sheets, and (if I gleened this right) paycheck stubs? would someone be able to verify time billed as a DP?
1)Are there any hard-lined guidelines for accumulating hours?
2)Is there any way to ensure that the hours that are accrued go to the "right place" I.e. Union hours vs. Non Union hours (does it matter)?

D) If starting out is there a "basic" or "entry-level" rate to quote?
1)What would be the "acceptable" range for 8hr, 10hr, 12hr, 14hr, and weekly rates?


I'm sure that I will have more questions, but these are the only ones that I can think of at the moment.

Thank you in advance for any and all help!


The difference between Union and Non-Union rates are simply that a Union rate has a higher bottom floor. The most I have made on a job was a non-union one. However, the majority of non-union jobs pay less than union rates. This is compounded when you add the benefits of pension, welfare(p/w), medical, vacation, holiday, meal penalty, mileage, force calls, etc... that comes from a union contract. On the average non union pays much less than union. Remember that union scale in only a minimum and most highly experienced craftsman make well over that minimum scale wage.

Because there are no rules to non-union work, other than state and federal of course, there is more room for negotiating. Hell I've even heard of key grips getting back end points on non-union projects. I've heard of only one union key grip try and negotiate back end points, and he failed.

The difference in rates between a ICG DP and a ASC DP is nothing. Just because you join the ASC does not mean your rate goes up. Perhaps in the long run ASC cameramen get higher quality jobs and thus get a higher percentage over scale.

I believe all your hours must be verifiable to count. You can be brought into Local 600 as a DP you would need a to get hired on a union job, producer or director request and about $10,000 (last I checked) as an initiation rating to DP.

There are other ways to get into local 600 by coming in as a camera PA or loader and working your way up.

Getting into the ASC is even more difficult. You have to have a body of work. Recommendations, be a member of local 600, and about $15,000. I'm sure some of our ASC members could give more details than I. Your body of work does not have to be movies. There are several ASC members who have never made a single film.

When you do a new job try and fill out Union timecards. This may help with the hours verification process. Keep ALL paystubs.

I hope this helps you out a little. Good luck.
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#3 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 10:36 AM

A) What is the difference between Union and Non-Union rates?
1)Is there a drastic difference between the two?
2)Do Non-Union rates have more wiggle room (room for negotiating?)


Some high-end commercials can be non-union at high rates, but generally non-union pays less on average than union. My income doubled and then tripled within a few years of joining the union. It's just logical, bigger-budgeted shows are union so the rates are higher. On the other hand, most people only get paid guild minimum rates, it's very hard to negotiate much higher than that. But with union work comes a healthcare and pension plan.

Current guild minimum rates for a DP on an episodic or feature is around $94/hr up to 8 hours generally (about $750/day so with 12+ hours that are typical, it's really in the $1000/day range as a minimum rate), then at some point, there are overtime rates. When I started out, I spent my first decade after film school shooting non-union features, about 23 or so, and generally got paid around $250/day to $350/day, but this was in the 1990's. I did "Northfork" in 2002 for a flat $1000/week, 4 weeks of shooting and 2 weeks of prep, so $6000 total. And I turned down work off and on over a 2-year period waiting for that movie.

B) What is the rate difference (if any) between the ASC(Guild) and the ICG(Union?)?


The ASC is an honorary society and has nothing to do with the union or rates. The union (IATSE Local 600) is also called "the Cinematographer Guild" -- the ASC is not a guild.

C) Other than call sheets, and (if I gleened this right) paycheck stubs? would someone be able to verify time billed as a DP?
1)Are there any hard-lined guidelines for accumulating hours?
2)Is there any way to ensure that the hours that are accrued go to the "right place" I.e. Union hours vs. Non Union hours (does it matter)?


If you are talking about proving your hours worked in order to join the union, paycheck stubs from a payroll company are the best form of documentation, in fact, even better is a confirmation letter from the payroll company. Keep in mind that the Producers Guild of America actually decides who is qualified to join the unions through their Contract Services division; they then pass the name onto the respective union.

Payroll companies have subsidiaries that either only handle union jobs or non-union jobs, with different time sheet forms, etc. to keep it all straight. Obviously if you are trying to join the union, the jobs you would have done to date would be non-union, which is fine and expected.

Without a payroll company or check stubs, Contract Services will accept letters from producers listing the dates worked in the job category you got paid in, but they tend to be more suspicious of letters and reject some of them.

D) If starting out is there a "basic" or "entry-level" rate to quote?
1)What would be the "acceptable" range for 8hr, 10hr, 12hr, 14hr, and weekly rates?


Rates in the business are all over the map. Depends on the budget too, there's no point in quoting a really high figure if it is totally out of the range of the production. Most of the time I cut to the chase and just ask them what they've budgeted for the position and decide whether I can live with that or can negotiate a bit more.
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#4 Gregory Irwin

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Posted 28 May 2012 - 08:26 AM

As far as union rates vs. non union rates goes, union jobs pay by the hour including OT as opposed to a non union flat. You must also calculate all of the benefits that are included in your hourly pay such as all of our health insurance, pension and retirement contributions and very importantly, our IAP contributions. These are all contributed to us employees by our employers as opposed to all of this being deducted from our paychecks like many industries. IAP stands for Individual Account Plan which is our equivalent to a 401K plan. For every hour worked, the producers contribute a percentage toward the plan. Upon retirement, that plan (depending on the number of contribution years) could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Thus, there is no question about union vs. non union (as far as I'm concerned) since a union motion picture employee is investing into his/her future with a lifetime plan that covers themselves and their families.

G
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#5 Chris Keth

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 10:38 PM

Greg's completely spot on. There is the possibility of a non-union job paying more than a union job but that possibility is very remote. It's like tossing a steak in front of a hungry dog and saying there's a possibility he won't eat it.

Greg, do you work with Greg Dellerson? Your name rings a bell and I think GD's mentioned you, favorably as I recall.
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#6 Gregory Irwin

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 11:35 AM

Greg's completely spot on. There is the possibility of a non-union job paying more than a union job but that possibility is very remote. It's like tossing a steak in front of a hungry dog and saying there's a possibility he won't eat it.

Greg, do you work with Greg Dellerson? Your name rings a bell and I think GD's mentioned you, favorably as I recall.


Hi Chris! I do know Greg. We have worked together only a couple of times and I really enjoyed it. Great guy.
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#7 Tom Jensen

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Posted 01 June 2012 - 01:03 PM

My rate is $25 a day. Take it or leave it.
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#8 Sean Elder

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 03:03 PM

I would like to thank all of you for your valuable input! I am truly grateful for the responses that were made! This has been racking my brain for quite some time now! I will keep watching this post if anyone else wishes to add their insight, or if anyone else has any questions related to this topic please feel free to post! I have learned so much from every single post! Thank you all once again!!!
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Opal

Glidecam

Visual Products

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Metropolis Post

The Slider

rebotnix Technologies

CineTape

Willys Widgets