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Resigning as DP from a short


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#1 Grant MacAllister

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 06:50 PM

I am on a short, small budget student film as the DP, and we're supposed to be shooting in a week.
My director, however, doesn't seem to have anything together. We're a week out and we still haven't locked any locations, we still haven't found our principal actors, don't have insurance coverage still, don't have any equipment rented (and we still need to order stuff from LA and have it shipped out to New Mexico for the film) and still don't have any real crew. This production has been somewhat of a nightmare with all sorts of things falling through, and the only thing keeping my interest in it at this point is the fact that I am supposed to be getting paid to shoot it, but if that incentive weren't there I think I would have walked a while back. The director expects me to act as a producer and help him find cast and a million other things that aren't in my job description. I've done about 4 months worth of pre production on my end, and have basically been a producer, instead of the DP! I'd like to resign from the film at this point, but I'd still like to get paid for all the pre prod I did for months. Anyone have any suggestions for how to approach this conversation?
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#2 Bill DiPietra

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Posted 30 July 2012 - 07:12 PM

I am on a short, small budget student film as the DP, and we're supposed to be shooting in a week.
My director, however, doesn't seem to have anything together. We're a week out and we still haven't locked any locations, we still haven't found our principal actors, don't have insurance coverage still, don't have any equipment rented (and we still need to order stuff from LA and have it shipped out to New Mexico for the film) and still don't have any real crew. This production has been somewhat of a nightmare with all sorts of things falling through, and the only thing keeping my interest in it at this point is the fact that I am supposed to be getting paid to shoot it, but if that incentive weren't there I think I would have walked a while back. The director expects me to act as a producer and help him find cast and a million other things that aren't in my job description. I've done about 4 months worth of pre production on my end, and have basically been a producer, instead of the DP! I'd like to resign from the film at this point, but I'd still like to get paid for all the pre prod I did for months. Anyone have any suggestions for how to approach this conversation?


Either suck it up as a loss and move on or stay with it till the end. There is no middle-ground.
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#3 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 07:42 AM

Either suck it up as a loss and move on or stay with it till the end. There is no middle-ground.


Yes and I wouldn't hold my breath about being paid from the sound of it. You may have to force the director's hand to ensure his funding in place before proceeding.
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#4 Chris Burke

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 01:56 PM

Sadly, this is the norm on student films, but that doesn't mean that you should proceed. If you are not emotionally or artistically invested in the project, then bow out. I would wait and see what happens. see if the director can pull things together. It sounds like you have done tons already, so don't do anymore. Don't get stressed about someone else' vision, let them do the work.
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#5 Grant MacAllister

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Posted 31 July 2012 - 02:03 PM

Sadly, this is the norm on student films, but that doesn't mean that you should proceed. If you are not emotionally or artistically invested in the project, then bow out. I would wait and see what happens. see if the director can pull things together. It sounds like you have done tons already, so don't do anymore. Don't get stressed about someone else' vision, let them do the work.


I've just sent the director this e-mail.

I just talked with the rental house in LA, and we have to have everything finalized by tomorrow, wednesday august 1st. This means, we have to have insurance, we have to have the FedEx account made, and we are going to have to overnight ship everything, which is gonna be a bit costly I'm sure.
If we do not get this done, not only will we not be able to make this film, but I will have to discontinue my services to this production.
That's the unfortunate reality of it. It's been over a week, and I still haven't received the shot list, which is something I should have gotten months ago. We're also less than a week out now, and we don't have anything secured. Trying to do what should have been months of pre-pro, in less than a week is overly stressful, and not the way I prefer to go about this. I've done everything I can, and then some, to try and make this come together.
I still really want to see this film happen.

Best,

Grant


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#6 David Desio

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Posted 11 August 2012 - 01:32 PM

I've just sent the director this e-mail.



Well you did what you could. Sometimes you you have to know when to bail out. Is there an actual producer on this film?
Like everyone has said, it's a student film. Sometimes they are great and the rest of the time they are very trying and disorganized. But at the end of the day its a student film, meaning everyone is for the most part learning on it. If you are afraid of not being paid, ask him to sign a deal memo, maybe even ask for half of your fee before shooting begins. you know to cover the pre-pro part of it.
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