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#1 Randy J Tomlinson

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 07:57 AM

I have been dealing with this Issue for quiet a while now. I beeing aproached by young Filmmakers with zero budget asking me to work for them. They always want me to work for free or for my name in the Credits. Just this morning someone even asked me if i could provide the Filmstock for free! And then they are currious why i feel insulted.
Anyone have had the same experience? How can someone think my camera is free of charge, insurance, filmstock etc...
It kinda bothers me.
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#2 Brian Drysdale

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 08:07 AM

Only work for free if there's some advantage to you in doing so (using a tool you've never used before, shooting a different genre or repaying a favour), you're not out of pocket and they're feeding you.

 

BTW You need to use your full real name, it's one of the forum rules.


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#3 Freya Black

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 08:24 AM

You shouldn't let this bother you, it goes on all the time to some extent. The first thing I find really helps (in life generally in fact) is having a sense of humour.

 

Here in Europe especially, there isn't really much of a movie industry anymore, so if people want to make things they often have no budget as you suggest and will struggle to cobble something together. That's just the way it is. It isn't really anything to do with you.

 

However the thing that does annoy me, is the people who act like they are doing you are huge favour by offering you this FANTASTIC opportunity to work for them for free (this goes on outside of the movie world too) and who seem to think that everybody should be really grateful to be even breathing the same air as them. This kind of attitude makes me growl at the very least and I am likely to react badly to it and at best with much sarcasm. In my experience these people are also best avoided for obvious reasons.

 

As to the person asking if you could provide filmstock for free. I think I'd be tempted to tell them they need to be looking for a producer more than a cinematographer for this kind of thing! ;)

 

The thing is that I don't think you should feel offended by this for the most part (although you give little in the way of context) because it is a free country and that means people are free to ask you if you will work for them for free and that you in turn (and heres the important bit) are totally free to say "NO!". It is your right to say no, and it is reasonable to say no. You don't have to be nasty about it, you can quite happily smile and say "I think I will be giving that one a miss thankyou". Theres no need to feel bad or angry, you just say no. You have the power and freedom to say no and shouldn't feel any misgivings about doing so.

 

Freya


Edited by Freya Black, 26 August 2013 - 08:25 AM.

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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 09:17 AM

If someone politely asks if I will do them a favour I will almost always politely decline. I have found very often that this transforms freebies into paid work. Odd that.

 

Otherwise I find as time goes on I become less and less tolerant of it.

 

Like Freya, my intolerance comes from being asked to work for free, and having the producer actually say things like "I don't want anyone to feel like they're doing me a favour." I don't even get sarcastic at that point; anyone trying that with me will be read an extended excerpt from the riot act. A reasonable degree of self-belief is fine. I appreciate that being a film producer requires this to be taken to extremes which many people would consider narcissism. However, I don't care if you do that with your distributors; you cannot do it with crew, especially (though I can't claim to really be a director of photography) crew for whom I might have a degree of managerial responsibility.

 

I will very, very occasionally work for free on other people's projects but there has to be something in it for me. Frankly I've done my time on freebies and found exactly how useful it is - generally not very. It's the oldest problem in the book: if the people concerned really were going anywhere, they'd be able to get some money, or if they had that much belief in the project they'd spend their own. Most true freebies in which nobody gets paid are entirely reliant on the tiny possibility that they'll pull a Rodriguez Gambit, which is so unlikely as to make it entirely reasonable to assume it won't happen to you. You could turn down a thousand freebies and not miss any sort of big break.

 

Equally I have occasionally accepted favours from people who I know I will be able to pay back. My requirements for freebies are this:

 

- Both parties know each other personally and have previously worked together on "proper" work

- There is an immediate prospect of the favour being repaid, or a favour is already owed

 

This sort of favour accountancy is unfortunate but I have found it saves hard feelings in the long run.

 

The bottom line: on most freebies you are being exploited. It isn't usually serious financial exploitation; most of the people who are asking you to do freebies lack the ability to make any money out of their shows, regardless of how well they're made. You're probably just being exploited to stroke someone'e ego. 

 

P


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#5 Freya Black

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 11:08 AM

 

Like Freya, my intolerance comes from being asked to work for free, and having the producer actually say things like "I don't want anyone to feel like they're doing me a favour." 

 

OMG! Some of the stuff out there is mind blowing! I think that would cause me to exclaim "WTF where do you get off!" etc. I'm still slightly in shock about it so I don't even have a witty or nasty comeback to that. I think I would just be "Mate, you have a SERIOUS problem!"

 

The other thing about Freebies, is that strictly speaking, they don't really exist. Somebody pays, it just means it is somebody else that is paying, probably YOU if you accept to do a freebie!

 

Aside from the fact that there are some total idiots out there taking up a fair amount of the planet. The other really big issue is that some people often feel sort of bad about saying no to someone and they shouldn't. They have every right to say no and in some cases they definitely should say no. Theres nothing wrong with saying no. It's a very powerful word that people should feel okay about using and not feel angry about using. Say No and be happy. It is your right to say no, exercise it and feel good about it. YOU are in control of YOUR life.

 

Having said all that, sometimes people do people favours, it happens. That might be because they are pals, or it might be because they really like a project enough to do a big favour to help make it happen, or some other reason. Theres nothing wrong with the freebies per se, it's all about context.

 

It's up to you what you do.

 

Freya


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#6 Randy J Tomlinson

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 01:18 PM

Only work for free if there's some advantage to you in doing so (using a tool you've never used before, shooting a different genre or repaying a favour), you're not out of pocket and they're feeding you.

 

BTW You need to use your full real name, it's one of the forum rules.

 

Yes Brian i know. I need to ask the Admin to change my Username because i can not in the Usersettings. I am aware of that :-)


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#7 Randy J Tomlinson

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 01:30 PM

Film making IS an expensive business if you are not spending money on making your film then your probably not really making a film anyone wants to watch.

And expecting professionals with expensive equipment to let you have it for free is insane and insulting to boot.

Another thing that grates while I'm on the subject is the 'no money upfront but a percentage of backend sales' spin. How many times I have heard this one! Lets face it if you can't get it together to pay people to make your film how on earth are you going to pay for marketing said film?

And if your business skills are so limited that you can't market the film how on earth will you ever be able to give us a percentage of the 'backend sales' you promised in the first place?


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#8 Bruce Greene

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 01:50 PM

I have done a few freebies that have paid off. So, choose them wisely :)

My favorite was a short film for a commercial director I had worked with for a couple spots years before. I haven't worked with them since, but my daughter got a tour of the studio, that she turned into an on running job. Saved me thousands!!! :)

For what it's worth, my crew was paid, but I volunteered myself and camera too...
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#9 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 02:20 PM

If you volunteered yourself, fine.

 

We should make it clear, though, that Bruce operates in a wildly dissimilar sphere to that inhabited by (dare I say) Freya and I, and the motivations for doing things and the rules of thumb are extremely different.

 

P


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#10 Alessandro Machi

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 04:09 PM

If they supply all the gear, have a solid crafts services, and have extra help to make sure your car isn't vandalized while doing the shoot, then you can have them pitch you on what the benefits are.

 

If they have a youtube page, a facebook page, a twitter page, and a couple others I have forgotten, and on each site are going to link to a site of your choosing, (with a pre-agreed upon message), and the project is not a long one, 2 to 3 days, and there are other cornerstone professional people also on the project, (gaffer, sound, wardrobe/make-up, A.D. and a competent post production person), then maybe its worth it if you have plenty of spare time and want to keep up with newer types of work flows. 


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#11 Stephen Williams

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 04:44 PM

Go to my settings, then display name.......

 

Yes Brian i know. I need to ask the Admin to change my Username because i can not in the Usersettings. I am aware of that :-)

 

 


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#12 Freya Black

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 04:51 PM

Go to my settings, then display name.......

 

 

I was just looking at this myself. It seems to have changed as I don't see a display name option anymore.

Seems like a bit of a major flaw!

 

I noticed some of my other settings had erm, changed as well!

 

Freya


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#13 Carl Looper

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 04:55 PM

Working for free is no different from investing money in a project. The only difference is that instead of investing money you are investing your time and energy.

 

As with all investments there is an expectation of a return on investment.

 

But just like the investment the return need not be in terms of money. Could be sack of potatoes instead. Or two chickens. Or a pat on the back.

 

It's basically the barter system. It's what typically happens when an economy collapses and all the money is gone (or frozen in bank accounts). You go back to using more ancient methods to trade.

 

Carl


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#14 Carl Looper

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 06:08 PM

Here's another way of putting this and I have no problem admitting that I've done this

 

If someone asked me to help them make a film, and I did not know where my next meal would be happening, and they said that all catering would be done for the length of the shoot, then I'd be quite happy to trade my work for a seat at the catering table.

 

And by the same token, if I had plenty of money in the bank, and my fridge was full, and I was asked to help make a film, I might just as well be happy working on the project for nothing more than having something to do.

 

Its all about trade. Money is just a more convenient way of trading. Being paid in money allows you to defer (put off) what it is you are trading. If you are paid in money you can decide later whether to use the money buy food, or pay the rent, or buy a new lens for your film kit. But if you already know what you want and someone is saying to you they will give it to you in exchange for working on their film, then you don't need any money. You can bypass the exchange in money.

 

Its all about what you want in exchange for working on a film. You just do a deal. No need to get upset about someone unable to give you what you want. That's neither their fault nor yours. They'll find someone else with whom they can do a deal. And you'll find someone else with whom you can deal.

 

Carl


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#15 Carl Looper

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 06:21 PM

Here's another example.

 

I'm making a 3 minute 3D film for my daughter's school play. In exchange my daughter's mother stops nagging me about doing it.

 

C


Edited by Carl Looper, 26 August 2013 - 06:22 PM.

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#16 James Steven Beverly

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 09:45 PM

Professional Forum. you MUST use your real name. To answer your question, I've worked several times for free. I've also worked for sh!t wages, 50 bucks for a 14 hour day. It's part of the business. The contacts you made can, in some instances, help you down the road. I also believe in the Karma aspect. WE are lucky to be in this business. It's only right we give back to those trying to pull themselves up as we were. People have helped me so there is a pay it forward mentality that can only help you in the long run. That DOESN'T mean you should be played for a fool, though. IF these guys don't show respect and provide the very basics, (one meal even if it's fixed up ramen noodles and an off brand soda), then they don't deserve the gift you've bestowed on them. Screw 'em!. There's enough assh0les in Hollywood, you shouldn't have to help propagate more. My personal opinion


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