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Deal Memos and Agreements for Non Union DP


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#1 Jordan Raabe

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 12:58 PM

I'm in the process of drafting an agreement I can use with multiple production companies I work with on non-Union jobs. As a freelancer, I often feel that I have very few protections and I want to establish clearer, more communicative relationships with the production companies I work for ahead of time before problems around payment schedules, rates, travel, etc. arise. Currently, many of my jobs have no paperwork at all if I work for that production company often, and the only evidence of the job or agreement I have are a few texts and an email.

What are some of the most important stipulations or parts of an agreement or deal memo that you look for? What are your standards? I've listed a few of my thoughts below and would appreciate your feedback because I want what I ask for to be fair, reasonable, and inline with the industry. As a note, this will be mostly employed in Los Angeles.

Payment shoukd
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#2 Jordan Raabe

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 01:11 PM

***I accidentally submitted a draft of my post before finishing it, here is the rest of what was supposed to be the original post***


Payment should be received within 30 days. Does anyone enforce a late payment fee to keep clients on top of this? It's a major problem.

Travel days and prep days (scouts, gear pick up, returns, etc.) bill at 50% day rate for an up to 8 hr day.

Guaranteed 12hour day, exclusive of lunch. Lunch should be at least 30 min, but not more than an hour.

Day starts at call time and ends at tail lights upon departure from final location.

Production company covers gas for mileage outside the thirty mile zone at $.565/mile

DP will receive a 1080p prores copy of final product and any alternative cuts upon project release or some set time after completion in case the project is never actually released.

What are some other protections you would advise me to include?

Thanks!
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#3 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 02:29 PM

I keep a variable net on my invoices, but each invoice clearly states a late charge. However you generally will never get that unless you go into litigation; which you won't. You can put it in but unless you have a way to enforce it then well, it's just boilerplate.

 

Loose the guaranteed days-- they don't exist. But stipulate how you will calculate overtime and what your overtime clauses are. You will go more than 12; this happens.

 

TMZ is very nice to put in there; but i would also bill for mileage you have to drive for the production (e.g. location moves).

 

You can forget generally about alternative cuts. You can of course request a 1080p version, this may or may not happen-- but alternative cuts, if any, probably not. I would try to stipulate that DP will be given the reasonable opportunity to select footage for their own reel to be included after the project is released. 

 

Meal Penalties, put those in.

 

Gear Rentals/Box fees for yourself.

 

You'll need to also work out how you and the production will agree upon in and out times as it is doubtful they will be doing timecards.

 

Again; all this is nice to have in a deal memo; but you really can't easily enforce any of it unless you were to go through litigation well after the fact.

 

You should also put in a cancellation clause if the shoot goes away. For example, if they cancel the night before you can still hold them to pay you for the days you booked. This happens, and it sucks, though you gotta make sure you allow for force majure in such instances.


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#4 Jordan Raabe

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 04:18 PM

Adrian, thanks for your response. Obviously, none of this is enforceable without litigation, I would hope that these issues can all be sorted out by starting the conversation before the shoot by introducing this agreement and also by working it out with producers, but I don't mind including things like late payment charges with the understanding they'll only be upholded if I get litigation. If it gets so bad that I need litigation, it'll help having the late fees in writing and I will easily overlook a couple of days.

What kind of late payment fees do people list, or stipulate? Is there a standard? (Again, Ive already acknowledged how hard it is to enforce these, I understand I'm asking or standards on something is near hypothetical or fantasy.)

I would calculate overtime starting at 12 hours from call exclusive of lunch, in fifteen minute increments beginning at the first minute of each fifteen minute segment, charging double an hourly rate developed from taking the day rate and dividing by 14 hours (assuming the last four of twelve hours were "time and a half") but I wouldn't be against making it easier for everyone and just dividing the day rate by twelve, if that seems fair.

Would you bill for location moves regardless of whether they are in or out of the TMZ?

I also commonly rent out my camera with these shows, but will take care of all that and kit fees etc separately.
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#5 Jordan Raabe

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 04:20 PM

For cancellations, I would like to put 50% within 48 hrs, 100% within 24 hrs.
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#6 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 04:23 PM

That's about the same as my own cancellation fees.

I list 1%/day until paid compounding on my invoices-- plus collection fees (i bill for my own time i have to spend tracking them down).

Yes I charge mileage for any "for the job" movement, this is reguardless of in or out of the TMZ--- get gpstriplog, it's an app which will automatically do the mileage for you when you plug it into your car charger (or when you tell it to) and give you the trip, and the mileage, and the deduction.


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#7 Jordan Raabe

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Posted 28 October 2014 - 01:10 AM

Thanks for the GPSTriplog, I have an app called mile tracker that has a similar function, its handy.

 

How do you calculate the time it takes you track down and recover collection fees? Just record the amount of time it takes you to email/call them to remind them about outstanding invoices?


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#8 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 28 October 2014 - 01:12 AM

Yep-- I bill for the time-- generally it's about 30 min or so, and i also count the time to actually mail the thing, and any charges to send it certified mail.


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Glidecam

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Pro 8mm

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Aerial Filmworks

Ritter Battery

CineTape

Paralinx LLC

The Slider

rebotnix Technologies

Abel Cine

Technodolly