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CInematographers should not be paid... What?


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#1 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 14 July 2016 - 03:34 PM

I saw this on my facebook page today from No Film School dot com and it REALLY pissed me off. My roommie heard it playing and even he was pissed off.



This is my response on youtube and facebook:

First off, how do you pay your bills when you don't make any money? You can't have a regular job because that interferes with all that "non-pay" work, so how do you survive? Second, any filmmaker that brings on "free" crew for a project, has no respect for the crew. I don't care if you're a rookie, shooting your first project, you should receive compensation no matter what. Any filmmaker incapable of handing their DP a $100 bill at the end of the day, is no filmmaker in my book. Furthermore, any filmmaker producing a product with a full crew, cast and equipment that can't afford to pay their crew, isn't someone I would ever want to work with. I've been in the industry for 20 years and I have never once been "hired" on a project for free. Yes, I have offered my services to students and friends at no charge for one or two day (weekend) projects for fun. But when you give your services away, you are telling someone YOU ARE NOT WORTH PAYING FOR!!! If you did it once, you will have no problem doing it again. This is the problem and it's literally killing our industry. The more people discuss working for free, the more filmmakers will abuse crew and assume they can get free crew. You wish to talk long term, this video, your ideas HURT the industry long term. Look, today I not only shoot and edit, but I also teach filmmaking on the side. I tell my students the same thing over and over again. You need to get "time" on larger productions, but it doesn't HAVE to be in the camera department. It's far better to start at ground zero, work as a PAID PA on medium level shows. Everyone else in the PA department is trying to do the same thing YOU ARE!!! So those are the people you want to meet. On your day's off, work together making little short films as friends for fun and look for jobs non-stop. Slowly build your reel using your own material and learn what it's like to be on set by physically being on set and being paid for it as a PA. Eventually you will meet the right people, you will earn your chops, but in the long run it has nothing to do with skill, it has everything to do with who you know. That requires being on shows with other like-minded individuals and there is zero reason you shouldn't get paid for that work.


It's kind of a vicious cycle. Kids go to college, they graduate and they're looking for work in the industry straight away. They may have a little reel, but most kids won't have a "industry standard" reel. With that said, isn't it better to work your ass off learning what it's like to be on a real film set, prior to really building your career? I think a lot of people go buy fancy cameras and think they can make it somehow, but it requires more then that. It does require hard work during your time away from set, it does require practicing your craft outside of being on a bigger project where the stress level is high. There are so many moving pieces and at the same time, you MUST survive as a person financially.
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#2 Richard Boddington

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Posted 14 July 2016 - 03:46 PM

There is certainly a massive sense of entitlement out there amongst todays, below 30s.  Sadly they don't realize how long it will take climbing up that ladder to make their dreams in film come true after they graduate from this "prestigious" film school.

 

R,


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#3 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 14 July 2016 - 03:50 PM

I am not going to take sides here but I will say that it amazes me how much some people care about what other people are doing. If two consenting adults agree to do something then I fail to see what the issue is. 


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#4 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 14 July 2016 - 03:55 PM

Um, ok. Have you watched Matt Workman's previous video about DP rate tiers in the commercial NYC/LA markets?



It's pretty accurate, from what I've seen. He's not some no-budget indie filmmaker advocating that we all give away our labor for free (something which you've recently suggested that motion picture film camera technicians should do, btw). He makes a living shooting well-budgeted commercials.
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#5 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 14 July 2016 - 04:06 PM

He's not some no-budget indie filmmaker advocating that we all give away our labor for free (something which you've recently suggested that motion picture film camera technicians should do, btw).


BTW, I never said "give away" labor as in FREE like Matt is saying here. In the case of services, I merely said make the business of fixing cameras affordable for consumers.

Also, do you know this guy Matt personally? He says in the video he still works for free today on commercial and music video's.

I also disagree wholeheartedly with his pay scale. There is much more to it.
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#6 Richard Boddington

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Posted 14 July 2016 - 04:08 PM

Bottom line......keep your poor kids far away from the film business, they'll be so much happier doing something else.  Anything else.

 

R,


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#7 Jan Tore Soerensen

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Posted 14 July 2016 - 04:09 PM

I just saw it half an hour ago, and also commented on it. Income will reflect your value in the marketplace. If you have no, or very low value, you can't expect someone to pay you well for your work. That being said, if you can shoot something for $50 to get started, I'd say that's worth it, to get the experience, and start building a portfolio. 

 

Bottom line......keep your poor kids far away from the film business, they'll be so much happier doing something else.  Anything else.

 

R,

Money isn't happiness.


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#8 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 14 July 2016 - 04:11 PM

Money isn't happiness.


But it sure pays the bills.
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#9 Matthew W. Phillips

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Posted 14 July 2016 - 04:14 PM

Money isn't happiness.

Either is homelessness.


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#10 Richard Boddington

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Posted 14 July 2016 - 04:19 PM

Money isn't happiness.

 

Now let me guess Jan, you're a single guy with no children and you don't own a home?

 

Correct?

 

R,


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#11 Jan Tore Soerensen

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Posted 14 July 2016 - 04:27 PM

But it sure pays the bills.

true that.

 

Either is homelessness.

Absolutely.

 

 

Now let me guess Jan, you're a single guy with no children and you don't own a home?

 

Correct?

 

R,

Yep. A sacrifice I have made to pursue my passion. I had a good paying job which I quit to do this. I would be less happy with a 9-5 and a mortgage.


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#12 Richard Boddington

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Posted 14 July 2016 - 04:40 PM

Yep. A sacrifice I have made to pursue my passion. I had a good paying job which I quit to do this. I would be less happy with a 9-5 and a mortgage.

 

Right, so you're what I call the "typical" film guy.  Single, no kids, no home ownership.

 

If we took a poll on this forum, 95% of the members here would fall into this category.

 

I would be in the other 5%.

 

R,


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#13 Jan Tore Soerensen

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Posted 14 July 2016 - 04:53 PM

 

Right, so you're what I call the "typical" film guy.  Single, no kids, no home ownership.

 

If we took a poll on this forum, 95% of the members here would fall into this category.

 

I would be in the other 5%.

 

R,

I admire you for achieving that. Very honestly. But I do not believe that makes you an expert on what life choices people should make for their happiness.

 

Wanna be a doctor? Great. Wanna be a farmer? Go for it! Cinematographer? Go shoot.


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#14 Tyler Purcell

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Posted 14 July 2016 - 04:56 PM

Right, so you're what I call the "typical" film guy.  Single, no kids, no home ownership.
 
If we took a poll on this forum, 95% of the members here would fall into this category.
 
I would be in the other 5%.


IDK about that... but it would be worth the poll. :)
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#15 Justin Hayward

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Posted 14 July 2016 - 05:21 PM

 

 

I would be in the other 5%.

 

R,

 Me too :)  I try not to be discouraging, but I do warn people that want to get into this that they should know what job in filmmaking they want to retire doing and should want it so bad they can't imagine doing anything else.  Because it's back breaking work with long hours where you leave your house in the dark and get home in the dark and loads of uncertainty as to whether you can pay your bills month to month.  It's very unusual work.  My brother wanted to follow me into film, but I knew he didn't have the passion I did and I encouraged him to keep his UPS job loading trucks.  Now he's a driver making great money, working normal hours, getting good exercise, great benefits, 36 holes on Saturdays, just bought a house, and has no interest in making movies.


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#16 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 14 July 2016 - 05:32 PM

should want it so bad they can't imagine doing anything else

 

No, they absolutely should not.

 

This leads to people wasting their lives yearning after something they can almost certainly never have, and risk being very badly mistreated by people who will happily take advantage of them.

 

Personally I'd be much happier if nobody ever showed any interest in or enthusiasm for anything. It's seen as pretty inappropriate here, anyway.

 

P


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#17 Justin Hayward

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Posted 14 July 2016 - 05:34 PM

See...

 My brother wanted to follow me into film, but I knew he didn't have the passion I did and I encouraged him to keep his UPS job loading trucks.  Now he's a driver making great money, working normal hours, getting good exercise, great benefits, 36 holes on Saturdays, just bought a house, and has no interest in making movies.


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#18 Richard Boddington

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Posted 14 July 2016 - 05:55 PM

I admire you for achieving that. Very honestly. But I do not believe that makes you an expert on what life choices people should make for their happiness.

 

Wanna be a doctor? Great. Wanna be a farmer? Go for it! Cinematographer? Go shoot.

 

My point is that people need to realize that they will most likely live like you do if they go into film, that is just the reality.  I also know a lot of people who got fed up not owning a car, renting, and being single, they quit film and got a "proper" job...never looked back.

 

R,


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#19 Richard Boddington

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Posted 14 July 2016 - 05:56 PM

IDK about that... but it would be worth the poll. :)

 

I'm sorry Tyler, more like 99%. :)

 

R,


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#20 Justin Hayward

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Posted 14 July 2016 - 06:03 PM

 

No, they absolutely should not.

 

 

Side note, Phil... You blasted my first question on this website about short film I wanted to make that eventually went to Sundance and kickstarted my director career, so... :P   


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