Jump to content


Photo

rate for an entry level dp


  • Please log in to reply
22 replies to this topic

#1 Demian Barba

Demian Barba
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 60 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • brooklyn, NY

Posted 25 August 2005 - 10:30 AM

Hi,

I have being DPing since I finished filmschool three years ago. Only a year and a half ago I started to ask for money, before I was working for free. I have a decent reel and experience (3 ultra-low-budget mini DV features and 16 shorts, most of them in 16mm). I try to keep myself cheap ($200) so I can shoot as much as I can, but I also want to get some decent money for me and my crew. And also want to quit the bar soon. I wonder if asking for more money will bring me better jobs or just the same but better paid? I have no equipment to offer, just crew and good conections.

There is a link to my reel below. I'd really appreciate anyone's two cents upon this.

Thanks,

Demian

reel

a smaller version:
smallreel
  • 0

#2 Demian Barba

Demian Barba
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 60 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • brooklyn, NY

Posted 26 August 2005 - 03:10 AM

sorry, my reel is n lnger availabe at the address above.
it can be seen at: reel/resume


thanks,


demian
  • 0

#3 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19759 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 26 August 2005 - 08:06 AM

At the budgets you're working on, the salary for the DP has usually been determined (what they can afford to pay) so there isn't much wiggle room other than to ask for a little more prep, etc.

Even now, I've been shooting union features for three years and they all have been around union DP minimum (scale) because that's what I'm told is in the budget. So it's not easy to ask for more, except for more prep, or a kit rental, etc.
  • 0

#4 Eric Steelberg ASC

Eric Steelberg ASC
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 538 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 26 August 2005 - 12:57 PM

You have a nice looking reel with a definable style.

Decide what your rate should be and stick to it. If you work for little there will be a perception that you are not good enough.
  • 0

#5 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19759 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 26 August 2005 - 08:24 PM

Personally, if he's only three-years out of film school, he should be more concerned about building experience and less about holding out for his rate. If my rate was my primary concern, I would have never shot any of the Polish Brothers movies which in turn have pushed my career, so sometimes worrying too much about your rate can retard your career, not push it. You have to be willing to take financial risks in order to shoot the right projects that will give you an opportunity to prove to others what you are capable of doing.

For projects you don't care so much about, and can stand to lose, sure, demand a rate and stick to it.

It's always a fine line. Demanding more money can make people respect you more, but it can also cause you to miss out on some worthy projects, so play it on a case by case basis.
  • 0

#6 Greg Gross

Greg Gross
  • Sustaining Members
  • 869 posts
  • Harrisburg,PA

Posted 30 August 2005 - 12:49 AM

Hello demian barba,

I just wanted to post and tell you how much I enjoyed viewing your reel.
It gave me some ideas as how to develop my own reel. Best wishes for
your career.

Greg Gross
  • 0

#7 Bob Hayes

Bob Hayes
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 1087 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Culver City, California

Posted 30 August 2005 - 01:00 AM

Being a DP is like being a professional guitar player. You are not going to get good if you don?t constantly practice. And you aren?t going to get good if you don?t play with good musicians. So your goal always should be to keep working and keep working for good people
  • 0

#8 Arnaud M. St Martin de Veyran

Arnaud M. St Martin de Veyran
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 78 posts
  • Gaffer
  • Paris

Posted 30 August 2005 - 03:16 AM

Hey !

I am a young French DP.
I've almost the same career as you. I left school two years ago and i'm shooting as much as possible as DP. The bad part of it is that right now most of the people ask me for shooting video, that's driving me crazy :angry:

Anyway, know that in France, on short film, you're not paid so it's tuff to make a living.

Otherwise, i really love you reel. You've some georgous shots. I wish i could have some like this in my reel. I'm on the way to set up mine soon but i really don't like my different footage :(

Take care and good luck !
  • 0

#9 Demian Barba

Demian Barba
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 60 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • brooklyn, NY

Posted 30 August 2005 - 04:29 PM

Hi,

Thanks for all the responses.

Please don't get me wrong, working as much as possible is my main objective right now.
But I have rent and bills to pay. And New York is not cheap either. I am just trying to figure out how much should I ask to be taken seriously and yet be affordable enough for the budgets I work on.

So far only a couple of jobs have made me an offer. Usually they ask for my rate way before I have any idea what kind of production are they running and sometimes even before they bother to see my reel. A lot of times I never hear back from this productions again and always wonder if I was to cheap, to expensive or just not right for the project.

This year I have worked with very different budgets, from $25,000 to $800, my rate changing only $25. It is confusing, and I am getting tired of mopping floors and carrying ice buckets for a living.

I guess I can rephrase my question like this: If, as a producer, you'd see my reel and my resume, how much would you except my rate to be?

sorry for the broken English.

thanks for the encouraging words.


Demian Barba
www.demian.sinergism.com
  • 0

#10 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19759 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 30 August 2005 - 09:35 PM

You can tell them any rate you want, but you can also say that you can take the budget into account. Truth is that if a production contacts you and has no idea what to pay the DP because they haven't budgeted that yet, they probably don't know what they are doing.

I usually just ask "what do you have in the budget for the DP?" If it's way too low for me to consider, I usually tell them. If it's close to what I consider reasonable and I think there is wiggle room to raise the rate a little, I see what's possible, maybe getting them to add another week of paid prep, etc. But these days, usually it's my agent who asks them what they are offering, tells me, and we discuss if it's worth asking for more, if I really want the job, etc.
  • 0

#11 Demian Barba

Demian Barba
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 60 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • brooklyn, NY

Posted 30 August 2005 - 11:06 PM

paid prep? hehe... nowhere near that.

not completely related to this, and not like i am thinking of getting one anytime soon, but when is a good time to get an agent? do you look for them, or they find you?


" The bad part of it is that right now most of the people ask me for shooting video, that's driving me crazy"

do not underestimate video, it is a given we all like film more. though right now my priorities are (in order of importance): crew, production design, lighting package and then format. lately i've found myself convincing directors/producers with tiny budgets to shoot video instead of film and put that money elsewhere.

thanks,
  • 0

#12 David Mullen ASC

David Mullen ASC
  • Sustaining Members
  • 19759 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles

Posted 31 August 2005 - 12:52 AM

Agents sort of find you when the time is right, although if you've been offered a big job, you can see if an agent is interested in repping you and negotiating the deal.

Personally, I think the format IS part of the production value, just as a light or more crew, etc. can be, What's the point of having fabulous locations, lighting, actors, etc. if you shoot it on a substandard format? I think you have to pick the format as carefully as you pick the other things.
  • 0

#13 Demian Barba

Demian Barba
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 60 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • brooklyn, NY

Posted 31 August 2005 - 01:43 AM

Personally, I think the format IS part of the production value, just as a light or more crew, etc. can be,  What's the point of having fabulous locations, lighting, actors, etc. if you shoot it on a substandard format? 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


I completely agree with you David, though I've never being in a situation like that. I've being in the opposite though: having a nice 16mm camera package, a crew of students, an un-dressed location, an insufficient lighting kit and actors wearing their own wardrobe without any make-up, not even a little powder.

I am looking forward to the day I can select a format/camera considering mostly what works better aesthetically and narrative for the project and having small budget considerations.

Best,
  • 0

#14 Phil Rhodes

Phil Rhodes
  • Sustaining Members
  • 11939 posts
  • Other

Posted 31 August 2005 - 06:02 AM

Hi,

Returning to the original point - if you are "entry level" you will be lucky to get paid, period.

Phil
  • 0

#15 Oli Soravia

Oli Soravia
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 51 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Europe

Posted 31 August 2005 - 08:07 AM

paid prep?    hehe...          nowhere near that.

not completely related to this, and not like i am thinking of getting one anytime soon, but when is a good time to get an agent? do you look for them, or they find you?
" The bad part of it is that right now most of the people ask me for shooting video, that's driving me crazy"

do not underestimate video, it is a given we all like film more. though right now my priorities are (in order of importance):  crew, production design, lighting package and then format. lately i've found myself convincing directors/producers with tiny budgets to shoot video instead of film and put that money elsewhere.

thanks,

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


  • 0

#16 Oli Soravia

Oli Soravia
  • Basic Members
  • PipPip
  • 51 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Europe

Posted 31 August 2005 - 08:38 AM

second chance for me to reply to some of your words... I quit the first, sorry.

" The bad part of it is that right now most of the people ask me for shooting video, that's driving me crazy"

I think it`s essential for a filmmaker to accept the different possibilities all the different formats and systems offer. Sure, there might be few who`d prefere the finished LOOK off a whole (viewable) video production against the equal shot on film. For me, first it is important to ensure that the way the story hast to be visualized, is save i.e. I get the equipment to tell the story the way it should be. Video should be accepted as it is, another medium for us to tell stories, and as far as I concern, it also should not be the only goal to reach a whatever less or more acceptable "filmlook". It`s much more important to know how to use your own intuition in order to reach a personal point, at which you don`t need to think anymore about how using this or that or whatever, just visualize.

There`s just a question from my side to all of you who have experiences with DP-agencies. Could you tell me some contact-links to trustful worldwide working agents? Sorry for my english, I`m a spaghetti working mostly in germany.
  • 0

#17 Jamie Metzger

Jamie Metzger
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 773 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • San Francisco

Posted 19 January 2006 - 02:35 PM

Hi,

Returning to the original point - if you are "entry level" you will be lucky to get paid, period.

Phil


Not very helpful.

Ask for $20 a day, if the say no. Ask for something!
  • 0

#18 Jayson Crothers

Jayson Crothers
  • Sustaining Members
  • 351 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • Los Angeles, CA

Posted 19 January 2006 - 05:39 PM

Jmetzger - I see that you just recently joined the forum and have already posted a number of responses. Welcome to the site; as you might see from looking into past postings (and a rather extensive thread), signing your posts with your name is helpful to everyone to know who's who.

Enjoy the site and welcome to the community.
  • 0

#19 Jamie Metzger

Jamie Metzger
  • Basic Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 773 posts
  • Cinematographer
  • San Francisco

Posted 19 January 2006 - 05:45 PM

Jmetzger - I see that you just recently joined the forum and have already posted a number of responses. Welcome to the site; as you might see from looking into past postings (and a rather extensive thread), signing your posts with your name is helpful to everyone to know who's who.

Enjoy the site and welcome to the community.



Thanks for the welcome.

I've been foruming (sp?) for quite a while, and it doesn't hurt my eyes to look 1 inch to the left to see who posted which comment.

I'll post a sig later.

you be well.
  • 0

#20 Tom Mott

Tom Mott

    New

  • Basic Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
  • Director
  • Tampa, FL

Posted 14 September 2006 - 04:13 PM

Nice reel.
  • 0


Aerial Filmworks

Rig Wheels Passport

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Wooden Camera

Paralinx LLC

Metropolis Post

Glidecam

The Slider

FJS International, LLC

CineTape

Tai Audio

Opal

rebotnix Technologies

Technodolly

Abel Cine

Willys Widgets

Visual Products

Ritter Battery

CineLab

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

CineTape

Aerial Filmworks

Abel Cine

CineLab

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Ritter Battery

FJS International, LLC

Wooden Camera

Glidecam

Technodolly

Visual Products

Rig Wheels Passport

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Paralinx LLC

Metropolis Post

rebotnix Technologies

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Willys Widgets

The Slider

Opal

Tai Audio