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Freelance Living Wage


Maxim Ford
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Absolutely, Bruce. But round here, that's all we have.

 

If you aren't getting anything out of it then don't do it. Otherwise you are complicit in what is happening. I have more sympathy for the little producer going nowhere because at least you can see that they are trying to achieve something against the odds but if you aren't getting anything out of doing something then why are you doing it. Do you feel obligated in some way?

 

When you work on these little nowhere productions then you know that these things are unlikely to be some huge hit movie, you know the score already.

 

You have argued that these little producers with no money shouldn't try to make movies with no budget, but I would argue the same to you, you shouldn't work on these movies. At least the producers are doing this stuff because they want to. I don't understand why you are doing stuff you don't even want to, and where you feel they are "screwing" you.

 

Freya

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As far as I know a human being can only work so many hours in the day and have a limited range of physical strength and inteligence.

 

Are you saying that you need to earn more than a £1000 pounds a day? £250,000 pounds a year?

 

Pray do tell what you do that is worth that reward.

 

And also who should go without, have low wages to pay for your greed.

Why should my earnings be tied to the amount of work I can physically do in one day? I'm not doing piece work. If I have skills or abilities which are rare and which are desirable why should I not be able to profit from them?

 

If I can book jobs that are paying $1000 a day, and I can book 250 days a year, who are you to tell me that I shouldn't be earning that much?

 

Are you seriously suggesting that I should be forced to earn less so that a guy that flips burgers for a living can earn more? You sound like the kind of wet lipped hang-wringing liberal that thinks we should take competition out of schools and award all the kids a medal just for taking part.

 

It seems that your problem is not just with producers, it's with anyone who earns more than you do.

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Maxim Ford - you have fallen for the oldest fallacy there is: that economics are a zero sum game. They're not. If someone makes 1 million, does NOT mean someone else lost 1 million. This is simply not true and it has never been the case. Learn some economic history and theory.

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Canada is overrun with socialist types that live in huge homes, drive fancy cars, take 2-3 exotic vacations per year, then lecture everyone else on how bad they are for earning too much money while the poor suffer all around them. The hypocrisy from the left is so thick at times you can walk across it.

 

Maxim is just another classic example....he's fine running a capitalist enterprise selling his stock footage for big money, but he's not ok with other people also charging money for their goods and services. If Maxim had a feature film license 30,000 pounds worth of footage, he wouldn't take a bag of money down to the local homeless shelter and hand it over to them.

 

Of course Adam you are 100% correct, a fallacy taught by the left is that if someone makes money then someone else can't.

 

R,

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You have to start by what money represents. I would suggest that although it can be made to be a mystery money represents things made by human work.

Metals mined, refined and manufactured, food stuffs grown and prepared for market, TV and films to entertain and educate.

 

A society as functions like a complex machine and at a certain technological level produces a certain amount of goods that are then divided up.

 

sadly it is true that if a producer say takes a million pounds that has to be covered by people producing a million pounds worth of goods, food and services. exactly why we have bankers earning bonuses of a 1 million a year and children going to school hungry.

 

The rich don''t create wealth, they control money. capital, big money that makes more money by getting people to work for them and make more wealth. That is why it is called capitalism, and why capitalism is even ashamed of the name.

 

It is interesting that jobs that people would hate to do, mining, working in sewers, flipping burgers at tact such poor rewards and the society attacks them as being unworthy.

 

A capitalist with his inherited wealth rules.

 

 

Somehow Boddington knows all about my wealth, my great success at running a stock footage library, and this knowledge exposes me as a hypocrite. If I was a failure it would be the mad jealousy of the loser.

 

So what has a person got to be to be able to say "I think 600 people owning most of the world's wealth is wrong" ?

 

A poor Marx or a factory owning Engels?

 

Or maybe your failure to challenge the ideas means you have to attack people, people you know nothing about.

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Are you seriously suggesting that I should be forced to earn less so that a guy that flips burgers for a living can earn more?

 

Absolutely, yes, in any situation where the burger flipper is going to end up in what any reasonable person would consider poverty. And we are already in that situation. It may be just barely possible to live indoors and eat food on the UK minimum wage; the idea of owning property, or running a vehicle, or planning for retirement is laughable.

 

We all live in the same world and pay the same amounts for the same thing, so at the end of the day our need for money is similar.

 

If we were in a situation where the minimum wage were twice what it is, so that everyone had enough money for a basic existence, and with regard to film and TV work if we were in a situation where people actually got minimum wage, after unpaid overtime and train fares are taken into account, you might have a point. We aren't in that situation.

 

 

 

[economy is not a] zero-sum game

 

It either is or should be. Only two sources exist for creating new value: inflation and fractional reserve lending, both of which are very highly undesirable. Within the microcosm of a feature film budget, of course cutting big wage packets for superstar cast (and superstar crew) would allow better pay for the little people.

 

You might make the observation that cutting big wage packets for the top people people would simply be seen as a way to reduce the overall budget, and you're right, but that's sort of the point at issue.

 

P

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In the Uk the highest personal tax rate is currently 45%, was 50% last year, it's been 83% on earned income before & 98% on unearned income I'm my lifetime. It's also exceeded 100% at one point!

So the government is actually the biggest benefactor from greedy producers who make millions, it's lucky as they have to get the money from somewhere to subsidise housing benefit for those on minimum wage & families earning substantially more.

 

Douglas Slocombe earned substantially more than 250k when he shot Raiders of a Lost Ark over 30 years ago & he is still enjoying the benefits at 101 years of age. I can't see why anyone should begrudge him, he got lucky once in a very long & successful career.

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Failure defined as the lack of ability to play the system to get rewards far outwaying your contribution.

 

 

I can imagine a society without people earning more than £50,000, Society would collapse without people earning minimum wage.

 

If you did not have high earners, then the poor would have to pay vastly higher taxes, it's explained rather nicely here:-

 

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this…

  • The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing
  • The fifth would pay $1
  • The sixth would pay $3
  • The seventh would pay $7
  • The eighth would pay $12
  • The ninth would pay $18
  • The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59

So, that’s what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve ball.

beer_money.jpg?w=162&h=133“Since you are all such good customers,” he said, “I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20″. Drinks for the ten men would now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes. So the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men ? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his fair share?

The bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by a higher percentage the poorer he was, to follow the principle of the tax system they had been using, and he proceeded to work out the amounts he suggested that each should now pay.

  • And so the fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% saving).
  • The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% saving).
  • The seventh now paid $5 instead of $7 (28% saving).
  • The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% saving).
  • The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% saving).
  • The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% saving).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But, once outside the bar, the men began to compare their savings.

“I only got a dollar out of the $20 saving,” declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,”but he got $10!”

“Yeah, that’s right,” exclaimed the fifth man. “I only saved a dollar too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more benefit than me!”

“That’s true!” shouted the seventh man. “Why should he get $10 back, when I got only $2? The wealthy get all the breaks!”

“Wait a minute,” yelled the first four men in unison, “we didn’t get anything at all. This new tax system exploits the poor!”

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks so the nine sat down and had their beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

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Failure defined as the lack of ability to play the system to get rewards far outwaying your contribution.

 

 

I can imagine a society without people earning more than £50,000, Society would collapse without people earning minimum wage.

Every time you post, all I hear is 'It's not fair, it's not fair'.

 

Guess what? Life isn't.

 

Why someone who dreams of a socialist 'utopia' would choose to work in one of the most rampantly capitalist industries is beyond me.

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Good grief it must be the Ayn Rand appreciation hour. "All hail the successful high earners, who don't accept failure as an option, who don't whine about unfairness, who nobly fund the state while the welfare bludgers suck on them like leaches."

 

In truth the vastly wealthy find ways to minimise their tax burden and often contribute less than your average citizen. But don't let that get in the way of a good story. And of course anyone who attempts to bring up issues of income disparity or fairness in wealth distribution or makes the vaguest mention of caring for those less fortunate is obviously either a commie, a bleeding heart or a dismal failure consumed with envy.

 

What's wrong with pointing out when something isn't fair? Where would we be if no-one ever stood up against unfairness? Gandhi, King, Mandela, all whiners complaining about how unfair things were. Someone should've told them to just shut up and get used to it, cause life's unfair. Oh wait, they did, but we don't remember those people.

 

I think this issue deserves more than smug condescension or trite dismissal. Obviously blaming producers is as simplistic as labelling all poor people lazy, or all rich people greedy. It's a complex problem that extends across other "arts" industries, and ultimately becomes political and philosophical - how we value human labour, how we commodify ourselves - which is why ideological mindsets butt in, almost like an unthinking reflex, defensive and mocking.

 

But in a very broad sense we need to work out this sort of question. Quite aside from the morality or ethics, growing inequity in wealth distribution leads to unhealthy and ultimately unstable societies, and in a post-GFC world unless we are complete fools it should now be obvious that unfettered capitalism is toxic and dangerous.

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In reality it's more like 2000 poorer people go into a bar and pay £2 and One guy who is more wealthy pays £40 for his drink. The 2000 people pay for their drinks and the overheads of the bar, the one guy paying £40 makes things genuinely profitable but he is subsidised by the 2000 who are covering the basic overheads. Without the 2000 poorer people there would be no bar .

 

The 2000 people are less important than the guy paying £40. You could lose 19 of them without having to worry as much as if you lose that one guy paying £40.

 

Freya

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In truth the vastly wealthy find ways to minimise their tax burden and often contribute less than your average citizen.

 

Of course thats not the truth in £ or $ terms, possibly in percentage terms.

 

I know a retired banker who has paid in excess of £20,000,000 to the UK government to date, as he says the government believe all your money actually belongs to them, depending on tax rates on his death he fully expects the revenue will have taken over 90% of his money over his lifetime, Max would like them to get even more.

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In truth the vastly wealthy find ways to minimise their tax burden and often contribute less than your average citizen. But don't let that get in the way of a good story. And of course anyone who attempts to bring up issues of income disparity or fairness in wealth distribution or makes the vaguest mention of caring for those less fortunate is obviously either a commie, a bleeding heart or a dismal failure consumed with envy.

 

I agree. To an extent.

 

 

I can imagine a society without people earning more than £50,000, Society would collapse without people earning minimum wage.

 

Again, I agree. To an extent.

 

Look; there's a happy medium to be had here. The societal problem at the moment is the enormous gap between rich and poor; the fact that the DIT on a shoot might be on £150/day while an actor is on £100k/day (based on a big name earning 10 million to do a film that shoots 60 days). And the DIT brings his own gear.

 

I'm going to keep saying this until someone hears me, but it is not possible that the actor is bringing one thousand times more value to the job than someone else. People can still have their desperately-clung-to ability to say they're making more than someone else, whatever that says about an individual's psychology. They can make ten times. Maybe even twenty times. But if you allow this fifty-times or hundred-times stuff to go on, there's going to be a problem.

 

P

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I agree. To an extent.

 

 

 

I can imagine a society without people earning more than £50,000, Society would collapse without people earning minimum wage.

 

Again, I agree. To an extent.

 

Look; there's a happy medium to be had here. The societal problem at the moment is the enormous gap between rich and poor; the fact that the DIT on a shoot might be on £150/day while an actor is on £100k/day (based on a big name earning 10 million to do a film that shoots 60 days). And the DIT brings his own gear.

 

I'm going to keep saying this until someone hears me, but it is not possible that the actor is bringing one thousand times more value to the job than someone else. People can still have their desperately-clung-to ability to say they're making more than someone else, whatever that says about an individual's psychology. They can make ten times. Maybe even twenty times. But if you allow this fifty-times or hundred-times stuff to go on, there's going to be a problem.

 

P

An A list star will not work for an advertisement for a £100k a day, they will want way more, however the person paying thinks it brings value. A DIT with equipment charging £150 a day for a single day needs to put up his rates, if he is any good he won't have a problem

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the person paying thinks it brings value.

 

I know this is confusing, but that's actually irrelevant.

 

 

What matters is the effect of funnelling all of the wealth in a society into the top few percent. Free market economics, or an approximation thereof, has so far been intended to prevent that from becoming a problem by encouraging things to be billed for at a rate which reflects their value - that is, their real value in terms of work output, not a notional value anyone might choose to assign.

 

This is readily understood by taking the idea to a (currently) ridiculous extreme. What happens if instead of paying someone ten million to do a film, we pay him a hundred billion? Once you have a few people doing it, that's enough to destabilise entire national economies. Regardless of whether it's affordable, regardless of whether anyone might have decided it's worth paying, you simply can't do that without risking enormous economic fallout.

 

And while that's an absurd example, it's important to realise that we still can't do that even at the ten-million-a-film level. It's starting to have a very negative effect on society. People at the bottom are already becoming unable to afford a basic standard of living, no matter how hard they work, and that's unacceptable. That's an economy that's failed to do its job, and it's difficult to consider it a success no matter how right wing you want to play it politically.

 

One would have hoped that eventually those at the top would start to feel the pinch too, as people stop going to see films because they can't afford it. But weirdly, during the recent economic crisis, the gap actually widened further. Personally I'd already become aware of the many-orders-of-magnitude pay gap that existed, but I became more concerned about this more or less the moment it became clear that the recession was failing to correct it.

 

Thus there is a strata of society which has been excepted from the (approximately) free market entirely, and who will forever and always be paid more. And more. And more. Infinitely. Guaranteed hyper-wealth, forever, no matter what they do or don't do. Even Ayn wouldn't have approved.

 

 

 

A DIT with equipment charging £150 a day for a single day needs to put up his rates, if he is any good he won't have a problem

 

Oh ho, worked in London recently?! There is a reason I don't do this work - I can make more money shooting corporates on DVCAM!

 

P

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Oh ho, worked in London recently?! There is a reason I don't do this work - I can make more money shooting corporates on DVCAM!

 

P

 

Yikes! £150, is that for real! I hope whoever it was knew they were getting a lot of days out of the deal.

 

Freya

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but it is not possible that the actor is bringing one thousand times more value to the job than someone else.

 

Well on the one hand....yes they are until I hear a member of the public say, "I'm going to see XYZ movie because Dave Roberts was the focus puller, and he did such an amazing job on Iron Man."

 

Then again....movies with big name stars routinely flop at the box office, and movies with casts of no-names turn a profit. So no one is really sure what the secret formula to box office success is????? :blink:

 

R,

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Well on the one hand....yes they are until I hear a member of the public say, "I'm going to see XYZ movie because Dave Roberts was the focus puller, and he did such an amazing job on Iron Man."

 

You do realise that you've just made the perfect ultra-capitalist producerish statement?

 

You may get someone to go and see your film with a star name, but they will very certainly be back out in the foyer demanding a refund if it is out of focus.

 

So, it turns out that Dave the focus puller is just exactly as important as the star.

 

Your inability to appreciate this is... eh. Words fail me. I think the fact that you're willing to believe and live by this exceptionalist's manifesto is... well. I never had much faith in the quality of humanity to begin with.

 

P

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Don't be stupid Phil, it is beneath you.

 

You'd be first in line to freak out at the UPM if you heard the on set PA who gets water and coffee was being paid the exact same amount as you.

 

R,

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So, it turns out that Dave the focus puller is just exactly as important as the star.

 

Fine march into the offices of any of the studios in LA and present your theories to them, I'm sure they'll be most interested. Oh wait silly me, IATSE already tried to convince the Hollywood execs that the 1st AC should be paid the same as Brad Pitt!

 

R,

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