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Maxim Ford
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Now all you need to do is convince your fellow American filmmakers of this fact. Even patriotic American icon Kevin Costner shot the very American story, The Hatfields and the McCoys in Romania.

 

I mean come on, not even Kevin Costner wants to shoot the Hatfields and the McCoys in the USA??????

 

Patriotic speeches aside James, at the end of the day, nothing beats the power of the dollar. ;)

 

R,

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Now all you need to do is convince your fellow American filmmakers of this fact. Even patriotic American icon Kevin Costner shot the very American story, The Hatfields and the McCoys in Romania.

 

I mean come on, not even Kevin Costner wants to shoot the Hatfields and the McCoys in the USA??????

 

Patriotic speeches aside James, at the end of the day, nothing beats the power of the dollar. ;)

 

R,

And Transformers was shot 100% in the US, What's your point? Hatfeilds and McCoys was a miniseries with a celebrated character actor and a waning major movie star that hadn't had a decent role in a while which I think is ridicules given his talent.Of course he excelled in westerns which for whatever reason still seem to be a bit out of fashion right now. If Costner wanted to shoot in Romania, (and as he was one of 4 producers, along with 4 co-producers, 1 supervising producer and 3 executive producers and was answerable to the History Channel and Sony pictures television, I'm not really sure it was totally his decision) it's probably because that was the only way he could get a bigger cut of the returns as befitting someone of his stature. I don't agree with it, but I can understand why he might have went that way. Of course that's all speculation on my part.

 

My point is, if it' is really is only all about the almighty dollar, what's the point? We REALLY NEED to end this bottom line bull5hit in this country, restore what we had and earned and stop letting the 2% operating like turn of the century robber barons because Reaganomics tore out the protections we depended on to keep unmitigated greed in check. One of the ways to do that is to shoot movies right here where the infrastructure and talent already exists. Nothing against Eastern Europe, my family came from Romania and Poland, but the way I look at it is they need to build their own industry and tell their own stories, fostering diversity and enriching the world wide cinematic pallet which will only result in greater inspiration for all. It's not just about patriotism, it's about what's right and what's best for the future of film.

 

Speaking of inspiration, their doing some amazing stuff in Russia right now and in China. Hong Kong has been a powerhouse for years. All you need to build a film industry is the collective will to do so and this country has had the will for the last 100 and 24 years. I just want to make sure that will stays strong for the next 100 and 24 years...after that it's the next guy's problem.

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Some films will continue to be made in the USA for sure. And there will continue to be a lot of "runaway production" as it's called. None of the Star Wars films were shot in the USA. And it looks like the new ones are going back to the UK. Lucas shot the three prequels in Australia. There wasn't any outrage in the USA that I saw from the ticket buying public.

 

Was I wrong to do my score for Against The Wild in the Czech Republic, because I wanted a full orchestral score that would of cost 10X in the USA what it cost in the Czech Republic?

 

Sure places like Canada could build their own film industry. But politicians here figure it's easier to poach the work from the USA and bring it here vs having our own industry. It makes me mad as well. But the unions in Toronto have zero interest in working on Canadian films when a 150 million dollar Hollywood show rolls into town.

 

R,

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Trade Unions are only as good as the members they are there to represent and fight for. I know that if you want political change you have to turn up to meetings and argue for your position.

 

The last two Canadian films I saw were great and it would be really great if we had an independent Canadian Film Industry, then you could hire a properly paid Canadian orchestra.

 

Working for free is great on student films, on films made cooperatively etc but when you meet a student on his last year shooting news for nothing for Sky News you know he is cutting his own throat, and together film workers have to draw the line and protect the industry from exploitation.

 

It is a good point that big Hollywood coming to a country changes the outlook of the people working in the industry. It attracts people who work in film just for the money rather than a love of film making and a desire to represent their experiences on the screen.

 

An independent well funded film industry for each country and a film distribution that shows all the films from around the world and not just Hollywood fodder.

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Yeah, you're right about Star Wars BUT then again, Star Wars was a space epic so from a location perspective, the more exotic the better and I can understand the reasoning behind going overseas to film the right look. The same thing with the Lord of the Rings trilogy. There was a pressing need to find a more dramatic location area to shoot in. However,don't forget Lucas film and ILM were and are both based here as was...and is...Pixar.

 

I don't have a problem if there's a clearly defined need to go overseas but I do have a problem if the only "need" is because it's cheaper. I don't know if you were wrong to score Against the Wild in the Czech Republic but I do wonder if it really would have cost 10 times as much as it would have to score in the US or Canada. I sincerely doubt it. There are several composers, recording facilities and symphony organizations sitting idle much of the year that you probably could have made deals with to do the work at a far closer rates to what the Czechs did it for.

 

As for building an industry in Canada, Canadians LOVE you. Who do you think is going to build a Canadian film industry if it isn't you and guys like you? The politicians are not going to give a rat's ass about a Canadian film industry until the people of Canada start caring about Canadian films and that will happen once you and your canuck colleagues in the Great White North start making great Canadian movies that don't depend on government subsidized funding. If Japan can have a viable film industry, why can't you? Find a great commercial Canadian story and tell it well, then do that again and then do that again and do that again.

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Was I wrong to do my score for Against The Wild in the Czech Republic, because I wanted a full orchestral score that would of cost 10X in the USA what it cost in the Czech Republic?

 

It isn't quite as simple as right or wrong.

 

The musicians you could have used in the US do not have the option of working for Czech Republic rates because the costs of living are considerably higher where they live. Likewise, you don't have the option to sell your movie solely for Czech Republic rates, because you want to live and work in a place where the costs of doing those things are higher than the Czech Republic. The Czech musicians don't have the option to go and work in the US even if they want to, but you do have the option to use them on the only terms they have access to.

 

There is an aspect here of wanting to have it all ways, being concerned only with one's own advantage, and being more than willing to screw people over on a worldwide basis to achieve it. The fact that globalisation overwhelmingly works toward the interests of companies and against the interests of the individual is well documented.

 

P

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Yeah, you're right about Star Wars BUT then again, Star Wars was a space epic so from a location perspective, the more exotic the better and I can understand the reasoning behind going overseas to film the right look. The same thing with the Lord of the Rings trilogy. There was a pressing need to find a more dramatic location area to shoot in. However,don't forget Lucas film and ILM were and are both based here as was...and is...Pixar.

 

I don't have a problem if there's a clearly defined need to go overseas but I do have a problem if the only "need" is because it's cheaper.

Actually, the Australian Component of the Star Wars Prequels was entirely Sound Stage and Post production; as far as I know, no Australian landscapes or locations appear in any of the films.

 

Also the main reason they were shot here was that our dollar at the time was worth about 48c US.

 

The producers (and actors!) also appreciate the much more laid-back attitude of Australian film crews. For example, there's no Teamsters Union bullsh!t of having a fleet of drivers on hand 24/7. This might shock some of you, but many actors actually prefer being driven around by a PA or similar, and *gasp* some of them actually like driving the cars themselves.

In Australia, a carpenter can safely ask an idle electrician to hold a ladder for him without bringing down the wrath of the unions and so on .

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In Australia, a carpenter can safely ask an idle electrician to hold a ladder for him without bringing down the wrath of the unions and so on .

 

I've been told off for making coffee for people from "other departments".

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You know I am getting sick of that bull5hit argument. This country earned it's right to make a decent living wage and a strong middle class until very recently some cowboy ass-clowns at the top decided they needed to take everything they could steal from those who helped build their companies and started caring about nothing but the bottom line and what was best for them. This is MY country and MY people and my fellow Americans deserve the security and freedom from want they worked their asses off to secure. American crews deserve the money the earn. They fought long and hard to get fair wages and benefits, The only reason I would shoot overseas is if the script called for that kind of terrain and ambiance but fortunately America has virtually every type of tarrain there is. If crew people in Eastern Europe want to have fair wages that they can feed their families on and have a decent standard of living with, then lent them fight for their unions and their laws. I will film in the USA at every opportunity that comes up. The people I have worked with on set in this country are the very definition of cinema professionals. In California alone there is more know how than anywhere else on Earth. The American film industry has pushed the envelope since Edison invented motion pictures and the moment Edwin Potter made the first feature film. From Birth of a Nation to Inception, the US has and continues to be ahead of the curve and there is no other country I would rather work in.

No one (or at least me) would argue with you about the vital importance of American cinema to the world but maybe a little less vitriol...after all the beauty of cinema is that it is international, not to mention that in this free market economy everyone is banging on about America needs the whole world to go and see it's films just to break even now.

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I think you are slightly over-egging the pudding here. Certainly attractive personality or good looks help a lot but in my experience it takes a bit more than that to get any kind of work! ;)

 

You make it sound like a runner just has to wander into a post/house, wiggle their bottom a bit and it's a done deal! ;)

 

Freya

 

That's not really what I said.... its more about having an attractive personality. People work really long hours together and want to be working with people they genuinely like... that's why quite bouncy and confident people do very well. Its very sad as you have some really lovely people who are bit more shy and quiet, they often get over-looked. One producer actually told me that he always likes a well-liked joker on set, keeps the crew positive through difficult times. Also if you imagine that at the entry-level jobs, you may have 100 candidates, 10 of which can all do the job very well - it will often come down to the most likable.

 

With regards to physical attractiveness, yes it does exist, its not out and out exploitation (no wiggling) but again with so many candidates able to do an entry-level job, it may come down to physical looks or how well groomed a candidate is... that certainly seems very prevalent in the world of glossy TV broadcasting. Of course I'm saying this as someone who's observed the phenomenon and doesn't hire people!

 

I suppose its just the nature an industry, which hires very rapidly and doesn't rely on formal qualifications.

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One producer actually told me that he always likes a well-liked joker on set

 

That producer probably doesn't have to be on set with said joker all day.

 

Even the world's best comedian gets old very quickly, and strangely enough there seems to be an inverse correlation between how funny someone thinks they are, and how funny they actually are.

 

The overwhelming majority of times I've ever had a problem with someone in any professional environment have been because they thought they were being funny, and wouldn't take the hint to shut up.

 

P

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As for building an industry in Canada, Canadians LOVE you. Who do you think is going to build a Canadian film industry if it isn't you and guys like you? The politicians are not going to give a rat's ass about a Canadian film industry until the people of Canada start caring about Canadian films and that will happen once you and your canuck colleagues in the Great White North start making great Canadian movies that don't depend on government subsidized funding. If Japan can have a viable film industry, why can't you? Find a great commercial Canadian story and tell it well, then do that again and then do that again and do that again.

 

Oh gosh it would take three hours to type out a proper response to this.

 

Japan has a population of 130 million, Canada has a population of 35 million with 7 million of those in Quebec. So we really only have a market of 28 million.

 

Did you know that domestic box office always means Canada and the USA? I wonder when Canada became part of the USA?

 

No nation on earth has it's cultural industries more dominated by a single foreign power than Canada does. You know what, I don't mind anymore. Obviously I will sell way more Against The Wild DVDs in a market of 330 million than I will in a market of 28 million.

 

We don't have access to theatres here for Canadian films, that is locked up solid by the US studios. We have one theatre chain here that controls 85% of the market, and they have zero interest in Canadian product.

 

Our only option here is TV. At least this is an area where the government has put some degree of protections in place so that Canadian film can actually be seen. Without that.....the Canadian networks would air 100% US movies and not even give it a thought.

 

Besides, if I ever get the call to join my hundreds of thousands of Canadian friends already in LA, I'll be there in two seconds. :D

 

R,

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and being more than willing to screw people over on a worldwide basis to achieve it. The fact that globalisation overwhelmingly works toward the interests of companies and against the interests of the individual is well documented.

 

P

 

When foreign musicians and the composer are well paid, and receive rates they are happy with, that is hardly screwing them over.

 

Why don't we take this debate all the way to the other end of the spectrum and simply say that no one can make a movie unless they are paying the crew $500.00/hr. All "low budget" films will be banned from production. And only Hollywood mega projects paying workers enough to retire after only working 60 days will be allowed to go into production.

 

Fact is....not every movie can afford exorbitant rates demanded by some people on this forum. If the budget of the movie cannot sustain the bill for John Williams and the Boston Pops orchestra, then the movie cannot sustain the bill for John Williams and the Boston Pops orchestra. That's really the end of it.

 

The creative producer will then find a new way around the budget problem. Which is what good producers do, and what makes them so valuable to the production. Try asking the boom op how to resolve a budget issue, the response will be a shrug of the shoulders.

 

R,

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Fact is....not every movie can afford exorbitant rates demanded by some people on this forum.

 

And not every crew member can afford to buy, for instance, food, and a place to sleep, in the very expensive cities where this work is done, for any less.

 

Most people - me included - don't feel very empowered to set rates other than by dividing down a reasonable number of working days per year into their living costs.

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overwhelming feeling of entitlement.....

 

A film worker believes he has the entitlement to

 

A living wage, working on interesting films that he would like to see, that will have a fair chance of being seen in cinemas

 

A producer feels he has the entitlement to

 

Pay him himself high wages

Pay himself a wage from his company

pay himself a share of his companies profits

Own the company

Take all or a share in the film's profits

Travel, eat and stay first class

Put pressure on technicians to lower wages and poorer conditions

Move productions to countries with cheaper wages

 

 

This is not a personal attack on producers, anyone attacking as a producer is faced with the same pressures and temptations, but it is plain to see that this system is not working for the majority of film workers, and is making poor films.

 

It would be good if they could be less interested in making money and more interested in making good films with a film crew that can also have a life.

 

The price we pay for poverty wages is too high
Low pay is not simply a rite of passage that young people go through, the odds of escaping are truly grim

 

 

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/27/price-pay-poverty-wages

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We always have to go back to the point I keep bringing up, and will continue to bring up......if a person wants a steady 52 week/year pay cheque, do not choose film as a career.

 

It doesn't matter if you're the number 1 guy on the ASC list, you will often have long periods of "non-work" between shoots. That is just the nature of the business. Movies do not take 52 weeks to shoot, and they don't keep shooting forever. Eventually the movie is done and everyone moves on. When they get hired again for another shoot is anyone's guess?

 

Episodic TV is a bit better as they often keep the same crew for the season. But these crews also know the show can be cancelled at any moment and they are then looking for work.

 

On the plus side...many people choose film for the very fact that they can work for 6-10 weeks, and then have 6-10 weeks off, to travel or do whatever they want to do. It's a lifestyle choice that many people consciously make.

 

R,

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Pay him himself high wages (yes if the budget will sustain it)


Pay himself a wage from his company (it's his company, so why not? Why should a producer work for free?)


pay himself a share of his companies profits (Yes, because, again, it's his company)


Own the company (Yes. Who should own it?)


Take all or a share in the film's profits (Yes, IF it's all his own money invested in the project. Otherwise there may be investment to pay back in first position)


Travel, eat and stay first class (Show me where in any union or government handbook it says he can't?)


Put pressure on technicians to lower wages and poorer conditions (asking for lower rates is what every person on earth does.)


Move productions to countries with cheaper wages (Again, not illegal, and often makes good business sense.)

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I've been told off for making coffee for people from "other departments".

In Max's ideal world there would be a coffee maker in every department & nobody else could make coffee as it's potentially dangerous therefore highly paid coffee makers are required :D

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In Max's ideal world there would be a coffee maker in every department & nobody else could make coffee as it's potentially dangerous therefore highly paid coffee makers are required :D

Is it not a lazy way to discuss issues to make up what the other person thinks?

 

But I will tell you that the saying "An army marches on its stomach" applies to film making too, and a good caterer is an essential part of any film crew

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Is it not a lazy way to discuss issues to make up what the other person thinks?

 

But I will tell you that the saying "An army marches on its stomach" applies to film making too, and a good caterer is an essential part of any film crew

So what is your opinion on the matter? I am sure you have one :D Was it acceptable for Phil to get coffee for someone in another dept?

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But I will tell you that the saying "An army marches on its stomach" applies to film making too, and a good caterer is an essential part of any film crew

 

For once I will agree with you. Cue hallelujah chorus.

 

I have always tried to get the best food possible on set, at a reasonable price. Guess what....film crews bitch and moan no matter what you feed them, and no matter how good the food is. Film is one of the very few industries I know of that provides a free lunch in the work place each day for its employees.

 

I spent five years at a TV network in Toronto, total number of times I was given a free lunch.....ZERO! Total number of times I got paid for travel to the workplace.....ZERO!

 

Ask your friends that work in other industries, hey does your employer provide you with a free lunch at work each day? What you'll get is a big laugh in return.

 

If you provide a film crew with steak and lobster for lunch, this what you'll hear.....oh man steak and lobster is that it? Let's go to the burger joint.

 

I also get particularly incensed by film crew members that constantly try and bill their meals to their room, even though they are being paid a handsome per diem and they know that the last meal is to be paid for themselves.

 

The list goes on and on. I can't believe some of the crap select film crew members have tried to pull. And the 1st ADs and UPMs I've had with me will agree 100%!

 

R,

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many people choose film for the very fact that they can work for 6-10 weeks, and then have 6-10 weeks off, to travel or do whatever they want to do. It's a lifestyle choice that many people consciously make.

 

You're a very talented fantasist, I'll give you that.

 

But in general the excuses made up by rich people to justify their continued enrichment beggar belief. I mean, in all honesty, do you actually believe that taking advantage of people is OK because it's their choice?

 

If you genuinely believe what you're saying here, your worldview is so completely, diametrically opposed to the everyday reality of normal people that I have no idea how to address it.

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But in general the excuses made up by rich people to justify their continued enrichment beggar belief. I mean, in all honesty, do you actually believe that taking advantage of people is OK because it's their choice?

 

If you genuinely believe what you're saying here, your worldview is so completely, diametrically opposed to the everyday reality of normal people that I have no idea how to address it.

 

I've only said 500 times, I don't ask people to work for free. Every member of this forum has read that. Except you evidently.

 

I don't understand the argument you are making here?

 

If someone chooses film so they can work 10 weeks on and 10 weeks off they are somehow bad people? People should not be allowed to have jobs like this? The producer is forcing them to work 10 weeks on and 10 weeks off?

 

You'll need to elaborate, makes no sense in its current form.

 

I'm pretty sure David Mullen once said on this forum that one of the things he enjoys about film is that he can have long gaps between jobs to do other stuff. He'll correct me if I'm wrong.

 

R,

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The overwhelming majority of times I've ever had a problem with someone in any professional environment have been because they thought they were being funny, and wouldn't take the hint to shut up.

 

Hence the 'well-liked' the sort of person who knows a good joke from a bad, is aware of others' feelings around him/her and knows when and when not to joke.....

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