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Agent Representation for Camera Operators?


Steven P. Denny
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There are agents for steadicam operators - no rep for non steadicam operators. Russell Todd Agency and Wendy Schnieder are the top two agents for steadicam ops in Los Angeles.

 

G

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I just love reading these threads, everyone in LA has an agent, grips and gaffers have agents now.

 

Sorry, but I about fall out my chair laughing when I hear that a grip, AC, camera operator, etc has an agent. I have actually been told by some of these folks, I'll turn you over to my agent so we can negotiate a deal. Negotiate a deal? Ha! I just hang up the phone and move on.

 

What's next, film crew demanding entourage fees, first class airfare and hotel rooms, and an extra double wide trailer?

 

And LA crew wonder why producers fled the city 20 years ago, how many features shoot in LA these days?

 

Begin flame.....now.

 

R,

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The "personal assistant" request has been made before. You get a hilarious email from an agent saying, "the artist requests..."

 

The client is always referred to as, "the artist." I'm sorry but the screenwriter might be an "artist," but a guy who runs cable and sets up lights is not, an "artist."

 

R,

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I just love reading these threads, everyone in LA has an agent, grips and gaffers have agents now.

 

Sorry, but I about fall out my chair laughing when I hear that a grip, AC, camera operator, etc has an agent. I have actually been told by some of these folks, I'll turn you over to my agent so we can negotiate a deal. Negotiate a deal? Ha! I just hang up the phone and move on.

 

What's next, film crew demanding entourage fees, first class airfare and hotel rooms, and an extra double wide trailer?

 

And LA crew wonder why producers fled the city 20 years ago, how many features shoot in LA these days?

 

Begin flame.....now.

 

R,

 

Well Richard, in reality there are no "Entourage" style agents for ACs, non-steadicam operators or grips. But we do have business agents representing us with regards to our union contract. I'm disgusted to hear that you, as a producer and employer take so much pleasure in your industry's employees potential misery. You truly are an exploiter!!! It makes me extremely happy to deal with producers who understand that they need a qualified labor force and are more than willing to compensate and play by the rules knowing that their employees are well taken care of because they know that they are receiving the best work and that we will all work together again. My current producers on STAR TREK are wonderful and professional and we work TOGETHER to get the job done.

 

And you state that you will not negotiate a deal??? My God, negotiation is how we deal with one another on a daily business basis!!! What sort of "producer" are you??? That's not producing. And as for your comment about producers leaving LA, well guess what? It's LA based crew who are being traveled all over the world in key positions - and yes, we are traveled in First Class and get hotel rooms if not apartments or condos (not shared).

 

To borrow your phrase, I fall out of my chair giggling to I know that I will never have to deal with a producer like you who offers nothing but myopic views and maybe a credit. Good luck Richard. I actually wish you all of my best. I mean that.

 

Sincerely,

Greg - who is currently in working in Canada - AGAIN!

Edited by Gregory Irwin
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>What sort of "producer" are you???

 

As far as I can tell, the sort of producer who gets pictures made and released.

 

Big deal!! That automatically goes with the territory if you call yourself a producer.

 

G

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I will represent anyone - if you have a great attitude and are fun to be with on set - you can pull focus or operate for me any day.

The DP is many other position's agent - and we take no percentage!

 

Email me at ed@kittyguerrilla.com if you would like a spot on my roster :)

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I'm reminded of a line in the movie "1492" when a noble tells Columbus that his contract demands show that he is too ambitious... He replies "And were you never ambitious? Or is ambition only a virtue in nobles, a fault in the rest of us?"

 

Is hustling for the best deal only a virtue in producers, for the rest of the crew, a fault?

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Big deal!! That automatically goes with the territory if you call yourself a producer.

 

G

 

A picture is quite a big deal, isn't it? Quite a few of them, I should imagine. I wouldn't know, I don't call myself a producer.

 

I'd assumed that the truism that Americans don't understand irony was just that. Hmm.

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Oh blah blah blah Gregory, I get emails and calls endlessly from crew who want to work with me again. What does that tell you? The only thing you've produced is BS so what would you know about it anyway?

 

Blow it out your ear, idiot.

 

R,

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Sincerely,

Greg - who is currently in working in Canada - AGAIN!

 

Oh really Mr. "Anti-Exploitation" is here in Canada stealing work from Canadians. Good for you Gregory, good for you. Job thief.

 

I should point out to everyone that the USA does NOT allow Canadian ACs into the country to work on US productions.

 

R,

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Thirty years ago or more, there weren't even agents for cinematographers -- the thing is that the business evolves, for better or worse. Producers who extoll the virtues of the free market should not get upset that one of the outgrowths of that are things like trade unions and business agents -- everyone fights for a piece of the pie, that's sort of the nature of markets. Richard is, of course, free to not hire crew people with representation, whatever the ramifications of that might be, and people are free to not work with Richard if they don't like the deal, etc.

 

But until I got an agent in 1999 and until I joined a union in 2003, I more or less just took what was offered to me, and for that, was relegated to earning $20,000 a year as a DP if I managed to book three features that year, and often I only booked two back then. So in my case, I needed the help of an agent and a union to push for a better deal, so I understand why others may also use those tools, and I understand why a producer might rather just have crew and cast that just took what was offered to them, based on the budget -- I don't resent that either. It's just business, we don't have to take things personally.

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Richard is, of course, free to not hire crew people with representation, whatever the ramifications of that might be, and people are free to not work with Richard if they don't like the deal, etc.

 

So far it's never an issue, there are 100 people for every job in film, probably more. What other industry can easily get free labour from people with just a Mandy ad, also free. Not that I advocate getting people to work for you for free, however, it is easily possible. Producers can also very easily work in places where there are no film unions, they can also work in unionized countries and simply refuse to hire union labour. All very easy.

 

In Canada and the USA there is this thing called a "constitution," surprisingly it offers a lot of protections, even to film producers.

 

R,

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Just that producers have a lot of freedom to operate their business as they please, and the unions can do little about it regardless of what they may think or threaten. And unions have threatened me many times, mainly the Toronto branch of IATSE.

 

R,

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I guess on a basic business level.. supply and demand .. some one of Gregs skill level is not going to be working on any film that Richard is producing.. but Richard is right that there are a lot of people who will work for free/cheap and very long hours.. not saying that Richard is doing this.. but plenty others are..

 

As we can see in the Haskel Wexler doc.. thats why we need the unions and also that they are not that effective at protecting their members at the moment ..

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I don't think there's too much reason for concern over people at the director of photography level and below getting too great a deal.

 

No matter how great things become for the top couple of percentage points, and I have no particular comment on that, they are not the norm. There will always, always be a huge raft of people who're willing to pay their own air fares and bring a year's wages in gear for free just to do it. The overwhelming majority of film and TV work that is done is not done at that level.

 

And with regard to Robin's comments, I couldn't agree more, but the issue with the Wexler documentary is that it's almost exclusively US-centric. If it's bad there, for union people, consider what it's like for the rest of the world. Miserable. Utterly miserable.

 

P

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ha! don't get me started about the old corrupt union in the UK.. in the 80,s.. bunch of gangsters.. the other extreme .. a union that didnt let people join !! of the four signatures needed on the application form from union members.. I had Barry Ackroyd.. Mike Fox .. Peter Suschitzky .. and Chris Menges.. not wanting to blow my own trumpet but that has to be one of the best applications forms in the history of the union.. but they said no.. because I wasn't liked personally as I,d complained about them keeping people out..

Edited by Robin R Probyn
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The only thing you've produced is BS so what would you know about it anyway?

 

Blow it out your ear, idiot.

 

R,

 

Come on Richard, lets not throw around personal comments like this.

I personally like to hear both your perspective on things and Gregory's too even if they are very different views at times.

 

I don't like it when people say mean things about other posters as people.

 

I like diversity in people and opinions. I think it is a good thing, because even if you disagree with someone strongly it can help you to think about what your own opinions are and why you have them.

 

While we might think other peoples ideas are rubbish or not agree with them I think we should still really strive to respect people as people.

 

So feel free to give your opinion that film workers are pampered but please do not be mean to people.

 

I hope you can see where I am coming from on this! :)

 

Freya

Edited by Freya Black
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