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Bryce Lansing

Cinematographer's pay rate

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Why didn't he shoot all the movies in the USA to begin with?

 

George Lucas taking his movies to non-union jurisdictions is just the tip of the iceberg, there are well over a 100 examples that could be cited.

 

R,

 

Available studio space in London could be part of the equation for the first Star wars films. It wouldn't have been non union, the ACTT was a closed shop at the time of the first films, so he'd have to employ their members..

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I would agree with Chris's observations. It would be hell to be starting out right now, and I am always mystified by crew members new to me who openly share they are DPs, but sparking or gripping for the week, or who color and edit as well as shoot.

 

I also just saw an ad for DP who can edit and compose a score and mix. Now obviously this is an uninitiated producer, but it shows the mindset of the new melange of efforts that seem to be acceptable.

 

I fear the crafts dumb down and we lose the skills as a group. It's like homeowners who watch remodeling shows and decide they are contractors. They screw up their house and the actual contractor cannot feed his family. But Lowe's and Home Depot are making a killing off it.

 

in the past 10 years DPs have gone from getting day rate plus kit fee to all in for one price and then that rate has eroded to the ridiculous. It is often the camera package getting hired at less than market rate, and the DP is thrown in.

 

The preponderance of people who have become DPs overnight by buying a camera is mind boggling. I would not say they are as a whole professional but among them there are those who went a similar route to mine decades ago, doing their damndest to learn and be mentored and to achieve. Today the learning curve to basic abilities and basic shooting is shortened because of mass access and we know how this business likes the young... there is also a perfect storm timing with Millennials being the ones who value dollars less than job satisfaction, and are choosing to freelance in this way. Their values are different, they do not respect or appreciate experience, only results, and hence the idea of true apprenticeships is an obstacle not an opportunity.

 

I have told sound mixers that no sound mixers with kit would touch an indie for under $500 a day in 2000 with Nagra and boom, and they look at me like I am from Mars- they have the cart and the 4 wireless and ComTechs and all the proper kit and are getting $175 in 2014.

 

The camera situation is similar.

 

I have also seen a serious disempowerment of the cinematographer to the point many projects do not have one per se, and the DP / camera owners go along with it and come on as cam ops, or the production dispensing with DPs entirely... 2 features this week I watched trailers for that looked all over the map and had no DP credit but several operator credits and director as A -camera operator.

 

There is something to be said for barriers to entry to a field. With the democratization of film making, perhaps a bigger barrier to quality and success will exist for those same masses.

 

Strange Days , indeed.

 

Wow, that's crazy. I bought a couple of Arris way back when so I could familiarize myself with 2nd unit ops, and DL'd the Arri manual from Library of Congress. In spite of my asking about Arris of all stripes (BL-IIIs, 2Cs, what not), worked around them, and having done camera ops, I would never consider myself a DP, nor even market myself as a move camera operator. I can't imagine just buying a camera full package and marketing yourself as a DP. How mercenary.

 

This is part of the reason I wondered if maybe licensing or some kind of certification wouldn't be helpful.

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I can't imagine just buying a camera full package and marketing yourself as a DP. How mercenary.

 

This is part of the reason I wondered if maybe licensing or some kind of certification wouldn't be helpful.

That's an idea which pre-supposes people would want it or care about it.

 

When "good enough" has become the new "good" and everyone perceives they are just as good as the next, I don't think most people will care.

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I wonder if the plummeting rates in the indie world is the result of the cost of PnA campaigns that are out of proportion to what we are used to associating with truly "indie" films. I've been researching film budgets for my own pitch packages and I noticed a disturbing trend that a whole lot of well known indie films have, which is PnA budgets that are up to 4x the cost of the film.

 

A lot of movies you see on netflix in the indie section are shot for $125K or $500K with name actors but up to a million or more is spent on the PnA. I wonder how this is affecting crew rates, union or nonunion and the conditions on set. These are indie films but they're filled with name talent and the budgets are surprisingly low.

 

These tiny budget indies are making money too. But if you just looked at US ticket sales you'd think every one of these is a bomb. So maybe that's the unions don't try to bother. They think all these indies are trainwreck cautionary tales. A lot of them though seem to be working financially when you take VOD, TV & DVD sales into consideration. But yeah, often way, way more is spent on the PnA, then the actual cost of making the film.

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The preponderance of people who have become DPs overnight by buying a camera is mind boggling. I would not say they are as a whole professional but among them there are those who went a similar route to mine decades ago, doing their damndest to learn and be mentored and to achieve. Today the learning curve to basic abilities and basic shooting is shortened because of mass access and we know how this business likes the young... there is also a perfect storm timing with Millennials being the ones who value dollars less than job satisfaction, and are choosing to freelance in this way. Their values are different, they do not respect or appreciate experience, only results, and hence the idea of true apprenticeships is an obstacle not an opportunity.

 

 

When the trade rags like American Cinematographer are little more than gear lists, what do you expect? Film schools don't teach art, they teach the easy stuff; any idiot can learn to operate a camera, but it takes actual talent and skill to teach people how to compose a shot.

 

Film schools don't bother teaching skills either, at least nothing you couldn't learn from a manual. I went to two; I started at the local Art Institute, and got fed up with the fact that their program was oriented around "here's the stuff I take with me as an AC" and "here's the stuff I take with me as DP" rather than "here's how you design a film from a script." That was a waste of time... so I transferred to another school, and ran into basically the same thing, except that we had a film history teacher who actually cared about education. Production? Basically, an excruciatingly slow tour of the gear room that a motivated student could have gotten through with two weeks and a pile of manuals. Plus the rule of thirds, hardly worth an actual class to learn.

 

Now instead of, "You have to render it on an SGI to get the quality you need" we have "You have to shoot it with a RED." Composition, visual design, visual storytelling... the millenials ignore those things, they require thought and effort, but buying expensive toys doesn't.

 

That our "education" system is optimized around supporting this problem isn't helping. When the film schools basically teach you to that cinematographers are just camera monkeys and that directors do everything, you have an endemic problem. I saw a curriculum for a film school looking for instructors describing their directing program as getting people behind a camera immediately... I of course wondered if they might include directing in their directing curriculum, but obviously the people starting the school didn't know a thing about filmmaking, and were trying to hide their ineptitude behind a gear manual.

 

Sadly, it seems that this is where the industry is going these days. It's making it difficult for people who are more interested in doing good work than in spending raftloads of money to get in the door, because quality doesn't matter to the average producer any longer.

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A lot of movies you see on netflix in the indie section are shot for $125K or $500K with name actors but up to a million or more is spent on the PnA. I wonder how this is affecting crew rates, union or nonunion and the conditions on set. These are indie films but they're filled with name talent and the budgets are surprisingly low.

 

These tiny budget indies are making money too. But if you just looked at US ticket sales you'd think every one of these is a bomb. So maybe that's the unions don't try to bother. They think all these indies are trainwreck cautionary tales. A lot of them though seem to be working financially when you take VOD, TV & DVD sales into consideration. But yeah, often way, way more is spent on the PnA, then the actual cost of making the film.

The P & A doesn't cause the budget to drop or cut into budget money ; (they rarely come from the same place), but rather the P&A is something that cannot be dropped as much as production because P&A are hard costs where production on micro indies can be deferred or simply interned-away.

 

You are quite right they are making money in VOD TV and discs sales; absolutely.

 

Even more than you may think... I know first hand it's very common for distributors to inflate the "estimated budget" on IMDb for a number of reasons related to their own sales (and often filmmakers do it pre-sale thinking the distributor will pay more, which is usually major delusion about the value of their work ); I shot a $16,800 film listed there as $100K that has brought the distributor almost a million, and another with a bunch of names made for $100ish-K that is listed as $500K. If you acknowledge those budgets as deferred owing or assigned value or whatever, it's all the more alarming that so little cash trickles back down, since a lot of newbs in Hollywood work for free to staff these films, and it buys homes and cars for others.

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The only time I've experienced those low rates was with consumer oriented product; legal video and weddings. Commercials and features are somewhat different.

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The P & A doesn't cause the budget to drop or cut into budget money ; (they rarely come from the same place),

 

But it can and that's what I was referring to. I have a ton of examples where it came directly from the money raised by investors.

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When the trade rags like American Cinematographer are little more than gear lists, what do you expect? Film schools don't teach art, they teach the easy stuff; any idiot can learn to operate a camera, but it takes actual talent and skill to teach people how to compose a shot.

 

Film schools don't bother teaching skills either, at least nothing you couldn't learn from a manual. I went to two; I started at the local Art Institute, and got fed up with the fact that their program was oriented around "here's the stuff I take with me as an AC" and "here's the stuff I take with me as DP" rather than "here's how you design a film from a script." That was a waste of time... so I transferred to another school, and ran into basically the same thing, except that we had a film history teacher who actually cared about education. Production? Basically, an excruciatingly slow tour of the gear room that a motivated student could have gotten through with two weeks and a pile of manuals. Plus the rule of thirds, hardly worth an actual class to learn.

 

Now instead of, "You have to render it on an SGI to get the quality you need" we have "You have to shoot it with a RED." Composition, visual design, visual storytelling... the millenials ignore those things, they require thought and effort, but buying expensive toys doesn't.

 

That our "education" system is optimized around supporting this problem isn't helping. When the film schools basically teach you to that cinematographers are just camera monkeys and that directors do everything, you have an endemic problem. I saw a curriculum for a film school looking for instructors describing their directing program as getting people behind a camera immediately... I of course wondered if they might include directing in their directing curriculum, but obviously the people starting the school didn't know a thing about filmmaking, and were trying to hide their ineptitude behind a gear manual.

 

Sadly, it seems that this is where the industry is going these days. It's making it difficult for people who are more interested in doing good work than in spending raftloads of money to get in the door, because quality doesn't matter to the average producer any longer.

 

Sounds to me like you chose the wrong film schools. What was the name of the 2nd school?

 

Greg

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The second was the Seattle Film Institute. I attended part time, and started with screen writing, which had a very good teacher... but production and post-production were basically a waste of time. The person teaching the production class was obviously focused on the least common denominator, which meant dumbing the program down to a level where even people who shouldn't have been able to get into the program would get solid grades, and the post-production instructor was a complete waste of space.

 

Fortunately, the person teaching film history and film studies is stellar, his classes are completely worth taking.

 

Fortunately I found myself an internship with a production company that had two feature films and two episodes of a web series under its belt in addition to post work on several other shorts. I learned a lot about editing and got started learning color grading while working there, and it's helped my cinematography a great deal.

 

Of course if I'd known what the school would be like before joining, I wouldn't have bothered, but it apparently had a pretty good program before the new owner took it over.

 

Then again, I've seen the work that former students and teachers from there do since I finished... and it's not impressive.

 

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That's an idea which pre-supposes people would want it or care about it.

 

When "good enough" has become the new "good" and everyone perceives they are just as good as the next, I don't think most people will care.

 

Royce, you know, I've given this some thought. I think if pressed a lot of VPs and executives in charge of promoting products, they really do care, largely because they care about the promotion of their product. They actually care about their company, and want the best for whatever product or service they offer.

 

I think what happens is that you get people climbing the corporate ladder, or people who think that anyone can operate a camera, and so they pick a name out of the phone book. I think those people rub off on lesser executives who "bottom line" the project, and so they may get a product that's not very fulfilling.

 

I've worked both sides of the fence. Big or moderate sized corporations know the value or presentation, and are willing to spend the extra cash on something that looks nice. That verse the car dealership or local business who just wants something up on TV to get word that he's out there.

 

Even where I live, consumer video like depositions or weddings have a certain flare or polish to them. The work doesn't pay as well ($250 / day or something last I checked, I haven't done either in ages), but lawyers and families are willing to pay extra for something that looks nice.

 

Indy or studio features, at least up here, tend not to be slam productions. I have to be honest, and I hope I don't sound like a goddamn snob, but the only truly low budget "hack" productions I've ever seen, were out of LA. And I think if you're in that kind of environment, where you're trying to bust into the studio market by showing you can make a "money maker", then I think there you'll get more "bottom liners" cranking out B-grade material.

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The second was the Seattle Film Institute. I attended part time, and started with screen writing, which had a very good teacher... but production and post-production were basically a waste of time. The person teaching the production class was obviously focused on the least common denominator, which meant dumbing the program down to a level where even people who shouldn't have been able to get into the program would get solid grades, and the post-production instructor was a complete waste of space.

 

Fortunately, the person teaching film history and film studies is stellar, his classes are completely worth taking.

 

Fortunately I found myself an internship with a production company that had two feature films and two episodes of a web series under its belt in addition to post work on several other shorts. I learned a lot about editing and got started learning color grading while working there, and it's helped my cinematography a great deal.

 

Of course if I'd known what the school would be like before joining, I wouldn't have bothered, but it apparently had a pretty good program before the new owner took it over.

 

Then again, I've seen the work that former students and teachers from there do since I finished... and it's not impressive.

Unfortunately, most of these "trade schools" are very good with taking your money but don't offer a substantial curriculum. There are way too many of these ripoffs out there. I believe that you would have a very different and fulfilling experience at the university level but even there you must be selective to where you go. The top university film schools are not only tough to get into but even harder to stay in for the full term. The attrition rate is unbelievable. I started as a freshman in a class of 350 undergrads or so and graduated with 50! And we learned a lot. The experience toughened us up for the future and made us responsible. The latter being a very important attribute.

 

Greg

Edited by Gregory Irwin
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Unfortunately, most of these "trade schools" are very good with taking your money but don't offer a substantial curriculum. There are way too many of these ripoffs out there. I believe that you would have a very different and fulfilling experience at the university level but even there you must be selective to where you go. The top university film schools are not only tough to get into but even harder to stay in for the full term. The attrition rate is unbelievable. I started as a freshman in a class of 350 undergrads or so and graduated with 50! And we learned a lot. The experience toughened us up for the future and made us responsible. The latter being a very important attribute.

 

Greg

 

Yes, that they are. There are some folks at SFI who are trying to improve their program, but they're not making much progress. IMO one of the biggest downsides there was the LACK of attrition. We had a few people drop out, but some who should have flunked out graduated. These are people who didn't have even basic skills, and a few who were almost invariably late for class as well as on set, rarely turned in assignments at all let alone on time, yet they got their certificates.

 

SFI shares facilities with a film composing program that's almost the exact opposite. Those students are very good, and the work hard because they have to in order to graduate.

 

My main reason for not going to a "top" school was geographical. There aren't that many options in my area, though I discovered fairly recently that some of the smaller colleges here have decent programs.

 

That said, the person who was teaching post-production had masters in film from Stanford, and showed us some of her films. They were poorly shot (flat front light, busy, subject front and center), the editing was passable, but not stellar, and they weren't even properly color matched. It was sad.

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Unfortunately, most of these "trade schools" are very good with taking your money but don't offer a substantial curriculum. There are way too many of these ripoffs out there. I believe that you would have a very different and fulfilling experience at the university level but even there you must be selective to where you go. The top university film schools are not only tough to get into but even harder to stay in for the full term. The attrition rate is unbelievable. I started as a freshman in a class of 350 undergrads or so and graduated with 50! And we learned a lot. The experience toughened us up for the future and made us responsible. The latter being a very important attribute.

 

Greg

 

And not to mention expensive just to get a grade point spanking... Currently USC is at about $23k per semester for undergrads, that's about $46K per year. That does not include living/commute expenses in the 'beautiful' LA area...

 

Brooks Institute, which is more noted for commercial still photography is about $10k per semester.

 

San Diego State, which has something of a 'Film and Television' department, $3.5K per semester. I chose not to do that program because at the time it was much more heavily oriented to Television. But the Art department was abysmal in that the department still to this day does not really recognize 'photography' as worth medium. But I digress...

 

UCSD also has something called a 'Film' program, which consists of mostly 'theoretical' ruminations, and very little in the way of practical production.

 

I'm noting these latter two cases as what most people will find 'in their area', which are more accessible than USC or the like.

 

I should also note that the two junior colleges closest to me have a few 'film' classes. One is again more heavily oriented to Television. The other... uh... well... the teachers are enthusiastic... but the students... abysmal... but I digress again...

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Unfortunately, most of these "trade schools" are very good with taking your money but don't offer a substantial curriculum. There are way too many of these ripoffs out there. I believe that you would have a very different and fulfilling experience at the university level but even there you must be selective to where you go. The top university film schools are not only tough to get into but even harder to stay in for the full term. The attrition rate is unbelievable. I started as a freshman in a class of 350 undergrads or so and graduated with 50! And we learned a lot. The experience toughened us up for the future and made us responsible. The latter being a very important attribute.

 

Greg

 

True. When I was in film school there were four actual schools that taught production; USC, UCLA, SF State and NYU. Now there's hundreds, but they're all educating their students with prosumer gear. At SF State the camera of choice was the Bolex (I can't recall if they had Affi 16SRs or not), not the Panavision Elaine, but the education at the time was still respectable as all the guys I worked with who went through the core program knew the divisions of labor. You could easily transition from one of their shoots to a commercial, industrial or moderate indy feature.

 

It may be that some of the lower rates some people are quoting has been the result of a flooding of "talent" into the market, but again I think good work brings good customers, and so forth.

 

In short, unless you're satisfied shooting local TV commercials or what not, I don't see anybody really striving for success on a studio feature without being able to show talent.

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Let's not leave out California State University at Long Beach. Top notch program, very difficult to get into and much more affordable than good ol' USC. FIGHT ON! :)

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True. When I was in film school there were four actual schools that taught production; USC, UCLA, SF State and NYU. Now there's hundreds, but they're all educating their students with prosumer gear. At SF State the camera of choice was the Bolex (I can't recall if they had Affi 16SRs or not), not the Panavision Elaine, but the education at the time was still respectable as all the guys I worked with who went through the core program knew the divisions of labor. You could easily transition from one of their shoots to a commercial, industrial or moderate indy feature.

 

It may be that some of the lower rates some people are quoting has been the result of a flooding of "talent" into the market, but again I think good work brings good customers, and so forth.

 

In short, unless you're satisfied shooting local TV commercials or what not, I don't see anybody really striving for success on a studio feature without being able to show talent.

 

The irony of SFI is that although the digital productions use consumer cameras (yes, not even prosumer cameras), they actually have students film one project on 16mm, and one optionally on Super16.

 

That said, no one in the class learned how to use a light meter; I learned how to use a light meter from a workshop on large format photography close to 16 years ago, so the production I was on ended up using a super 16, but no one else did.

 

I do suspect that the glut of new entrants into the field is contributing to the lower prices. One of the contributing factors to the glut however is the fact that so many schools have dumbed down their programs in order to keep people enrolled rather than emphasizing the quality of their education. Smart money would be to raise the standard for the school, even though in the short term you'd lose some tuition income because you'd end up flunking the losers, but in the long term you'd have a better reputation and higher demand, so you'd be able to get better students. Instead, they insist on keeping people in school, and dumbing down the classes to accomplish that.

 

The US education system's race to the bottom knows few bounds, unfortunately.

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Unfortunately, most of these "trade schools" are very good with taking your money but don't offer a substantial curriculum. There are way too many of these ripoffs out there. I believe that you would have a very different and fulfilling experience at the university level but even there you must be selective to where you go. The top university film schools are not only tough to get into but even harder to stay in for the full term. The attrition rate is unbelievable. I started as a freshman in a class of 350 undergrads or so and graduated with 50! And we learned a lot. The experience toughened us up for the future and made us responsible. The latter being a very important attribute.

 

Greg

On the subject of trade schools, I hope you don't mind if I chime in. I am one of the founders of a bachelor's programme for CG visual artists in the Netherlands. One of the reasons I took the position is that I was tired of all the dreck crossing my desk from job seekers who had just graduated from various degree programmes around the world. When I was at Universal Studios, I once had to go through over 6,000 reels to come up with 5 qualified applicants (not an exaggeration). At the new programme we do pretty well, with about 75% of our graduates getting industry jobs. However, we expel half of our students in the first year, and usually expel half of the students that are left in the second year, leaving us with 25% of the original class every year. The admin department at the school is highly irritated by this because they make more money from enrolled students than expelled students (in the Netherlands, education is heavily subsidized by government. This means that schools can lose money on students if they don't satisfy certain criteria--and the criteria encourages passing anything that breathes). In my experience I have only seen a handful of schools in this field that are capable of consistently turning out qualified graduates, but my impression from reading on the subject is that this is typical of all creative disciplines. I went to a couple of art schools when I was a student, including Art Center in Pasadena, but the number of students who became pros is very small.

 

AP

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Even where I live, consumer video like depositions or weddings have a certain flare or polish to them. The work doesn't pay as well ($250 / day or something last I checked, I haven't done either in ages), but lawyers and families are willing to pay extra for something that looks nice.

 

Indy or studio features, at least up here, tend not to be slam productions. I have to be honest, and I hope I don't sound like a goddamn snob, but the only truly low budget "hack" productions I've ever seen, were out of LA. And I think if you're in that kind of environment, where you're trying to bust into the studio market by showing you can make a "money maker", then I think there you'll get more "bottom liners" cranking out B-grade material.

George, everyone's own experience has anecdotal qualities.

 

As for weddings and depositions; weddings have been a specialty for some videographers, and the rate per operator has been up to $1000- I have done them ( and a few where the rate was $450 although I was billed to bride at $1850 . I quit that nonsense) However, in recent years, again, everyone with a camera is doing them, so now the norm is chump change. Depositions are not really a professional videographer's work; that's a court reporting / stenography job and court videographers push a button and announce the time for the record.

 

As far as no hack projects in the Bay, I understand your opinion, as it is a general truism that The Bay Area hates Los Angeles whereas L.A. has no beef with The Bay at all and in fact love to come up regularly and spend L.A. $ ;)

 

That said, there are both scheister and hack filmmakers who live and work there, that is, among the minority who actually do anything as opposed to sit in cafes ordering free waters who call themselves filmmakers and harp about how everyone else isn't actually a filmmaker.

 

Amusing scene there once you get outside the small circles of actual, working local crew.

 

Not sure where your experiences are coming from, I respect them of course, they are your observations, but we must experience a different market on the same streets.

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Royce, I guess at one time weddings and depositions were the norm for a lot of one-man production companies (as you say, videographers, not DPs, though a lot of cameramen I knew who were ACs did those jobs). When I say B-movie material I'm more referring to something that's shot for the sake of building a rep or reel, but it's not necessarily "low grade" footage as such. It's not artsy material, but the footage shot doesn't have too much flare to it. It's just functional to get the story across. I guess I need to choose my words more carefully. Sorry about that.

 

The indy Bay Area film makers that I used to see at local studios and read about, were more like Wayne Wang, Onizuka, or John Korty. Guy's who liked making films, but who are skillful enough to maximize budgetary and equipment limitations. That verse someone in the LA area who's making horror movies to show a producer he can crank out footage that'll make a return on short notice.

 

To be honest, when I was working a lot I rarely (if ever) ran across art house snobs. Those people are more or less movie goers, and rarely crew.

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George, everyone's own experience has anecdotal qualities.

 

As for weddings and depositions; weddings have been a specialty for some videographers, and the rate per operator has been up to $1000- I have done them ( and a few where the rate was $450 although I was billed to bride at $1850 . I quit that nonsense) However, in recent years, again, everyone with a camera is doing them, so now the norm is chump change. Depositions are not really a professional videographer's work; that's a court reporting / stenography job and court videographers push a button and announce the time for the record.

 

As far as no hack projects in the Bay, I understand your opinion, as it is a general truism that The Bay Area hates Los Angeles whereas L.A. has no beef with The Bay at all and in fact love to come up regularly and spend L.A. $ ;)

 

That said, there are both scheister and hack filmmakers who live and work there, that is, among the minority who actually do anything as opposed to sit in cafes ordering free waters who call themselves filmmakers and harp about how everyone else isn't actually a filmmaker.

 

Amusing scene there once you get outside the small circles of actual, working local crew.

 

Not sure where your experiences are coming from, I respect them of course, they are your observations, but we must experience a different market on the same streets.

 

Did some other Videographer contract you out as a cameraman to shoot that wedding? It doesn't strike me as ethical.

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Did some other Videographer contract you out as a cameraman to shoot that wedding? It doesn't strike me as ethical.

There are large wedding specialist companies who have a "presence" in major US cities. At the time I did a couple of those gigs to investigate the market, the going rate was $450 to the shooter. The company charged the client $1850 to book the job, receive the hard drive, handle the transaction and deliver the raw footage to client.

 

It's a business model now widely accepted for all manner of shoots and spwaned of / entrenched in the digital revolution and the internet; interviews, small corporates, white cyc or green screen presentational videos... a goodly percentage of these are serviced by the new internet model where the wide masses got to a few sites to reach their local shooter ( hired by a similar wide net thrown out by the work broker ) and pay through the nose, often more than they'd pay locally.

 

Ethical or not, I don't know. Crew brokerages used to take a small percentage of a high volume of work. No one complained. The only way to complain now is to not take the call. And when I didn't answer the phone again, some kid who thinks $450 was a score took the job. There is no way I was going to see more of the $1850, and the irony is that it's someone else's demos on the website that drew the client to the job in the first place. ( Brides see a pretty couple with pretty family and friends in slo motion in an Italian oceanside villa, and they hire that company. Never mind they are plain looking and getting married in Fresno).

 

 

The money is no longer in the service, it's in the aggregation of service. Look at eLance , fiverr .... I suspect in another decade creative commerce and careers are unrecognizable.

Edited by Royce Allen Dudley

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Yeah, I see what you're saying about the headhunter industry ballooning into the video market. I'll be frank here, I looked at the budget breakdown of an industrial I was working on one time, and my then going rate as a stage manager was being quadrupled to the client. Like you I didn't bitch about it at the time, because the only thing that was going to happen would be for me to lose a steady client. I was pretty young then, and I still shrug my shoulders at it. The client was being charged for a lot of things, but it was all within the budget the prod-co pitched to them, so no harm no foul.

 

I figured once I got older things would even out and, if my services were good enough, then I would have some pull in determining my fee. I'm just shocked that that kind of thing happens to veterans. I'm thinking it probably happens to seasoned DPs nearing retirement too...or so I'm not of the opinion.

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This must be a nightmare career. In my view, probably one of the most beautiful jobs on earth, but certain things are eye-openers.

 

For example, the other day I was checking Stephen Goldenblatt's credits. I saw The Help some time ago and wanted to see what else he did. He isn't a young guy any more, if I'm not mistaken, he does belong to the top-notch club of cinematographers, yet that credits list wasn't overly long.

 

Lucky are those who have at least one job a year.

 

And there are tons of young Master of Arts graduates every year.

 

Every year. What do those people do, I'd like to know.

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Yeah, I see what you're saying about the headhunter industry ballooning into the video market. I'll be frank here, I looked at the budget breakdown of an industrial I was working on one time, and my then going rate as a stage manager was being quadrupled to the client. Like you I didn't bitch about it at the time, because the only thing that was going to happen would be for me to lose a steady client. I was pretty young then, and I still shrug my shoulders at it. The client was being charged for a lot of things, but it was all within the budget the prod-co pitched to them, so no harm no foul.

 

I figured once I got older things would even out and, if my services were good enough, then I would have some pull in determining my fee. I'm just shocked that that kind of thing happens to veterans. I'm thinking it probably happens to seasoned DPs nearing retirement too...or so I'm not of the opinion.

 

In my line of work (software development) the same thing happens. I get paid X and the guy hiring me charges the client 4X that - for my work - and that's on top of their own fee. What happens to that extra. It goes into the producer's pocket, or more usefully it goes back into the capital for use on the next project - which might include you again or not as the case may be.

 

Basically that's how producers earn a living. They find you and sell you to someone else. One can't really argue with this. I guess one solution is to change profession and become a producer.

 

C

Edited by Carl Looper

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