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Thursday, December 30, 2010

I AM NOT A CROOK!

I’m waiting for the 1st reel of Trap to render and thought I’d rant for a second…

So I’m on the set of decent sized production (it will remain nameless). It’s a union show, I’m talking to the make-up artist and I mention that I just finished a low budget feature. I’m of course a little proud of how much we were able to do on such a little budget, so I mention it. She snidely replies, “I suppose its cuz you didn’t pay anyone. It’s crooks like you that away jobs from experienced able professionals like me.”
So now it’s my fault that this makeup artist is having trouble getting into the union and making ends meet. Oh really!?

1st off, I know that there are productions companies out there, that hire folks for nothing, take advantage, make a quick buck and never put anything into anything other than their own pockets. I know these companies and people exist. I worked for more than a few myself. So I get her point. But that’s not me. I’m not wealthy man. I’ve made less on my movies personally than I’ve paid out to folk working on them, and I put every dime that I do make into future productions so that I can hopefully afford to pay folk like her in the future on larger productions.

2nd off. I’m not taking jobs from folk like her. When I cast and crew up for any micro-budget feature, I start with friends, friends that owe me favors. I’ve worked on many features for friends at a low or even free rate, with the understanding that they’d do the same for me… Now this chick replies to this, “I don’t have any friends that I’d ask to work for free.” I don’t know what kind of friends this girl as, but isn’t that what friends do (to a point, without taking advantage). Don’t friends help one another out? If you have a mechanic friend and your car breaks down. Would you ask that friend (or would that friend straight out offer to take a look) maybe not completely fix it depending on what was wrong, but wouldn’t a friend at least see what they could do? I can edit. I’ve done so professionally for almost 10 years. And I’ve helped countless actor friends with reels ect.. for free. Because I’m their friend. Is it wrong for me to accept the same kind of help?

3rd. When I do hire strangers, I don’t go out looking for union, experienced folk. I look for people new to the game looking for experience. When I hire a  key make artist for example, I may hire someone without any credits as a key, someone who the credit means something to, someone that would otherwise not get that shot on a union or higher paid show.  Now I also go into this knowing that I may not get the same quality of work I would from a more experienced worker, but that’s the kind of compromise you make when you’re working on a mircro-budget feature. And sometimes you get lucky, like I did on Trap or Monsters in the Woods with many crew members who had limited experience.

Somewhere during this conversation, I mention how he shot on the Cannon 7D and how its an awesome quality camera. And she make an under her breathe comment about “how her boyfriend has one and she doesn’t see what makes it so great.” Well, if he can’t make stuff look good with it, he must not know what he’s doing. Which brings me to her next statement “Now everyone is picking up camera’s like the 5 and 7D’s and calling themselves filmmakers.” I kinda agree with her there, there are a bunch of folk out there just buying equipment and calling themselves filmmakers. But this is far from my situation. I have a degree in film production. I’ve worked over 10 years now as an editor, shooter, pa, director, ect… on all kinds of productions, big, small, micro, you name it.

Oops…reels done rendering…

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