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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tuesday Rant


Ok. So we’re doing re-shoots on a feature on it this Saturday.  We have to reshoot one full scene and a handful of other inserts. It’s a fairly small production.. Anyway, we only need a sound mixer from 7pm to 11pm. I reached out to a few mixers whose résumé’s I had from Monsters in the Woods and offered a 150-dollar rate for a mixer/boom (no full rig. Just boom, mix, record. Now I know that this is super low for a day rate, but it’s only 4 hours. I thought it was fairly reasonable.

A few minutes ago I get this two page email berating me and other (schlocky low budget filmmakers trying to take advantage of hard working skilled workers). It was mean-spirited to say the least.

Woah.

My first reaction was to get mad. But I took a second, reflected…Am I taking advantage here? It really is all the money I have. It begs the question, if you can’t pay a good rate, should you just not shoot? And what is a good rate? What is a fair rate? Who am I or this guy to judge?  I’ve worked on plenty of production where people don’t get shit. At least I’m trying. I’m not out here lining my pockets on other people work. My full day rate was comparable to what I offered this guy for 4hrs. Not that it matters.

I don’t know anymore. I’ve made a lot of super low budget flicks. I’ve worked as a paid worker, an unpaid worker, and an unpaid producer. I’ve been on all sides. But I’m no longer sure that making these things is even right. I’ve been taken advantage of on just about every single production I’ve ever worked on, at least from a financial standpoint.  And here I sit on the other side taking advantage of others, or so I was told today. If he only knew how little I actually make.

I’ve heard people say before that if you don’t have the funding to make the movie properly (ie paying proper day rates down the line) then you shouldn’t push forward with the picture. I used to think this was utter bullshit, that there were advantages on both sides to doing low or no paid work. Now, I’m not so sure. All these years of being beat up making these movies is taking its toll. For the 1st time in my life I feel tired. Not just physically, but of the struggle, the mental and financial abuse.  


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