Rates

  • Anonymous

The entertainment industry is notorious for taking advantage of people. The listings on this site have gotten as bad as craigslist. Nearly every listing that gets sent to me as a "match" lists a rate that is offensive. $100-$150 a day for a professional sound mixer with professional equipment is unprofessional and abusive considering that doesn't even cover a typical kit rental.

My comments are meant to cover every department - I'm sure we all face the same issues on rates.
If this site wants to maintain the illusion of being "pro" there should be guidelines for acceptable wages. Outside of those, they should be listed as for students, new grads, people with limited experience trying to get their feet wet where the "producer" accepts the risk that the product will be of lesser quality.

To any pros taking jobs at these low rates: You're only hurting yourself and the rest of us.

  • 3 years ago
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  • Anonymous

TOTALLY agree Kevin!! Something has to be done by FTP to ban the amateurs and comply with industry rates.

Thanks for posting this!


  • Aaron Kinsley-Brooks
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  • 2 years ago
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I also completely agree. It sets a horrible and dangerous precedent, especially about this part: "any pros taking jobs at these low rates: You're only hurting yourself and the rest of us". As a professional Producer, Line Producer and Production Manager, I expect competitive wages to be that standard here. There should be strict guidelines on FTP about complying with industry standard rates for professionals.

Thanks for posting, and keep up the "good" fight...


Well said Kevin!


  • Maxwell Anderson
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  • 4 months ago
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Most Short films (a lot of what is posted on here) are inherently unprofitable, as they have pretty much zero chance for any distribution outside YouTube. They're mostly self-funded by amateurs, not by greedy producers looking to take advantage of you. This is why the rates are not very good.

You may be only getting $150/day, but I'm sure many of the people you were working with on the same set were not getting paid AT ALL. That goes for the Producers/ Directors/ Writers on these shorts as well. I don't enjoy or necessarily agree with the industry practices either, as I have volunteered on plenty of sets, but try to keep things in perspective.


I absolutely agree with Kevin's original post. I have been a pro in audio for over 35 years and have seen pretty much every type of "work for credit" project there is. Or promise of payment when the project gets distribution. Which none have. And/or for rates far below what might be considered as industry standards. And the title of this site should absolutely reflect the industry as a whole. Meaning "professionals" rather than student films or micro-budgeted projects for copy and credit. Those types of crew positions should be posted on a site called, "Film jobs for students". Or for beginners with less than 5 films to their credit

I do often sign onto projects that pay less than my published rates of $175/hour. (which is actually far below industry standards in LA =$450/hr) Knowing full well that distribution or a good award-winning track record supports their claims of lower budgeted projects. ($50k - $150K) No first timers, students or anyone without a resume of work comes through my studio any longer. And the complete agreement that both producer and my studio are in it to build long-term relationships rather than a "one-night-stand". Which rarely happens. More frequently, these lower-budgeted projects go from one crew member to the next to get a cheap rate rather than trusting a Pro and paying more to get a good final product. As the old saying goes, "A bargain isn't always a bargain". You get what you pay for.

Too many times I have been contacted by a director to clean up poorly recorded location audio. Which was done by someone at the rate that Mxwell speaks of ($150/day) because that person that recorded the audio just needed the money. Regardless of experience. And, in most cases I can't clean the audio as well as it should be for even festival screenings. Software tools can only do so much.

Unfortunately we Pros that get projects through websites are continually subjected to projects that pay less and less as time goes on. These days anyone with a digital Nikon or Cannon camera, a mediocre
script, can call themselves a film maker. And I blame the festival markets for that.

Enough said.


  • Anonymous

@Max - I'm not unaware of the amateur factor. I've been in the position of self-funded amateur and people have helped me beyond any expectation in the past so I try to do the same and pay it forward for a worthwhile project. I've was fortunate to get schooled on the reality of costs by very kind, decent, hardworking, and skilled professionals. I learned from them. I'd like to see that happen as a rule. I think professionals can and should help while pulling the directors'/producers' heads out of the clouds for a moment to face reality.

My little rant was directed at the expectation of getting a professional with extensive credits, very specific (expensive) gear list, etc., - expectations that don't match the rate. You don't go to the Maserati dealership and ask to purchase a car for 1/10th the cost because that's what you want. Greed, naivety, entitlement, and just plain ignorance are all factors. I wouldn't have dared offer as low as some of the rates here - I made more hourly working at a supermarket in high school.


  • Anonymous

See the current listing for a mixer/boom op in Elizabeth, NJ by StayKlacee. Perfect example. Sundance & SXSW winning team! That means nothing to anyone beyond producers, director, DP, and actors. We should be able to flag it for review by filmandtvpro - especially if they hope for anyone to pay to use the service.


Adding to the conversation, which has already covered most of the ground.

I find the low posted rates (I recently saw an example of DP for 15 shooting days, flat rate of $2,500 including extensive equipment requirements) offensive. Especially since the posting went on and on about the requirements and said very little about the project and what made it worthwhile.

There are projects that are made for the love of it. But then they should be clear and say nobody gets paid and get listed in the 'no budget' category. Then we can judge those projects by their merit.

Posting a below market rate only shows that the poster has no respect and no knowledge of the industry. That makes them the least desirable people to work for.

And it would be nice if FTP could set clearer standards on that matter. I left some other forums for their lack of oversight of their listing.


Agreed. There is a Low/No Pay option to post gigs here. These 'amateurs' need to understand that $150/day for anyone is Low/No and NOT Fully Paid.

@Max, we all understand how the vast majority of these short films are un- or under-funded. If that's the case, then post jobs for these as Low/No Pay to reflect the Low/No Budget film.


Kevin- Here's one for you. Just for giggles.
Film (Short)
Location Los Angeles
Salary / Rate $150
Production Dates 29th or 30th of October (tbd)
Closing Date 11/05/16
Details & Requirements
Dates: 29th or 30th of October (tbd) Location: LA (tbd) Rate: $150 Actors: 4 Ext/Int: Mainly Ext. We need a reliable sound/mixer who can record 4 actors and ambient. 6-8 input recorder/mixer plus lavs and boom. (must have gear) We are submitting the short to www.hbovisionaries.com contest, hence the low budget . This is a contest passion project with a small crew all working pro-bono. Looking for someone who are in it for the contest and opportunity.


  • Anonymous

I may choose, on occasion, to work pro bono or below scale on someone's first feature or short, if I think they have potential, and/or if it's a new crew position I want to master.

However, producers who claim they're already broke, and yet explode their budget because they are not good negotiators or they don't have the experience in a variety of crew jobs are cutting off their nose to spite their face. One first-time producer cried "taken advantage of" by everyone at every stage. In reality, his budget exploded in most areas because he didn't pay knowledgable crew who could have saved him tens of thousands. He also said he couldn't pay anyone, yet yet paid an extortionist (someone who charged thousands to correct work he didn't do right in the first place!) for months on end.

Producers need to understand:
1. raising funds (the hardest part of the process!) is part of being a producer . Even if you get an EP, you are still responsible for funding in the end.
2. Pay everyone something, Never pay one or two people while asking everyone else to work for free. You'll secure the respect of your cast and crew for future projects.
3. Hire experienced crew who can save you money and/or time, or, if someone wants to explore a new crew job, they can do it at a somewhat reduced rate. Ex. A Locations Scout/Manager who can negotiate below your reasonable locations budget and provide a buffer between you and the location owners on set is worth their weight in gold. If I save you even a few thousand on a small budget, you've recouped my fee (or more), and you have a competent crew member on set who can make the shoot run more smoothly.


@Kevin Haus-

Here's one I saw just the other day. Just for a giggle;

Film (Short)
Location New York City
Salary / Rate $150
Production Dates 1 day maximum
Closing Date 11/06/16
Details & Requirements
Talented Sound Engineer wanted to complete the final mix of a short film with an approximate runtime of 5 minutes and 30 seconds. There are only 3 tracks--a pre-mixed song, a voiceover reading of a poem, and a few sound effects at the beginning of the film. This project should take less than a full day to mix, and the set rate for the project is $150. The project is fairly simple as it consists of a voiceover track reading of a poem, a pre-mixed song track, and a few soundeffects. There is no dialogue in the piece. This is a high-quality project, and we plan to submit it to international film festivals. It will be a great resume builder for all involved. Please get in touch and let us know about your sound experience, what kind of a studio or setup you have, your availability within the next 2 weeks, and please provide your contact information where we can reach you. Many thanks and we look forward to hearing from you!
Past Application
Your application is shown below.
Date 10/26/16
Cover letter
My day rate is $600. Or hourly at $75. No need to return a message. Just want to say that $150 for a full day of mixing is ludicrous for a "talented Sound Engineer". Student maybe.

It just never ceases to amaze me.
JIM


+1 for Joanne Harris above. ALL valid points.

To add to her comments and a beef I've had for years. I too have cut rates drastically to accommodate a new film maker's budget crunch. Most of the time it's a half rate project for me. But at least he/she gets a 35 year veteran in the position they needed for a great rate. And their films usually show great promise.

I recently finished a project for a Swedish film company, Affekt Films. And their period feature "The Poacher". They did tell me up front that this was a passion project and most all worked for free. But for post production, they were saving what little capital they had to at least pay something with the option of royalties when the distributor was secured. After viewing the film, no subtitles, I could see they had a quality project and worthy of my involvement and to build a connection in the future success of this company. So they brought me into the post crew as a SFX editor for $1K on a 90-minute feature. They approved my work through their post house and paid on time. Great to work with and they now have a great sounding film with a connection to a great sound editor in the
US. :-)

On the other hand, there's the burgeoning student film maker who has to shoot 4K with a 2-ton grip truck and crew. Spend all his money on pre and production. Then when it comes to post, no $$ left to pay an editor, composer, sound designer or mixing engineer. "Will give copy and credit on IMDb". To them and the school they went to, I say this: You need to teach and learn above the line and below the line budgeting processes to be an independent film maker. End of story.

It continues.......


  • Jared Hassan Foles
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  • 9 months ago
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Well said Jim. The worst part of it is many of us are being screwed over by other "pro's" with software, understandably desperate for work but too willing to undercut themselves (and thereby their own larger industry-causing what we call a "double stuff" effect) by accepting many of these rates. The difference often being folks like Jim and I have entire facilities with software, hardware, and property taxes to pay, while many of these others may only have a laptop and a field recorder.


  • William Hellmuth
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  • 11 months ago
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Oh man, the worst for me is when a production wants a DP (like me) to come on to a project with a complete RED or Alexa package for just $350/day. That's less than the cost of renting one of those cameras. It's just insanity.

Literally everyone here understands the occasional passion project. No one minds that those things happen, and people at all levels take them. But, for something to be listed in the "fully paid" category, the rates should at least be approaching industry standard.

Honestly though, at the end of the day, I get way more work from personal connections I build on Facebook then I do from sites like this. Nothing beats good old fashioned networking!


The rates are unacceptable.


  • Anonymous

I absolutely agree with Kevin's This type of rates are practice around the word and its incredible - The producer need to found the money for pay pro with skills no to take advantage - Why they dont understand they need to pay for rent the cam of the Dp and pay the DP for his skills -- an international convention prices rates with experience and graduate need to be create maybe --


  • Anonymous

Professional Industry Standard Rates union or non union are minimum $550 for 10 hours but usually $650 for 10 hours and should pay additional for kit rental. Local labor laws on overtime, meals, breaks and payroll also must be adhered to. Clients and employers want professional work and results, then they need to pay for it.


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