Martin Kittappa ✭
- Martin Kittappa
- Last Active
is it me or am I seeing more and more posts on SMU asking for half day rate quotes. Since there is no way I can book work for the other half a day then surely there is no such thing as a half day rate. Add travel to and from shoot, wether you are shooting four hours, six, ten or twelve, it's still the only thing I'll be doing that day.2
This traveling to work as a local I feel is a downward spiral. Productions should be traveling crew and paying the per diems. It's how it used to work. Now I'm seeing posts about shoots in so many backwater places all looking for locals, and people are just playing into the hands by paying out of pocket when productions should be budgeting to travel the crew that they need to do the projects they want to make. You can bet that the producers and all the above the line folks are getting their travel paid for, and you can bet that the executives are getting richer because they are pocketing money that should be invested in their crew. By doing this out pocket we are in effect paying to work. I am actually saddened that we are having this conversation. People willing to be put themselves up in cheap hostels is a sad indictment of the state of this industry at this time.2
I wouldn't risk staying with my expensive sound equipment in hostel, no how, no way!4
I have clients that pay net 30, I hate it, but for the ones that operate that way it is what it is. For bigger companies and networks there really is no excuse for this kind of thing, but if that's the system that's in place the only alternative choice is not to take the work. They won't change their accounting for you or for me because we don't like it.
Obviously payroll is the best when you know that you are getting paid at the end of the next week, but many smaller companies (and some big ones) would rather hire as an independent contractor. I have many of those- the nicest ones cut the checks at the end of the day, some some pay within a few days of the invoice and anything up to net 30. The most important thing is to keep records of who owes what and the date of invoice. I'll start chasing at Net 30 + 5 days as some companies will cut the check exactly on the the 30th day. This gives time for the mail even if they are sending from an office from the East coast. I just have whiteboard on my desk and each invoice gets added to the board with a dry erase, the amount and date. As the checks come in I wipe of the entry.
For some small clients I know that they are on net 90 from their clients and so I don't really have a problem taking the net 30 from them. I do however draw the line at clients that try and pull the we'll pay you when we get paid by our clients. That for me is too many red flags. If they are living paycheck to paycheck and don't have a float to cover their day to day to day and project expenses then screw that. I'm not taking the risk of net getting paid if they don't get paid, or going to the bank only to find out that their checks are made of rubber.1
I do totally get when a show out of, say New York is shooting a quick interview in Los Angeles. They fly out the segment producer and find a small two man crew to shoot the interview. I've actually got a ton of work that way being the local on the West Coast. I understand having local PAs who know the area to do the driving and shop for all the little art and other accessories that might be needed, and the fact they probably know the best places to eat in town as well is a bonus.
My frustration is that I would think the production sound mixer should be one of the key crew, but this is always the first job that is pushed aside when trying to save pennies, and is often the area that post has the most issues with (so I hear from my post friends) when dealing with varying quality of deliverables, file structures etc. Not only that as a sound guy on smaller doc style shoots I often end up being the guy to help move lights, and assist camera in various ways. After a few days of working with the same DP it does become a very efficient relationship so why not take advantage of that rather than having the crew figuring out how to find their groove in every different location.3