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Post-Production : Low no pay ? by Georgia Hilton

Georgia Hilton

Low no pay ?

here's my response to people asking for a "pro" for Low/no pay.... FIRST: My standard rate is inversely proportionate to the amount of fun I get to have. So, if you are asking me to cut something and giving me free reign, we're off to a good start. If you want me to simply "drive" while you decide every damn frame.... well.. you'll have to pay for it. SECOND: Free? ok... no problem.. Here's the deal - I'm going to give you the name and number for my Landlord, my electric company, my phone company, my internet company, my equipment leases, my equipment insurance, my equipment provider, gas company, and my local diner ( lunch and dinner)... You call each of them up and ask them for a FREE MONTH for me and if they agree, I'll give you a FREE month of editorial. Done.

Georgia Hilton

...the one exception to this are my "pro" friends. I'm always happy to do a favor... I may need one in return down the road. Barter is fine, we both succeed and neither party is misused. this is based on a balanced long term association. not someone from craig's list...

Sten Ryason

I guess I have a question to add to this: when someone posts a job, expects "PRO" work, and wants you to know how to shoot on DSLR, edit, color grade, sound mix, plus some visual effects (all on your own gear), should I think $12 an hour is kind of unreasonable?

Georgia Hilton

if you think your abilities/experience/knowledge base) and your gear are worth $12, then it's reasonable... If you and your gear are worth much more, then it isn't... What you ultimately charge is up to you and what you are willing to accept.

Erwin Vanderhoydonks

FREE is FREE. I do sometimes small things for free. But realy free. No comments on the outcome. No extras. Just shoot, edit, color correct and deliver... on my own timeframe. No deadline. When the job is done, it is done. If they have other requirements, they pay for it. How much do they have to pay? It all depends on there budget. More budget, more possibilities. How much for each hour of work? Next time you visit a doctor, watch the clock. Next time you visit your account, watch the time. Next time you visit your client, watch the clock and start calculating. But most off all, you still have to enjoy what you are doing. Otherwise even more money can't help you ;-)

Allan Houston

If anyone is getting paid and there is a budget there is no excuse to say "we can't pay you". Either budget properly, get people you're willing to pay, pay everyone slightly lower or pay no one. Especially if it's a commercial project. I've done free jobs for people as favours for what amounted to promotional reels for them so they could get work. If they get work it would be nice if they offered you a deferred payment. But most people don't see it as work for you. It is, and should be paid for. No exception. If someone is going to make money from the project, even indirectly (if it's a showreel for instance) then an editor should get paid. This seems to only happen in the creative industries. I have a small youtube sideproject and am making no money from it but I offer a small fee to our camera operator for 2 hours of work each time. It says "thank you. Your work is respected and appreciated", but it also gives you clear ownership of the project.

Rick James

Sometimes a freebie can help, once and awhile I do freebie's for first timers. I'm a filmmaker, motion graphics animator, producer, director and EFX editor, I do preproduction, production and post. Just last year I worked with an up and coming director, I did his budgeting, scheduling and worked on his scene locations and crew. I was his DP, adviser and post editor. He covered my travel expenses and food. At the end of the year I wrote the expenses off as work related and we were both satisfied. I understand, as we all know how hard it is to get your work out there and I sometimes have the time and I have the equipment and software to help out. Some professionals like lawyers donate their services to one lucky person a year and write it off on their income tax, it's not an unprofessional thing to do. So if you have a steady income and you did well this year, you can keep some of those hard earned dollars by working for a deferred fee and writing it off at the end of the year. It won't hurt your bottom line and you'll do some good for the community. That's just my two cents.

Doug Nelson

And my response to your response goes something like this: I’m a retired writer/producer and have a small time movie making entity known as Seriously Low Budget Productions - the name pretty much says it all. I have several award winning short scripts that I will likely produce with all local talent (or not if I feel like it – filmmaking for me is a hobby.) My local talent pool is pretty shallow; full of students, wanabie’s and newbie’s with little to no experience. They want to learn the art & craft of filmmaking to launch their careers. I promote them and the short films that we make up and down the West Coast and I introduce them to folks in the industry that I still have connections to. Obviously, I’m not going to ask a professional to work for free although I occasionally find another retired professional who joins with me in providing filmmaking training. I provide cameras, lights, audio, props and I feed everyone on set – but I’m not going to pay ‘em but I am going to train ‘em. If you want me to come out of retirement and work for you – understand that my fee 10 years ago was $125/hour – now, I work for beer.

Rick James

I like the cut of your jib Doug, we're both very much alike. So I have this screenplay and a six pack, wanna' dance?

Doug Nelson

Ric - I came from Colorado, but it's a little out of my range now (an I got plenty of beer.)

Rick James


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