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Rodney Morris
Recent job posting
on Mar 18, 2011 at 3:58:42 am

Just thought I would post a recent job listing from the Tampa, FL craigslist tv/film/video section. Production company looking for sound mixer for reality tv show shoot.

http://tampa.craigslist.org/hil/tfr/2234739545.html

The basic gear needed is:
4 or 5 channel mixer
3-4 wireless mics
2 wireless hops for camera feed (assuming just one camera)
3 wireless IFB
Multitrack recorder(s) capable of recording 4-5 discreet tracks
Boom

All of that for $150 gear rental and a 12 hour day rate of $350 ($500/day total). This just made me laugh and shake my head. I don't even bother getting mad anymore. This should be about $1200-1300/day with all the gear they are "requiring". I think most of us would work with them on the price with that much gear, especially for a multi-day shoot, but to give a 65% discount AND agreeing to a flat 12 hour rate.

Am I way off base here?

Rodney Morris
Freelance Sound Technician/Mixer


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Eric Toline
Re: Recent job posting
on Mar 18, 2011 at 9:03:30 am

No you're not way off base. That's why it's on CL. The sad part is someone will take the gig for the price offered. Reality gigs are pack mule audio.


Eric


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Rodney Morris
Re: Recent job posting
on Mar 18, 2011 at 11:19:11 am

Thanks Eric. The more of these that I see and get called for, the more I begin to question the integrity and relevance of my pricing structure. Thankfully, most of the A-list sound mixers in my area are all of similar mindsets to mine.

99% of CL job listings fall into the low-to-no pay category. I did get an actual, no-fooling, real paying job once off of CL - that was several years ago.

I pretty much don't do reality TV shows anymore. I've done a couple - they were NOT fun and I ended up hurting and sore for a couple of weeks afterward. Pay is never what it should be and the hours are laughable. The majority of the reality shows that we get calls for around here are all pilots, and so the producers are almost always insecure, trying to prove that they can produce a hit show.

A couple of years ago I was called for a pilot reality show that was working around big cats (tigers, lions, etc...). A contract was sent to me to sign before I accepted the job. In the contract, there was the standard no liability clause in case your equipment is damaged or you are "injured, maimed or killed". Then there was a line that stated, in no uncertain terms, that we HAD to do whatever the producer asked us to do! The red warning lights in my mind went off immediately. I refused to sign the contract and therefore did not take the job.

I'm sure most of us have similar stories with reality TV shows. Feel free to share.

Rodney Morris
Freelance Sound Technician/Mixer


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Frank Nolan
Re: Recent job posting
on Mar 18, 2011 at 7:17:18 pm

[Rodney Morris] "
4 or 5 channel mixer = $100 a day
3-4 wireless mics = $200-$275 a day
2 wireless hops for camera feed = $150 a day
3 wireless IFB = $150 a day
Multitrack recorder(s) capable of recording 4-5 discreet tracks - $150 a day
Boom = $50 a day
Total min = $800 a day

All of that for $150 gear rental and a 12 hour day rate of $350 ($500/day total)."


Ad on CL = priceless



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Ty Ford
Re: Recent job posting
on Mar 18, 2011 at 8:11:46 pm

I have heard from others that this has been going on in LA for a while.

Younger sound guys breaking their backs to haul all of that around all day for $350.

Comments form them were mainly about how the weight was hurting their backs and wondering how long they'd last at that rate.

I see that in the form of "Well In LA I can get that and more for on $350!!" when I tell them my rate. I say, "OK, shoot in LA."

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide





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Rodney Morris
Re: Recent job posting
on Mar 18, 2011 at 8:48:48 pm

Frank, that was pretty much my pricing for the gear ($800) plus $500 day rate = $1300/day. Most reality TV shows that we get called for here are in the $500-600 flat rate range. No thanks.

Rodney Morris
Freelance Sound Technician/Mixer


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Eric Toline
Re: Recent job posting
on Mar 19, 2011 at 2:08:52 am

People who ask for an insane amount of gear & labor for an insane low rate have no respect for you as a professional or as a person. To bad there's no A.S.P.C.A for sound mixers.


Eric


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Brian Reynolds
Re: Recent job posting
on Mar 19, 2011 at 11:25:24 pm

Its interesting that the price of cameras and other equipment has dropped over the years some many producers also think that crew pricing has done the same.
Sites like oDesk hasn't done freelancers any favours either...
http://www.odesk.com/jobs/audio#filter/?q=audio&skip=0&format=json

The difference between Knowledge and Wisdom is... Knowledge is the knowing of facts.... Wisdom is the sensible application of good quality knowledge...


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Rodney Morris
Re: Recent job posting
on Mar 20, 2011 at 3:52:21 am

I've never seen oDesk before, but there's an ad on there currently looking for an audio editor to edit an interview that's 40 mins long into 10-20 segments and it needs to be done within 36 hours. Budget= $10. REALLY...$10? Please tell me I'm reading something wrong...

Rodney Morris
Freelance Sound Technician/Mixer


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Eric Toline
Re: Recent job posting
on Mar 20, 2011 at 1:06:49 pm

You're not reading it wrong but I would hope it's $10 an hour. What's amazing is all the bid's to do the job if it is $10 for the whole thing.


Eric


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Will Salley
Re: Recent job posting
on Apr 1, 2011 at 3:08:29 am

I've "retired" from the reality / run & gun gigs for that very reason. They demand optional gear and effort for ridiculously low rates. I don't even do any passoffs to some of the younger guys in the area if they ask. It's become an epidemic and we should start a sticky thread with a listing of known offenders (the production companies and crew services).

It really shows a lack of respect and it also show how low they go on acceptable sound acquisition and overall production values.

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Ty Ford
Re: Recent job posting
on Apr 1, 2011 at 11:59:55 am

+1, Will.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide





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Brian Reynolds
Re: Recent job posting
on Apr 1, 2011 at 10:38:55 pm

I have recently charged the DSLR guys "travel time + hourly rate" it comes out to be about 3hrs = 1/2 day $ rate.
A bit like a plumber does....by the hour.
What it has done is it makes the tallent and producer better rehearsed and prepared with far fewer takes. Yes you work less hours but overall but the $ aren't that much less, your still in the production loop and the sound quality is still good.
It also stops the need for them hiring the gear and doing it themselves with poor results.

Over the years equipment has changed to suit the work-flow why shouldn't crew structures as well?

The difference between Knowledge and Wisdom is... Knowledge is the knowing of facts.... Wisdom is the sensible application of good quality knowledge...


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