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LA editors...hourly or day rate?

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Bryan KeithLA editors...hourly or day rate?
by on Mar 31, 2009 at 7:35:36 am

I moved to LA from NYC about 9 months ago. I'm an experienced freelance commercial/promo editor. Just about every single client that I've worked for in LA so far pays hourly rates. Most of my clients have been post houses, not individuals. In New York, every company that I worked with/for ALWAYS paid day rates. Is this typical out here?

One client (established known post house) wanted me to come in and do a job that would only take about two hours (follow up work on a project I had been working on with them). When I mentioned that there is a 4 hour per day minimum they acted like I was crazy!

And on top of that, it seems that hardly anybody pays the equivalent day rate that I was making in NYC. Maybe I'm just working with the wrong clients...but work is pretty slow so I can't be too picky.

I know LA is a competitive market...but NYC is just as competitive.

So, fellow LA editors...is hourly just the way it works out here? Also, if you don't mind, what is your typical hourly/daily rate?

thanks!


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Terence CurrenRe: LA editors...hourly or day rate?
by on Mar 31, 2009 at 2:06:31 pm

Hourly is normal for freelance or short term gigs. 4 hour minimum is standard.

Longer term editing is usually done on daily or weekly rates.

Terence Curren
http://www.alphadogs.tv
http://www.digitalservicestation.com
Burbank,Ca


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Bryan KeithRe: LA editors...hourly or day rate?
by on Mar 31, 2009 at 5:08:20 pm

Thanks for responses so far.

Good to know that I'm not crazy with the 4 hour minimum. Of course...how rare is it that you actually have a job that takes less than 4 hours! lol. In that situation, I actually let it slide because A) it was a one time thing involving a project that I had been working on and off of for a while. B) the facility is within walking distance of my house. It was easy for me to just hop over there, do it, and leave. I was just surprised that they thought the 4 hour minimum was out of the ordinary.

From their point of view...they are hiring me and then charging THEIR client an hourly rate for me and the room. They don't (and shouldn't) charge their client a 4 hour minimum on his time needed at the facility. They would then end of having to eat the extra hours. I say that's just part of doing business this way, but I digress.

I like the clients I've been working with. They aren't really the grinding type. I'm just trying to get a feel for what is typical here beyond what I have experienced.

Keep em' coming!

Bryan


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Hawke TayloreRe: LA editors...hourly or day rate?
by on Apr 3, 2009 at 5:35:11 am

I'm not sure how it is in CA. But here in Tucson, AZ We do both. depending on the job. and don't worry we all get those looks too when we say "day Rate" some people look like they have just smelled something funny. Video Production here is $125.00 hr and 400 half day and 800 - 950 full day. unless we work with our compeditors then it goes between 200/half and 400/full. pretty wimpy huh?

Hawke Taylore
http://www.TayloreStudios.com
http://www.AudioVisualConsortium.com


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grinner hesterRe: LA editors...hourly or day rate?
by on Mar 31, 2009 at 2:51:26 pm

LA knows rates as much as NY does. It's just programmed to milk and insult far before greeting.
Stick to your hourly rate and your half day minimum. The norm does still exist it places that do more work than grinding. There really is not a norm for hourly rates, as you well know. It's whatever you can get while they try to pay what they can get away with.
I'd say 75 an hour is middle of the road as a 750 day rate is quite the norm there for series work.
People try to work ya for 2 hours here too. I only had an hourly minimum when hours were in large supply. Now, I just look at it as getting to go home early... but I'm in the armpit of the nation, not where it costs more than 2 hours of billing to get the car out of the garage.



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Mark SuszkoRe: LA editors...hourly or day rate?
by on Mar 31, 2009 at 5:45:54 pm

What Grinner the spook chaser says... if it was "normal" to only pay for two hours, your profit, if any, would be eaten up just on the commute and parking. If everybody on the West Coast goes by hourly rates, what's really happening is the smart businessman editor is setting that hourly at the equivalent of day rate for that much time anyhow. Anybody who doesn't work it like that is working for less than minimum wage/Craigslist wages. Nobody's fooling anyone, really, it's just a semantics game. If the hourly rates sound higher there, this is why. If you compared rates on an apples-to-apples (or avids-to avids) basis, they'd be close to identical, I'd wager.


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David Roth WeissRe: LA editors...hourly or day rate?
by on Mar 31, 2009 at 5:46:48 pm

Bryan,

While the cost of living here in L.A. is not cheap, and taxes are as high as anywhere in the nation too (especially now that the Governator has decided to pay off the state deficit by raping businesses), it's not what it costs to live in NYC for many, and that's reflected in pay rates.

I know plenty of editors in New York who own small companies, and I'm often blown away to hear what it costs them to rent their tiny little offices, and that's a big part of the difference that you're seeing in L.A. rates vs. what you're used to in New York.

We also have a larger industry here, with a much larger pool of freelancers for potential employers to choose from. So, employers can afford to be price conscious if they choose to be so, especially during tough times when lots of people are looking for work.

Freelance pay rates here have always tended to be linked closely to union rates for the same job, but without the benefits, of course, and straight time at union rates is not as high as many would imagine. I haven't checked the union rate book lately, but it would be interesting to see what the hourly rate is these days. Anyone know???




David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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John DavidsonRe: LA editors...hourly or day rate?
by on Mar 31, 2009 at 6:33:50 pm

For promo editors -
abc cable would start you out at $400/day or $50 hr and might consider raising that to $60 right before the bank reposesses the trailer you'd have to live in. abc might pay a little more. I've heard of CW paying $800/day, but that was for a predator with no producer. $500-$550 a day would be feasible at post houses or production houses. Fox and it's cable networks might pay $600 if you're a rock star. Half-day minimum is standard, so I don't know where you're working - but I would find new clients ASAP. I've never heard of any editor getting $750 per day to edit promos. I've heard of them trying, but they usually end up pricing themselves out of work.

John
Magic Feather Inc.


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Bill DewaldRe: LA editors...hourly or day rate?
by on Mar 31, 2009 at 8:49:35 pm

I've got a friend making $450 a week in LA, cutting first run syndie stuff.

A week.

They've got lots of editors.


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Bob ZelinRe: LA editors...hourly or day rate?
by on Mar 31, 2009 at 11:46:19 pm

$450 a week in LA ? I guess mommy and daddy pay their rent, pay for their clothes, pay their school loan, pay their medical bills, pay for their car, pay for their auto insurance.

$450 a week, and living in LA sounds like the kids on "The Hills" driving their Mercedes, and working as receptionists, or interns.

My first job in TV was in 1978, and I knew nothing, and my salary was $368. So 31 years later, an "editor" makes $82 more than I did knowing nothing in 1978 ?

Bob Zelin




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Dan AsselinRe: LA editors...hourly or day rate?
by on Apr 1, 2009 at 2:08:02 pm

I don't know Bob. When I started in Tv, in 1978 as well, I was making 125$ a week out in "The Boonies" where a livable apartment could be had for 200$ a month all in.

Now kids starting out mostly make 0$ as unpaid interns (slaves)so I'm not sure you should be surprised by the wages now relative to where you started.



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grinner hesterRe: LA editors...hourly or day rate?
by on Apr 1, 2009 at 2:48:34 pm

How the heck did you land such a high payin first gig, Bob!?
My first salaried position was far less than minimum wage after the hours and I brought home a cool $270/week. I had to beat the gold diggers away with a tree branch.
Just goes to show ya, people will pay for an Einstein hairdoo.



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walter biscardiRe: LA editors...hourly or day rate?
by on Apr 1, 2009 at 2:59:34 pm

[grinner hester] "How the heck did you land such a high payin first gig, Bob!?
My first salaried position was far less than minimum wage after the hours and I brought home a cool $270/week. "


My first gig was CNN at a whopping $15,000/year. And I had plenty of spending money at the time. Not sure how we did it.....



Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

Read my Blog!

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR Apple Color Training DVD available now!


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grinner hesterRe: LA editors...hourly or day rate?
by on Apr 1, 2009 at 3:06:20 pm

My first paying job was by the hour and minimum wage was 3.35 per hour at that time. No raises were ever given at ther local affilates in Lubbock Texas. None. Noting the night time director raked in the most cash because he'd been there for decades, his 6 bucks an hour was not much of a arrot for me so I moved up to that salaried position I told ya about. 18k a year devided by 80 hour weeks, brother...
at least I didn't have time to spend money.
lol
ahhh the good ole daze. When artists made art because they were artists, not because they were dumb enough to believe the tv shows that showed vidiots makin cizash.
When I hear a youngan ask "how much money can I make in video?" I think "skys da limit but you aint gonna make any at this." If passion is the motivator, the bills will simply be paid. If money is the motivator, they make neck-ties so people can pretend to like their jobs in trade for currency.



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John DavidsonRe: LA editors...hourly or day rate?
by on Apr 1, 2009 at 6:22:15 pm

According to Uncle Ted Turner's autobiography, vj's were dealing coke in the 80's to pay the bills. By the time I was there in '96-97, they had downgraded to harmless marijuana. At that point they were paying us 20k instead of 15k, so perhaps that extra 5k bought us a tad bit more integrity!

Remember how they'd give a 3 or 4% raise and then say "Don't tell anybody, but we like you and were able to pull some strings for you". My response was "4 percent of zero still doesn't add up to much, Joe...".

That said, looking back, it was still one of the most fun times of my life.


John
Magic Feather Inc.


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walter biscardiRe: LA editors...hourly or day rate?
by on Apr 1, 2009 at 6:24:36 pm

[John Davidson] "That said, looking back, it was still one of the most fun times of my life. "

As Patrick Greenlaw once told me during a commercial break, "This is the best paid graduate school in the world."



Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Biscardi Creative Media
HD and SD Production for Broadcast and Independent Productions.

Read my Blog!

STOP STARING AND START GRADING WITH APPLE COLOR Apple Color Training DVD available now!


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grinner hesterRe: LA editors...hourly or day rate?
by on Apr 1, 2009 at 2:59:44 pm

Editors in LA don't make 450 a week... interns do. While there are lots of editors in LA, there is lots of work too. As stated earlier, $750/day is the middle of the road norm there. Some demand more, some settle for less. Nobody will get in the red to go to work though.




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Bill DewaldRe: LA editors...hourly or day rate?
by on Apr 1, 2009 at 3:57:32 pm

Yep, the shows are basically cut by interns.



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Bryan KeithRe: LA editors...hourly or day rate?
by on Apr 1, 2009 at 5:09:07 pm

John,

That seems like an accurate range from what I've been seeing so far.


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