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Isn't there a minimum wage law?

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David Roth Weiss
Isn't there a minimum wage law?
on Sep 19, 2009 at 4:48:15 pm

ShowBixExpo is coming to L.A. and trolling for staff who are willing to commit to a full day's work and a separate day for orientation, all for the grand sum of $50 total. Here's a sample from the ad on Craigslist:

WHEN:
Individuals must be able to work the entire day on Saturday October 17th (5:30am to 6:30pm) and must also be available for an orientation on either Wednesday October 14th or Thursday October 15th (6:30 PM – 9:30 PM on one of those evenings).

COMPENSATION:
Pay is $50 (orientation and the event). This is also a fantastic way to network and meet people in the industry.

Can anyone please explain how companies can get away with advertising jobs that pay less than minimum wage?

The complete ad is at the link below.

http://losangeles.craigslist.org/lac/tfr/1380874319.html

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, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Mike Cohen
Re: Isn't there a minimum wage law?
on Sep 19, 2009 at 5:03:27 pm

It seems that just like there are young people who feel entitled to a good salary without working hard, there are unscrupulous companies looking for cheap labor, knowing that there are likely people who consider $50 good money for a day.

Do you see a lot of this crap in LA?

Why don't you replay to the ad...might be a hoot.

That being said, Craigslist tends to have something for everyone - and I mean everyone.

Mike Cohen


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Rebecca Gillaspie
Re: Isn't there a minimum wage law?
on Sep 19, 2009 at 5:20:59 pm

Craigslist makes me mad! I just can't even grasp the concept of hiring people for nothing. I know I wouldn't be able to count on them.

I see a lot of people get away with things either by paying people under the table, or offering a "stipend" or what not.




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Brendan Coots
Re: Isn't there a minimum wage law?
on Sep 22, 2009 at 5:44:30 am

Whether you are trying to find employees, a house or a job, Craigslist is where the bottom feeders lurk. Every time I've ever run a "contractor needed" ad on CL, I get hundreds of responses from people that never even read the ad or are from india offering outsourcing services.

The gigs section is full of asshats who are looking to make their crap indie flick without paying a dime, yet have the brass to demand only the best talent for their no-pay/credit BS. Like anyone wants a credit on your Alan Smithee snoozer...

As far as I'm concerned, Craigslist is DEAD.

Brendan Coots

Splitvision Digital

http://www.splitvisiondigital.com


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grinner hester
Re: Isn't there a minimum wage law?
on Sep 19, 2009 at 8:03:53 pm

It's in trade for experience... like you and I happily started out.
We first paid a college to learn a little and then got paid a little to learn alot at our first gigs. It was awesome.
remember?




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Rebecca Gillaspie
Re: Isn't there a minimum wage law?
on Sep 19, 2009 at 10:02:27 pm

Sure if craigslist jobs were people that were taking the time to teach somebody something. Usually they're looking for cheap labor for menial work, OR they're looking for a young bright person to do their work for them (meaning they're not qualified to do it themselves and cant teach someone else).


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Isn't there a minimum wage law?
on Sep 19, 2009 at 10:11:45 pm

I think they are simply looking for slave labor. Let's face it, they aren't running their show for peanuts, so how can they get away with paying peanuts?

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, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Shane Ross
Re: Isn't there a minimum wage law?
on Sep 20, 2009 at 4:27:16 am

Well, paid interns sorta. We have two interns that work two days a week for 4 hours a day, for free. And we have an assistant that works for a pretty major TV show as an intern two days a week for 8 hours a day. All for the experience.

But that is at post and production houses...learning the trade. This is working a trade show. Where they claim you can "network." But who networks with the guy taking tickets?


Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Isn't there a minimum wage law?
on Sep 20, 2009 at 4:36:49 am

[Shane Ross] "Well, paid interns sorta. We have two interns that work two days a week for 4 hours a day, for free. And we have an assistant that works for a pretty major TV show as an intern two days a week for 8 hours a day. All for the experience. "

I think internships are great, but real internships are setup in conjunction with schools to give college course credits. If ShowBixExpo created honest internships for college credit I wouldn't have an issue.

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, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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walter biscardi
Re: Isn't there a minimum wage law?
on Sep 20, 2009 at 1:57:51 pm

[David Roth Weiss] "I think internships are great, but real internships are setup in conjunction with schools to give college course credits. If ShowBixExpo created honest internships for college credit I wouldn't have an issue. "

Yes and no. I've had multiple students come to me, both high school and college, who just wanted the experience for no pay. I made sure to set up the arrangements so I included some Final Cut Pro training on my own time as part of the deal.

I have talked to colleges in the area about offering internships for credit but only a few of those ever panned out. It's the students who took the initiative to contact me directly that have worked out the best including an incredible 16 year old who is now a Junior in High School. Worked with us most of the summer on a pretty heavy documentary and she did a great job.

But I don't think the non-school sanctioned internships are any less credible or "real" than school sanctioned so long as the intern actually get to do some work and doesn't just sweep the floors and do Starbucks runs. In my case, the interns log tapes, digitize, pull footage from the library and get one-on-one training time on Final Cut Pro / Color. They also get the opportunity to sit in on edits for PBS, NSF, NBC and others. They seem to enjoy it and they're getting some really good exposure in broadcast / feature Post.


Walter Biscardi, Jr.
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Credits include multiple Emmy, Telly, Aurora and Peabody Awards.
Owner, Biscardi Creative Media featuring HD Post

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Ron Lindeboom
Re: Isn't there a minimum wage law?
on Sep 20, 2009 at 2:43:33 pm

Like Walter, I have found that our most successful internships have "walked in the door" and not come from a school.

The only students we ever interned were there keeping the seat warm and were such a pathetic waste of time that I grew so tired of them that I dropped the program.

On the other hand, we once had a kid get hold of us wanting to learn about this industry and I think he was about 15 or so at the time. He was driven and we taught him motion graphics, compositing, desktop publishing, and the web. He was awesome.

So we eventually hired him.

His name is Abraham and he is now our perpetually self-educating technical director.

:o)

Ron Lindeboom


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Isn't there a minimum wage law?
on Sep 20, 2009 at 4:39:10 pm

Well, here in L.A.L.A. land the competition for good interns and internships is a little different than either Atlanta or Paso Robles, and much stricter labor laws now apply, as California cracked down on the "interns as slave labor" concept that had become pervasive throughout the industry here. In fact, unpaid internships are common all over, but for the most part are illegal. Here's a link to an artical on that very subject:

http://laborlaw.typepad.com/labor_and_employment_law_/2007/11/unpaid-intern....

In any case, no matter what the internship setup might be or how the interns arrive at your facility, I think you will bot agree, there are some interns that get it, and some interns that don't and never will.

Meanwhile, back to the initial subject. ShowBizExpo is requiring an unpaid initiation and a full day's work at less than minimum wage, with no mention whatsoever of an internship. As you have discussed before Ron, these types of shows and conventions charge big bucks to exhibitors, so how do they justify and get away with hiring workers at rates that are not in keeping with state and federal laws?

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, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Tim Wilson
Re: Isn't there a minimum wage law?
on Sep 20, 2009 at 8:47:00 pm

[David Roth Weiss] "how do they justify and get away with hiring workers at rates that are not in keeping with state and federal laws?"

Even if the "intern" should be paid, it's far from clear that they should be making minimum wage.

Not that you should trust everything you read on the internet -- least of all, a blog written by lawyers looking for clients -- but here's what the Department of Labor's website says on the matter:

"The [Fair Labor Standards] Act also permits the employment of certain individuals at wage rates below the statutory minimum wage under certificates issued by the Department of Labor:

* Student learners (vocational education students);

* Full‑time students in retail or service establishments, agriculture, or institutions of higher education; and

* Individuals whose earning or productive capacities for the work to be performed are impaired by physical or mental disabilities, including those related to age or injury."


So now that we've largely ruled out students and the less than fully able, who gets covered?

Generally speaking, hospital workers, teachers, and employees of companies engaged in interstate commerce. There are some jobs that get slipped in there (workers on large farms, fisherfolk, etc.), but these are the broad classes of workers who are covered.

Any of this sound like ShowBiz Expo? NO? Then no minimum wage requirements. And even if there were, no need to pay minimum wage to students or the less than fully able.

There are many jobs that DO pay minimum wage to exempt employees (like students in retail positions), to stay competitive...but in most situations they are not REQUIRED to. (And in most of those cases, minimum wage = maximum wage.)

Finally, there are circumstances under which employers making $500,000 or more are required to pay minimum wage.

If you've looked at ShowBiz Expo's website, you'll see that there's no way they can pull down anything like that. Most booths are $1400. Their biggest individual booth is $2500, FURNISHED, with lots of freebies thrown in (ad in the show guide, etc.) Those are the prices on the website -- how many people do you think will actually PAY that price?

With only 100 exhibitors last time, and free admission (although, a whopping $10 day of show), I'd be shocked if these guys pull in even a sizable fraction of $500K.

Now, all of that said, what about the post houses, including many of you reading this, who earn more than $500,000? Are THEY (or you, if applicable) required to pay workers minimum wage?

Almost certainly not. Why? Because who else is NOT entitled to FLSA protection? Professionals, administrators, skilled computer folks, outside sales -- no soup for you.

So, even if an employer is aboveboard on their use of the word "intern," they probably aren't required to pay minimum wage, or indeed, any wage at all.

There are lots of other nuances in the FLSA -- my favorite is, no overtime provisions for motion picture theater employees -- but I have this all at my fingertips because it comes up here all the time, and I can't think of a time that it has ever applied. I'm sure that someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but applicable jobs typically aren't the kind of thing you see posted here.

I haven't read the entire FLSA, but I'm not sure that there will ever be a position listed in the Cow job listings that is subject to minimum wage requirements.


Yr pal,
Timmy









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David Roth Weiss
Re: Isn't there a minimum wage law?
on Sep 20, 2009 at 9:11:58 pm

[Tim Wilson] "I haven't read the entire FLSA, but I'm not sure that there will ever be a position listed in the Cow job listings that is subject to minimum wage requirements. "

You have just inadvertently come up with a wonderful idea Tim. The Cow, in its infinite wisdom, as a vast forward-thinking "community of the world," should consider instituting a fairness policy regarding these matters in its job listings. Rather than everyone, myself included, griping every time we see ads promoting unjust hiring practices in the industry, why not do something about it ourselves in the hope that it might catch on elsewhere? Heck, it would be great Cow publicity...

Gosh, what a marvelous idea you had Tim.


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, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Tim Wilson
Re: Isn't there a minimum wage law?
on Sep 21, 2009 at 1:26:47 am

[David Roth Weiss] "should consider instituting a fairness policy regarding these matters in its job listings."

I'm not worked up about this or similar because this is the OPPOSITE of grinding. Grinders expect you to work for less than what they agreed to pay you, or expect to get far more than what they should for the agreed-upon price.

"Fair" is sticking to the deal. They say up front what the pay is, and I doubt that anybody is going to get stiffed for their $50.

In my "Starting in the mail room" post a few threads ago, I noted that many of us started in this industry working for nothing, or close to it. My point was that it's kind of hypocritical for us to pick on people who offer THE EXACT SAME JOBS that we took.

I remember getting paid $3.25/hr to be a disk jockey at a small radio station. I said - wow, I'd have paid YOU twice that to do this job.

In this particular case, we're not even talking about a job. It's 15 hours of rolling out carpets, stuffing brochures and telling people where the booths for "Royal Restroom of California" and "Smiles Teeth Whitening" are. These are actual exhibitors at that show. I'm teasing a little - some people need to find the best place to rent birds, and this seems like a great show for that.

For actual jobs in our field, that no/low pay stuff has always been around. It didn't erode much of anything when we took these jobs back then, and I don't think it is now. It's just more visible, and it feels more insidious because we're older, and times are tough.

'Twas ever thus, duckies. We were having these same conversations when times were better, and I know for a fact that there were people who hated my guts 30 years ago because I worked in radio for so little money.

The great thing about getting older, more educated, more creative, and more experienced -- and frankly, better looking -- is that I've developed so many more reasons for people to hate my guts.


Yr pal,
Timmy




Tim Wilson
Creative Cow Magazine!

My Blog: "Is this thing on? Oh it's on!"

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Rebecca Gillaspie
Re: Isn't there a minimum wage law?
on Sep 20, 2009 at 8:47:40 pm

Hahahaha. Just saw this on Craigslist -

You too can edit a feature for an award winning female director who's gonna give you lots of direction about how to edit her feature in 8 days (including digitizing!) for 550 bucks - paid via PAYPAL upon completion. Check it out!

Haleluja they're looking for a miracle!

Becca

Experienced Professional Editor Needed (Los Angeles)


Need an editor to edit a feature film about children sharing the gospel. Must be a wiz @ FCP and know how to edit fast. We like dissolves and child friendly transitions. Must be able to take direction from an award winning female director. Must be able to edit entire film, including the beginning and ending credits, color correction, placing the music on the film, and placing the sound from the sound designer down, beginning and ending credits and laying music for credits.

We edited our last feature film in 8 days, the same needs to be done for this one..Must be able to work efficiently along with the director. Film shot on 24p 16:9 anamorphic...We are looking for family friendly editors who have family friendly reels....do not submit or send us a reel which is not G or PG rated...thank you....Editor must be mobile and have a deck / 3 chip camera, laptop, hard drive and all equipment they need to properly edit film in a timely manner both in Orange County and La County....The majority of the time will be transferring the footage which is on eleven tapes and about ten hours of footage....this film will play on television next year as part of the Children's Family Film Series....Serious inquires only, must be able to start this week....Please include your phone number, a min of three references which we can check today, a link to your reel, type of equipment you have and your location - Orange County or La County. Must be able to transfer the edited footage back to mini dv tapes after editing is completed ( as we need a 24p version and a sd version). All editors must be able to sign a work for hire agreement and be paid through paypal after film is fully edited and transferred back to mini dv tapes and all footage given to director, Thank you very much for looking and responding to the posting.



* Location: Los Angeles
* it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
* Compensation: IMDB Credit, Film Credit, Copy, $550.00


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Bill Davis
Re: Isn't there a minimum wage law?
on Sep 21, 2009 at 9:26:23 am

Don't know why but I'm stuck on why they said $550 rather than a flat $500. Is the extra $50 supposed to make it a more "professional" offer. Sheesh.

Anyway, I'm shooting in San Diego next week and so posted a request for crew on another popular production oriented bullitin board and have been really surprised at the responses I got.

It's a single day shoot - and I was clear that I was happy to pay prevailing rates and wasn't asking anyone for any special discounts.

Along with the serious responses, I got three people that literally volunteered to drive from LA to SD and crew for the project for free - and two more who simply said I could pay them whatever I wanted.

I do think the economy and the expansion of the low end of the industry where anyone who can afford to buy a camcorder suddenly wants to work on any set they can just for experience is skewing the industry in odd ways.

There's never been more price pressure to go lowball - and never more people who are willing to participate in that kind of impossible to sustain economic system than right now.

Heaven help us.
___
Actually, its too bad having six extra unskilled people on a working set is more hassle than help . Cuz I was tempted to take a bunch of them up on the offer, knowing that then I wouldn't have to personally schlepp any cases or gear around all weekend! Tempting!




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Mark Suszko
Re: Isn't there a minimum wage law?
on Sep 21, 2009 at 2:49:03 pm

I've edited for over twenty years, what would you think a "family-friendly transition" is ? Does a "cut" sound too "dangerous"?

Toaster sheep wipe, maybe?:-)


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Rebecca Gillaspie
Re: Isn't there a minimum wage law?
on Sep 22, 2009 at 6:15:17 am

Bill Davis "Actually, its too bad having six extra unskilled people on a working set is more hassle than help."

Exactly why what's going on with all these posts is so rediculous. These people are actually trying really hard to save money. And she's basically going to throw away a few hundred bucks, plus waste time, and in the end it's going to cost her more. It's better to pay a competative rate. Or, if you go with a rookie, you better have all the time and patience in the world. Because those people only work out if you hold their hand. And on topic of the intern/volunteer thing. I think it's a fair trade off if you're going to invest a lot of time and act as a proper mentor. Those relationships can be mutually beneficial if you get a smart person that's up and coming and nurture them and teach them your tricks. They'll go above and beyond. And at some point you'll either have to pay them properly or they'll move on and be your competition.

Bottom line, is there's a price you pay for everything. Perhaps it's not such a bad thing that's happening. I have a theory that the idiots on both ends (the people looking for slave labor, and the ones looking for their big break) will burn each other out.


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Mike Cohen
Re: Isn't there a minimum wage law?
on Sep 21, 2009 at 3:04:27 pm

[Rebecca Gillaspie] "Editor must be mobile and have a deck / 3 chip camera, laptop, hard drive and all equipment they need to properly edit film in a timely manner both in Orange County and La County....The majority of the time will be transferring the footage which is on eleven tapes and about ten hours of footage"

So it seems you need a 3-chip camera in order to be an editor. Interesting.

And it appears the job is mostly digitizing.

People.

Mike Cohen


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Isn't there a minimum wage law?
on Sep 21, 2009 at 5:27:13 pm

[Rebecca Gillaspie] "Editor must be mobile... they need to properly edit film in a timely manner both in Orange County and La County...

Sounds to me like a whole lot of driving going on, and given the average freeway speed on the 405 fwy. is probably 25mph at rush hour, I wonder how timely this job will actually wind up being.

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, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Scott Carnegie
Re: Isn't there a minimum wage law?
on Sep 25, 2009 at 2:10:31 pm

If it's a mutually benefitical agreement (Expo gets cheap labour, person gets networking/business experience) then I don't see a problem. As for labour laws and minimum wage, I don't know if applies in cases like these since they are employees. It would depend on your state laws.

Many events rely on volunteers, this is like voluntering with a little bonus. :)


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