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Fair Compensation Question

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Sam Lesante Jr.Fair Compensation Question
by on Oct 15, 2010 at 1:20:57 pm

Hey fellow cows,

I read through some earlier posts about this but wanted to get your opinion on my specific question.

So I have the opportunity to do some freelance work over the course of 3 weekends.

I have worked this particular show before but i have not worked with this prod. co. before.

I believe my job will be to either run a handheld camera and/or a camera on a tripod shooting marching bands or anything ranging from control room work to handing out dvd's at the selling booth.

Here's the offer:

Day 1: 10am - ? for setup paying $75

Day 2: 8am - 10pm paying $300

Day 3: 8am - 10pm paying $100

offering $.20 on the mile for transportaion
I am 88 miles away which is roughly $17.60

Since I don't know how long setup is I might be staying over 2 nights.

They provide food and lodging.

I am on the fence with this one. I am 35 and have been doing this since '97. I have gotten paid much more for less hours in previous productions of this kind. This is like 3 days of my time plus subtract $40 for gas money. Is it me, or does something not add up?

What do you guys think?

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Mike CohenRe: Fair Compensation Question
by on Oct 15, 2010 at 2:00:09 pm

[Sam Lesante Jr.] "Is it me, or does something not add up?"

You answered your own question. There are two adages to always keep in mind:

If it sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true.

If it sounds like something is not quite right, someting is not quote right.

Was this job offer on Craigslist? Because these are Craigslist rates.

Is your local Subway not hiring?

If you need the money to avoid foreclosure, certainly take whatever job pays you some bread.

Mike Cohen

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Mark SuszkoRe: Fair Compensation Question
by on Oct 15, 2010 at 2:46:07 pm

Day 2 seems to pay $25 an hour. Day three looks identical but pays...minimum wage?????

There is also a difference in level of responsibility and thus pay between running a third camera and directing three cameras.

If I was a single guy with nothing else going on and I liked the people or the gig was something I'd pay to go see... then maybe I'd go for it, but yeah, these rates add up to too low a rate for someone of your age and (inferring here) experience level. Particulalrly if this is more than camera operator and grip work. Not dissing camera operators, but whatever you do, you should know and stick to your day rate unless there are extenuating circumstances. And Directors can and should claim a higher day rate than camera ops, unless the camera op has "ASC" after their name.

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Gary HazenRe: Fair Compensation Question
by on Oct 15, 2010 at 3:45:56 pm

I would simplify the process. Tell them that your day rate is X dollars / 10 hour day + OT. And that it doesn't matter if you're setting up, shooting, striking or selling lemonade at a stand - the price is the same. It doesn't matter the day of the week is a Friday, Saturday or Sunday - the price is the same. If they want to negotiate and you're willing to, then work with them on the overtime rate. If they say no deal they'll only pay what they originally offered then count your blessings and walk away. A 14 hour day for a hundred bucks? No thanks.

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Sam Lesante Jr.Re: Fair Compensation Question
by on Oct 15, 2010 at 6:08:07 pm

Thanks for all of your input.

I know "times are tough" and maybe I should be grateful that I have the gig, but on the other hand I'm not pinching pennies. I have my own company to take care of and this was just "gravy" so to speak.

I will try to get more info as to my specific job.

Thanks again and I will remember the adages :)

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Cory PetkovsekRe: Fair Compensation Question
by on Oct 16, 2010 at 5:23:30 am

Is this the full ad? Day 2 and Day 3 for the same hours but different rates makes me think you "paraphrased" it for us.

Anyway, I see you're in Penn. I don't know what it's like there, but in CA if you're not interested in general work for low rates, there's 10 more people with zero to a lot of experience willing to do it.

I mean it's not like this is a big budget feature; a small production with general work. The questions should be, do you have anything else going on and do you want the money?


Cory Petkovsek
Corporate Video

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Bob ZelinRe: Fair Compensation Question
by on Oct 17, 2010 at 6:34:35 pm

If you are 35 and are willing to get paid $7.14 per hour (no overtime) for a 14 hour day - well, is there a single person on these forums that doesn't deserve more than $7.14 per hour ? This is a job for a kid with no experience, or a fool.

Bob Zelin

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Steve KownackiRe: Fair Compensation Question
by on Oct 18, 2010 at 9:54:42 am

Don't forget to take out 35% for taxes and some more for insurance and the travel time (not just mileage) and the time reading this thread...


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Rick TurnersRe: Fair Compensation Question
by on Oct 18, 2010 at 7:08:25 am

They are probably paying you less because 300 people with flips will be putting the marching band on youtube anyway, which would explain why they have less to pay.

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Sam Lesante Jr.Re: Fair Compensation Question
by on Oct 18, 2010 at 2:59:44 pm

I agree...this is a job for a kid right out of college. In fact when I first started doing this same gig in '97 with a different prod. crew, the rate was still higher.

To answer Cory, the total pay for a 3 day gig would be $475. So to me, it does not make sense for me to spend 3 full days, a 3 hr drive time and a tank of gas for the price.

Like I said before, I am doing ok in my real job, this was just gravy to me. But I wanted some other opinions so I didn't think I was the only one who thought this way.

Thanks again.

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Mark StuartRe: Fair Compensation Question
by on Oct 20, 2010 at 2:56:12 pm

If it were me, it would be a matter of what else could I do with this time? From what I read here, sounds like you could make better, and more profitable use of it, and let the craiglisters find their own!

There also is the aspect of would you want to do it for other than profit reasons? For me, this is things like weddings for friends. I'd go to the wedding anyway, and this provides a nice present and I have fun doing it.

I also think there's too many people cheapening our craft out there already.

Good luck,


Art is completely subjective. It's up to the viewer to judge whether or not it has merit. -Ken Danby

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Sam Lesante Jr.Re: Fair Compensation Question
by on Oct 20, 2010 at 3:20:46 pm

Hey Mark,

I agree. I declined the offer for the rate. I did ask him for another rate but he declined.

At this point in my life, I have worked too hard at my craft to have it cheapened like that.

Thanks again...


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Sacha ThomasRe: Fair Compensation Question
by on Nov 10, 2010 at 9:44:39 pm

here is what occurs to me...the mileage alone is a red flag.

That is less than half of the IRS mileage rate, which is used as the standard by most reputable companies. See link:,,id=156624,00.html

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