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Rate for a multiple day shoot away from home?

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Jean-Fran├žois Robichaud
Rate for a multiple day shoot away from home?
on May 17, 2012 at 9:14:32 pm

So I charge a specific day rate for shooting corporate videos for various production companies (mostly interviews + visuals). The rate includes both my personal fee and the cost for my equipment.

A producer/client offered me to go on a multiple day shoot away from my hometown. I'd be taking the plane on a Monday afternoon, shooting Tuesday/Wednesday, then returning Thursday afternoon. I will be going there with the producer/director, who will be paying for all expenses (plane, hotel and meals). Though I've worked with this producer multiple times in the past, this is the first time he hires me for an out of town job, so I'm not sure what is a fair price for the whole package.

How much should I charge for travel days? Is full rate excessive?

What can I reasonably add to my daily shooting rate, considering I'll be away from home/office and won't be able to work on anything else while I'm there? Even after a day of shooting, I usually do some post-production work in the evening, but that won't be possible in the field. I can't really request a perdiem, as I won't have any expenses, so what makes sense?

This is a good client, so I don't want to overcharge, I just want to get a fair pay.

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Gregg Jamback
Re: Rate for a multiple day shoot away from home?
on May 17, 2012 at 9:28:54 pm

Back in the day when I actually got to travel - it doesn't happen much for me anymore. We'd charge a 1/2 day rate for the travel day and our day rate plus any overtime for the shoot days. I, personally, don't think it's right to charge your client for the work you can't do while you are on the road. When I've had situations like that I pack up the laptop and hard drives and am working while my client is at the bar.

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Rich Rubasch
Re: Rate for a multiple day shoot away from home?
on May 18, 2012 at 4:01:14 pm

We will do half day rate for travel days only if it is truly a half day. Getting on the plane at 6:00am then getting to the hotel only to go out and scout for the rest of the day (a full 10 hours) is not a hlaf day rate.

And if you travel out on the last day in the morning and get back mid/early afternoon and only travel that is also a half day...but if you go and shoot some morning broll on that last day and travel in the afternoon getting home after dinner (another 10 hours) that is a full day.

Double check what's happening on the travel days and what time you actually travel.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage

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Jim Lillis
Re: Rate for a multiple day shoot away from home?
on Jun 12, 2012 at 3:31:41 am

Probably the best reply to date.

For many years I ran 4 annual trips to the west coast for production, and those trips landed me out of touch for about 1 month at a time. To say the least, my days were 3x longer than my clients.

Rule #1 for me, never (did I say that clearly enough) NEVER conduct outside business while working on the production site.
Rule #2 for me, never (did I say this loud enough) NEVER break rule #1.

I've had many a deal made while on breaks, evening, early morning though. And, I might say, some rather substantial multi-cam shoots sealed by a phone call while out on location.

Unless a client is willing to post costs to you for your away time, give your best shot to the client while on site, and once business is done for the day on the set, conduct your business for tomorrow.

Day rate on site, (every day) 1.5x rate for Sundays & Holidays.. (never NEVER mingle social time while on site)
1/2 Day rate for travel time.

Any / All ad-ons become the financial responsibility of the client.

Hope you stick to your business decisions.

If it moves . . . Shoot it!

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Jonathan Ziegler
Re: ate for a multiple day shoot away from home?
on May 18, 2012 at 4:29:06 pm

Charge your regular day rate plus expenses for being gone - phone charges, per diem, etc. I think you should consider work that isn't getting done with other clients because this client is asking you to set everything aside to work on his project. I would charge a premium for that. In town, I charge a day rate, but for a whole day on a single client project because it's a rush, I charge 2-3x more a day and more if they don't cover travel, food, lodging, etc.

I'm putting aside my entire business to focus on their project. Always assume you will need to negotiate down and you can't go back up. Start high and plan to come down. Start at say $1500 a day plus expenses and negotiate down from there. Who knows, they could say yes.

Jonathan Ziegler

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Mark Suszko
Re: ate for a multiple day shoot away from home?
on May 21, 2012 at 4:02:33 pm

The common thread here is "opportunity cost": how much business or potential business you are leaving behind to devote yourself full-time to this one gig.

If the client is covering travel, meals, and hotel, I'm inclined to reduce the day rate for the non-work travel to about half. If I am expected to handle all my own travel, hotel, and meal expenses, not only am I going to charge full day rate, but expenses over and above as well.

Don't ever work for free unless you've decided to do charity work. Traveling for the client's business is also work; the US Fair Labor Standards Act of 1961 declares it so, and the US Supreme Court affirmed it in many percedent-setting cases. In one of the cases, coal miners who had to spend 90 minutes just travelling the elevators and rail cars to the working face of their mine were not getting paid for that time, until the USSC declared that getting to the job *is* part of the job and has to be compensated.

I think this is one of the reasons the business is kind of standardized on the concept of charging for "portal-to-portal". Meaning, you're on the clock as soon as you set off to get to the client's door.

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Mike Cohen
Re: ate for a multiple day shoot away from home?
on Jun 7, 2012 at 2:37:16 pm

Simple answer - charge enough to cover your costs.
Some clients will want an itemized list of charges, others just need a price for the job.

When hiring a crew, I'd rather see $20,000 for the shoot (including travel and lodging) rather than $10,000 for the shoot, $3,000 for the flight, $1,500 for hotel, $2,200 for meals, $1,100 for rental car, etc.

In other words, your day rate is for local work, but for non-local shooting you set a price that covers your whole package (gear, personnel, travel).


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