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Bob K

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About Bob K

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  • Location
    Minneapolis
  • Interested in Sound for Picture
    Yes
  • About
    Location sound mixer

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  1. Deal Memo after the shoot

    Update: I stood my ground, declined to sign the deal memo, and got paid in full within 30 days. After repeated reminders to sign the deal memo including the "supersedes all prior and contemporaneous written or oral agreements and understandings" clause, and statements that my invoice could not be processed without it, I sent the following: "I hope you understand that you have entered into a legal contract with me. That contract is contained in our email chain beginning ***. It includes the specific services and equipment to be provided, and the specific charges, and obligates *** to pay my invoice in full within 30 days. Payment of $*** is due by ***." Several days later I received a check, dated the same day as my email. I see a couple of possibilities. Either someone "upstairs" decided the email contract was valid and needed to be paid (overriding the associate producer who was still insisting on the deal memo), or Accounting paid the invoice routinely without knowing about the unsigned deal memo. Either way, it's a relief. I treated my self to a nice bottle of wine that evening.
  2. Deal Memo after the shoot

    But, the deal memo only reflects the charges we agreed upon, not anything about the services and equipment that we agreed upon. Those specifics are replaced by the generic phrase "the usual and customary services required of a person employed in the position." The specifics of our agreement are my only defense against an angry producer who disputed what I was "hired to do." Wandering Ear, there are many apps for smartphones that automatically record calls. Some phones are sold with them pre-installed. For landlines I manually trigger a recorder. JK Audio makes professional gear. Their QuickTap is a simple way to connect.
  3. Deal Memo after the shoot

    Jim, yes I have both the recorded phone call and the email chain. The gig—standard corporate PR—and services, gear and charges were discussed in the phone call. I was booked, and I reiterated the specifics of our verbal agreement, in a subsequent email chain. The company rep agreed to all, including paying my invoice within 30 days. Yes, I am aware that about 10 states have "two-party consent" telephone recording laws, not including MN and NY. I'm not sure what the practical effects of those laws may be. I don't think, for example, companies can hide behind two-party consent laws to commit fraud. I started recording all business calls three years ago after a client falsely claimed that my 10-hr day rate was a flat rate, and I had no record of our verbal agreement. $1,400 in OT over four days, gone. I just tried Googling "smartphones that record calls" and came up with 15 million hits. Getting back to the Deal Memo, I'm not sure if signing it—after the date of the shoot—could legally commit me to anything on the day of the shoot? It wouldn't seem so. But, then I don't know how the HelloSign e doc works, and if its date can be changed without my knowledge to the shoot date. I'm not even sure if I normally retain a copy of it. I still haven't decided which way to go. It's troubling that the same person with whom I made the contract now says she will not honor it. She also says she will pay the invoice if I sign the new contract (which does not incorporate the details of the current contract, and in fact specifically supersedes it.) This would seem to fall under the old adage "Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me." On the other hand, could this whole situation be the result of systemic chaos and incompetence? Definitely. e.g. the deal memo shows my day rate as my "hourly rate," and specifies I worked 12 hours. If interpreted literally, I suppose it would obligate the company to pay me 12 times my day rate. And yes, it's a pain. I only agreed to one production day of work for the specific charge, not one production day and two more days of paperwork. I do have other commitments to attend to. All I want is to be paid as agreed. There's no chance I would ever accept work from this company again.
  4. Deal Memo after the shoot

    Thanks everybody, I really appreciate your thoughts. Philip, Jim, tourtelot and Wandering Ear, I've reread the contract and don't see any insurance or indemnification provisions except regarding any unpaid taxes. As to crossing out things, I already did that before I started this thread. It was a chore since it came as a HelloSign e document. I had to convert, print, cross things out—including the "supersedes all prior agreements" provision—type notes, scan and email. It came back as unacceptable. They want me to fill out and sign the HelloSign e doc as it is. It's good to hear consensus that verbal and email contracts are legal (and I did record the verbal conversation), but I understand that since I'm not a lawyer enforcement is another matter. (It's too bad we don't have some professional association to represent us in such things.) Phil, the copyright of the audio recordings idea seems like it could be useful leverage. No pay, I keep the copyright. They do seem anxious for me to sign this contract. One thing I noticed in rereading their deal memo is a provision that I can't disclose anything about it, or them. I guess I've already violated that. Also, I can't take photographs of the production. I took a couple with my smartphone. This all gets back to the whole idea that there was no mention of a deal memo or any of it's provisions before the shoot, or on the day of the shoot. This was first mentioned after they received my invoice. They then sent it by email and noted that when we wrapped the shoot I left without signing the deal memo (which they had never once mentioned). Now they insist I sign a contract specifying what I will and will not do on the shoot, after the shoot has already happened. I don't have a time machine. By the way, on the shoot there was some disagreement about what "I was hired to do." The producer went ballistic when I politely said I knew what I was hired to do because I had recorded and reviewed the phone call (which she was not part of). She accused me of committing a "felony" by recording my own phone call. So this is a concern. I'm worried the verbal agreement may go out the window if I sign a contract which "supersedes all prior agreements," and even though the deal memo has no specifics and only talks about "the usual and customary services required of a person employed in the position," they could invent a reason to not pay. I'll think this over some more.
  5. Deal Memo after the shoot

    I'm concerned because the deal memo's legalese is often vague and subject to interpretation, and it invalidates our previous agreement. It "supersedes all prior agreements." I'm told that language is "standard contract language and needs to remain in ... or this contract is fully void." Yet the only contract we have is the one we made when they booked me. There was no mention of a deal memo until after they received my invoice (which was for the exact amount agreed upon). I'm now told it's "customary" for freelancers to sign a deal memo after the shoot. That makes no sense.
  6. Deal Memo after the shoot

    Thanks. It's a NYC production company.
  7. Anyone been required to sign a deal memo after the shoot? I did a one-day corporate shoot based on a simple agreement reached in a phone call and subsequent email: day rate, call to wrap, gear rental, OT rate, parking reimbursement. After I sent an invoice I was told to sign a 7-page Deal Memo heavy in legalese that "supersedes all prior agreements." Here in the hinterland I rarely see a deal memo at all. What are your thoughts? A deal memo is a contract. When do you normally see it?
  8. Sennheiser AVX (with sound clips)

    ninjafreddan: "my solution has been to use a hirose to USB connection and then power it via a USB connection." Do you mean to say you're taking power from the camera's 12V hirose output and connecting it to the 3.7V receivers? If so, is that a custom cable?
  9. Arri Amira

    But, I mix to peak at the nominal level. (Doesn't everyone?) If I reduce the nominal level from 0dB ("the highest signal a circuit can handle") to -20dB, I've effectively reduced the dynamic range of the recording by 20dB. Another consideration is post production. If the level of the audio files is too low they have to crank gain all the way, adding noise (depending on the quality of their preamps). So, to me, setting the nominal level lower than necessary is a double whammy: less dynamic range and degraded S/N. Getting back to me original remarks, I still don't see what the issue is with line level feeding the Amira, why anyone is getting "crunch" if they are below 0dB (or +8dB according to the Arri engineer), and why Arri would have to send someone to the U.S. to fix anything.
  10. Arri Amira

    When I worked with an Amira I sent line-level tone from a 302 to the camera, and with the camera's gain knobs turned all the way down the meters showed -9dB. (I have my peak limiter set at +4dB, so any spike would never go above -5dB on the camera.) I listened to a miced voice on the camera headphone output and it sounded great. Very clean. So, I don't get the concern about too little cushion. What am I missing? Also, the Arri engineers said the Amira "accepts levels up to +8dBu." If I'm understanding that correctly, clipping doesn't start until +8 on the Amira? In my case, that would give me 13dB of cushion. Why would I need to set camera level at -18db and lose another 9dB of dynamic range?
  11. Arri Amira

    If it's a Peter Engh camera-end, the 5-pin XLR works and it physically fits the Amira. The problem is the 90 degree 5-pin is at 12 o'clock, and covers the 3.5mm monitor jack. The Neutrik 3.5mm 90 degree plug won't fit underneath the XLR. But, the 5-pin XLR is easily rotated to 2 o'clock (no re-soldering).
  12. Jim, the first document you linked is the same as what I have, except mine begins with Section 1. Intoduction, and it has two appendixes as well. My document says it was published by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc., and "obtained by BNA May 13, 1994." I don't recognize the other document you linked. Bottom line, it appears the IRS recognizes that independent contractors working in the film and TV industry are legitimate. That contradicts what some people who posted here believe. It also appears that these guidelines are in effect across the country. Vasileios, thanks for linking the IATSE document. Looks like there's some good info about insurance there.
  13. Jim, the fight in Minnesota was between the IRS and production companies. Some of the companies and some freelancers (independent contractors) formed the Minnesota Film and Video Association to oppose the IRS. I still have some reports on the dispute written by association lawyers and accountants. Ultimately, the IRS published "Employment tax procedures: classification of workers within the television commercial production and professional video communication industries" in 1994. It's 18 pages. Then the MN tax agency adopted the new (or similar) rules. I didn't say the IRS applies different standards in different states. Someone else in this thread suggested that.
  14. Jan, remember too that FICA includes both Social Security and Medicare. The amount you pay in SS tax over your working lifetime determines the amount of your SS monthly benefit when you retire. So, don't minimize too much if you are healthy and expect to live a long time. By no means have I figured out how to maximize value. Somewhere there's probably a spreadsheet where you can plug in all the variables and know what's best as you proceed through your working life.
  15. Day 1 of the reality shoot went OK. Everybody got a COI, thanks to you all! Thanks Jan, that's a reasurance. And, while I'm bound by a NDA to not say anything specific, yes the gear was at extra risk. Christopher, I'm sure you mean the FICA tax (15.3%). Employers pay half of it for their employees (7.65%). So, yes, if you're self employed you pay all 15.3%. But regarding income tax, the tax rates are the same for wages and business income. And as I mentioned earlier, independent contractors get a break on income tax beacuse we only pay tax on profits (income minus expenses). So we deduct the cost of equipment purchases, repairs, supplies, insurance, advertising, etc. Mike, you're right. There are many types of contractors, and many conventions as to how they operate. I'm glad to know that in our industry the producer provides the insurance. Oh, and I believe the 72-hr deductable is acturally more insurance coverage, and extra protection should a catastrophic loss put me out of business for more than 72 hours.
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