185 posts in this topic

You might try expanding your market into OC where there is a lot of corporate work, and LA where there is every kind of work. SD has many great attributes, but it might be a small town production sound wise.

CrewC

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22 hours ago, enjoyfebruary said:

Here's what I'll do. In an effort to possibly mend this situation and because I do care about being a part of this community; I'll set my new official rate at $600 and i'll report back in six to eight months. Satisfactory?

AND here is the link to the updated rate sheet.

https://1drv.ms/b/s!AnwhCYaWihjpobNLJ3gQHFl5oXRTEw

Your B Kit is an 8 track recorder, not 4 :-)

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11 minutes ago, IronFilm said:

Your B Kit is an 8 track recorder, not 4 :-)

It's the F4 so technically it has six inputs, but I don't see myself ever using the weird proprietary Zoom mics on 5/6. ;) 

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Tracks and inputs is not the same thing ;-)

And you can use the camera return to access 5/6 if you do not want to use the proprietary Zoom accessory. Although I puchased that accessory before I realised it. But it does not matter, as it is very cheap to buy.

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On 2/23/2017 at 10:38 PM, enjoyfebruary said:

Here's what I'll do. In an effort to possibly mend this situation and because I do care about being a part of this community; I'll set my new official rate at $600 and i'll report back in six to eight months. Satisfactory?

AND here is the link to the updated rate sheet.

https://1drv.ms/b/s!AnwhCYaWihjpobNLJ3gQHFl5oXRTEw

When I worked in SD not long ago, I made more than that, not including gear.  I know of others who have done equally well in that market.

Here's the deal, some people seem to think if they charge a low rate they'll get lots of work and their clients will appreciate them so much they'll then pay more.  Both are erroneous assumptions.

There is a psychological effect that people tend to value things by how much they cost.  Low ball producers will work you harder, treat you worse, and then pounce on the next cut rate mixer who comes along.

Good producers want to hire experience they can count on, and expect to pay what that costs.  Typically, they treat their crews better than the low-ballers do, and are much more enjoyable and rewarding to work for.

If you're a low-baller, this is how you'll be known, and therefore determine the job offers available to you.  In my experience, a person whose rate is too high will attract more business than one whose rate is too low.  If your rate is too high, you can negotiate down if necessary, if your rate is too low, you won't be able to negotiate up -- nor be able to feed a family, nor work for the quality producers, nor get referrals from other mixers, nor sustain a career.

It's a choice between win-win or lose-lose. 

 

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On 2/24/2017 at 6:38 AM, enjoyfebruary said:

Here's what I'll do. In an effort to possibly mend this situation and because I do care about being a part of this community; I'll set my new official rate at $600 and i'll report back in six to eight months. Satisfactory?

AND here is the link to the updated rate sheet.

https://1drv.ms/b/s!AnwhCYaWihjpobNLJ3gQHFl5oXRTEw

If you want to do jobs that pay proper rates, then you have to be charging proper rates. So congratulations on taking a first step into becoming a professional.

Looking at your rate sheet (which looks a bit familiar ;-P haha), $600/12 is still low for my taste (I do $600/10 + OT after that), but I guess you have to start somewhere. Gear is definitely below market rates though. Look at what rental houses are charging for those kits. You ought to be around those same rates, considering that production would have to rent the gear from a rental house if not from an owner / operator such as yourself.

I bill $300/day for a multi-track recorder, boom microphone kit and two wireless mics. I'll often throw in an XLR breakaway cable in there if it's a sit down interview type job, but will charge $25-50 for special breakaway cables for cameras with non-standard I/O (i.e. Red, Alexa, etc). You're billing $50/day for the same kit and $150 for a kit with 6 wireless. Each additional wireless mic should be at least $75/day, so you ought to be billing at least $600/day.

Here's my updated rate sheet reflecting current rates for labor and gear:
ratecard-2017-locationsound-noncommercial.pdf

Hope that helps.

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I wanted to chime in here as someone from Europe, specifically from Ireland. I'm glad to have stumbled across this topic as the ideal rates not only reflect equipment expense and experience, but also seems quite reflective of living expenses. I'm curious as to how that might factor into people's rates. Living costs in Ireland vary around the country but if you're living in a 1 or 2 bed in Dublin you're looking at €1500-€3000 pm. Here most of the standard tv work (lifestyle e.g.) I've been offered are around the €350 mark a day which includes basic kit to camera as a recordist. Probably shockingly low to figures those in the US are used to. And feel free to say if they're low balling but I've had camera men telling me I'm charging too high when I say my actual rate. For commercials I certainly charge more for the same package and the larger the production the more additional equipment is required, my rate goes up. 

 

With equipment, typically a high end wireless goes for about €50/e which probably sounds low as of the time of writing the exchange rate is terrible for us (€1=$1.05). I wonder what the approximate day rates are for other European markets. I've looked at APA and Bectu in the U.K. but I don't believe it's as simple as converting the sterling rate to euro, especially after Brexit and the crash of the pound.

As another note, particularly in relation to gear rental, a common point amongst guys that I know as well as production houses, rental costs tend to be anywhere between 3%-6% of the value of the equipment which I think is easier for others to convert for those not based in the US. Though it'd be interesting to see if that's a rough universal percentage.

Being in Ireland, I'm also wondering do US production companies expect to pay the same rates here as they do at at home? I certainly way undercharged in my naive formative years for commercial work with Landrover and others for example, it didn't take long before I knew I shot myself in the foot.

 

All feedback and criticisms welcome.

 

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yeah, I haven't seen many projects in europe where you get the wages of an US feature film production. In germany, rates for general TV productions are negotiated with the official tarif list:
https://filmunion.verdi.de/++file++56fd5d176f68440706000508/download/TV-FFS_2016-Endfassung-160331_web.pdf

so a sound mixer should get 1537EUR per week, the assistant 1121EUR.
that's for a 50hours where each day should be no more then 12h. up to 60h get a 25% surcharge and the ones over 60h are plus 50%. night work is also 25% extra, sundays 50% and national holidays 100%.

a lot of companies will try to pay less then that, or not pay any overtime (which nobody should agree on cos otherwise the days get really long really fast).

the union for sound also has a list, which also lists daily rates:
http://www.bvft.de/wordpress/?page_id=6777

there's quite a difference if you are "angestellt" (employed) or work "auf rechnung" (self-employed through invoices) since if you're employed that will also cover health insurance etc.

if you are self-employed, then rates are 400-492EUR per 10h day for a sound mixer depending on the budget of the production. 

 

for equipment, kortwich is a good reference to start with:
http://www.filmtontechnik.de/fileadmin/tontechnik/Mietpreisliste/PL-Kortwich_2017.pdf

so a lectro set with lav is 54EUR net atm.

usually I'd expect rental prices to be higher in places with higher living cost, but we had a shoot recently where rental for high-end camera gear in london was like a third lower then it is in Berlin, so that was odd.

chris

 

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Thanks for chiming in PJ. Sounds like the Irish Sound Contingent needs a Mixer Mixer to talk things through. A lot of regions have started to get together regularly in bars to share information: Atlanta, NYC, LA for sure.

I'm in IATSE Local 52 (our NYC union) and primarily do narrative work. Our rates are higher than the union contract hourly rates in Atlanta, but lower (I think) but close to LA's rates. Cost of living undoubtedly figured in during negotiations.

Does that €350 cover both labor and gear? If you've read this thread you know that SOP in the US and elsewhere is to separate those line items.

Sounds like you might benefit from a drink with the camera people with whom you work toward strategizing. "Let's figure out how can we together make more money?" would be a likely opening gambit. Is there someone else he'd use were you to suddenly go 'Diva' on him? Talk to those people.

My equipment rate is tightly tied to my market. At one point--after some awards--I asked for and got above-market rate for both labor and gear. So far--a few years--those higher rates have stuck. Having difficulty raising them from that but figured out some other cash flows into the department. I'll keep looking for more ways.

 

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Something we should all use in our rate-negotiating tool set is the matter of inflation-- just to keep what we've got at this point. I'll admit, this is a tricky one, as discussing this with a potential or existing client or other departments may come off sounding like whining. But, to get a sense of what I'm talking about, a depressing sense, go to the U.S. Dept. of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics Inflation Calculator website at https://www.bls.gov/data/inflation_calculator.htm

Before you go to the site, down a few cocktails, wait for them to kick in, then enter some of your past rates from years ago.

I just entered my average day rate I was making in 1995, doing this same work -- I know, I'm a dope for doing this for so long ; )   -- and the resulting rate I have to charge in 2017, just to keep pace with inflation since then, is $559.46. So, effectively, the daily premium, or raise, I now charge for 22 years of experience since 1995 is a whopping $40.54, at my labor rate of $600. Yes, the gear now adds $150+ per day, but I had an FP32 back then, 2 wireless, a 416 and some Trams-- I now have around 100K in gear that constantly needs repairs, upgrading, insuring, customizing, packing, unpacking, re-packing, constantly searching for where gear X, Y or Z has disappeared to... a much more stressful and complicated mess.

I have to do a lot of live shows now because that's where there's volume work, along with the stress-- there's no multiple-takes and 100% of the sound is heard by the audience-- everything has to work, always, on-time and mis-cues aren't an option. That's stress-- and we should be compensated for it. On those shows I do add a $100 labor premium.

See, didn't that sound like a bunch of whining? I'm just justifying why my rate is completely reasonable, since it's pretty much what I charged two decades ago. The fact that we increasingly find ourselves having to justify our reasonable rates is a drag. And, yes, I do like using italics.

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