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What can be done about VER.  They throw audio packages at my clients for nothing. I don't know how anyone could pay off a new package these days. One Day week - $995 for 8 channel package, hops ... everything. They obviously have no conscience.

If I can't make a deal with my package I have to spend HOURS in their "audio department" making sure all the parts are there and work, then go through the maddening "checkout" process. The client never understands that the day they have to pay me to get the audio package from VER added to the cost of VER package is sometimes more than I am asking for my package!

What can be done!

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Simple.  Don't work without your gear.  Period.  Avoid the risk of equipment failure or lack of that YOUR reputation will suffer from.  Avoid working harder or not optimal as you would with your custom built package and ergonomics, etc.   One job isn't worth your reputation, which is all this industry judges you on.  

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7 hours ago, Mixer1 said:

They obviously have no conscience.

the rental prices are subsidized and/or offset by the other business they do.

if you get requests via email to do work with any rental house's equipment (other than extra equipment you are budgeting and billing for) that you send a well prepared response that you can copy and paste into any email reply (strong bullet points) that states the very good reasons you will only work with your own equipment.

it will save time/money rather than getting into a back and forth about it. if they want to argue about it say goodbye to them. and learn to live without them and their jobs.

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I don't think this is a immediate threat to our well being, but... beware...

Dispose of that client for your own well being... IMHO, none of it is worth it...  One day week for $995... ?  Everyone in our industry should turn their back on them..

In a race to the race to the bottom, these A*&^%$es are in a really fast vehicle... 

And with all this going on we're supposed to spend like crazy on new gear with all the "do dads" and try to recoup through actually charging for the gear ..... Insanity...

How long under this "model of business" are any of us to remain IN business?  Think about that while agreeing to do this type of job, with this type of client, that CAN systematically destroy our business over time, how long who knows..

Remember, were still in control for now, but your keen decisions will in the end doom us, or, allow us to remain a part of the filming community.  

Everyone must consider the long term ramifications of this for us all... not just the short term money grab.

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Don't give them any referrals to call either.  I usually say, i can not recommend anybody "competent" to the job.  

Mixers own gear.  we bring more than what any rate card would detail- extra units not used, backup gear, gear the client has not even thought of, a sizable vehicle to transport,  .......    Everything is already discounted.   I stay away for arguments that my gear is "Better"- falls on deaf ears.  

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In my experience, audio packages are loss-leaders for rental companies.  They make their real money on all the accessories, lenses, support, and especially monitoring gear they rent, and there has been a long tradition of audio packages being a "gimme" for a certain sort of producer.   Particularly for producers that come out of broadcast, the value of the audio gear is sort of never taken into account--the mind set was made back when the package was just a Shure mixer, a shotgun and a camera snake cable.  Attempts at re-education are admirable but likely futile.  My own union local (not LA) is kind of biased against members owning gear--so they passively collude in the labor-without-gear deals.  I've been lucky in getting away with either weaseling a deal out of the producers for my stuff or walking away.  The two folks who really took me into the local sound business (David Dobkin and Kris Samuelson, blessings on them both) really beat me over the head with the notion that our labor was not available separate from the gear.  They had spent many years getting this concept across in our town and wanted to be sure that newbs like me carried it on, because they knew from experience that for location sound people, given the uncertainty and frequent employment gaps typical of our business, there was no other way to make it.   For me, they were right about this and now 36 years after that meeting I thank them every day.

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Im going to weigh in. this is a big threat.
I feel, it is IMPERATIVE, to communicate that, if prod INSISTS, they get their gear from a rental house like this, which is their prerogative, and if you cant turn down the opportunity for whatever reason, that a full days labour be charged for pickup AND a day for return. Totally fair and explainable, and makes the giveaway rates less attractive. We really need to stick together on this one, and self discipline so to speak. My two heavy cents.

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I make it standard practice to only work with my equipment, and like it is mentioned above, I have a pre written response as to why. 

Every single time I have gone out in the field with someone else's gear, there have been problems, and I get the blame, so it's not worth it to me to spend a frustrating day working with their gear and get blamed for their problems for a client too cheap to do business on the up and up. 

Just say no. 

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On 12/28/2016 at 10:38 AM, fieldmixer said:

.... that a full days labour be charged for pickup AND a day for return. Totally fair and explainable, and makes the giveaway rates less attractive. We really need to stick together on this one, and self discipline so to speak. My two heavy cents.

I tried that approach once negotiating with a reality show that was shooting here in town.  I wanted to get paid for my prep time , but the producer figured at that point it was easier to get someone else. And they did.The crazy thing is that I had worked for them 6 mos. previously with my gear and no issues and everybody was happy. So loyalty didn't mean a whole lot. It was about the money. Competition is a normal part of the business and a big rental company will push the little guys out of the way. But the little guys are the ones who actually operate the gear- so stick together little guys!

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I had an interesting situation a while back on a corporate job. Client wouldn't take my kit, nor pay me for a prep day. They told me the kit was coming with the camera package at an 'unbelieveable' rate. Needless to say the kit was awful, and though we lost no time, and the audio recorded was just fine, the producers were very aware that I was struggling to achieve this. When I sent in my invoice to the client, I also emailed a list of all the faults I found in the rental house's sound kit (it was quite a long list), and how that had affected my day at work. I copied in the rental house to the email. I then had the pleasure of watching the client trying to NOT pay for the sound kit, but the rental house saying that they couldn't knock any money of the kit rate as they hadn't really charged anything for the kit. I resisted the urge to point out about peanuts and monkeys.

I have since been booked to work for the production company with my kit, at my price!!!! I have no desire or intention to work with the rental house kit ever again ;-)

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I have a "work with my equipment only" policy.  It's been over three years since I worked a day without my own equipment (boom op days as an exception of course).

The last time I worked with productions gear, they wouldn't pay me a labor rate for checkout so a PA picked it up.  They sent all the wireless units without antennas...  Never again.

I've found that if I calmly explain that due to the careless use of rental house equipment I can not guarantee the functionality of said equipment, and therefore will not be responsible for it, it only makes sense for me to work with my equipment.  Also, I paid tens of thousands of dollars for it, and it's about 1/3 of my total day rate, and I'm vastly more efficient working with it, etc.

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I gave up on trying to sell producers who want to work this way on using my gear because the shoot would go better, sound better, be less failure prone etc.  At the point where I'm called that battle has already been lost--they believe they know what they are doing and it has probably been working for them so far.  So my beg-off with them is that just like they have an investment in their gear (or their rental contract) I have an investment in my stuff, which, like them, I need to work to pay off and justify the expense.  Sorry!  (And no, I don't have any names of soundies that will work without their own gear to pass on to you!)

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