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I seem to have an increase in calls from producers calling me for half day of work- The call usually goes something like this- 'It's only a couple of sit down interviews shouldn't take more than 4 hours what's your rate for just half a day?

What do you guys think of this- I often feel that if I book a half day then it's not as though I can take another gig to fill the other half of the day and so I should be paid a full day. These gigs have pretty much taken me out of the loop for the day anyway.

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I charge 70 percent labor, 100% for gear. Not as much money as a full day, but the loss isn't too bad. Everyone wants 50 percent, but realistically its rare for you to book two half days where the timing works put perfectly. Sometimes if it's a good client I'll cut a break.

Some people here have suggested only taking half days at the last minute.

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(With only a few exceptions -- normally with established good clients) ...there's no such thing as a half day.

Run the numbers:

Prepping gear (.5-1 hr)

Loading gear (.25-.5 hr)

Traveling to the location, parking, etc. (.5-1 hr)

Setting up (.5-1 hr)

The interviews (4-5 hr -- based on the producer's 4 hr estimate)

Tearing down (.25-5. hr)

Return travel (.5-1 hr)

Unloading gear (.25 hr)

Storing gear, recharging batteries, etc. (.25 hr)

At the most optimistic, this process takes 7 hours.

Now, if it's truly grab a kit, dash in, get a quick interview and you're done, then I'll consider giving a known client a break at roughly 2/3 rate.

Otherwise, there's no such thing as a half day. Remind yourself what, "Oh, it's just a quick setup." has meant in the past as the schedule was bumped, you had to wait for someone to arrive to open a building, the shot took longer than expected to set up, the talent was late, they added an additional interview, the producer decided to shoot B-Roll with nat sound he never bothered to mention, and everyone had to wait for a phone call from the main production office to proceed.

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" its rare for you to book two half days where the timing works put perfectly. "

DANGER WILL ROBINSON>>> DANGER

been there, done that once upon a time...

didn't end up working out perfectly...

serious heartburn

significant anxiety,

major disaster!

I'm the one who only accepts a half day booking at less than a full day rate (labor only) if it is for "tomorrow", and I'm available and interested.

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Remind yourself what, "Oh, it's just a quick setup." has meant in the past as the schedule was bumped, you had to wait for someone to arrive to open a building, the shot took longer than expected to set up, the talent was late, they added an additional interview, the producer decided to shoot B-Roll with nat sound he never bothered to mention, and everyone had to wait for a phone call from the main production office to proceed.

Exactly, things almost always go over what they think it will take. If I do accept a half day gig, I do charge about 2/3 for labor, plus 100% for gear, but I also make sure to stipulate an hourly rate for anything after the specified half day hours. (ie: anything over 4 hours is billed at $XX/hour). When things inevitably go over because of the things that John mentioned, it can actually work out to more than a full day.

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I have done a few "half day rate"-gigs at about 70% pay. BUT, I always make sure they understand that if we go 1 minute over 4 hours (including rigging and transporting gear), then it's a full day. Most times I end up getting a full days pay, for about 5-6 hours work, on those gigs. Totally fine with me.

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This seems to be a recent phenomenon- I'd always been booked on a day rate and from time to time it just ended up being a short shoot and I got to go home early and get a full day for it.

Now it appears that if a producer believes it will be a short day they will try to lowball a half day rate- and probably not even supply lunch. I had one go to almost six hours- by the time we de rigged it was 6.5 hours, but because 'Wrap was called before hour 6 we were told that they didn't have to give us anything. (seems a little fishy to me). I would rather be on my way home then taking 30mins to eat and then de-rig. A walking lunch would have been nice though.

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I have done a few "half day rate"-gigs at about 70% pay. BUT, I always make sure they understand that if we go 1 minute over 4 hours (including rigging and transporting gear), then it's a full day.

That's exactly what I tell them. Only once have I had a misunderstanding over a "half day" rate, and I pointed out to the client that their email was ambiguous since it started off by quoting my normal day rate and not specifying what a "half day" meant. To me, it meant 70% labor/100% rental. We worked it out, but it was not pleasant.

Cross that mistake off my list. No more ambiguous deal memos -- be very specific.

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They are NEVER as short as people say. Plus, the biggest point here is that you can't book anything else that day. So if you're accepting a half-day rate, you're risking a full day offer being passed up once you're booked for the half day.

I've never heard of the 70% labor, 100% kit rental that you all have mentioned but I think that's a great compromise that works in favor of the client without being too detrimental to the sound mixer.

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I'm really only interested in this if the job is in the same town as me--like almost zero commute time. As it happens, most of the half-day types want to work down the peninsula where the high tech companies are, and I don't want to do halfs for that--I could easily be on the road for 3-4 hrs. depending on the time of day. As was said, the prep is the same, and there is next to zero likelihood of booking the other half of the day, while they want a guarantee that I will show up even if someone offers me a whole-day gig.

phil p

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I only take half-days from certain clients who treat me well, and I never take them more than a few days in advance. I enjoy starting the day at 8-9 am and finishing before lunch :)

My half-day rate is only $100 less than a full, therefore, if the half turns full...it sucks. An extra 4-5 hours for only an extra C-note.

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" an hourly rate for anything after the specified half day hours. "

at 5 hours and 6 minutes it becomes a full day!

+1

On top of that I always stipulate that the 5 hours is portal-to-portal, 70% rate, 100% gear. That way, if it's a true half-day, i.e. a single interview lasting a few minutes, no b-roll, everyone is happy. I explain this up front to the producers who seem to appreciate the openness.

I have had one producer try to ambitiously fit the day into 5 hours the first time I worked with him, but when it went over he gladly bumped my rate to a full day. We even finished within the 5 hours, but I still had drive time. Because I was upfront about my rates, he totally understood. I probably would have caved on the rate since it was just for the drive time, but he said, "A deal is a deal." I've worked with him ever since. He's one of my favorite clients, if he asks me for a break on a rate because he's getting squeezed, I will always work with him on the rate, but if he has the money, he will always pay my rate without question. Also, now when he asks me for a half day, I know the day isn't going to be for more than 1-2 hours. If I'm free I'll always take the day with him.

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I take half day bookings from my regular clients. They are always 5hrs or less. Frankly, for 100$ less I'm happy having a day where I feel like I actually have a life.

What will you do if, perchance one day, the job goes PAST five hours, now that you've established a new norm with these regular clients? And do they travel to other markets expecting to find the same?

MF

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They are 95% local. If it goes over it's a full days pay no question. It's a regular client making products for a small broadcaster. If I charge full days for little stuff they'll start doing sound in house. (Which they have). We all have to identify the tipping point. They do travel to other markets every now and again usually taking me with them. No half days on the road. do they expect to get half days in another market? Will they get it? I dont know. Im sure theyll ask.

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I always say to someone asking for a half day, "if you can find me another half day job then I can do it" that usually gets the point across that there is really no such thing as a half day job. Or I tell them that I am going to take another half day job, and have to leave their job at a specific time.

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John B's post is the important part to remember. Being on set for 4 hours still requires the same prep, travel etc as being on set for 10. Even if you can double dip on the day, is it the same kit? Travel? What if the first job goes long! The only time I double booked, it was the same company booking me on both jobs, so it was on them if the first one went off the rails (and they would have to find a mixer). I'm also perfectly happy to pass on the later call to another mixer. Help out somebody that's not working that day.

I will sometimes offer to do it at about 70% labor, full kit fee. Usually not interested if it's somebody that I haven't worked for before. Clients that try to nickel and dime are the biggest headache, and it's hard to tell if they are one of them. Anything over 5 hours will be invoiced as a full day. I have had semi-regular clients ask for -$100 rate when it really is a short day. They are the ones that say "it will be this short, could you do something like knock $100 off your normal rate?" 2 interviews. One person at a time talking head lock off. Each person maybe 30 minutes on camera with a minor turn in the same room for a change in look. I still had to prep a kit and drive 30-45 minutes each way. To be honest I could have left my house and returned in about 4 hours. I will gladly do that for $100 off. I do enough reality jobs where kit is supplied, so from a financial sense I made at least an extra $50 for the day (used a 302 cabled into camera) and didn't lug a 744T for 12 hours.

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They do travel to other markets every now and again usually taking me with them. No half days on the road.

BTW, how much do you guys usually charge for a travel day when there is no filming at all, only sitting in the plane etc?

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" What if the first job goes long! "

been there, experienced that, once long ago... That was a major lesson!

quoting from the future...

" if I get an offer for a full day, you will have first shot at up-ing it to a full day. "

an excellent courtesy I have used successfully in the past...

Travel days were typically half-day rates, and equipment rental, but it depends, and sometimes I would do two travel days (going and coming - one full day for labor and for equipment...

these days, travel is a major hassle, so, unless union rates differ, I'm now getting a full day for travel, unless it is a longer term gig

Edited by studiomprd
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BTW, how much do you guys usually charge for a travel day when there is no filming at all, only sitting in the plane etc?

Full day rate ALWAYS. If the travel or "half day" gig prevents me from taking any other work, and let's face it...it always does, then I charge a full day.

Half days are a joke because as was mentioned before, they nevet are half days when you consider gear prep, travel, setup, and back.

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