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Is this normal?


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Hi Guys,


I work mostly on Documentaries, Reality and corporate commercial type work. Recently I was offered a job for a week long pickup on a narrative show that usually films in Norway for a show on Nextflix. (Not House of Cards). 


The PM offered me $300 for 14hr day overtime after that. $900 for 6 days of equipment and $150 for expendables. $200 a day for a boom up. 


This sounds absurdly low to me and somewhat insulting actually. Maybe some of you guys who started off on smaller budget narrative shoots can chime in? 


Should I turn down the job or just make a counter offer? Is negotiating a more normal procedure on this types of things? 


For a 14 hr day I would expect at least $700 in labor alone... Or are rates on narratives just lower because you get to work with STAR ACTORS!!!!!


Thanks ahead for all input.



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That's 450 all in per 14 hour day, not including expendables. A 14 hour day is not standard in any project, union or otherwise. Generally with clients who ask for things like that, you're not gonna be able to negotiate up to a more reasonable rate, since more reasonable is more than double their offer. Give them a counter offer and expect them not to bite is what I would do.

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Well, $300/14 is $16.66/hr - $200/14 is $11.11/hr.  That's pretty bad.  But "new media" deals here have been known to pay minimum wage plus union hours.  Is it full budget, like a "house of cards" type show, or some low-budget thing?  If it's low budget, at the very least I'd insist on $350/12, which is $25/hr for you, and $280/12, which is $20/hr for boom.  2x after 12.  Are all 6 days in a row?  6th day usually starts at 1.5x and goes to 2x at 8, but if it's not a payroll job, then all bets are off.  Which reminds me, is it 1099 or payroll?  If it's 1099 you'll have to pay all the payroll taxes too.


As for gear, that's VERY low.  Just a boom feeding a recorder, fair enough, but if you're bringing other stuff, then $250/day is on the lowest end of the spectrum for this kind of work.


What I have offered in the past is $1000/day - $350/12 for me. $300/day for gear.  $50/day for expendables.  $300/12 for boom.  They always decline.  But unless it's a "favor", then that's my bottom line for very low budget stuff.  Probably why I no longer get these calls.


Expendables, for me, are $40/day on a normal show (not too many AA lithium or other "big" expenses, like DVD-RAMs) - I use rechargeable batteries, so $40/day has always covered me in my favor.  Once again, this is with a light wireless show and NO DVD-RAMs.


If it's a "real" show like "House of Cards" or other properly budgeted show, then full rates should apply.


It all just depends on if you want the job or not. 


Someone will take it for what they're offering.  That's the shame of it.

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I don't know about Norway, but not too surprising in the US a non-union low budget film of maybe $300-500k budget. I know a lot of those offer all department heads the same rate, but of course you are free to negotiate, or at least try to get a better kit fee. 

I'm not saying it's right, but it's not surprising. 

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In conclusion I asked for more money and a bigger kit rental. They came up 100 bucks on the kit total ($17 or so day) , but said they cant go up on the labor because that would be unfair to the other people on the shoot. I decided to  pass on the job! Its really ashamed that on a shoot like that they cant even come up with a real kit rental.   

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