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Please please please! Refuse to sign box rental agreements for your sound package. It's not a box or kit, it's a package. It's not a drill, tape measure, laptop, or cell phone.

I put $1800 worth of wireless gear on talent, and they walk away from me for 6 hours or more.

I hand out $300 comteks to people in video village, and do not have them in my possession for 12 hours.

Read the box rental form carefully.

When you sign the box rental agreement, there's a clause that states that production is not liable for damage to your gear.

On a show a long time ago, I submitted an l & d form for a lost comtek, and the studio attached my signed box rental agreement in email refusing to reimburse me.

Don't sign the box rental form! Your company should Invoice the production very much like the g & e rental houses do.

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+11 x eleventy - leven

 

It is NOT a "box" rental, and compares quite significantly to any CAMERA PACKAGE in size and $Scope$

Everyone needs to read the print - it's not even "fine" anymore.... it is 100% shedding all liability for what happens valuable gear - and that can include dropped or thrown slates, dunked wireless, ripped Sankens, buzzed Comteks, etc etc

 

This needs attention front and center when you accept work, especially second unit work where they are 

blasting away filling the spot and are going to automatically assume you know their "drill".... Box Rental is NOT in your favor,  Quite to the contrary.... you end up, technically - thus legally - renting from the PAYROLL service, and not so much the production, which is now conveniently distanced from what might go bad... 

 

And for god's sake - ALWAYs get an insurance certificate before you start. 

That is absolutely key to protecting your package.

If they stutter or balk here, then they are not doing good business.   There is ALWAYS an insurance cert on that second unit camera package AND all that G & E.... it's also about CRAFT and RESPECT for you as a business person here.  You take a pass on this very important thing and you hurt us all....

 

Thanx Aron - this stuff is getting out of hand around here lately.......

 

MF

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Every studio and production company I have worked for recently has a "special" box rental agreement which does not include the insurance exception. It's usually reserved for stedicam and special effects, and often reads sound mixer too.

If you are offered a box rental for gear which excludes insurance, kindly ask for the "other one" which does not have that clause.

Here's how I see it... I trust my producer or UPM to cover a Comtek or a slate or the like, but if there's a catastrophic loss of gear, the claim will be bumped to the suits and the insurance company lawyers. If you've signed the traditional box rental form, insurance certificate in hand or not, you'll be screwed.

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thanks for the info, i've been wondering about that. do you guys 1099 an invoice afterwards?

 

I invoice as a company - a recent dispute about this "box rental crap" resulted in me simply being sent a check for second unit equipment  -  as a box rental of course - to my name, despite my not signing the form, despite the proper invoice from my company, and despite the insurance certificate issued to my LLC, for which I am the manager of...  this from a successful show in town into season 5 or 6.   A check to ME means I can't use it to pay for my business vehicle, my insurance, my warehouse space, my marketing, my equipment improvements, etc etc...  I consider this an affront.  I have overhead, and equipment rentals pay for that.

 

AND - thanks to this marketplace apparently caving in - a full 20 percent less than what it should have been and what other wonderful and fair productions pay.  Oh, and almost 100 days after the shoot day.

 

I am so looking forward to that next, desperate call.    I am a business and my company has very common and fair terms, and I don't need to be making special adjustments just for them for another line on my resume.   I will save my energy and full focus for the many other opportunities large and small that have a modicum of respect for me, my equipment, my business, and MY accounting procedures.   

 

By the way - this is the ONLY show that has ever pulled this on me ever.   

 

MF

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as in submit an invoice that goes toward a 1099 not a w2, but who cares

Max - you should care.

There should be no rental income on a W2 - W2 is salary, wages, rate for services.

Rental income should be separate, and billed separately, and accounted for separately.

The company will send you a 1099 for rental income and W2 for wages.

It's important employers recognize gear and labor are two very different things.

Robert

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Here's how I see it... I trust my producer or UPM to cover a Comtek or a slate or the like, but if there's a catastrophic loss of gear, the claim will be bumped to the suits and the insurance company lawyers. If you've signed the traditional box rental form, insurance certificate in hand or not, you'll be screwed.

 

On my last film I had an Audio receiver broken whilst people were carring my cart down a long flight of steps.

The repairs were over $200 but all my kit was insured by the production and I subsequently issued an invoice for the repair.

The company's deductible was $500 so it wasn't worth their while to put it through the insurance company. Then they ran out of money so here I am several weeks later and still whistling for payment of the invoice. In over fifty years this is only the second time I have been screwed over an invoice.

Malcolm Davies. A.m.p.s. CAS.

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Please please please! Refuse to sign box rental agreements for your sound package. It's not a box or kit, it's a package. It's not a drill, tape measure, laptop, or cell phone.

I put $1800 worth of wireless gear on talent, and they walk away from me for 6 hours or more.

I hand out $300 comteks to people in video village, and do not have them in my possession for 12 hours.

Read the box rental form carefully.

When you sign the box rental agreement, there's a clause that states that production is not liable for damage to your gear.

On a show a long time ago, I submitted an l & d form for a lost comtek, and the studio attached my signed box rental agreement in email refusing to reimburse me.

Don't sign the box rental form! Your company should Invoice the production very much like the g & e rental houses do.

Yup. Yup. Let me guess which production company..

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Get a certificate of insurance.  Recently, while shooting in a studio in San Francisco, a crook came into the studio and stole my run bag and the client's Hasselblad.  I had a couple Lectro channels, Neuman KM150, Denecke, Buncha lavaliers, and stuff.  Producer, at the time said, "Well that's what production insurance is for"  Could not have been further from the truth.  After a lot of Pissin n Moanng from Production and the Insurance co, I still havent seen a check.  

 

It seems that nobody is responsible for anything. CYA with a cert and a written agreement. If you give a Comtek to a client, get a copy of their Drivers License and a credit card.

 

Tawdry Ethics

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This is why it is important to carry your own coverage in the event something terrible happens even though production should cover any and all losses.

Agreed - but don't tell them you have it. In the event of a huge loss, you can let the insurance companies fight it out.

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I ask for a COI in my deal memo before I show up to set. I'm noticing some clients don't know what that is or don't have one. Recently one of my clients consulted their insurance expert who said that I was the one who had to prove that my gear was insured, not the other way around. Does everybody ask for these, and if so how often?

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Recently one of my clients consulted their insurance expert who said that I was the one who had to prove that my gear was insured, not the other way around.

 

That is pure bullshit.  

 

Let them show me the camera house's insurance cert that they "insist the camera house has" before they'll rent a camera package.

And likewise for Grip Electric Lighting ANYTHING....

Your equipment is for hire - just like camera and G&E, and they need to insure it for what can happen to it - out of your control - due to their production arrangements.   Here's a short list of what THEIR arrangements can be:

 

Hire a bad electrician that shoots you 240v by accident - do we have control of that?

Out of control Talent that runs to the restroom without your informed consent - $1500+ gets submerged- do we have control of that?

Inexperience Grip forgets to bag a stand - rig with hot light falls on your cart - do we have control of that?

Overnight security - client Insists on the "walk-away" (doesn't want to pay for strike and rebuild) but hires NO or weak security - do we have control of that? 

Overhead fire sprinklers douse the entire set overnight for whatever "goes off" - do we have control of that?

(BTW - been there, SEEN that, and I was the only one unscathed thanks to space blankets and clamps that I always carry for "overnights" )

 

I have experienced all of these conditions created by productions' arrangements - who they hire, what they hire, etc etc...

 

It IS nice to have your insurance - just in case - but I'd hate to see what would happen to my premium - forever - if I report and make claim on a missing DEVA 16 or a Cooper Mixer or EVERYTHING because I left it overnight in a place some client (that I might never see again) said it was "OK". 

 

I hope this explains the importance of getting your production insurance certificate... It is also, to me, a great "validator" of the fact that the production company is "real", good at what they do, and respectful of their responsibilities - thus I am far more content with the engagement and extension of the unknown terms-of-credit for equipment and services that we seem to do everyday.

 

MF

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I hear a great deal about having a Certificate of Insurance as if this were a safe harbor (or as close as one can practically come to a safe harbor).

 

My understanding is that this is a flawed assumption.

 

When I was interviewing insurance representatives for an article for the Local 695 Newsletter (a document irregularly published about ten years ago), I was repeatedly told that a COI was of very limited legal weight. It does demonstrate that insurance is in place but it does not obligate the insurance holder (i.e. the production) to make a claim on your behalf.

 

The document that really has some force is a signed rental agreement. Anyone can make a claim against the production insurance whether they have a COI or not but the document obligating the production company to assume responsibility for particular equipment compels the insurance company (assuming other conditions are met) to make a payment. Without that contractual obligation, the company, both the production company and the insurance company, can simply ignore your claim. While there is some truth to the argument that the possession of a COI makes the assumption of responsibility implicit, this is an enforceable conclusion only after a judgement in court.

 

A pdf copy of that 695 Newsletter article is available for download from my website:

http://productionrecording.com/fyi/PDF_fyi/RentIns.FieldMan.11.3.pdf

 

David

 

(I should note that the original article was written about ten years ago. There are references to individuals at insurance companies and to the benefits of posting losses to internet groups like RAMPS. Obviously, one must adjust to changing circumstances but I believe the general information is still correct.)

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David is correct, which is why having one's own insurance is such an important practice, but as the certificate does verify that the coverage is in force, it is, just as I agreed above, it does validate a productions "reality" and credentials, especially as most claims will probably be under the insurance deductible, and be the responsibility of only the production ...--and if the claim exceeds the deductible, the production will still need to pay the deductible, as will be specified in the rental agreement!

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I ask that the certificate name me as "Loss Payee and Co-insured," under the assumption that this allows me to file a claim directly.

I need to research whether this is a correct assumption (I do insist on a rental agreement as well).

never assume...

that one was incorrect

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thanks for all the comments guys.  I need to draft a document for production to read so they will at least know *why* we need to be treated as a rental.  It seems that the newer UPMs, Production Coordinators, and accountants are endoctrinated in the box rental school of thought.

 

I was shocked to hear a camera assistant say to my boom op at one time, "if you don't want it dented, don't rent it"

 

I think i might include some pics of classic mishandling of our gear to truly convey the message that the sound department is not in possession of our own gear when these things happen.  I know there are pics out there of slates being held by the top stick (stressing the hinge), and others.

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A very good and informative thread.

My own terms of business has a whole section about the production companies insurance responsibilities which is sent in with the equipment list before day one. I have also included a consequential loss of hire clause in the terms.

Malcolm Davies. a.m.p.s. CAS.

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