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in this era of reduced budgets and lots of lower budget live streaming work, when I can't have a sound pro there, I have to make sure I can still record usable audio, it falls on me as the DP to make that happen

Dalton Patterson

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It falls on you as the DP to stand up for your co-worker/business associates. I've never heard a sound guy say " oh I just need to put this camera on sticks and we're rolling!".


You will never hear me say "we don't need a DP, I can get usable footage". 


It's all about we not about me. 


I know how to use lenses, what focal length, shutter speed, ISO, color temp, you name it. I get asked frequently to use the camera and decline because I know someone wants that job way more than I do. I would be taking their position and pay from them while doing a poor job at the same time. I know this benefits the budget to make one person do two peoples work but cost's the sound mixer their wages and diminishes the final product. 


Let me put it this way, if your capable of delivering professional quality sound and being paid a reasonable rate for both your camera work and your sound work, then have at it. I strongly don't think that exist's and your being paid the same or slightly more to do more work and keep someone from working. Especially now, we all need to share work and there is more than enough for everyone. 



All these restaurant's where the Cook is the Maitré D, Bus boy, Waiter, Sommelier, Sous Chef? All those restaurants trying to be the real thing, but the real thing, is the real thing. 




P.S. Can anyone find that YT video about the guy going to diner and negotiating like a producer/DP with the waiter?  

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When I was first starting out in sound, I used to mix for a DP who would shoot a bunch of low budget things.  Worked out at the time in my favor as I was starting out and building up my kit.  Realized I hadn't heard from him in probably 6+ months at some point and came to find out via a mutual friend that he had just looked at what gear I had, bought the same, and then started telling clients he would do the sound himself as he had bought his own "pro kit".  Who knows the results of whatever sound he was mustering but I did laugh him off about six months after that when he had the cajones to text me while he was shooting with a sound question.  Needless to say, he did not receive a response...

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In docs and especially in ENG there is a long tradition of the shooter owning all the gear and the soundie acting as a sort of valet or spear carrier, with no say in the gear, no piece of that action and little if any autonomy in how the work was done.   Some of those cats were arrogant enough to act astonished when I turned down their jobs unless I used and was paid for my own package.  Whatev, dude, have a great shoot.  

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Era of reduced budgets? Let’s see, the client and director are calling in via zoom instead of flying out from wherever they are stationed, they’re not renting 12 comteks, and instead of the five to ten crew you usually get on an interview type job, you have a camera guy, sound mixer, and maybe a PA or assistant for the camera guy. They’re saving loads of money on these shoots. Anyone willing to do all of this for one low price is nothing but a fool. You take a job like this because you need the paycheck that badly, you aren’t freelancing correctly, and that client is just going to ask you to do more for less the next time. You’re not just hurting your own reputation, you’re hurting the business. We should never be looking to do more for less. We should always be looking to push for higher rates and creating more jobs for people. This is seriously why freelancers should be required to take some business courses.


For whatever reason, people have a tendency to make the same mistakes as everyone else with no accountability as they start out because they have justified to themselves that doing things their own way without learning anything about the business will somehow not hurt the industry that they are trying to get into. And producers know this and try to exploit it. 


If you are getting into a freelance career, please do some market research ahead of time. Reach out to professionals. Ask for guidance. And don’t do producers favors, they are paying you for your services and equipment. If they need more from you, they need to pay for it too. If they want you to do other people’s jobs, remind them that it is not your job. Don’t be afraid to say no. And never be in a position where your life depends on your next paycheck. Learn to freelance correctly!

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11 hours ago, JonG said:

Era of reduced budgets? Let’s see, the client and director are calling in via zoom instead of flying out from wherever they are stationed, they’re not renting 12 comteks, and instead of the five to ten crew you usually get on an interview type job, you have a camera guy, sound mixer, and maybe a PA or assistant for the camera guy. They’re saving loads of money on these shoots.

100% I had a interview job last month for a semi regular client that would normally be DP, Sound 2 PA, Make Up,Gaffer and 2-3 clients. 

The shoot was DP and Sound that was it. They tried to cry poor when in fact they are saving tons of money and complained to me that I was charging them a rental fee for my laptop since I had to manage the Zoom 

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  • 5 months later...

And in these times, it's up to us freelancers to not sell our services or rental equipment too cheap.


The production companies still have money, so does the clients. It the Average Joes that don't have any money or jobs right now.


And when there are no productions jobs, we don't cost a dime for the TV-stations, production companies or film studios.


And whenever they need us, we are there to help out. Basically 24/7 - with or without equipment.


That kind of service still cost, even in dire times.


And we should not sell ourselves cheap or try to do two jobs at the same time.


I know colleagues that sell themselves cheap and on top of that include ENG-equipment in the hourly rate (it's already paid off anyway, right?) - which is just plain stupid and I try to point that out to them.


But, in the end it's each to their own, I guess.


At the same time, I'm not dependent on ENG-work, like some of my colleagues basically are. So, I stubbornly charge a higher rate and add a daily rental cost for my sound equipment, when they offer monthly or bi-monthly rates including equipment just because they really need to earn some money.


Telling them it's wrong is all I can do. I've got returning clients that hire me because I'm a good sound engineer and a social cat, and we enjoy each others company.


I don't do freebies and I don't do discounts (even if they can be "door openers" according to the producer).


If you sell yourself cheap, some people will treat you cheap - it's human nature.


If you buy a nice $500 leather jacket - it's a really nice jacket.


If you pay $50 for the same jacket, you will use it when washing the car.


2021 is also a lost year, but things will soon change for the better, and then we're there waiving with our booms. :-)





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