Thread: "Competitive" Rates for D.P.?

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  1. #11  
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    I'm stating what I hear as I have a different job. It seems the Local 600 rates are good, but outside this world, commercial (non-union) rates seem to be all over the place. Outside of Cinespace/BBDO/The Mill, what percentage of local commercial shoots will pay an AC $1,500/day? (not asking as an argument, I don't have an idea). I don't see this as a large market. Who in the indie world is hiring DPs at $1,500/day or more?

    The complaint I hear is markets are saturated with RED cameras which has been driving down prices.
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  2. #12  
    Senior Member Ryan Purcell's Avatar
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    Somebody who is prepping for a studio shoot is probably not going to want to jump back into the indy trenches unless there's a personal connection of some kind. They are trying to move their career upward. A successful DP friend of mine has said that the jobs you DON'T take are as important as the ones you DO take.

    Rates are all over the place and hard to quantify but union scale is probably a good place to start for established DP's. World class DP's could probably triple that. DP's that are doing quality work at an indy level (sub 200k) but have not broken out yet are making maybe $300 to $600 a day.
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  3. #13  
    Thanks!
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  4. #14  
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    I believe the current minimum union low-budget feature rates for a Local 600 DP are around $900-$1000 a day, and a first assistant AC is around half that ($450/day). You can gauge indie rates as a percentage using this as a basis. Even if they only worked for half this rate, that's still $500/day, plus equipment rental. I think $5000/week is pretty standard in the TV world, but note there are conditions for OT and meals and so on. IA you can work around to a point, but you'll almost for sure have to use SAG-AFTRA actors, and you'll need to agree to their contract for that. You can get in touch with SAG here:

    https://www.sagaftra.org/contact-us

    It's fair to say that a $65K budget is very low and I'm not sure how far you can stretch the dollars, unless this is a very simple film (say with no more than 2 or 3 locations), a very small cast, and no difficult stunts or effects. I've seen a handful of films get done for $100K in about 2 weeks with maybe a cast of 6 and maybe a half-dozen locations. More money allows you more time, more time allows you more takes, and the ability to (theoretically) get better results from your cast and crew.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Purcell View Post
    Somebody who is prepping for a studio shoot is probably not going to want to jump back into the indy trenches unless there's a personal connection of some kind. They are trying to move their career upward. A successful DP friend of mine has said that the jobs you DON'T take are as important as the ones you DO take.

    Rates are all over the place and hard to quantify but union scale is probably a good place to start for established DP's. World class DP's could probably triple that. DP's that are doing quality work at an indy level (sub 200k) but have not broken out yet are making maybe $300 to $600 a day.
    I think this is good advice. I worked with an award-winning DP a few weeks ago, and was surprised to learn from him that he actually makes more as a DP than as a director in TV, for a variety of reasons. Pay rates, like everything else, is always negotiable, but there's a point above which the producers just won't or can't go.
    marc wielage, csi colorist/post consultant daVinci Resolve Certified Trainer
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