$50 Is The New $100
I work as a freelance location sound mixer, a.k.a. an audio recordist, on films and video projects. For the most part I get such work through referrals from previous previous employers and co-workers, and during seasonal work deprivation desperation, from various websites that list upcoming productions and their contact information.
Scanning through these websites I’ve become aware of a trend that’s going on, the day rate of pay being offered by people looking for employees seems to be dropping by the month, circling the drain in a death spiral that indicates soon people will be paying a producer to work for them.
That actually has happened in the past, with crew people asked in essence to also be the producers and invest their own cash in a project with the promise of a “deferred payment” as a R.O.I. to be received when said producer’s P.O.C. (piece of crap) somehow gets sold.
At this point I should mention that in nearly three decades of working in the entertainment business, I’ve never met a real live person who has collected on a deferred payment promise, I’ve only heard 3rd hand stories by someone who knew someone who had a friend that got paid off years after the show wrapped. This is not to say that no one has ever received such a payment, only that I’ve never even met one who has or even someone that’s directly heard of it happening.
The day rate I see offered most often lately on these epics is now in the neighborhood of $50.00 for a day which is usually going to be at least 12 hours, I did the math and I’m sure that I could do better going down to the beach and collecting used aluminum cans to recycle. And as for these producers who could not produce a shadow on a sunny day? They seem to be proud to brag about their project being an “Ultra low budget” production, like that’s some kind of badge of honor or something. Only a few months ago the average was in the neighborhood of $100.00 for a day’s labor which typically will include any privately owned equipment that the worker is expected to supply. Doing this means that they can avoid paying rental to someone else for the gear, which also means they don’t have to pay for insurance for the rental. I will quickly scan by those listings that violate the minimum wage laws in a business that’s in the hands of low life morons and thieves who post these things trying to take advantage of film school graduates who are looking for a start. I’m in search of ads for productions that actually have thought out their budget and plan to pay people, even when the pay is going to be less than my normal rate. I’ve learned that I need to find work that will net at least enough income to keep my head above water until the next “real” show comes along, I’m aware that even if I was to stay in bed with the covers over my head, I still will have to come up with +/- a 30th of my monthly nut.
I’m writing this between takes, so for an update of this post refresh in a bit to catch the new stuff, more soon, I gotta get back on the set.
N.B., The ownership of any and all photos, opinions, and/ or quotes above (including those of my own) belong to the material’s creator(s). Credit is given when it’s known, but as always, success usually has a million parents and failure is an orphan.
Feel free to ignore any ads that are shown below this advisory, I don’t get to choose them and even more sadly, I don’t make a penny off any of them, so in the holy name of capitalism I rebuke and don’t endorse or support any of them, unless of course they’re made of funny stuff…..
P.S., check back for occasional updates and rewrites….
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Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: $50 is the new $100, circling the drain in a death spiral, deferred payment, dropping by the month, freelance location sound mixer, low life morons and thieves, R.O.I., seasonal work deprivation desperation.