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Old January 23rd, 2009, 03:48 PM   #1
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A question about rep and leaving a project.

Trew Audio: AudioFlow - Doing a Deal
I had just read this article over at TrewAudio and was wondering where you guys stand on this. I normally pride myself as being committed to a job, and want to turn sound into a profession. I have worked on a handful of shorts since college, mostof them non-paying, but I always saw them through.

However, recently I have been considering to leave the current job I'm on. Part of me feels its career and rep suicide; however the reasons for leaving still are fresh and make me dread going to the set. It's unpaid, however I knew that agreeing to it, but the thing is, the shoot is going way over schedule, and now feel like I'm losing other paying or resume building opportunities.

Also, there are/were certain situations where I feel like I compromise my skills so I can just record audio, but not the best audio that I want. I know that when I first start out, all I have is my rep, but being dropped into situations where I cannot record the best audio seems detrimental to my name as well.

I know ultimately its my own decision that I have to make, but I was just wondering if anyone else had a situation like this when they first started out.
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 07:15 PM   #2
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cash rules everything... dollar dollar bill ya'll

If they are way over schedule, and you are being forced to lose paying gigs I would explain to them that you cannot afford to keep helping them with there project. Maybe suggest someone else they could call and bail man, bail. If they bad mouth you after you have already gone above what they asked for well theres not much you can do about that, except never help them out again!
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Old January 23rd, 2009, 07:51 PM   #3
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You should be able to bow out gracefully but give them as much warning as possible so they can cover themselves or even offer to pay you so you can finish with them. If you are really important to them maybe they will change their schedule to fit yours. This is part of being a producer and happens all the time even on paying gigs.
As for compromising the audio to make the production work this is part of the give and take of the job. Getting the client to understand what the compromise means is an art. There are many times when compromise is the correct choice for the production and should not reflect on your reputation. If you have a solution which allows the production to not have to compromise then you are a hero but you are not a goat if the production creates a bad recording situation for the sound recordist as long as you inform them of the issue and give them the choice to deal with it. If they sign off on the situation then you have acted professionally and shouldn't be held responsible for substandard results. Good Luck
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Old January 24th, 2009, 07:30 AM   #4
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When the shoot's over and the editing begins, you will never hear the editor say:
"Well, the sound's quite bad but the recordist did his best within the constraints."
What you will hear is:
"The sound's sh*t, was was the stupid recordist playing at?"
The director will say "Yeah, we won't use him again."


If you're working for free, not being able to achieve the quality you want, through no fault of your own and it's now going over schedule and costing you money... Pull out.

"Reputation Suicide" is when you do a bad job, not when you pull out because the job isn't what you were originally told.
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Old January 24th, 2009, 09:25 AM   #5
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Robin brings up a good point about editors being able to complain about issues which cause the crew problem. They don't always remember that the real world sometimes impacts on what is recorded. In the edit room it is easy to correct a mistake by moving the edit and looking at it again. Production on the other hand happens in real time so choices have to be made and stuck with. This is why you want to make note of problematic situations when they are occurring so the director, producer and even the editor will see in the notes that the soundman made production aware of the issue and production made the choice to live with it. The expression of having to fix it in post usually comes up. Sometimes it is the correct choice because it is easier to control what appears in the picture frame than it is to control the sound being picked up by the mics.
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Old January 24th, 2009, 01:17 PM   #6
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If they have gone over schedule that's your out. You agreed to a certain time frame. You aren't obligated to spend a minute over that.
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Old January 28th, 2009, 03:09 AM   #7
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I was involved as a DP/Editor on a project that went wrong from the start.

What finally cut it was the producer/director and his assistant drinking beer WHILE he was driving us to a location. Poor prep. Poor planning. Sloppy attitude. Just plain dumb.

I wrote a detailed letter of resignation, gave them a bill for the work performed, and left the project. Five years later, that project went nowhere. Too bad. Because the doc was on an important topic.
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Old January 29th, 2009, 01:35 AM   #8
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I thought about this topic for a bit. I am against working for free to get experience based on what I see here in Italy. Just in Milan there are over a thousand "videomakers" and probably just as many "audio technicians" and not a whole lot of paying work. Too many work for free to build up a portfolio in hopes of some day getting paid to do their work. Unfortunately every agency and company knows that they can get video and sound for free today. Its a great way to ruin an important industry.

Younger professionals need to learn how to negotiate better. If you have something of value that someone else requires, then that someone else should offer something of EQUAL value to you. If they can't offer you money they should offer something else that benefits you EQUALLY.

Chances are, if you are good at what you do and the other side knows that, there is some money or at least some equitable compensation on the negotiating table for you. They may start the negotiation at free, but I bet with a little effort you will get what you deserve.

On top of that, when you negotiate your worth well, you will get more respect and be considered as a professional, and will be well on your way to better credibility and higher paying work.
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Old January 31st, 2009, 08:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Hanyok View Post
Trew Audio: AudioFlow - Doing a Deal
I had just read this article over at TrewAudio and was wondering where you guys stand on this. I normally pride myself as being committed to a job, and want to turn sound into a profession. I have worked on a handful of shorts since college, mostof them non-paying, but I always saw them through.
It's the movie (or film) BUSINESS. (Accent on business). The Trew commentary is very well put and should be assigned as a sticky.

Chris, this is an age old problem; how does one get started in the business. You have no cred, so you work for free. There is no contract, it's a verbal. You're trying to keep you end of it, but it sounds like their inexperience is making the shoot run long and past the amount of time they promised. I agree, that's you're out.

I also agree that you will probably get slagged by them, regardless. What's your option, hand the job off to someone else? What sort of favor is that? What is that person likely to say about you after he/she finds out what's really going on?

Bottom line: Learning how and when to say "no" is as important as learning how and when to say "yes." I just said "no" this morning to a "TV series" by a young "producer." They had no money. I get about 3-4 of these a month. There are a million ideas out there waiting to be shot. Most of them will never turn into business. That's OK, you just have to be careful and learn to value you're own time.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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