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Taking Care of Business
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 08:57 AM   #16
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Fantastic ! I currently work for free. I guess I am stupid.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 09:26 AM   #17
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Fantastic ! I currently work for free. I guess I am stupid.
There is a difference between an inexperienced newbie and an old hand. If you need experience, volunteering is a great way to get some.

All he is saying is, don't expect me to share your enthusiasm for your project. If it IS something I'm interested it, then maybe. If not, I'll expect compensation.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 12:05 PM   #18
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Fantastic ! I currently work for free. I guess I am stupid.
No, you aren't stupid.... you just aren't Harlan Ellison.... yet! :)
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 12:33 PM   #19
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Even newbies deserve to get paid an entry level wage.

Being an intern is another story. Most craigslist internships aren't. They're simply looking for experienced people to exploit. Internships are valuable when there's tutelage involved. Experienced people willing to TEACH you. You gain advancing skill-sets instead of money.

My first couple of jobs had interesting pay relationships but I DID GET PAID.
The first was working as a PA. When there were paying clients we got paid. The rest of the time we got to use the gear to produce a public access show.
My second job at a BIG production/post production facility was full time paid as a messenger with assurances that after training promotions would be done from within assuming I was ready.

One can build one's reel doing volunteer video for a good cause. Marketing or PSAs for a local non profit or community group. Certainly group creative endeavors are worthwhile too.

If there's a paying client involved then you should get paid. PAs get paid. Messengers/runners get paid.

NO internship should EVER require that you supply your own gear if it involves thousands of dollars of camera or editing equipment. If the company doesn't have gear for you to play with then they're likely too marginal to make for a valuable internship.

Harlan's right. You do work, you get paid!

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No, you aren't stupid.... you just aren't Harlan Ellison.... yet! :)
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 12:37 PM   #20
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Outstanding! I've just sent the link to a couple of "inquires" I had last week. ;)
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 01:30 PM   #21
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Harlan's right. You do work, you get paid!
Right ethicaly? Yes.

Right in actuality? No.

Look, I'm on Ellison's side... but the fact is, if you want to get anywhere in this industry, you'd better be prepared to put in more time than you are getting paid for. Freebies can pay off in spades. There is a difference of course between doing a freebie that's a complete waste of your time for people who don't appreciate it, and doing a freebie that gets you *good* exposure, contacts, or experience that you might otherwise not have gotten.

Harlan Ellison is RIGHT.... for Harlan Ellison. He doesn't need anything but more money. If I was in his position and someone wanted to use an interview I did in a documentary, sure I could ask for money, but if it came down to it, I'd be stupid not to let them use it either way as the exposure might have greater value to me. To him it doesn't, because he doesn't need it.

So maybe, let's agree on this mantra instead:

"You do work... you get VALUE."
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 02:25 PM   #22
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Dylan, what you are describing more closely fits an internship. I don't dispute that.
When FOR PROFIT business request your labor and equipment and do not provide training, that's exploitation.

Connections with other crew can be valuable. Referrals to similar "employers" are worse than worthless. Such other "employers" expect the same price.

Material for one's reel can be valuable. Seem my comments about working for non profits. That's good exposure and for profit businesses seeing that work or getting that referral are not likely to expect the same rate the non profit got. But often other "crew" on such "freebie" shoots may hinder the results. Projects created amongst your own associates (a group working together "on the same page" so they ALL have something for their reels) is a good thing.

Yes, do work, get value is good but for profit business pay unless they are giving you a genuine internship. There are MANY other projects one can do for free (see above).
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 03:02 PM   #23
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The 'work for free' thread has been around the block several times in different versions on this sight.

Let's make a distinction.

Working for 'free' means you get NO benefit. You have NOTHING to show for your efforts.

Now then, as stated, plenty of positions are posted that offer 'valuable experience' - Only you can determine if it is valuable for you or not. Then again, plenty of people will CLAIM they can offer connections or experience, how do you KNOW they can really deliver?

I NEVER work for free. I do work in exchange for SERVICES sometimes - but I always get said things IN WRITING. You want me to donate my time and gear for your project? Fine - I'll give you a days work, and in EXCHANGE you come clean out my garage, or you loan me your lighting kit when I need it, or come work audio for me next month on this project - and SIGN RIGHT HERE.

See, if you're honest - you've got no problem signing a piece of paper that says you'll loan/show up at some future date and time. It's a contract. It's professional. And it says you are too, even if you're just starting out.

It's easy enough to go 'intern' with an established company - they'll have the paperwork. If it is somebody who is fly by night - caveat emptor.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 06:29 PM   #24
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I'd do work for free. I've got a nice camcorder now, and as long as they're asking nicely and maintaining that level of respect throughout the shoot, I'd be generally ok with giving them some time, depending on the product.

It is kind of annoying when people say "no pay", but then tout that free lunch out there like we're a bunch of hobos! Ooh, you're going to FEED me? Well I haven't had a decent meal in months!

On the other hand, if they're all "we need someone from this time to this time, we're trying to accomplish this, we'll pay for your gas money over" I'd consider it if the project sounds fun. It all depends on if it's a quick, interesting gig and additude. People without additude generally know that they won't get the best unless they pay for it.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 09:19 AM   #25
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Why would you ever do a project SOMEONE ELSE is PROFITING from for FREE?
You donate your labor and your equipment and they make?

I'd expect any client to treat me with respect (nicely).

You need to differentiate between group creative learning efforts, donating services to a good cause or a business trying to rip off labor and rental. There's no "nice" way to rip someone. Some of the bets con men (women) are good at being "nice."

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyle Ross View Post
I'd do work for free. I've got a nice camcorder now, and as long as they're asking nicely and maintaining that level of respect throughout the shoot, I'd be generally ok with giving them some time, depending on the product.

It is kind of annoying when people say "no pay", but then tout that free lunch out there like we're a bunch of hobos! Ooh, you're going to FEED me? Well I haven't had a decent meal in months!

On the other hand, if they're all "we need someone from this time to this time, we're trying to accomplish this, we'll pay for your gas money over" I'd consider it if the project sounds fun. It all depends on if it's a quick, interesting gig and additude. People without additude generally know that they won't get the best unless they pay for it.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 01:08 PM   #26
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What you need to remember Craig, is that for every pro out there trying to earn a living,
there are 10 amateurs with camcorders living at home that will shoot for free so they have something to post on YouTube.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 01:22 PM   #27
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Yes, for sure. That's a serious problem.

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Originally Posted by David W. Jones View Post
What you need to remember Craig, is that for every pro out there trying to earn a living,
there are 10 amateurs with camcorders living at home that will shoot for free so they have something to post on YouTube.
Here's something I've posted in other places where this comes up. It hurts everyone in our business financially including the person doing it.
__________

One can run a fast food joint or a gourmet restaurant. Both reach a target market and both can be profitable.

The problems are:
when someone charges fast food prices for gourmet food
when someone charges gourmet prices for fast food results
when the fast food joint can't even make a decent burger

The problem is when people don't know how to set up a viable business model and it takes everyone down with them. Unfortunately the damage they do to the business is quite real and they do not go away en mass as there's always a new set of people replacing them. This promotes the bottom feeder corporate clients. I've seen FAR TOO MANY of them. The KNOW how to look for gourmet food at fast food prices.

Recently I saw a Law Firm looking for an UNPAID "Intern" WITH EXPERIENCE to shoot Video Depositions. I doubt the Law Firm would take risks with Video Depositions. Mistakes can be costly if not fatal to a case. They were looking for the one skilled trainable person who'd be DUMB enough to work in that field for FREE. Video Deposition is NOT something EVER given to newbies . . . but it can be done by someone who is skilled but has no clue how to value their work.

I've seen MANY other corporate "clients" doing similar things such as offering "contests" (you do the work and we cherry pick and offer a prize well below the value of the work).

_______________

Even a newbie has to charge a VIABLE newbie rate. That's not FREE though. More talent and skills charge more. Newbies charge less but charge what you're worth. Maybe too many people think they're worthless. Certainly that $3000-$10,000 kit you're shooting with isn't worthless though. Even a runner/messenger/PA has WORTH.
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Old February 25th, 2009, 01:44 PM   #28
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Imagine the following ad.

"Hi, I'm a professional who charges a realistic rate for my professional services. I am looking for an eager young newcommer to exploit. I don't want to spend the time and money necessary on gear and lessons to use it. I don't feel like paying a professional for their services or the gear they have - I'm hoping I will find a talented, enegetic and naive young filmmaker willing to put in the extra hours that I am not willing to pay for. In exchange, I'll buy you a fast food lunch. Oh, I might put your name on the credits. I might also offer you some sort of vague promise for 'future' work... or 'festival exposure' - but that's just to sooth your ego. What I'll actually do is run the same add again, and find another newbie to churn and burn, once you wise up to the game.

Why am I doing this? Why does a dog lick himself.... because he can."

Would anyone in their right mind respond to such honesty?

Getting together with a bunch of friends and pooling one's resources on a project, just for the fun and experience of shared fellowship and creativity - is a different venue. That's not 'working for free' - that's socializing and sharing creativity.

Real 'internships' have established paperwork with accredited colleges so that you GET the college credit... that's not working 'for free' either.
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Old February 26th, 2009, 02:56 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by Richard Alvarez View Post
Getting together with a bunch of friends and pooling one's resources on a project, just for the fun and experience of shared fellowship and creativity - is a different venue. That's not 'working for free' - that's socializing and sharing creativity.
It's great you make this distinction Richard, this is what I and a couple of other filmmakers do as a group. We share resources, time, pick roles depending on the project, etc. We're definitely "working for free" but working collaboratively is how we want to make films and it benefits all of us. I don't even bother trolling craigslist for even free gigs, everyone up here wants a DP with a RED, a Gaffer with $10K work of lights, and an Editor with a Mac pro, all for free. Most of those filmmakers have never shot anything, half of the ads i laugh at.

But i guess I have the benefit of a day job.
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Old February 27th, 2009, 06:21 PM   #30
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Why would you ever do a project SOMEONE ELSE is PROFITING from for FREE?
Oh, who's really profiting on low-budget indie stuff? He's making a short film, or a no-budget slasher flick... there won't ever be any money involved for him, and if he did get lucky enough to become big, that's when you negotiate beforehand profit sharing.

I'm not saying I'll donate 2 weeks of blood sweat and tears and pay for all his equipment rental, but if he's doing something over a couple days and has a few well-planned out hours he needs someone to help him shoot, why not? I'm not saying you have to share the similar outlook, but it's not like I'm being conned here.
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