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The State of Indie Production

    If this isn't a joke, if this is a serious ad, then I'm gonna make a lateral move into doing flower arrangements or something. At least those people actually get paid and can work indoors, mostly.

    The body of the message is pasted below for when the ad is removed, as it will be inevitably.

    Looking for a cinematographer, a good one. So someone with ASC or BSC membership, please. Not sure what that is exactly, but we were told they were the best so that's what we want.

    This is a difficult shoot that takes place outside at night. Shoot dates prob eighteen days in February. Must be experience with shooting in cold and with some messy situations. Rain and mud play a big factor in this story.

    This is probably going to be the best film you'll ever work on. We've had friends and family read the script and everyone loved it. So, it may not be a big money-maker for you, but it will be a great film on your resume. Maybe even win an Oscar. It's just that good.

    No pay, and can't cover travel expenses, but there will be reels and meals--I'm talking killer sandwiches!

    Contact us at the email above. Ideal candidate has own equipment and insurance. And lights and maybe some sound gear, too. A big van would seal the deal! ;-)

    P.S. If anyone knows Robert Deakins, told he's pretty good. Need a contact #.

    Location: Denver and Scenic Aspen

    Compensation: no pay

  • 20 Replies sorted by
  • That's got to be a joke, lol. Seriously, no one could be that retarded. Shian, in the event it is legitimate, why don't you reply and have fun with it? Maybe have them call you and record the conversation...

  • Hah, this HAS to be a joke!

  • I am a member of the Always Saying Crap (ASC) perhaps I could get this job. I have a van too, and I LOVE sammiches.

  • Big Sandwich Consumer (BSC)?

  • I bet he's actually looking for Roger Deakins instead of Robert.

  • Lol shian always bringing good quality flame!!

  • Maybe if the cinematographer sells his sandwhiches, he could raise money for the job?

    Maybe this add is from the same funny guys who wanted a 50 grand investment for to turn an "acedemy winning script" into film?

  • I have a simple strategy for such cases. I shoot, with my own gear and a PA or two I trust, and handle all the DIT myself. Inevitably, idiots who try to produce these things never ask for a contract, or I offer them a "shooting only" contract. When the gig has ended, I go home and wait for the phone call.

    Prodoucher: "Ahbleza, when can I have a copy of the footage?"

    Ahbleza: "That's wasn't in our contract. You just wanted a DP to shoot."

    Prodoucher: "But I neeeeds it. Precious. I wants it."

    Ahbleza: "Here's the Western Union Office to which you can wire the funds..."

    Worst case: I meet some interesting new people, and have some nice footage for my reel, plus I got sandwiches, and a chance to hone my skills.

  • @ahbleza

    LOL. Good strategy.

  • But the fact is, thousands of films get made in just this way, and probably could get made in no other way. And filmmaking is hardly the only endeavor, these days, where people are expected to work for nothing, and be grateful for the opportunity. Profitable businesses, including very large ones, routinely use unpaid interns.

    That ad is funny, precisely because of its basis in reality.

  • I posted it on the Facebook wall of an ASC friend. He liked it!

    " Wow... I'm loading up the truck.... can I contribute something to pay for food?"

  • my reply. We'll see what they say. I really hope I get it. I haven't hada killer sandwich in quite some time.


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  • Lol, shian is master of acid flavor. I would love to see the answer for that.!!!!

  • Interesting thread but all joking aside this is sadly the norm around here in Vancouver. Here's a posting from todays Craigslist:

    "We are looking for a DOP/Cinematographer with his/her own high end HD camera for a low budget independent feature length film that we are shooting early in 2014. Must have a valid passport. Please provide examples of your work and an estimated rate of payment for a 4 or 5 week shoot. If you have a camera crew that you trust and work with please provide details with that as well. Provide examples of your work and some written tech details on the project itself, ie. The amount of gear you used to achieve it, how much of the lighting/composition were you left to do on your own as opposed to directors imput, etc. I don't expect an essay but a few lines of info on each project will do. Anyone not providing any details other than links to their work will not be considered, period. PLEASE only local Vancouver area persons need apply. Thank you"

    So they want high-end HD camera gear for a low budget indie... Isn't that like saying "I'm on welfare but I want to buy an Aston Martin"?

    I'm sick of this shit and I think as an international community we need to work together to stop it. I get that times are tough, I get that companies etc have less than they may have had a few years ago (especially in places like Vancouver where places with higher tax incentives plus the high Canadian $ vs the U.S. $ have hit the industry hard) but where does one draw the line?

    I used to think that it was because great images can now be obtained much cheaper and technology is generally more accessible, however, I suspect it is people taking advantage of the passion that drives artists. Good artists need to create. No matter what. It's in our souls. However, we need to be collectively better at knowing the value of our skills and experience as well as how much time and money we have invested in our gear. We have to stop selling ourselves short.

    Stay firm on what you are and your time is worth. If I want to buy an Aston Martin then I need to save the $$$ to buy one. Similarly, if a producer wants to make a movie then he/she needs to raise the capital to do so or figure out how to write, direct, shoot, edit and distribute the movie themselves.

  • I'm sick of this shit and I think as an international community we need to work together to stop it.

    As long as feature filmmaking remains a money-losing venture -- as it is, 99.1% of the time -- how will you stop it? Even when these films are commercially successful, producers rarely see any money.

  • @jrd - There's a lot more content being made by filmmakers than just feature films. Commercials, music videos, docs, webseries, interactive media, etc. and all of them want people like us to work for little to no money. My point was that no matter how passionate we may be as creatives, we need to realize that under-selling our skills, experience and gear we've invested in serves no purpose other than undermining the livelihood of everyone else there doing the same job. If you have talent, gear and experience know what it's all worth and don't sell yourself short. You deserve to make a living just as much as anyone else working in other field of work does.

  • echoing @ahbleza

    Yes! We offer an extra service to all new clients at no charge. We make low resolution time coded window clips on set at no extra charge which we give you at the end of everyday. Yes , it's free. It means you can start editing the next day with no risk to your original footage.

  • Killer Sandwiches = Baloney sandwich sprinkled with arsenic.

    The Practical Cinematographer's Guide to craigslist