Saturday, June 9, 2007

Atlanta is Burning

Yesterday I wrote about what it is like dealing with an out of town producer, today I am going to tell the other side of that story and what it is like to be an out of town producer coming into a new city for production. Most of the times there is no problem. You find a local production coordinator and things fall into place. The more production done in a city the better and easier things go; so we were surprised when we shot a commercial in Atlanta and were treated like General Sherman marching to the ocean.

We needed to rent some production gear so we called one of the two big rental houses. We placed an order, they gave us a quote- it seemed high to us, but we accepted it and put the gear on hold. A little later the other rental house called us back and gave us a much better deal on the same gear, but when we told them our shooting dates they said, with genuine shock, "We just booked that same gear for those same dates to the other production house in town." (It's not uncommon for vendors to sub-contract with each other, you just don't mark up the price.) Vendor #1, seeing us Yankees march into town jacked up the price just to screw us. We canceled that order and went with vendor # 2.

Then at 9pm night before the first of our three-day shoot our gaffer called to cancel. "I got a better job- five days instead of three, but I found a replacement for you." Where we come from you stick to your word. You get booked for three days you don't cancel 12 hours before call time even if a better job comes calling. So without any options we took his replacement.

The next morning, the good ol' boy gaffer drives up in his five-ton truck, chaw of tobacco in his cheek, ready to go to work. For our purposes we will call him Cracker. The first thing he does is ask where he can park his truck. We said we don't need a truck we need about 4 lights and accessories. Cracker insisted we have the truck, "Gotta have the truck (spit) you never know what you'll need. (Evil laugh, more spitting.) After a little debate we settled on the truck for day one, but not the other days. He wasn't happy, those trucks rent for a lot and he gets gas and mileage on it, but we didn't need it, the first gaffer knew that and it was his job to start with. After we wrapped the job Cracker came to fill out his time card and get paid. He announced to us that his normal rate is $650 a day but for out of town producers it's $850 a day (laugh, spit.) He wasn't kidding. After some more negotiating we settled on a number that worked for us.

All in all we ended up saving several thousand dollars on gear and crew costs, but we had to fight for every penny. The job wasn't exactly like Sherman's march, but it wasn't Gone with the Wind, either. In another post I will share some specific production details. We learned a lot on this job and had a lot of fun and a little adventure as well.



Jolenesiah said...

souunds like u guys r having fun...
but the gear are kinda expensive... and sounds complicated... @@

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