Friday, June 8, 2007

Film Business, Business

Earlier this week Jim took a call from a producer in California who wants to shoot here in Chicago for three days in July. He began the conversation by saying how easy the job will be and his tale grew from there.

He wants to shoot a conference at the Sheraton Hotel those three days. Then he wants to do a series of interviews with people in their 80s and 90s, but not at the hotel at another location- an older location to match the older people. Then he wants to go shoot five and six year old kids on a playground and interview them. That's all.

So as we started to break down the job we discovered very quickly that while the producer is in California we would in fact be producing his job for him. We needed to find locations, wrangle kids, etc.... So we called him back for this discussion and about the costs associated and he told us how much money he had. I won't give an exact figure, but consider it about half what we would typically get with an existing client. AND he didn't want to pay for any of the pre-production work.

When he heard our number he said he would call back with Plan B. An hour later he called, magically, he was able to double the money he first offered us- still less than our normal rate and gone was the location scouting work. This time he said we would shoot the interviews with the 80 and 90 year old people outdoors, perhaps at the same playground where we shoot kids. (At this point Jim turned to me and said,"Let's shoot animals too so we've got it all covered." Kids and animals being notorious as the hardest things to shoot.)

Evidently the producer has not A)been to Chicago in July when it could be 95 degrees with 90 percent humidity-ideal conditions to interview elderly people, B) Never shot kids outdoors on a playground- let's just give them a bottomless cup of coffee and some candy bars and have them officially lose their minds before we interview them (right after shooting the 90 year olds in the 90 degree heat.) and C) done any production of this sort ever.

We explained why this new plan might save him some money it still wouldn't work. (Weather, sound issues, lighting, wrangling kids and seniors, etc....) Finally he asked us again why we couldn't do it for the original price. We told him the truth, that it is unfair to our clients who pay us our regular fees to undercut ourselves to an outside producer just to get a job.

So the producer went his way and we went ours, but not before asking us if we had any recommendations for him. We didn't. My guess is the producer will probably find someone willing to do the job for the money he has and they will make a series of compromises and end up with a bunch of sweaty seniors and hyper kids.

Next time the reverse story, when we are the out of town producers coming in to a city to shoot.


1 comment:

Theresa111 said...

Don't you just love those impossible, I want a discount, requests! Your dipiction of the kids going wild was right on and his comment about getting animals too, made me laugh.