Things You Can’t Negotiate On Set

Posted on: Jun 13, 2022

An African American film crew shooting an MMA project indoors near an octagon cage.Photo Credit: Kashilembo Wabu / Unsplash

When you work in production, it’s because it’s unique, it’s rewarding to see your work come to life, and the camaraderie is second to none. That being said, there are some days (and sometimes gigs) when you find yourself wishing you could strike a deal with the production gods to make things better, or move along quicker. To quote Mick Jagger in an unfortunate way, you can’t always get what you want.

Here are some things you wish you could negotiate (and one that you can):

How long it takes for a file to render

You can get on your knees and beg your editor all day for faster results, but there is nothing they can do to make a file render faster. Scenes are shot at higher frame rates and in a higher definition every year, which means it can take longer to render unless your editor is using the latest tech—then it just takes half of an eternity. Processing power can only do so much, and you can’t bargain with a machine.

Fun fact: “Monster’s University” was so time-intensive that it took each frame 29 hours to render.

Your call time

Even if you know the first two hours are going to involve waiting around for other departments, you still have to show up when the call sheet says to. The call sheet has been set long before you even knew you were working that day, and there is no room to negotiate what time you can show up. Everyone has to be there just in case something gets switched or starts up ahead of schedule, because the beauty of working in production is that every day is very different from the one before it. In other words, you must obey the call sheet.

Parking restrictions

Sometimes a location’s parking situation can add an unwanted layer of stress to an already hectic day. Even if you were approaching your car just before the authorities were starting to write the ticket, don’t fight the law. The law will win. Sometimes you can’t get there in time to move your vehicle, but as long as you’re mindful of the parking rules, you’ll be okay more often than not. When you arrive, let your supervisor know that you have to move your car at a certain time, and get someone to cover for you while you get it done.

What’s for lunch?

Unless you’re the one ordering catering, the lunch on-set is the lunch on-set. If you’re not wild about it, you can always pack your own or venture into the world if you’re shooting in an area with options. No, crafty might not have what you’re craving today, but maybe Chipotle is better than pizza for the fifth time in a row.

Although you can’t negotiate call times, lunch, video rendering, or parking restrictions, the good news is that you can negotiate how much money you make! If you’re not sure what to charge, you can always look up a day rate sheet for your department and go from there. Or, you can use the Staff Me Up Job Negotiator to help make sure you are paid fairly for your work. Our Job Negotiator tool has thousands of rates listed according to job title, region and more to assist in setting your rates.

Browse thousands of jobs and find your next gig! Sign up or log in to Staff Me Up and get on-set today!

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