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fuzzynormal

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You already own a camera that shoots 12 stops of dynamic range, but you are offered, gratis, to use a premiere industry camera that shoots 16 stops of dynamic range.  

With the first camera you have the real potential to capture a compelling story that makes your audience laugh, cry, and empathize with a subject they never imagined they would care about.  You get paid nothing.

With the second camera your job is to shoot a corporate speaker delivering a powerpoint about 3rd quarter margin calls.  You would make $2K for the day.

Both situations are happening simultaneously.  

In which scenario would you decide to work?

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Absolutely...  This is honestly a serious "what would you really do?" question.  It's very much NOT a "what do you think the right answer is?" sorta question.

If you need money, then the answer is #2, for sure.  Or, if you're a technical guy, and love playing with gear rather above all else, #2 is a perfectly fine answer.

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13 hours ago, HockeyFan12 said:

Option 2. For sure. Y'all must have good rates to turn $2k/day down, that's pretty good for non-union camera ops.

That's the challenge of the question.  Would you pass up the opportunity to tell an awesome story or take the easy cash and play with an awesome camera?  Where does one's personal priority as a "filmmaker" lie?  --especially the folks that comment here on EOSHD.  I'm curious.

For myself, up 'til a few years ago, the answer would be #2.  

Now, my perspective has changed.  I've given up gigs to chase random stories.  Also, my financial context has changed too.  That matters.   

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2 hours ago, fuzzynormal said:

That's the challenge of the question.  Would you pass up the opportunity to tell an awesome story or take the easy cash and play with an awesome camera?  Where does one's personal priority as a "filmmaker" lie?  --especially the folks that comment here on EOSHD.  I'm curious.

For myself, up 'til a few years ago, the answer would be #2.  

Now, my perspective has changed.  I've given up gigs to chase random stories.  Also, my financial context has changed too.  That matters.   

Fair enough. I don't think anyone gets into this industry for the money. But I wouldn't even care which camera I used. $2k/day is quite good for corporate work.

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2 hours ago, HockeyFan12 said:

Fair enough. I don't think anyone gets into this industry for the money. But I wouldn't even care which camera I used. $2k/day is quite good for corporate work.

It is, but great stories don't come along every day either.  I haven't walked away from 2K, but I have walked away from a 1.5K gig.  Weirdly, felt great doing it because of what I did instead.

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Wouldn't be strange if you can't shuffle the dates around to make it work. 

 As for turning it down,  depends on the details and each person's financial situation as well. 

As for me, I'd likely turn down a $500/day job to do #1 instead. 

But for that big region between $500 & $2K?! Hmmmm..... tricky to say!

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Don't underestimate the potential value of a powerpoint presentation on 3rd quarter margin calls. You could turn $2k into a retirement villa furnished with your own studio. Then you could make all the tear jerkers you can imagine.

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What is a "great story" and why can't it happen some other day, or next week?

I have rejected jobs between 500-800€ (which are huge numbers for me) but for various reasons (bad directors, I knew that we had to work unlimited hours for a stupid project, or I had something important planned with family etc), but 2000€ is easily a couple of months salary for me, or the new Sound Devices Mixpre10 I am eyeing!

Unless, I was earning more than 30.000€ per year, 2000€ for a day is too much money to say no.

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It's like playing the lottery.  Number 1 has a very small chance of bringing you a huge return.  It also has the chance to bring nothing.  Number 2 has less of a ceiling.  It's the "safe" pick.  So it should depend on how much you need the money and whether you're in a position to be risky (if that's even part of your personality).

Generally, I am a risk taker so I would go with the first choice, but only if I had the financial security (within reason) to do so.

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When you have mortgage to pay and family to feed #2 always

 

But if you are trustfund babies who dont have to worry about living or just do video for "fun/hobby" then #1 lol

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#1 can probably start off a pretty decent career, fyi... doesn't have to just be "fun, but a waste of time", right? A story you care about, that affects your audience doesn't sound like the path of someone without any intention of ever making a buck for the rest of their lives ;)

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It would be criminally stupid not to take #1 more like.

Get it shot and go back to regular paid work afterwards.

A one off commercial job means nothing compared to the chance to make a successful film, even if you get paid nothing for doing it. If the rest is paid for, then that in itself is worth more than $2k. Fuzzy was a bit fuzzy on that bit though. How does that passion project get made... is it paid for by somebody... or is it just you and your camera, rallying around trying to get funding, actors and a story, and so on... Then the option is less attractive, and that's why most people choose 2 :)

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3 hours ago, Andrew Reid said:

It would be criminally stupid not to take #1 more like.

Get it shot and go back to regular paid work afterwards.

A one off commercial job means nothing compared to the chance to make a successful film, even if you get paid nothing for doing it. If the rest is paid for, then that in itself is worth more than $2k. Fuzzy was a bit fuzzy on that bit though. How does that passion project get made... is it paid for by somebody... or is it just you and your camera, rallying around trying to get funding, actors and a story, and so on... Then the option is less attractive, and that's why most people choose 2 :)

Well, in my case, my wife and I underwrite our own doc productions by doing corporate work when we can reasonably schedule it around other stuff -- then we end up with two cameras, in a camper trailer, and on the road.  We do interviews of people that volunteer to be in the film for us.  Very low overhead for making a feature length film.  Now, if it was a bigger narrative thing, the expense would be a much different factor.

But y'know, everyone's context is different.  Which is why it can be an interesting question...

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The question of how we fund our real passions is very interesting.

If what we really want to do in life funds itself then the problem has a simple answer, but it's very rare! I think more filmmakers could pool resources. My musician friend once had an interesting idea. If 10 people pool resources every month (say just $100 each), they pay the 1st person in line ($1000) to take the month off to do nothing but record music. Then the next month the same again, but the 2nd person gets the pot. And so on. Then whatever revenue is made at the end of the year from all 10 musicians having something to show in terms of a record, they share that as well.

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