Anonymous asked: I'm the person who asked about decent rates for non-union AE gigs. Thank you so much for a) answering, and b) answering with so much detail. It's intimidating to ask for a straight answer from people you work with about things like money, so what you wrote was really helpful (as well as being something to aspire to). I'm very grateful!
You are most welcome! Your question was posted on several AE forums and I am proud to say, it generated a great dialog amongst AEs, editors, post supes, and other post people (some people got angry/defensive, which was to be expected, but great talk none the less!).
So thank YOU for asking a question a lot of people are afraid to ask.
Best of luck to you! As always, feel free to drop an email anytime email@example.com
500 posts! Wow. Didn’t even realize this had happened until Tumblr emailed me.
TODAY IS AWESOME!
Anonymous asked: I graduated film school ten years ago with the intention of working in post. Even did the intern thing but it didn't end up going anywhere. After that i was never able to find a job, every listing asked for 3-5 years of industry experience or asked that i owned a whole laundry list of various professional level equipment. How did you break in? How did you find an actual entry level job? Where did you look?
Oh, man. I (and my friends) get asked this question a lot. Unfortunately, at least in my experience, it’s who you know and a lot of it is luck. I know that’s a terrible answer. I hate myself for even saying that, but it’s the nature of the industry.
I got my break into the industry by working a lot of PA gigs. On set, in the production office, and then in post. My first PA gig in LA was as an internship, didn’t get paid, but absolutely LOVED it and met a lot of really great people on the show who went on to help me get other gigs down the line. I came back for the second season (PAID!) and then rolled into another PA gig at a trailer house. PA gigs blow. They’re usually very low pay, long hours, and let’s face it, you’re at the bottom of the totem pole.
My advice to you is this: find what area of post you want to work in (I’m assuming it’s editorial….?), find out what companies did post on a show you want to work on (Google, IMDB, or end credits) and contact that company and try and get a PA gig. Easier said than done, obviously, but I know of people who’ve done this with success.
Other places I look for jobs: Entertainment Careers, Media Match, Staff Me Up (mostly reality TV), Mandy.
Reach out to your internship contacts and see if they can help. 97% of the people in the industry (or at least SHOULD) love to help other people out. If they don’t, they’re assholes (half kidding).
The requirement for industry experience is ridiculous (especially 3-5 years), albeit a somewhat necessary evil, particularly for AEs, but if you get in with the right people, they’re really great resources for being successful in this industry.
Feel free to shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any other questions. I can see what I can do for you. Hang in there!
At first I’m like:
When online starts:
SAY WHAAAAAT?! Thank you thank you thank you to everyone who follows this blog. Sincerely. This blog isn’t even a year old yet and so many people have shared their experiences, given words of encouragement/frustration/silliness. I love getting messages from you all (from around the WORLD!).
KEEP BEING AWESOME!
Anonymous asked: What is a decent day rate for a non-union AE job at a respectable production company?
Ah, yes…the infamous rate question. So many factors affect an AE’s rate and it really depends what area of the industry you are working in: reality, scripted, commercials, feature, etc.
What I am about to say is solely MY opinion about rates. This may ruffle some feathers, but I really think that stuff like this needs to be discussed, especially amongst AEs.
Time and time again, in the last few interviews or so, I have been told “Oh, we have a fair and competitive rate” only to be told that the rate is $1k a week. For a 10 to 12-hr day (and let’s be honest, we usually go over those hours). APPALLING. Honestly, it’s an insult not only to ME, but to the job itself. I get that each production’s budget varies and I get that each post supervisor (hopefully) does the best s/he can to pay their AEs fairly, but it’s disgusting. And some people see this as me whining, being “greedy” with my rate. Sorry, but no. I’d like to just be compensated fairly for all the work that I do.
The “job requirements” of an AE these days requires that I know every codec and video format possible (as each crew feels they should be using the latest and greatest camera and 96.7% of the time don’t know how to use it), to be able to problem solve for EVERYTHING (even if it’s unrelated to my department), handle anywhere from 4-32 Editors (don’t even ask…), multiple producers, the production crew, outside vendors, keep all the media organized, make sure nothing explodes, all while trying to sync/multigroup footage so the editors can actually work.
$1000-1200/week is what I would consider a “green” rate for an AE, i.e. someone fresh out of college with very minimal AE experience to his/her belt. I know of jobs paying even less than these rates. And time and again, I know of places paying these rates that have a high turn-around of AEs and complain that they can’t find any “good” AEs and I bite my tongue, wanting to say “You get what you pay for” and it’s true.
Sadly, some people are desperate for a job and will take these low rates. I am in NO WAY judging or cutting down those who do accept these jobs, we have all been there at one point or another during our careers. But accepting these jobs also says “We’re ok with this,” and we shouldn’t be. I have walked away from gigs offering low rates, despite being hard up for work. I know that I have to stand up for myself and fight to get paid for my skills and the hard work that I do.
So to answer your question, a decent AE rate to ME (and this is for an AE with at least a years’ experience) should start at $1500/week.
Let the debate begin!