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Looking for advice on rates.

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Hi there, 

 

  I'm a beginner MUA and I'm looking for some advice on where to start when choosing my rates. My focus is primarily on doing work in film. I have completed  schooling and have been gaining experience mostly on short films but for little to no pay. I feel ready to start charging and am wondering if anyone could share their experience of when they started and what they charged.

 

  I'm also curious to know from MUA's freelancing in the film industry if it's more common to charge per hour or give a flat rate per day. I would assume an hourly rate would be more common as I can see where there would be issues with charging per day, but if anyone could shed light on what they have more commonly experienced that would be great. 

 

Thanks

Char. 

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Hi there, 

 

  I'm a beginner MUA and I'm looking for some advice on where to start when choosing my rates. My focus is primarily on doing work in film. I have completed  schooling and have been gaining experience mostly on short films but for little to no pay. I feel ready to start charging and am wondering if anyone could share their experience of when they started and what they charged.

 

  I'm also curious to know from MUA's freelancing in the film industry if it's more common to charge per hour or give a flat rate per day. I would assume an hourly rate would be more common as I can see where there would be issues with charging per day, but if anyone could shed light on what they have more commonly experienced that would be great. 

 

Thanks

Char. 

 

Hi Char,

 

For non-union films it's common to charge a day rate (flat rate), as you're negotiating on your behalf to the Producer / Production Company. Most won't pay OT and some will pay a very small kit fee on top of your day rate. For out-of-town and over night shoots, Production Companies will adhere to union industry standard rules for per-diem, which includes travel rates, shuttles, food and hotels. However, parking is not usually reimbursed, and the one hour lunch is not paid but is provided. Apologies if I am redundant on some things that you might already know.

 

For union films the rates are hourly, as the union negotiates your compensation for you, including an OT sliding scale, kit fees, meal penalties, travel rates and shuttles (for out-of-town), and any out-of-town / over night per-diem's for food and hotels. Again, metered parking is not usually covered for Make-up, and the one hour lunch is not paid but is provided.

 

What to charge?

 

Depending on where you live, you would charge the applicable industry rate of that region. Make-up rates tend to be guarded by us, but if you call into your local film union, and ask what a Key Make-up rate would be, they will either give you a ball-park figure, or they will refer you to somewhere else. The ball-park figure is a good estimate and you can play around with that figure when you talk to the Production Coordinator or UPM (Unit Production Manager) when negotiating your rate. 

 

What you NEVER do is under cut yourself for the sake of getting a gig, especially in the non union world of film/TV. As this will undermine every make-up artist out there who are trying to negotiate a fair rate them and their assistants. And then the Production Companies will start paying make-up artists lower rates. Or that one Production Company that hired you will keep hiring you at that very low rate.

 

Film / TV Make-up is such a small world in the town that you're in that news will travel fast and rumours travel faster if it gets out that a MuA is undercutting rates. Then you will suddenly find yourself black-listed and no one will hire or work with you. Then you have that reputation... Forever.

 

You didn't mention Commercials. These are typically non-union but the pay is generally higher as commercial shoots are usually 1 to 4 days. When I first started out I did commercials and with networking I eventually went over to the film / TV production side of things. On my IMDb page, most of the productions I've worked on were / are union productions except for maybe three shorts, but I was paid for those gigs.

 

Yes I feel your pain in the freebie independent / student film genre. We've all been there, but hopefully you won't be there long. Beware of film festival promises, (or any promises for that matter) they never come to fruition unless you're getting paid a union rate, which means that production had money to begin with!

 

Hope this helps, ya I was vague when It came to specific rates. Again rates are different across Canada but are within a $150 of an upper and lower limit of the base average, as they are as different across the US in different regions as well.

 

Again hope this helps and good luck in venturing into the film world!  :)

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Generally speaking, you want to be around the same rate as others working in your market. Experienced commercial stylists are getting $600/$700 a day & definitely charging a kit fee for larger numbers of subjects. With film, anything goes. 

Some photographers & producers really like (& need) the option of an hourly rate, but have a minimum (like 2 hours) if you offer that. 

 

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