Work Forms and Finances
One question I get asked quite a bit is, “What’s a decent day rate for a [crew position]?” The answer is almost always circumstantial and dependent on a number of factors including budget, position, and your experience. These results from a day-rate survey a few years ago, however, might give you a good starting point for what’s fair.
Here is another day-rate survey, but for the UK market. Using these numbers, pick something that seems fair and adjust accordingly to what producers are willing to shell out.
How I wish I got to use this particular form more. I am rarely given an equipment rental these days, but when you are, it’s best to itemize what you are bringing to the production both for their records and for yours.
4. Tax Tips for Filmmakers
Paul Harrill, the author of Self-Reliant film, was a professor of mine in college, so I was lucky enough to hear his tax tips for filmmakers in person. I can tell you confidently they are sound and wise approaches to dealing with finances — something few filmmakers and freelancers think about until they’re knee deep in it.
Money won’t come to you if you don’t invoice and request for it. Having an invoice template that’s easy to fill out makes you more agile to respond to your invoicing needs. It seems silly, but there are times you will procrastinate to send for money — trust me, I know.
If you want an even easier way to invoice, check out Freshbooks. They allow you to send traditional mail or e-mail invoices and even give the person your invoicing the option to pay instantly via PayPal. While 3 clients/month is free, $20/month is the cost to have up to 25 different clients — but if you’re really sending that many invoices, the cost will justify itself.
Mint.com is a personal finance tracking application. You can access it on your computer or on their various mobile apps. I just started using it a month or so ago and love it. It consolidates all of my accounts into one monthly sum, organizes my expenses into categories, and lets me budget money for the future. Part of the struggle of freelancing is being your own accountant and Mint.com is a big help in that regard.
Originally this section was going to be “Resume Templates,” but Googling around churned up only awful looking resumes. So instead of looking for how job sites think you should craft your resume, take advice directly from someone working within a production office who knows what works and what doesn’t.