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A polite way to ask for help. First off? Lose the word "MUST".

You MUST have you’re own equipment and werk for free
Posted on 18/02/2015
I’ll admit it, I’m addicted to reading Mandy.com. It’s like biting down on a tooth that aches. You know it’s gonna hurt, but you can’t stop doing it. I have nothing against websites like Mandy, or Shooting People. You have to start somewhere. The misspellings bug the hell out of me, but what really upsets me is the tone of many of the ads. There’s often no sense of graciousness… appreciation…for what a person’s offering by doing the job. I read ad after ad with expectations of people working cheap or free yet supplying kit. I see the word “MUST” (in capital letters) so often. Here’s an exact quote from a Mandy ad right now: “What you MUST have for this job it’s (sic) lights.”

So here’s my idea, a template for those that are looking for help on Mandy, Shooting People etc. :

“Hi, I’m trying to make a ___________ . It is a self-funded project and therefore I do not have enough money to pay anyone/can only pay NMW.
I would be really grateful for any help that you can give. Maybe you’re a ______ that wants to be a ______ , or are already a professional and just like to support the independent film industry.
Although the job is ____ days long, any time you could give to the project would be much appreciated.
We will do our best to make the length of the days reasonable, and will make sure there is always water and food on set.
I know this is a lot to ask, but I really want to make this ____ . I realize that you will be helping me more than I will be helping you, and I promise to behave in a manner that demonstrates that. I also know that if you own your own equipment you should be compensated for my using it, because I understand that it costs money to buy, to insure, and to maintain.
Thank you.”

  • Nooooooo .....

    The last thing we need is a world of well written polite requests that mean that it takes time invested before we discover that they are that all too common combo of egocentric ineffectual burke. Like when it becomes clear that the promised NMW is actually contingent on the short being sold....

    We MUST keep the mispells to save us all time effort and aggro :-)

    2 years ago
  • In fairness, as Marlom says, it's a pretty sure-fire way to weed out projects that'll probably never actually happen!

    But I agree that there some posters show their inexperience by asking for the moon, for free, whilst thinking they're offering a favour. I smile when I see effectively 'wanted, producer, low pay, must raise own salary and production costs' - maybe they'll find someone?

    If you recognise yourself in this thread, humble requests for help and reasonable expectations that people will have costs to cover go a long way. I am happy to help people along, but reality is that projects that even offer a token payment get taken more seriously than those that don't - it just shows willing and an understanding of the realities.

    2 years ago
  • I agree with Howard. The tone of the letter probably reflects the experience on set. If there's little consideration and gratitude in the offer on SP. Then the shoot will be similar. I don't want to go through that. And professionals very definitley do not tolerate shoots like that.
    If they can't spend a bit of time grammar and spell checking and being nice then they won't get far in the film business.

    2 years ago
  • I like the notion that gormless graceless egoists ought to be encouraged to show their colours from the outset. There's so many silly requests that might otherwise waste peoples time. It also provides an opportunity for some entertaining lampooning.

    What is perhaps even more astonishing though is that some of these risible offers actually attract genuine interest. I suppose that the disappointment that must inevitably follow can at least be valued as an essential life lesson.

    2 years ago
  • You know, I like the idea of letting the errors and unreasonable demands stay. It is a great way to filter out the knuckleheads!

    2 years ago
  • Totally agree with all of you. Have you noticed that mandy.com has been acquired by filmandtvpro? Times are a changin'...

    2 years ago
    • ha ha! If indeed it's less Times are a changin' as 'This is the story of the Hurricane'

      2 years ago
  • I am not a fan of FilmandTVpro mainly as they want payment for adverts that are free elsewhere (e.g. BBC jobs that are free to apply to on the BBC jobs website) I use SP and I used to use Mandy.com - the question is what now? Can anybody recommend any other film industry job finding sites?

    2 years ago
  • Even in Hollywood ;)

    www.mandy.com/job/666880/scriptwriter-71...

    2 years ago
    • OTOH they do say it's a paid job, so I'm happy to assume that the money would be professional. (At least until told otherwise).

      Of course the problem will arise when the writer hired to polish (what the OP thinks is a 1 week job) says that it's "a great premise with wonderful characters, but it's not a polish, it's a page one rewrite, that will take X weeks" :-)

      2 years ago
  • Just joined shooting people. Its 25 years ago since I left PCL and gave up free work. Is this what its still like? I'm 50 with a family and cameras/editing suite to support. Give us a break. Don't ask for free work. If you can't crew a low budget film from friends then don't bother asking 'professionals' for less than minimum wage. Deferred experience isn't going to put food on the table.

    2 years ago