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Please drop the "collaboration" tag from the "expenses" job posts

Read the bulletin. On top of an expenses post, you misuse the word "collaboration." On top of a low paid one, there's a "low paid" and on top of the jobs there's a "jobs."

So, why can't you replace "collaboration" with expenses? Expenses even has fewer characters.

Look up the word collaborate in the dictionary. There are two meanings 1) work together and 2) deal treacherously with the enemy.

Now, unless this is some kind of tongue-in-cheek reference to union rules against unpaid work, I don't think we mean the second.

I get people emailing me requests to "collaborate" on a film. Do they want me to work for free? Or do they want to work the way Billy Wilder works with his screenwriter?

When people who make films for a living talk about "collaboration" they don't mean working for expenses and a screen credit. They mean working together, with many minds meeting, and it doesn't matter what the economic set up is (they could both be hired by the same studio, or one could hire the other for a lot of money, or they could be business partners splitting the profits, or something else.)

However, when someone asks me about "collaboration", being on this list, I find myself asking what they mean. And, I think this list has the power to distort the way other people see the word "collaborate."

In the past, I've found one of the biggest challenges in developing and distributing films is clarity (who has the rights to the script, who gets a share of the profits, what can you use in your showreel, etc).

Now, it's one thing if a single member or even a moderator misuses a word on occasion (I think we all have), but the way the bulletins are set out, it makes "collaborate" look like a synonym for "expenses."

  • Hear hear

    1 year ago
  • It's still there, up in the corner.

    11 months ago
  • In what business would you pay someone to do a job before they had proven their capability to be able to do the job/work? Well in all truth probably never, for example, you wouldn't hire and pay a builder an advance without first being assured of their capability by checking references and checking to see if they had any professional organisation affiliations. Why in the film business do some people think that just because they say they are such and such, well then they are? Producers need proof, everyone involved in the marketing and selling of a film also need proof, to CV, have they a proven track record? Have they been acknowledged by the professional peers as capable? You can say you are whatever you want to be, but getting anyone else to acknowledge and accept that you are is considerably harder to achieve.
    Secondly, when Joh Cassavetes made his indie movies, nobody got paid not even expenses, in fact they paid their own way to get to the set (confirmed in person to me by Seymour Cassel), brought food and drink to contribute to the catering for the day, did whatever job was asked of them during a days filming when they were not performing. Gena Rowlands, Ben Gazza, Seymour Cassel, Peter Falk etc, all were successful acknowledged professional actors, all worked for free without even asking for expenses, why? They wanted to collaborate, to create something between them that they could be proud of. This they definitely managed to achieve as they made absolutely amazing films, "Opening Night", "A Woman Under The Influence" are two of my favourite films, long live collaboration.


    11 months ago
    • Ray, you misunderstood my whole point, it's about the meaning of a word.

      Collaborate does not mean work for expenses. It means work together. I'm not collaborating if I'm doing someone a favour by translating their titles for them remotely.

      You're free to disagree with me, but please try to read what I actually say first.

      11 months ago
    • Oh, and secondly, in response to your idea that no one pays first timers, I paid people who never made films before. That's what you have entry level jobs for.

      My first job working for someone else, at a supermarket as a kid, was paid. I also got paid to work in a factory, and do other jobs. Ever hear of runners and apprenticeships.

      But, as I said, that isn't what my post is about.

      11 months ago
  • What do you think is the purpose of Shooting People?

    Proven talent, crew and funded producers can and do go through an agency or personal recommendations.

    When you want to find like-minded people to build your reel you go to Shooting People, or to another website if Shooting People stops functioning.

    11 months ago
    • AndBut, did you read my topic, or just Ray's response to it?

      I'm talking about the meaning of a word here, and the clarity of using it the right way.

      What if I start calling my socks a screenplay, and send someone a pair of socks every time they ask for a screenplay?

      11 months ago
  • There's over 40,000 subscribers on Shooting People; only a very tiny percentage of them contribute to these bulletin conversations, but many of them read this stuff without comment. I know some of them and they're not all, as AndBut suggests, beginners or people looking for collaborators to work on no budget projects.

    Many, and myself included, are interested in what people are doing, often recognising that this can be a place to spot emerging trends, creative genius's and ideas before those salaried elite, and not so elite, placemen in the big organisations get to do.

    I'm interested in multifaceted talent that's frustrated by glass ceilings and dire shortage of real opportunity within the commonly perceived structures, nepotisms and entrenchments of our industry. The old cliche about thinking out of the box has never been more apposite. Why struggle to succeed in a reality matrix that's been manifested by someone else's imagination, no matter how grand they may be, when one can create other realities from ones own imagination?

    I'm aware of my instinctive lack of respect for those entities commonly regarded as the great and the good. That instinctive gut reaction applies to just about any seemingly patronising scheme offered by institutions offering competitions to win small amounts of money and dubious mentoring and a loan of equipment. I'm sure these sort of things are just the ticket for some folk but they bring out the iconoclast in me.

    "One ought not assume that ones perception of reality is a generality"

    11 months ago
    • John, Again, you seem to misunderstand. Some people looking for collaborators might expect to be getting paid, or to pay, or to look for joint payment.

      11 months ago
    • Vasco I know you started this thread but you don't own it! I'm not specifically addressing the minute and strictures of your original post but the developing conversation that's arisen from it. It's not entirely non sequitur however.

      11 months ago
    • @John Lubran Thanks for that. :) I see the frustration element, from both sides (those that can't afford help, and those that need the money.)

      I just want to address one issue, that of clarity. Ironically, the additional posts are making the meaning of my original post unclear. :)

      11 months ago
  • Summarised clarification. If I get an email from a composer looking to collaborate, is that composer offering to work for free? Is that composer asking me to work for free? Is that composer saying something else?

    When someone asks me directions in the street, or if I'll help them with their gardening or another favour, or even play a game of soccer, they don't use the word "collaborate."

    The expenses tag is sufficient. Why not use the word "expenses" twice instead of putting collaborate in the corner?

    If someone is looking for a completed screenplay, collaborate is really the wrong word.

    11 months ago
  • From another thread: "it has lead to paid collaborations between writers and directors" Paid collaborations. See, the word collaborate doesn't mean "expenses only."

    11 months ago
  • For clarity...people collaborate on creative projects, not stacking shelves in supermarkets or a game of soccer but yes sometimes on gardening projects. Though stacking shelves being compared in artistry to writing a script, a universally acknowledged difficult creative process, very peculiar analogy indeed. Please drop the "expenses" tag from the "collaboration" job posts. Sorted.

    11 months ago
    • Ray, I won't disagree with all your points, you seem to have a obsession with being wrong and twisting words.

      I'll just say that, even when you are paid, it's still called collaboration. When you hear about a musical collaboration, it's not usually between two amateurs working for expenses, but two established artists getting paid pretty well by a record label.

      For a script to be collaboration it should mean more than one person works on it. Usually, this will be a writing team.

      Also, once you are established, you usually don't want unpaid people working on your projects. Warren Beatty paid 70k for a script from unknown writers back when 70k was enough to buy a pretty nice house. He didn't say "this is your first script, you ain't getting paid." The two writers collaborated on the script on spec, but they didn't give it away for free.

      If a writer wants to give a script for free, that's his or her business. I wouldn't recommend it, for a reason I may go into later, but giving away a free Van Gogh painting is not collaboration. Painting the sistine chapel as a team, that is.

      Anyway, if you have a particular problem with me, please PM me about it. While this spats may be entertaining to some, they might scare other filmmakers away from adding valid comments.

      11 months ago
  • Spain and France Collaborate to Improve pumpkin harvesting:
    Tesco and Carrefour Collaborate to lower prices:

    Collaborate merely means work together. It has nothing to do with the level of creativity involved, although I'm sure most people here want a creative impact.

    More relevant to film:
    "There is the possibility that the two A-listers could collaborate on projects, something that might appeal to Abrams."

    Are these A-listers working for expenses only?

    11 months ago
  • "but giving away a free Van Gogh painting is not collaboration" huh? You seriously compare your capabilities as a writer to Van Gogh's as an artist, remembering that my points of reference for debating this are world renowned artist Van Gogh (who ironically lived in poverty nearly all his creative life) and your short film "His Palm is Itchy" and "Dara Says" (this video doesn't exist)?
    Just to remind you, this is the subject of discussion:
    "Please drop the "collaboration" tag from the "expenses" job posts". This was the question that you posted and I adamantly disagree with you on this. This is a filmmakers forum, mostly for aspiring filmmakers, filmmaking professionals wouldn't have the time to read or contribute to it, the few established filmmakers that do, do so out of the kindness of their hearts. When starting out most people collaborate for free to gain experience, a showreel, generate a C.V. this is called having a hobby, being a student, amateur dramatics, film club etc,. When their talent is proven they then have the option to pick and choose the projects that they spend time working on if they are in demand.
    Expecting payment within the indie film businesses when your starting out is not realistic, you need to ask to your self-am I in demand to avoid unrealistic expectations, does my body of work merit me being paid for my efforts or are they still considered by my peers to be too amateurish to attract paid work. Sadly sometimes you're still starting out after decades of trying as you haven't attained a proven track record to be able to command payment, you are still a hobbyist. FYI no A-listers read these posts, "collaboration" is a word that covers a broad range of possible remuneration, sometimes fiscal, others times simply for the experience. Trying to enforce they way people collaborate, setting up rules as to how they collaborate, calling for guidelines as to how they collaborate is about as sensible as trying to herd cats. Collaborate merely means work together. It has nothing to do with the level of creativity involved, yes that is exactly what I said, but I also believe that when collaborating, especially in relation to filmmaking, people have often covered their own expenses, why should one person in a collaboration have to bare the burden of covering them? Remove expenses from the equation and it is simple, if people admire each other's work, creative achievements and would like to create together, then they will collaborate, monitory returns, payments do not concern them. When you have achieved a body of work and have been acknowledged by your peers for your capability you will be able to ask for payment and earn a living from filmmaking, until then work at your hobby, in your free time at your own expense and try to improve.

    11 months ago
    • Ray, Thank you for pointing out that the Dara Says trailer wasn't up there. I fixed that, by adding a new link.

      I wonder if I should list my documentaries. They're not great, and I'm not interested in making more docs. You probably would just say they're derivative of infomercials or something. :)

      I'm chiefly a writer (I spend about 6-8 hours a day writing fiction) but I enjoy animation. I enjoy making children laugh.

      I've written so much else for you, but you'll only twist it, like when you claimed I was comparing myself to Van Gogh. I mentioned Van Gogh because he's famous for working alone, unlike the Sistine Chapel which was painted with the help of apprentices.

      Since my IMDB page offends you so much, I'll give you two other links to deconstruct. They aren't as well laid out as your imdb page, perhaps we could collaborate on fixing my profiles. :)

      11 months ago