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How directors gets paid when they are working for a production company. By salary or project? Both?

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If they are affiliated with one specific production company they will get paid the day rate specified in the estimate plus in most cases an agreed on profit share, assuming the job brings in more than it costs! Not every Director gets a share of the profit but those Directors who are signed and have their own decent reputation have leverage to be paid this way. It incentivises the Director not to go crazy ordering expensive equipment and pushing into overtime. Share in the rewards of an efficiently managed production. Freelance Directors will not get profit share but merely the day rate that the job and negotiation allows. But then those freelance directors can cut deals with different production companies and possibly work more.

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I’ve gotten paid by the prodco for location scout days, castings, and sometimes a few prep days but never for a treatment. And definitely for shoot days. Creative fees / profit sharing is possible if there is any budget left, but typically it’s always so tight, I just get day rates. High end top tier directors doing high six to seven figure shoots definitely make 20k+ a day for shoots and get creative fees for treatments.

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In my experience directors are typically paid day rate for shoot days and per diem for travel (typically $100 or more a day) but no Prep days. Sometimes there are treatment fees if it is a freelance director production company will pay that fee. Not agency. That’s a cost of doing business.

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Does the day rate includes the days they’ve been working on preparing the shoot or just the day of the shoot? This is very helpful. Thanks a lot.

Directors rates in my experience are based on 10% of actual budget. Technically you are only paid for shoot days, no prep, no overtime nuthin extra. Profit sharing would be for a signed director who is well established and even more so anymore brings in the job. It can be a bit of a grind, especially down time between gigs.

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DGA has a good rundown of this for union shoots. A director is to be paid for every day they contribute to the project, including the treatment , prep, etc. Non-union sometimes varies, such as the treatment not necessarily being covered or being treated as new biz for the director, or an hour phone call not necessitating a full day's billing if nothing else is done that day, but in general work is work and should be paid for.

Yea if the director were paid prep days that just wouldn't work....they're going to spend at least 10 days (if not more) where they need scout, interview crew, do boards, think about the project, speak to creative department heads. Only prep days they're paid for could be on set prep days (I.e. builds etc) but some clients have bidding guidelines that say the agency should push for a half day rate for those days

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