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class="style8" Cancellation Fees

>Published : 1st March 2005

>So if I got the word that I am "BOOKED" for a certain number of days, but then am cancelled, and they hire someone else for the gig 7 days out, am I entitled to a cancellation fee...say half of the "BOOKED" days???

>Thanks,
Raoul Germain
Director of Photography
L.A.


class="style9">>So if I got the word that I am "BOOKED" for a certain number of days, >but then am cancelled, and they hire someone else for the gig 7 days >out, am I entitled to a cancellation fee...say half of the "BOOKED" >days???

>You can try but I doubt it. The only cancellation fees I've ever been able to collect are for one or two day jobs where I'm cancelled less than 24 hours in advance. In that case I can bill 100% of the following day and that's about it. That's industry standard in the corporate video and broadcast markets across the U.S. I don't think anyone's going to pay you for a gig when you're cancelled seven days out, especially in LA.

>Are you entitled?

>By law, no. Ethically? Depends on whose ethics apply. The bottom line is, does the production company recognize those terms and do they want you to work for them again? If they do want to hang on to their relationship with you then you'll probably be able to make some arrangement with them. If not, they may feel they don't owe you a thing and there's no reason for them to pay you.

>In the cutthroat market that is Southern California I'd think you'd have a hard time collecting, but there's no harm in asking. If they've already replaced you it's looking like they don't value their relationship with you anyway.

>Art Adams, DP [film|hdtv|sdtv]
San Francisco Bay Area - "Silicon Valley"
http://www.artadams.net/


class="style10">>So if I got the word that I am "BOOKED" for a certain number of days, >but then am cancelled...am I entitled to a cancellation fee.

>It depends on the deal memo you or your agent signed. If no deal memo with a "kill fee" exists, then often the relationship you have with the company or producer may be the best thing you have to help get things settled in a fair way. It strains the "booking" credibility of the producer if they don't settle in a way that's equitable for everyone. I've always gotten a kill fee even when one is not specified by carefully negotiating after the fact.

>One factor may be the time before the start date that they 'unbooked' you. I it's a month in advance it's one thing but if it's two or three days beforehand, it's another. The closer to the shoot date, the higher the kill fee can be.

>How long were you "booked" for the job and how many jobs did you turn down during that time? They often ask if you turned down any jobs as if you will say no and they can walk away without guilt. Seven days before a seven day job is serious unless they only had you booked for one day or less. But if you've been booked for two weeks it becomes much more significant.

>These are important considerations that any good producer should take into account to maintain his or her future credibility. Be firm, businesslike and understanding of the awkwardness of the situation for the producer.

>Please send my ten percent to the CML orphanage fund.

>Hope it works out for you.

>Jim Sofranko
NY/DP


>Mr. Raoul wrote :

class="style9">>So if I got the word that I am "BOOKED" for a certain number of days, >but then am cancelled, and they hire someone else for the gig 7 days >out, am I entitled to a cancellation fee...say half of the "BOOKED" days?

>This was a verbal agreement right?

>I don't think you've got much going as an argument here. If you had a signed letter of agreement or contract about the job you might have a position. Clients change their minds all the time, sometimes they have to pay for it, but usually only if there is some kind of legal document covering that aspect if it that far in advance.

>Mark Smith


class="style9">>So if I got the word that I am "BOOKED" for a certain number of days, >but then am cancelled, and they hire someone else for the gig 7 days >out, am I entitled to a cancellation fee...say half of the "BOOKED" days?

>REPLY : It depends what "circles" you move in. The bottom line should be: How many other jobs did you turn down? I work in an end of the industry where people, if they are in demand, are booked in advance, and work more often than not.

>Hence, the expectation by both sides is: We will get paid. However, I try and make this clear at some juncture, by calling the client and saying : "Listen, I'm about to pass on another project that conflicts with yours. Are you willing to confirm this as a paying job as of today?"

>Without such a conversation (or memo), you may have not established a mutual understanding.

>Also : The issue isn't so much a "cancellation fee". Its more one of : How much prep work or time did you put in up front? How many meetings, phone calls, etc. did you have? How much paperwork did this generate? That should be "billable" time.

>By the way "24 (or 48) Hour Rule" I consider to be more applicable to one or two day jobs, booked on short notice. Longer term projects of a week or more? I'd consider to be more subject to cancellation payment: Again, the issues being:

>A) Actual billable hours put in up front for prep work, and
B) The greater likelihood that other projects were turned down to block out a week or more of time.

>Lew Comenetz
Video Engineer/DIT


>Well it all turned out OK in the end after all.

>Basically, the Producer had been fired and called me to let me know he was doubtful they would keep me aboard. After a week of meetings and waiting, they have kept me and my crew.

>Just to clarify, I was, and am, under the impression that I am working for the show through October and am currently getting paper work drawn up to that end. Our producer was under the impression that he had a 40 week deal with this company, and they came at him with a..."oh…no. It was just a week to week deal..." So he and his agent and lawyers are getting into that.

>Thanks for everything,
Raoul Germain
DP
L.A. (and now NY)