There's no steady income in film.

The further down the totem pole you are the more "steady" the income. There are plenty of full-time-freelance camera guys and grips.

Unless you mean steady as in 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year for the same company. In that case, probably not if you're on a film crew. It's a gig-by-gig deal. There are, however, steady paychecks working for businesses that service the film industry. Working in a post production house or as a caterer or at a rental house.

I've wanted to try the old studio system again for a while now. Hire crew members and actors full time and they clock in and work on whatever project is slated for that day. You see the same faces in every production, but that might be a really cool thing. Like if SNL did nothing but features week to week.
 

jax_rox

Staff member
Moderator
I've wanted to try the old studio system again for a while now. Hire crew members and actors full time and they clock in and work on whatever project is slated for that day. You see the same faces in every production, but that might be a really cool thing. Like if SNL did nothing but features week to week.
You'd want to get on well with your colleagues ;) I think the idea's kinda cool, though I also enjoy meeting a whole new set of people on each set; you often find one or two people you already know are also on set, but you then meet a whole lot of new people - it kinda expands your network automatically as well.
 
Thanks for the insight. I thought that, for the bigger studios, there would be steady income, because they always have a gig going. So Walt Disney Enterprises, for example, would always have something going, so the producers and directors and grips would always have something to do.
 
Every film project is formed differently, even the ones that go through the biggest studios. They might bring on a director they've never worked with before, or a producer/director team might pitch an idea to disney and they may bring their own crew, or someone from disney might come up with the idea for a script and look inward for their own team. There's no sure thing. If you're an employee of the studio under salary or under contract with the studio, that's a different story. There's plenty of money to go around in film, you just have to squeeze your way in and make your way to the top.
 
I also wonder if it's different if you're lucky enough to wind up working for an outfit like the Coen Brothers. I thought that on one of the commentary tracks, maybe for No Country for Old Men, it's said that the brothers hold on to their same crew, to some extent or other, from film to film. If that's true, and the brothers are continually working...

But I suppose that would be exceptional. Even if it's true, pehaps it's still not steady enough to pay the bills year round.
 
If you can get enough views, Youtube is a very viable income source. If all my 36k views had been monetized (instead of the 25k or so) I think I would have made around $80. Popular youtubers get 50k+ views a day so you're making much more than minimum wage and doing something you love.
If you have that opportunity, don't miss it.
 

jax_rox

Staff member
Moderator
I also wonder if it's different if you're lucky enough to wind up working for an outfit like the Coen Brothers. I thought that on one of the commentary tracks, maybe for No Country for Old Men, it's said that the brothers hold on to their same crew, to some extent or other, from film to film. If that's true, and the brothers are continually working...

But I suppose that would be exceptional. Even if it's true, pehaps it's still not steady enough to pay the bills year round.
This is usually true, and DPs will often work with the same camera crew, and the same Gaffer for example; Gaffer's will often work with the same LX crew etc. etc. which means if your DP gets consistent work, then you do as well.
That said, consistent may mean one feature per year, or it may mean 3 commercials a month. Even camera and lighting crew who work with the same people usually work on other stuff as well.

It also depends on your level of work - lower budget indie films aren't going to pay the bills for the year, but then working on a union show you're more likely to be able to make rent and have some play money at the end of it.

As a union member, working on high paid union shows, you can make more money from one feature than others make in a year.
That's working at very high level Hollywood, however.

That said, even if you're not working in high-end Hollywood, you can still make a comfortable living, even working on indie films (the paying ones, anyway) and commercials and TV shows.
 
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