Camera assistants nationwide are currently in talks with the support of the MEAA regarding the state of rates across the country and the possibility of creating a nationwide standard rates card.
Recently a meeting was held with the MEAA in Sydney and concerns were raised over the state of rates and the growing number of “deals"being asked of camera crews across the country, particularly in Sydney.
The main issue at hand is the future of our industry if the minimum wage and working conditions do not meet a fair minimum, and also the need for a standard and acceptable practice for charging that keeps productions and practitioners accountable and protects the penalties that ensure a safe and ongoing industry.
The MEAA has been running a get real on rates campaign recently and so it seems like now may be as good a time as ever to unify the camera department in Australia.
Based on discussions it seems that a standard 10hr commercial day needs to be implemented to fight the 28% discount currently being asked of in the commercial world of Sydney. This is not necessarily the case in all states but again this is an opportunity to band together for the future and to get tough on rates.
As well as this, a standard rate card would be created for commercials and a standard minimum rate card would be created for Feature films, TV series / low budget features/ documentaries.
These rate cards would be made available to booking agents, production companies and producers ahead of time to allow for a smooth transition. They would also become a readily available resource for new camera crew members as well as for new and old producers to know what to expect to be charged across the board.
Rates would be up for review every 12 months and would come into effect later in the year (with existing agreements to be honoured). Other information included would be standard charging practices and minimum crew requirements for particular jobs. For the most part the current conditions of the MPPA and BREA agreements would be accepted with the exception of any rates and conditions mentioned otherwise in the new standard rates cards.
In order for these new rates and standards to work, camera assistants will need the support of not just each other but also the entire camera department community and the MEAA.
Questions being asked of 1st and 2nd AC’s are if they would agree to stand together and accept the standard rates and be prepared to say no to jobs that do not comply to the standard rates and charging practices. So far the responses have been positive.
We would love to hear from any ACS members who have more to add to these discussions (for and against). If members are happy to support this move when it occurs and in particular, if there are any issues that directly affect them that need addressing also.
For more information or to have your say please contact