Sound Mixer Hell

The video is funny but also very true. I experienced this BS so many times. This not only applies to Sound Mixers but also to every crew member who has worked/volunteered on low/no budget independent films who encountered Producers and Directors that think you don’t need money to make a movie and the glamour of working on a movie is enough for anyone to sign up.

I’m looking at you clueless filmmakers who posts on Craigslist. But I also have seen this not only on Craigslist but surprisingly from other so-called “experienced filmmakers”. But mostly on Craigslist where this shit just comes out of the woodwork daily.

A few things I learned over the years from working on set:

1.) You need money to make a movie.
Even if you own your camera, sound and editing equipment and your cast and crew are volunteers, you still have to feed your cast and crew and provide accommodations and transportation if you’re filming outside the city.

2.) You get what you pay for
There’s a reason why professional actors and film crew cost money. You are paying for their skills, experience, training and sometimes the expensive equipment that they own and use.

3.) You rarely get great work out of volunteers.
For the reason that not everyone who volunteers has experience at what they do and no matter how enthusiastic they are, making movies involve long hours and hard work, combined with exposure to the occasional bad weather, short turn-around times, long hours commuting to set and dealing with people that may have personality issues.

Even the most enthusiastic volunteer will be singing a different tune after 6 to 7 days straight of working on set. You can only imagine how that person will be like when working 20 days on set without pay and having to spend money commuting to set. I find 3 days is the maximum time a volunteer can maintain their enthusiasm working on set. Anything beyond that and you’ll see them slowly become disgruntled for not getting paid for their work especially when that volunteer has a lot of experience.

If you have a volunteer that still shows enthusiasm and hard work after 1 week of filming or even after 20 days of filming, you value that volunteer because those type of volunteers are like shooting stars or unicorns for the simple fact that no one can work for free forever. So consider yourself very lucky if your production encounters such a volunteer.

4.) Strangely, when you at least provide a nominal sum to your cast and crew, even if it’s a pittance compared to a professional rate, they tend to work better than someone who is working for free.
It’s probably a psychological thing where if someone is being paid to work, something triggers inside them where they want to at least provide good service and give you your money’s worth.