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The Salary Thread Modular Synthesizers
Old 10th September 2008
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ggegan View Post
I grew up in the Bay Area, but back in the early 80's I got starved out of SF and moved to LA. I had worked on some good projects up there, but the down time in between them bled me dry. I was so broke when I came to LA, my wife and I were actually homeless and living in a tent. 18 months later we bought a house and were living the good life. It was luck, timing and perseverance, but the reality is, unless you fall into an elite clique in other cities, LA is the place to be for making movies.

Many of the top people from the SF area come down now and then for work. Gary Sommers moved down a few years back and is now working at Todd AO. Randy Thom used to come down too, though I haven't seen him in a while. It's kind of cyclical, when work gets scarce up North there isn't a lot of depth to the employment scene, so there are a quite a few Norteños that come down to make a few bucks in lean times. Some, like me, realize it's actually pretty nice down here, especially if you can stake a claim and build a nice nest. The surf is better, too.
...and those of us still in the SF area thank you for making there be less competition for the local work. (Which there is some of, btw!)

Philip Perkins
Old 10th September 2008
  #32
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alyricalmind's Avatar
 

I usually charge $45 an hour. If only I had 40 hours of work every week.... that's the hard part...
Old 10th September 2008
  #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philper View Post
...and those of us still in the SF area thank you for making there be less competition for the local work. (Which there is some of, btw!)

Philip Perkins
I still really miss the Bay Area and really resisted moving down here, but I don't regret the move. I'm glad you have been able to make a go of it up there. I couldn't at the time (late 70's - early 80's).

BTW, I don't go for this Bay Area - Hollywood rivalry. I'm from there (Berkeley), I now live here (Culver City). There are benefits and liabilities to both. There are also exceptional talents in both communities.

I give massive kudos to both the Northern California and NYC film communities for being great alternatives to the Hollywood way of doing things. In the past, things were kept pretty traditional in Hollywood and there was a lot of typecasting in terms of job roles. The successes of Bay Area and NYC people helped to demonstrate that the traditional ways of working were not the only ways to approach the job and also not necessarily always the best. Everyone needs shaking up sometimes. At the same time, Hollywood has been responsible for a wealth of artistic and technical contributions. It goes both ways and I believe the relationship is symbiotic.
Old 4th January 2009
  #34
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How much does an in-house post-production mixer makes here in Canada?
Old 5th January 2009
  #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matskull View Post
How much does an in-house post-production mixer makes here in Canada?
I'm asking cause I've been in this buisiness for two years and I love the business but I hate the job.

I'm leading toward the mix but I'm thinking about finding another carreer unless the mixer carreer got a salary that's worth it cause to me making crappy movies for a living isn't really gratifying.
thanks
Old 5th January 2009
  #36
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Well it seems you might not be cut out for it- most of us are working on stuff we dont like, at least part of the time-


Another consideration to anyone doing the 1099 dance- you have about a 30% tax burden you will deal with at tax-time.
Old 5th January 2009
  #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charles maynes View Post
Well it seems you might not be cut out for it- most of us are working on stuff we dont like, at least part of the time-


Another consideration to anyone doing the 1099 dance- you have about a 30% tax burden you will deal with at tax-time.
If it pays well it will be worth it cause after all it's still about sound but otherwise I don't want to pass the next four years as an assitant, doing crappy stuff, to end up with a bad salary.
Old 5th January 2009
  #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matskull View Post
If it pays well it will be worth it cause after all it's still about sound but otherwise I don't want to pass the next four years as an assitant, doing crappy stuff, to end up with a bad salary.
as rerecording mixer, the best way to dictate your rate is to bring in your own clients- if you are good, and make the clients happy you can make good money- If you are looking for a house gig, unless you have a great resume' which is actually the thing they will hire you for, you make less.
Old 5th January 2009
  #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matskull View Post
If it pays well it will be worth it cause after all it's still about sound but otherwise I don't want to pass the next four years as an assitant, doing crappy stuff, to end up with a bad salary.
Are you talking on-set recording or re-recording mixer?
It will probably take you a lot more than 4 years to become an in-house re-recrodign mixer. Also, where are you located?

And as Charles said, it doesn't sound like this is the job for you.
As the money isn't going to make up for the un-ending tide of ****e stuff you'll work on in Canada. Because the majority of the stuff that get's posted in Canada is pretty much low budget crap movies.

I honestly believe you'll be better off with a change of career.
Old 5th January 2009
  #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matskull View Post
I'm asking cause I've been in this buisiness for two years and I love the business but I hate the job.
Wow, a whole 2 years, AND you hate the job?
You DEFINITELY aren't cut out to be a re-recording mixer.
Old 5th January 2009
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charles maynes View Post
as rerecording mixer, the best way to dictate your rate is to bring in your own clients- if you are good, and make the clients happy you can make good money- If you are looking for a house gig, unless you have a great resume' which is actually the thing they will hire you for, you make less.
What Charles is saying is really the bottom line. Though being able to bring in clients doesn't guarantee that you will earn top dollar, it does mean you will be working a lot. Even the mixers who are working for scale are earning very good money if they are working regularly.

In order to earn top dollar like the dozen or so crews that consistently work on the biggest budget features, you have to demonstrate a whole other level of ability, not just to make great sounds, but also to connect personally with the movers and shakers who call the shots. I couldn't tell you how to do that.

I really don't see a lot of common ground among those top people. Andy Nelson and Mike Minkler are about as different as any two people can be in just about any aspect you want to consider, as are Doug Hemphill and Frank Montano, yet they are all extremely talented, successful and consistently work on top projects. Their personalities, style and approach are all radically different. Though they are among the most respected and in-demand mixers, I wouldn't necessarily put their mixing abilities higher than some less successful mixers I know, nor would I say they are more "personable" or client friendly, but they each have unique individual qualities that transcend those of the majority of other mixers.

There are certain intangible qualities that some people have that propel them to the top of their fields, and while you can list the individual qualities each has, there isn't a master list that guarantees success.
Old 5th January 2009
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman View Post
Wow, a whole 2 years, AND you hate the job?
You DEFINITELY aren't cut out to be a re-recording mixer.
I'm not mixing yet, I'm just an assistant and have been for 2-3 years.

I work in one of the biggest post-production studio in montreal with really good mixers to learn from but I have absolutely no guarantee that a place will be made for me to start mixing movies or tv shows, and that's probably not gonna be before 4 years or even more probably.

I'm not a freelancer, I'm not permanent either, I'm what we call "pay-roll".
I usually work between 35 and 45 hours a week (sometimes more) at a bit more than thirteen canadian dollars per hour.

I normally work during the days of the week but of course I never know if I'll have to work overtime at night or the weekend (I wouldn'd mind if that'd be for music but for tv....I don't know).

I know I'm good and people tell it to me, but it's not all about talent, there's a good bit of luck too and I feel the need to know how much I should expect to make if I get enough luck and patience to become a mixer (probably gotta wait til one of our current mixers retires or something...)

I'm not ready to have that kind of salary, doing that kind of work, for the next four years if it's to make 3 more dollars per hour only...

Like I said I really like the industry, most people are pretty cool, I can borow mics and stuff all the time with no problems, I can talk music and recording techniques with other passionated people which is awesome but the job itself is boring most of the time.
I just feel like what I do for a living right now isn't important and I'd probably feel like I'm more important if I'd be a garbage collector, at least I'd make the city clean instead of giving more crap for people to consume...

I still got hope if the salary is worth all the wait.
One of those negative moment I guess but I'm still young and want to know what my life is gonna be and make some changes if I got to.

Thanks
Old 5th January 2009
  #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ggegan View Post
What Charles is saying is really the bottom line. Though being able to bring in clients doesn't guarantee that you will earn top dollar, it does mean you will be working a lot. Even the mixers who are working for scale are earning very good money if they are working regularly.

In order to earn top dollar like the dozen or so crews that consistently work on the biggest budget features, you have to demonstrate a whole other level of ability, not just to make great sounds, but also to connect personally with the movers and shakers who call the shots. I couldn't tell you how to do that.

I really don't see a lot of common ground among those top people. Andy Nelson and Mike Minkler are about as different as any two people can be in just about any aspect you want to consider, as are Doug Hemphill and Frank Montano, yet they are all extremely talented, successful and consistently work on top projects. Their personalities, style and approach are all radically different. Though they are among the most respected and in-demand mixers, I wouldn't necessarily put their mixing abilities higher than some less successful mixers I know, nor would I say they are more "personable" or client friendly, but they each have unique individual qualities that transcend those of the majority of other mixers.

There are certain intangible qualities that some people have that propel them to the top of their fields, and while you can list the individual qualities each has, there isn't a master list that guarantees success.

Wow Gary-

Andy Nelson and Doug Hemphill.....we are entering the Houses of the Holy....


It is a verified fact that Doug can walk on water btw..... as can Jay Wilkinson.....
Old 5th January 2009
  #44
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matskull's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ggegan View Post
What Charles is saying is really the bottom line. Though being able to bring in clients doesn't guarantee that you will earn top dollar, it does mean you will be working a lot. Even the mixers who are working for scale are earning very good money if they are working regularly.

In order to earn top dollar like the dozen or so crews that consistently work on the biggest budget features, you have to demonstrate a whole other level of ability, not just to make great sounds, but also to connect personally with the movers and shakers who call the shots. I couldn't tell you how to do that.

I really don't see a lot of common ground among those top people. Andy Nelson and Mike Minkler are about as different as any two people can be in just about any aspect you want to consider, as are Doug Hemphill and Frank Montano, yet they are all extremely talented, successful and consistently work on top projects. Their personalities, style and approach are all radically different. Though they are among the most respected and in-demand mixers, I wouldn't necessarily put their mixing abilities higher than some less successful mixers I know, nor would I say they are more "personable" or client friendly, but they each have unique individual qualities that transcend those of the majority of other mixers.

There are certain intangible qualities that some people have that propel them to the top of their fields, and while you can list the individual qualities each has, there isn't a master list that guarantees success.
True, mixing is probably about 50% talent, 50% sociability.
Old 5th January 2009
  #45
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charles maynes's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by matskull View Post
I'm not mixing yet, I'm just an assistant and have been for 2-3 years.

I work in one of the biggest post-production studio in montreal with really good mixers to learn from but I have absolutely no guarantee that a place will be made for me to start mixing movies or tv shows, and that's probably not gonna be before 4 years or even more probably.

I'm not a freelancer, I'm not permanent either, I'm what we call "pay-roll".
I usually work between 35 and 45 hours a week (sometimes more) at a bit more than thirteen canadian dollars per hour.

I normally work during the days of the week but of course I never know if I'll have to work overtime at night or the weekend (I wouldn'd mind if that'd be for music but for tv....I don't know).

I know I'm good and people tell it to me, but it's not all about talent, there's a good bit of luck too and I feel the need to know how much I should expect to make if I get enough luck and patience to become a mixer (probably gotta wait til one of our current mixers retires or something...)

I'm not ready to have that kind of salary, doing that kind of work, for the next four years if it's to make 3 more dollars per hour only...

Like I said I really like the industry, most people are pretty cool, I can borow mics and stuff all the time with no problems, I can talk music and recording techniques with other passionated people which is awesome but the job itself is boring most of the time.
I just feel like what I do for a living right now isn't important and I'd probably feel like I'm more important if I'd be a garbage collector, at least I'd make the city clean instead of giving more crap for people to consume...

I still got hope if the salary is worth all the wait.
One of those negative moment I guess but I'm still young and want to know what my life is gonna be and make some changes if I got to.

Thanks

Mat, you might try to get your editing skills up to speed and try to do stage editing at your present facility. If you do well, and make clients happy- you will find yourself very popular with the mix crews and the management....
Old 5th January 2009
  #46
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That is funny that you say that. I am a manager at waste engineering plant and probably make more than 99% of the people on here.
Old 5th January 2009
  #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by csilt View Post
That is funny that you say that. I am a manager at waste engineering plant and probably make more than 99% of the people on here.
well that is very nice, but it still says nothing about you your perspective.


some of the folks here make very good money btw.... have you seen Sqke's studio?
Old 5th January 2009
  #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charles maynes View Post
well that is very nice, but it still says nothing about you your perspective.


some of the folks here make very good money btw.... have you seen Sqke's studio?
Maybe he is 1% I don't know.
Old 5th January 2009
  #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charles maynes View Post
Mat, you might try to get your editing skills up to speed and try to do stage editing at your present facility. If you do well, and make clients happy- you will find yourself very popular with the mix crews and the management....
Yeah you're right, that's a good idea.
The thing is even though we all work together under the same roof I still got to fight to go higher cause there is no need for a new mixer or sound editor, there's allready a whole lot of awesome fx editors and mixers at my place, it's hard to make a place for me or the other assistants...

Anyway, I'll try to have a talk with my boss this week and see what happens.
thanks
Old 5th January 2009
  #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by csilt View Post
Maybe he is 1% I don't know.
I am talking about people who's day job is audio..... about 25% of the posters in the post forum are either making 6 figure incomes or close to.... I personally know at least 5 who regularly post in this forum.
Old 5th January 2009
  #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by charles maynes View Post
Wow Gary-

Andy Nelson and Doug Hemphill.....we are entering the Houses of the Holy....


It is a verified fact that Doug can walk on water btw..... as can Jay Wilkinson.....
Not to typecast anybody, but right there you have three guys who pretty much run the gamut between urbane cerebral civility and gun loving curmudgeon, yet they all are members of the Hollywood sound pantheon. If you went through all the top people you would get a very motley crew of just about every personality type imaginable. They are all extremely talented and dedicated, but there is more to it than that, though I can't put my finger on what it is.

The funny thing is that even though I think that social graces are extremely important to success, you and I both know some top people who are not particularly outgoing or are even downright abrasive.
Old 5th January 2009
  #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ggegan View Post
Not to typecast anybody, but right there you have three guys who pretty much run the gamut between urbane cerebral civility and gun loving curmudgeon, yet they all are members of the Hollywood sound pantheon. If you went through all the top people you would get a very motley crew of just about every personality type imaginable. They are all extremely talented and dedicated, but there is more to it than that, though I can't put my finger on what it is.

The funny thing is that even though I think that social graces are extremely important to success, you and I both know some top people who are not particularly outgoing or are even downright abrasive.
Oh yeah...... sometimes they are the best guys too.... (a particular mixer on the west side comes to mind...)
Old 5th January 2009
  #53
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Back to the topic of the thread, if you use union scale as a guide, an up-and-coming young Hollywood mixer who works reasonably often (say somewhere around 30 weeks a year) is going to make a minimum somewhere between $70,000 for a TV mixer with 2 shows a week and $100,000 for a feature mixer (features are 5 day weeks as opposed to 4 day weeks for 2 2 day TV shows), probably a fair bit more with overtime, plus you get vacation pay and health benefits on top of that.

Very few mixers will talk about their rates publicly, but I get the feeling that the midpoint in Hollywood for established feature mixers is probably somewhere around double scale, though lately that appears to have gone down, what with diminishing budgets and all. They probably don't work much more than about 30 or so weeks a year on average, but there may be a fair amount of overtime. Also the amount of work can change dramatically from year to year.

No one really knows what the elite mixers are making, but I assume it has to be at least triple scale and they are going to work a lot more with a lot more overtime.

Do the math and you will figure out the numbers. The question is, can you find your way into one of those coveted chairs to even earn at the lower end of the scale, which is still pretty good money by average American standards.
Old 5th January 2009
  #54
Lots of American film jobs use to go to Canada since the rate of exchange was better for American companies doing work in Canada than staying in the states. I am not sure what is happening today with the exchange rates being more in Canada's favor.

In this area the normal cost per finished minute of film/video is $1,000. Some companies charge as much as $3000 per finished minute and some as little as $75.00. The range is enormous. There are not too many mixers or audio editors working in this area since this is not a hot bed for film production. If it is being done for television a lot of place have a Mackie mixer which the video editor uses for "mixing" or it is done "in the box" with Protools. My mentor, who runs the most profession studio in this area, is all Fairlight equipped and does mostly commercials and is now getting into a lot of video/film work. He use to have 7 studios all doing audio but now he has converted 4 of them to video/film work. His rates run from just over $200 to $600 per hour and he has a staff of 10 people working there all on salary.

In the "olde" days there was a "film" building in downtown Cleveland and there was a very professional film audio studio and I use to do most of my double system films there when I worked at a PBS station and at a College. The person who ran it was a top professional and he was always booked. When he retired no one came forward to continue the company so it folded. His studio was taken over by some folks running a recording studio and the building went into disrepair and it was always an adventure taking the elevators.

There are a couple of other facilities tucked away here and there and they do very well but I am not sure how they will do in this downward economy. Again this area is not a hot bed of film production.

I went to a audio/video/film studio in Akron, Ohio that is in a converted health club and it was very well equipped and I saw some of the stuff that was being done and it was of the highest professional caliber. Their rates were professional and they seemed to be doing quite well. I asked about a job with them and they said that at the present time they did not need an audio engineer as the owner of the company was doing most of the mixing.

I know this is a bit OT but just trying to let you see what is happening in the backwaters of the country.

Interesting topic.
Old 5th January 2009
  #55
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RecRoom's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by matskull View Post
I'm asking cause I've been in this buisiness for two years and I love the business but I hate the job.

I'm leading toward the mix but I'm thinking about finding another carreer unless the mixer carreer got a salary that's worth it cause to me making crappy movies for a living isn't really gratifying.
thanks
Took me about 9 years to go from grunt to mixer at one of the top places in nyc. This business is definitely not for the faint-hearted. You have to really love what you do and if not, I'd say it's time for a new gig.
Old 5th January 2009
  #56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ggegan View Post
Back to the topic of the thread, if you use union scale as a guide, an up-and-coming young Hollywood mixer who works reasonably often (say somewhere around 30 weeks a year) is going to make a minimum somewhere between $70,000 for a TV mixer with 2 shows a week and $100,000 for a feature mixer (features are 5 day weeks as opposed to 4 day weeks for 2 2 day TV shows), probably a fair bit more with overtime, plus you get vacation pay and health benefits on top of that.
Thanks, that's what I wanted to know.

I heard before that our mixers were "probably making" 100 000$ per year or more but I had no clue if that could be true or not.

It gives hope, at least now I have a better idea of what to expect, hope for.

Like you said it's not easy to know the mixer's salary.
I didn't want to ask them because its too personnal but at the same time I had to know if I could eventually reach 30K a year maximum or twice as that.

Money isn't everything but lets just say that it helps lol.
Thanks
Old 5th January 2009
  #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RecRoom View Post
Took me about 9 years to go from grunt to mixer at one of the top places in nyc. This business is definitely not for the faint-hearted. You have to really love what you do and if not, I'd say it's time for a new gig.
During those 9 years, did you repeat the same job everyday at the same salary or did you actually learn stuff and got higher grade and salary over the time?
Old 5th January 2009
  #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe View Post
Lots of American film jobs use to go to Canada since the rate of exchange was better for American companies doing work in Canada than staying in the states. I am not sure what is happening today with the exchange rates being more in Canada's favor.
I'd just like to comment on a common misconception. The "work" that goes to Canada is nearly all production - that is filming. Once the film is shot, they pack up and go back to Hollywood. End of story. The Canadian post production business exists nearly entirely on domestic (often with co-producers) content. I can't think of one major film that has been posted in Canada. I'm sure someone will correct me, but suffice to say there is not much post work lost because of exchange rates - only film shoots go to lower priced locations to save money. Canada is well positioned to capture quite a bit of this work because of cost, proximity, language, skilled crews, look-a-like locations (well as long as you don't need palm trees in which case you have to subtract proximity and go to Australia). Still the top line cast and crew is still imported.

BTW current exchange rate is around 0.83, up from a couple years ago when it was in the 60s, but down from early 2008 when it was at par. My crystal ball says it will remain around 80 cents for the rest of the decade.
Old 5th January 2009
  #59
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Jim is 100% correct.
The amount of audio-post work that stays up in Canada is so insignificant compared to the amount of work being done in LA alone.
Old 5th January 2009
  #60
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RecRoom's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by matskull View Post
During those 9 years, did you repeat the same job everyday at the same salary or did you actually learn stuff and got higher grade and salary over the time?
Started at $6 an hour as a assistant tech, then bumped to $10 for a couple of years (remember, this is in nyc), then started again as an assistant doing dubs (boring and about the same pay).... started developing client relationships, was given my own room. Now I'm freelance and I'm finally able to make a comfortable living. The road is long, tedious, underpaid, and under appreciated but it's worth it in the long run, IMO.

Plus, it's nice to get paid for something you'd do for free anyway (just don't tell my clients).
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