contract vs covenant

28 01 2013

I hate learning things the hard way! The new lesson, which is just an old one revisited, is to get it in writing! This film business is just that. A business. Networks do not care about your (or my) personal problems. If you are not smart enough to protect yourself they will take advantage.

Case in point:

Last September I was working on Ironman 3. My union contract was good and the production company was respectful. My health insurance and my retirement fund were being paid into each day, plus my hourly rate plus over time plus rental of the equipment in my kit. My boss lady was a hoot and I enjoyed every day of work with her. All in all, I would say it was an excellent job. And getting to watch Robert Downey Jr. and Ben Kingsley acting…. what is not to love??

While working this good job, I got a call from another production that needed some rather urgent help. Their actors were going to do a satellite interview the next day and they had no one to do hair and make up for them. I was scheduled to work on IM3 but my boss lady agreed to let me off for the day so I could help my friends out. Talk of money ensued and I agreed to be paid half of the going rate for this job as a favor to them and because it would cover my expenses. Frankly, I was also hoping to get some more work on their show when IM3 finished filming. Here is the lesson… all the money promises were verbal!!! DUH! At the end of the work day, I turned my invoice in to the production manager and she ┬ápromptly told me that my rate was not in their budget and they never negotiated such a rate with anyone. During the conversation, she changed the, so called, budgeted amount twice! Hmm.

I have called my union and I have prayed but it appears that I am going to have to learn this lesson the hard way. I still have not been paid because it turns my stomach to accept the amount they have “budgeted”. ( 1/3 of my already discounted wage) By the way, this is a major television network. I can not tell you which one but you can probably figure it out. And, this in no way reflects the hair and make up department on this production. Their hands are tied as tightly as mine by the lack of a written agreement.

Lesson learned. Again. Producers are not my friends. They are business associates. My jobs are the means by which I earn the money to do the things that life is made of! My bills are paid. My mission trip to Spain is covered. I have food in my pantry and clothes on my back.

I am still blessed and highly favored. God has my back and He meets all my needs according to His riches. He has NEVER devalued me! He paid it all and He made a covenant with me that is irrevocable. He has a plan for my life and no man can alter that plan.

Thanks for listening. Moving on. Oh, and get it in writing!!