Here is an exchange we had with Naveen Medaram, a director who trained up on Raindance courses, directed two movies and is now in line to direct an LA-based $500,000 feature film. As a budding director, Naveen was wondering what sort of fee he could expect from his producers.

 

Naveen:

From: Naveen Medaram
To: Elliot Grove
Subject: Hi there

Hi Elliot

Hope you are doing good. Thanks to you, after finishing Diploma in film making from Raindance I have successfully directed two British Asian feature films. I have just finished post on my recent feature “Nice 2 meet U” which I submitted to Raindance film festival this year, I hope it’ll be selected.

The reason why I’m writing to you is I have been offered a LA based English film which we’ll be shooting in Pondicherry India (This is where life of pi was shot) this winter and now they are asking me how much fee I’d expect, for which I don’t have a straight answer and I’d be grateful if you can suggest me on this.

The budget of the film is $500,000.

So according to DGA how much would they pay as fees and can I expect any points at the back end?
And how much should be the directors fees according to DGGB?

Please help me. Looking forward for your reply.

PS: Here is the trailer for my recent low budget feature “Nice 2 Meet U”, please have a look.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NpJz06SBB8

Sincerely
Naveen Medaram
Director/Producer
London. UK

 

Elliot:

From: Elliot Grove
To: Naveen Medaram
Subject: Re: Hi there

Hi Naveen and thanks for your kind words. I am copying in Rory (whom you might remember as our fabulous course director). Any chance we can use a quote from you on our website?

Regarding fees, tough to say, but I would think at least 25K
Have you an agent? Because they will know better than I and right now is a great time to get an agent.

Rory, our Course Director dug this out just now re fees:
DGA:
http://www.dga.org/Contracts/Rates-2013-to-2014/Directors-2013-to-2014.aspx

DGGB site is down, which tells you everything you need to know about the UK.
😉

All the best and thanks for getting in touch

Elliot
PS I hope the programming team like your movie too

 

Naveen:

From: Naveen Medaram
To: Elliot Grove
Subject: Re: Hi there

Hi Elliot

Thanks for your quick reply. Yes off course, you can use it on your website.

You mean 25k as in pounds or in dollars?

No, I don’t have an agent yet, could you please kindly suggest me one.
Here are my titles imdb page. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2157108/

Please convey my regards to Rory. Thanks for the link.

Sincerely
Naveen Medaram
Director/Producer
London. UK

 

Raindance’s director-in-residence Ate de Jong provides closing advice:

From: Ate de Jong
Subject: Re: Hi there
To: Elliot Grove, naveen

Elliots directors salary suggestion seems correct to me. You can’t put normal DGA minimum wages on a low budget film. DGA also has special rates for low budget films, but if it would be DGA you get all kind of issues like pension and health care contributions which your producers probably won’t do anyway.

Anywhere between 5 and 7% of the budget for a directors fee is legit.

As far as an agent is concerned, depends completely if you look for a UK agent or a US agent. You have one big advantage if you have a film that is greenlit, because even though the amount may be small, every agent is eager to get a client that will make them money immediately (you know it’ll cost you 10%) and has a film on the go, because a working director is the best person to sell.

The reality is that no so much the agency as well the agent is important. There has to be a personal report between you and the agent. The only thing you can do is meet people, meet at least three or four, regardless from which agency as long as they specialize in directors.

But to be honest because you have a background in SpFx there are agents in that field also. You must know some of those. Contact these guys who will know your work and ask them for a recommendation — they’ll most likely have friends who represent directors.

Always
Ate de Jong

And then this one:

if you want to turn it into an article it’s better to clarify the DGA bit. Innocent readers don’t even know what DGA stands for — and it may be interesting to note that minimum salary under DGA rules is just over $ 17.000 per week, with a minimum of ten weeks (so if you have an overall budget of $ 500.000 clearly you can’t expect to get a salary of $ 170.000) I don’t know the DGA stipulation for low budget film. They must be on record also.
A


 

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