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Hi, I'm trying to orient around rates to charge for wildfire footage I shoot as an independent artist/journalist.  I'm in very early email negotiations over footage with an independent documentary company.  Central to their story is a particular massive fire in California.  They came out from France twice after with a small crew to do interviews on the phenomena, science and policy around it, but I don't think they have much direct footage of their own.  I met with the director and gave her a few hours of watermarked select clips from many different situations and perspectives I'd covered with press access.  Beyond just shooting near the fire line, this included extra dangerous work, up-close with fire fighters and a few specialized fireproof camera box shots placed inside the fire.  I believe they have my footage in mind (in part) for the story and are just about to start editing. 

The producer asked this week for my rates after I checked in with them and I replied with this:

$40 per second for 1080, $60 per second for other 4k, and $80 per second for 1080 fireproof camera box and most hazardous footage.  I also said I'd consider discounts if they want more than a minute.  This is way below what the high end BBC doc series spend, but probably rather high.

Anyway he replied that this was impossibly high.  

I don't have a good sense of their overall budget.  They did a similar production a few years ago on floods using a lot of news footage and talking heads.  Their production appears to be an independent company collaborating with international partners in documentary film markets (not really in the US).  I've read that they have broadcasting agreements with TV stations in France (ARTE) and Japan (NHK).

SO, how low should I go?  I'll ask him to make me an offer, and can be flexible and would like it to be seen, but don't want to be taken advantage of for weeks of this dangerous, demanding work.

FYI you can see some of it in the broader context of what I do here:»»

Many thanks,



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