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I just got the CRAZIEST call I've ever had...

Michael Stumpf

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A couple days ago, I get a call from a woman named "PUGAH" pronounced like the European car Peugot, but with "AHH" at the end instead of "OHH"


She was asking me for my availability on April 1st and 2nd.

She goes on to tell me it's a Super 16 student short and they're offering "copy, credit, meals"


I say, sorry I don't work for free unless it's someone I know and am helping out.


She says, "well what's your rate?"

I tell her, well I know you can't afford my usual rate, but for student films, the "standard" for a partial day is $500.


She says, "okay, well, you are at the top of our list, but I'd like to make a few more calls"


I say, OKAY, I understand, but just know, $500 is pretty cheap and pretty standard for anybody with any kind of experience working on a "student" film.


So, she just called me back 15 minutes ago.


I answer the phone to this woman having a conversation with someone else. I say, "hello" like 3 times before she says, "oh is this Michael?"

I say, "yes this is"

She says, "hi Michael, this is PEUGAH (sp?) we were wondering if it would be okay for us to come over and see the Steadicam tonight?"


HUH? I say!


"Yeah, we'd like to come over to see it and see how it works to determine if we want to use you and for which shots"


Me: "Ahhhhhhhh, Ahhhhhhh, Ahhhhhhh, NO"

"Have you never seen a Steadicam before?"


Her: "Well, I haven't but my DP has, and we'd like to come over to see yours"


Me: "Well, if he's seen a Steadicam, he knows what they look like. Tell him I have a PRO 2"


Her: "Well, we'd like to see it anyway"


Me: "For what reason? I don't understand what the purpose of that would be? And I'd need a camera to show you anyway"


Her: "Oh, we'd bring the camera"


Me: "I'm sorry, but this is the oddest thing I've ever been asked. I can't just invite a couple of complete strangers over to my house, take the time to set up my rig, and let you watch me work with it, just to determine if you want to use me.

That seems a bit unorthodox for me, can't I just send you a resume?"


Her: "So if we were going to use you on this project, you wouldn't let us come over to see it, even if we scheduled it for another time, like tomorrow."


Me: "No, I'm sorry, if this was a commercial or feature at full or even close to full rate, I would agree to meet you at a rental house or something, but I just..."


She then cuts me off and says, "okay Michael, thank you anyway" and hangs up!



This is pretty much exactly what was said. I literally was dumbfounded by her proposition and the fact a DP she claims knows Steadicam needs to come over to see mine and what it can do in order to decide if they want to hire me!!

That's a new one.

And I thought it was presumptious of students and ultra/no budget filmmakers to ask for a resume.


So beware all, you may get a call from this whack job of a person. All I can say is...STEER CLEAR FOLKS, the nut train is trying to enter your HOME and see if you are worthy of working on their ultra low budget film by judging you in an in person, at home demonstration.


I'm still a bit dazed :blink:

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I just had a similar experience.

A production manager calls me for info on HD as she has this american guy here that wants to shoot a pilot travel show on High Definition.

So I go to his hotel for a discussion and he mentioned that the HD will probably be HDV in the form of one or two of the new JVC super-handicams.

But he is not sure of it as he has no experience with this format.


I suggest that there seems to be little reason to shoot HD for a pilot that they still have to sell to the networks and that a saver way can be DigiBeta and he agrees.

Besides that, the shoot asks for lot´s of water activities, beaches, salt, and really severe sun (it´s 38 degrees here, all day)

Shooting HD would mean at least a backup camera body, a technician and 2 "experienced" operators and there are few of them here in Bangkok.


end of story: the boss has decided: JVC HDV, handheld style, no discussions.

Oh, and almost no pay but for sure long days and nights for almost two weeks.


Sorry, I pass.


Rob van Gelder, Bangkok, Thailand

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Reminds me of the time years back when some bozos tried to hired me for their feature. Honest guy that I was I admitted to them that my zoom lens was in for service but I still had my complete set of primes until the zoom came back in a week or so.


"What's the difference?"


And I actually found myself trying to explain what a zoom lens was to some numbskull over the phone. I got myself out of that job soon afterwards.

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Had a similar call yesterday:

Producer asking me if I'm interested in working on an image-film for a department of BMW.

Long phone call, short story: He's offering 50%, good footage for my reel, and asking for my reel.


But my all-time favorite is:

A UPM asking during wrap if I'd like to come tomorrow as well. They were just informed "no tracks and dolly in the President suite". But they don't have the money to pay me for the day.

To make a long story short:

UPM: "... would help us a lot ..."

Me: "No."

UPM: "... a favor for me."

Me: "NO!"

UPM: "... a favor for DP and Director ..."

Me: "No!"

UPM: "... I will pay with a bottle of sparkling wine."

Me: :blink: It took me some time to get this ..., ... :lol: ..., "I do not accept payment in kind."

He took it personal.



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Hey Ben!


Just got the same call! They told me they' have someone for 700?'s a day.I said well, what are you calling me for, I'm not working 1/2 days!! He said, he'd call back!

Very strange...!



Guido "full rate" Lux

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I just got a call to work on a feature and they offered an awful rate with a worse weekly rental for the rig, I told them no, they called back and bumped their offers a "Little" I said no again, they called back a third time and bumped their rate's again and this time I said...


Yes I can do it but I will have to have three days a week to go work on other jobs to be able to afford to work on theirs.


Bottom line, I'm not doing their feature....

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Great story Michael. Truly baffling. Perhaps you should have suggested that in return, you would like to come over to her house and watch her make phone calls, maybe help yourself to the contents of her fridge etc.

You know what's funny. A few hours later I realized I blew some easy cash.


What I should of said is, "yeah you can come over, my in home demonstration rate is $100 an hour (with a 4 hour guarantee) and it's got to be paid in cash." :D


I doubt if I'll EVER get asked that same question again, but if I do, that's going to be my response.

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