February 16, 2016

On misleading job descriptions (Updated with response)

The following e-mail was sent to StaffMeUp.com:

I'm very concerned about job postings like this one:


The position is listed as "Production Assistant" but then adds in parentheses: "(Assistant Camera (5D & Go Pros))."

The job description goes on to say:

Seeking a local Shooter (Camera PA or AC) with reality tv credits to shoot b-roll.
Must be proficient with 5D & Go Pros
Ideally has experience on Home/Build Shows.

There is a HUGE difference in the qualifications and experience (to say nothing of fair day rates) between a Production Assistant and an AC or camera operator.

A "proficient" AC is going to know how to identify a lens and have some basic operating knowledge and that alone is worth a notably higher "Full Rate" than what a PA would get paid.

A "proficient" shooter with working knowledge and established "reality tv credits" (Plural!) is worth a substantially higher rate than a PA or an AC, even if they're only shooting "b-roll."

I'm used to seeing amateur filmmakers who wouldn't know a deal memo from a parking ticket try to stretch their  budget by hiring PAs and then "promoting" them to slightly higher crew positions (2nd AC's, boom operators, etc.) without compensating them with an appropriate pay raise or even proper credit. But to see this kind of practice on Staffmeup.com is discouraging, to say the least. It seriously makes me question whether it's worth maintaining a paid subscription.

I think it would behoove the administrators of this web site make a couple of changes to how jobs are posted...

1) Require that the job description MATCHES the job title. If someone needs an AC (Boom Operator, Grip, Gaffer, any type of job that requires working knowledge, credited experience and a modicum of skill), they should be required to post for those specific job titles WITH appropriate compensation, NOT just look for a "Production Assistant" who happens to have those skills. As a general rule, PAs aren't required to know anything beyond basic set decorum, being able to take simple instructions [and] have enough strength to move gear that won't break if they drop it (a valid drivers license is nice too).

2) Make it easier for people seeking jobs on this site to be able to flag/report job postings like the one above as being potentially fraudulent or simply inconsistent between the title and description. An experienced contractor who is hired for their specific skill set should not be cheated out of their fair day-rate all because some producer can point to the job posting and say, "You were hired as a PA so you get paid as a PA."

Please do something about this.

-Joe Puente

Update: (2/18/16 @ 12:58 PM MST)

StaffMeUp's response:

Feb 18, 12:47
Hey Joseph, 
We are currently taking care of this issue, we have closed the jobs and are working with the job poster directly to make sure this doesn't happen again. 
Thank you for taking the time to contact us about this issue. 
Halley G. 
Production ManagerSMU Crew

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