Can we talk about freelance rates?

I’ve started working direct to agency here in Sydney doing TVCs, and I’ve got a fair idea what I’m gonna charge, but I wanna know what you guys all think before I invoice.
I’m remote, sometimes I’m booked as an editor, colourist AND Flame artist on the same job. (I shoot and direct too)
There seems to be some talk that once you’re using Flame on a commercial you’re free to up your rate considerably.
I When I’m making docos for TV networks, I charge AUD$900+gst per day, for that they get my suite (just for graphic design which I do on my laptop), offline editing on their gear, and as long days as they like, mostly 12 hour days. I don’t watch the clock though. 900 is way more than they pay my cohorts. Going rate amongst Avid editors is about 750-800 max.
For TVC, (Flame and Avid when I’m cutting), I think AUD$1200 per day is fair.
Commercials are fairly high end with this agency, but they’re very used to booking Flame suites.

Is 1200 per day undercutting? I honestly have no idea. I am aware post houses probably charge way more than that, but I won’t be feeding/schmoozing anyone etc. :joy:



Hey hey, thanks for being here. I’ve been approached by several artists to consider hosting/posting an anonymous rate card survey for freelancers, and salary ranges for staffers.

Would you be into this? Vote your preference here…

In the US, for commercials…

Junior Flame - $500 - $750 per day
Mid Flame - $750 - $1,000 per day
Senior Flame - $1,000 - $1350 per day

Some people do day rates, some do hourly. It’s all over the map. Most charge over time at time and a half above 8 hours per day, double time after 10. Some charge time and a half on Saturdays, some charge double time on Sundays.

Some people have machines at home. Some people don’t charge for the machine so they can comp in their crocs and double dip. Some people charge less for working from home. Some people charge more. Some people charge an extra $100 per day machine rate. Some people charge an extra $250 per day.

Some people have 1 rate and stick to that. If they don’t get their rate, they pass. Some people charge different clients different rates. Some people hate this idea. Some people love it.

It is all…over… the map.

Hope this helps a wee bit. I’d talk to people in your market. Ask producers, schedulers, operations friends, EPs.


And some people charge a flat fee for the project. Bit risky if you ask me.


Wow. It looks like i need to move to Oz!


What are the rates like in your part of the world @bigdave?

Don’t forget these are rates applicable for post houses. If you are a company, these rates should be tripled.


What do you mean by this? Post Houses should be charging way more because they’re having to supply client services like lunches etc. Working from my suite at home I don’t have to do this.

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It’s common for post houses to charge agencies $3k-$6k per day for Flame artists, depending on skillset and rate card and discount. If an agency skips the post and works directly with you, why not charge the same amount? Anytime I work with an agency, I have to provide documentation of insurance and jump through all sorts of hoops.

Now, if you are working at an internal agency’s studio, that’s one thing. Those rates are typical of freelancer day rates. If you are acting like a company, that’s another thing and tripling your day rate is a good place to start.

artist for a post house = X
artist for an agency in-house = X
artist/company direct to agency/corporate = 3X


Typically £450 to £550 per 8 hour day. Some facilities will try and offer £400 but that is pure cheek, I don’t know of any ops who entertain this and invariably always get their £450 minimum. Interesting to hear you say working from home should be tippled. I tend to agree with this, artists shell out on kit, software licences and amenities whilst invariably more often than not end up handling the encoding and producing the job. It seems bonkers to expect to pay the same amount for all of the above.


In Gernany the typical Day Rate for a flame artist is € 650.-, at least that is what I charge without my gear. If a production company books me I tend to charge €750.- and an additional € 250.- for my gear, though to be completely honest at the moment I tend to not charge the workstation in order to be able to work remotely. Might not be the smartest move business wise, but I like to stay healthy…


The UK seems to have slid massively on day rates over the last 15 years or so. Oversupply of talented artists maybe?
This said - I wouldn’t take on a commercial flame project for £550/day. And as for work from home on my machine - no chance at those rates. My point being, I don’t tend to get long runs of donkey work in facilities - but earn enough in a few days to not need that.
Now that ir35 tax laws are coming in, rates should be going up 20% also. Unless of course you are up for a pay cut.

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Some good points there Angus, I’m not aware of many facilities willing to pay in excess of £550/day but I would agree that this should really be the minimum for commercials. Freelancers fear missing out on work if they raise their rates, at this stage there doesn’t appear to be the glut of work that there once was coupled with an oversaturated market.


Hopefully there will be some movement with the new tax laws. Ultimately I find there’s not much in it, if a facility is hiring out a suite for minimum £2,500/ day - £50-£100 either way doesn’t make that much difference. Client could spend that on lunch and 2 QuickTime WIPs.

Unscrupulous actors in the large multinational companies conspired to cut flame rates many years ago and prevented people working from home.
Meanwhile they set up schools and paid the graduates peanuts and promises…
Moreover, how the fuck do you justify giving 80% to the house these days?
For the teradici?

Reap what you sow.

As for LA, CA if you’re doing daily, weekly or monthly rates while pretending to freelance, then you’re technically breaking the law.

It’s just not worth bringing this shit up any more.

It happens every two or three years, people freak out about rates and getting paid what they’re worth blah blah.

VFX people should have unionized in the same way that broadcasters and film workers do, and those guys are ruthless and committed.

It’s too late for VFX and games people.

Start a Reddit guys, conspire, put all of your rates up on the same day and be prepared to down tools.

Your clients will shit their pants but who are they gonna turn to?

And fuck their hurt feelings - they’ll drop you for a cheaper option in a heartbeat.

They already fucked you on your electricity bills, hardware, home insurance, accounting fees, etc.

Then pool your resources, rent some co-lo, rent failover in aws, and distribute the work globally amongst the trusted.

Otherwise it’s $15/hour in butt-coins and surge rates soon…


I’d love it for everyone to all agree to not drop our prices. More than happy to join some sort of global union where all artists agree on one rate and no one drops it, but that is just a pipe dream.

I always feel like its a race to the bottom, there always seems to be someone out there that’s willing to do it for cheaper. I guess that’s market efficiency for you and supply and demand.

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I’ve had a few companies lowball me, and I struggle with it. It’s rare that I have so much work on I feel comfortable turning jobs down over rates. When I have been busy enough, I’ve had a lot of success with my rate negotiations, but I’ve also buckled quickly in lean months.

So while my rate is generally consistent, I have dropped it in various instances over the years.

Truth is, we should all be RAISING our rates. Cost of living goes up 3% a year, but I’ve had the same rate for four years now.


Technicolor fraud case

I wonder if HR did background checks and due diligence…

Probably not.

The odds are stacked against you as they have always been.
Bribery, fraud and complicity will eventually crush you.
(And then the glorious overlords will get hungry and eat each other)

When you wanted to work on Star Wars you probably didn’t realise that not everybody sided with the rebels - quite a lot of your colleagues want to worship at the boots of the emperor. It reminds them of something…

I actually met an Irish flame guy recently who was a Nazi apologist and a Hitler sympathizer.

I fantasize about building a ticket system. You want to buy me in January, February, and March? That’ll be Premium rate. You want me in July? That’s my matinee rate.

My little commercial corner of the commercial market is going craze balls right now, so, why not sell to the highest bidder?


Randy POOL?
Randy X?
Randy XL?
Randy BLACK?
Randy SUV?
Randy LUX?

Or should we just call that fella Serge?

Disruptors, can’t live with ‘em, can’t disrupt ‘em…


Aww I haven’t thought about that scene in years.

I like the sound of Randy Select but nobody at the British companies will take me seriously with a name like that.