Fee Recommendation for Film Sound

The fee recommendations outline the minimum fees for film sound professionals working project-based, staggered by type of production and its economic importance, genre and the job of the film sound professional. They only refer to the work performance and do not include equipment hire charges or studio rent. Nor do they include remuneration for a transfer of rights of use and exploitation. Depending on the economic circumstances of the film production, experience and qualification, the individual fee agreements should exceed the minimum fee proportionately.

┬╗see current fee chart for on-set sound and post production professions (German)

Depending on the employment relationship, the fees are paid as gross wages on German income tax card (Lohnsteuerkarte) or as fees on account without turnover tax (Umsatzsteuer). We recommend accepting no fees lower than this!

The fees on account are min. 30% above the standard wages for permanently employed film sound staff according to Verdi Filmunion (TV FFS), in order to avoid undermining the standard wages by the calculated non-wage labour costs (Lohnnebenkosten). This also takes into account the increased expenditure of freelancers and the clients savings compared to a temporary employment. See here for non-wage labour costs.

Entrants, too should not fall below the minimum fees mentioned above, because a person who takes responsibility for a certain position should be paid according to the position, independent of his work experience. This is valid for all areas of activity in film sound and is settled in the collective agreement for on-set sound professions.

The recommended fees are adapted yearly according to increases in the collective agreement FFS. Standard fees for production sound mixers rose 5.4% from January 2012 to 2013. They increased again by 2.2% until July 2014 and by another 2.5% until January 2015.

The weekly fees refer to a 5-day-week.

According to the wage agreement with the producer’s alliance (FFS-Tarifvertrag 2014), overtime (more than 10h per day) is to be accounted as follows:

Per hour, 1/10 of the daily fee is the basis (in post production corresponding 1/8, plus the following surcharges:

  • 25% premium for working hours in the 11th and 12th hour, averaged on the weekly working hours
  • 60% premium for working hours in the 13th hour per day
  • 100% premium for working hours past the 13th hour. That type of excessive overtime however is only acceptable in exceptional cases and with the approval of the film sound professional!
  • Furthermore, a maximum of 40% (TV)/ 80% (cinema) of the shooting days of a film production may be extended to 13 hours a day.
  • 25% premium for night work between 10pm and 6am, as well as 50% premium for Sundays and 100% premium for public holidays. Exceptions are outlined in the current collective agreement.
  • Following a 13-hour-day, the minimum rest increases from eleven to twelve hours.

We recommend to taking the agreed overtime bonuses as a basis, also for freelancers, in order to avoid underselling the standard wages.

Daily working hours of over 10 hours for employees of employers not bound to the collective agreement are against the German occupational safety act (ArbSchG). Even by binding to a collective agreement these working hours may be exceeded only under certain circumstances.