Frequently Asked Questions about the Fee Recommendations

• Who does the recommendation apply to?

The recommendation applies to all freelancers and temporary (project-based, not on Lohnsteuerkarte) employees, but not directly to permanent employees.

• Can’t you convert the recommendation for permanent employees?

Roughly, yes. Aim of the recommendation is to not undermine existing standard wages for temporary employees with the standard fees for freelancers; besides, a freelancer has higher costs than an employee. For a temporary employee working on a set in Germany, an employer has to calculate approx. 30% non-wage labour costs, for a permanent employee the figure is approx. 50%. This results the calculation as follows:

[freelancer fee] = 1.3 x [temporary employee wage]

= 1.5 x [permanent employee wage]

in other words:

[permanent employee minimum wage] = 0.86 x [temporary employee minimum wage]

• How do the non-wage labour costs for temporary employees break down?

We list the non-wage labour costs for a temporary employment on this page under the heading “Fees versus wages”.

• I cannot find fee recommendations for dubbing mixers – did you forget about them?

No. A dubbing mixer – so someone that mixes the dubbed version of films – is just a specialized re-recording mixer. Hence, the fee recommendations for re-recording mixers apply to him.

• How did you come up with the line of a 1.2 million budget between low-budget and normal-budget and how do you justify it in detail?

It is an arbitrarily drawn up line. It is situated below an average “Tatort” budget (Tatort is a very traditional German Sunday night police procedural series, watched by many), because we contend that high-quality 90-minute evening entertainment should not be produced with low-budget fees.

• Does the “low budget” in your fee recommendations only refer to the production budget or to other factors as well?

“Low Budget” in our terms indeed refers to the budget, not to other conditions. The lowest fee level (budget <1.2 million €) is of course not considered ‘low budget” in the television industry, but rather refers to normal television series, soaps and smaller films, that are situated below this budget line for each episode.

• Where does the bvft stand on final diploma films, debut films etc. that usually have a budget that does not allow standard wages?

As long as the teaching notion is not subject to the commercial objectives of such project, and such a production takes places within a university setting, we consider it comprehensible, that standard wages cannot be paid. It maintains problematic however, when high-quality content for broadcasting stations is produced with dumping prices under the pretext of teaching.

• The fees for the production sound mixer match the ones in the collective wage agreement TV FFS – but why does the first boom operator’s fee exceed the standard wage by 21%?

This is because we value the significance of the first boom operator as much as the one of the first camera man. The work of the first boom operator is decisive for the result of the audio recordings on set. No matter how qualified a production sound mixer may be, when the boom operator does a bad job, production sound will not be good. Therefore, the actual fees paid in practice usually exceed the minimum fees of the collective agreement FFS, which is reflected in our fee recommendations.

• Do I as a sound designer classify as sound editor of supervising sound editor?

This depends on the respective relationship towards the client: Are you the sound designer of main responsibility on a project (even as a “one-man-team”), towards the production company and the sound studio, the bvft defines this as sound designer in leading function. The fee should be equal to the one of a supervising sound editor.

If you work in a team, doing another sound designer’s groundwork, you don’t have the organisational and creative main responsibility. In this case you classify as a sound editor in our fee tables. See our job profiles.