SAGE rate card 2015

SAGE has published an annual rate card of recommended salaries for editors for the last 14 years. Though focussed on freelance editors, this rate card can also be used as a starting point for full-time employment negotiations.

Rates and conditions should be considered negotiable; this is a guideline, not a rigid set of rules. We encourage editors and producers alike to read our pre-employment checklist and the what to expect from an editor document.

The tables below represent a broad spread of possible rates. If the rates seem extraordinarily low or high, consider that these are intended to cover a wide range of job types, genres, durations, locations, funding models, conditions, and potential profit participation. Providing a useful guide to all these variables is highly challenging, so we have elected to use broad categories instead.

You can download the rate card as a PDF. We urge you to read about the changes below the rate card itself.

In South African Rand:

Weekly

Basic Classification Junior Mid-level Highly experienced
Story editor "offline" 7,700 to 10,500 11,600 to 17,100 18,800 to 29,400
Finishing editor "online" 9,500 to 12,900 14,200 to 20,900 23,000 to 35,900
1st Assistant editor 5,200 to 7,000 7,800 to 11,500 12,600 to 19,700
2nd assistant, logger/digitiser, subtitler 2,700 to 3,700 4,100 to 6,000 -
Sound editor or designer 5,900 to 8,000 8,800 to 13,000 14,200 to 22,200

Daily

Basic Classification Junior Mid-level Highly experienced
Story editor "offline" 1,540 to 2,100 2,320 to 3,420 3,760 to 5,880
Finishing editor "online" 1,900 to 2,580 2,840 to 4,180 4,600 to 7,180
1st Assistant editor 1,040 to 1,400 1,560 to 2,300 2,520 to 3,940
2nd assistant, logger/digitiser, subtitler 540 to 740 820 to 1,200 -
Sound editor or designer 1,180 to 1,600 1,760 to 2,600 2,840 to 4,440

Conditions

Overtime

  • All time after 10 hours per day charged at 1.5x.
  • All time after 14 hours per day charged at 2x.
  • 6th day and public holidays charged at 1.5x daily rate, minimum call 10 hours.
  • 7th day charged at 2x daily rate, minimum call 10 hours.

About the rate card

SAGE has published an annual rate card of recommended salaries for editors for the last 14 years. Though focussed on freelance editors, this rate card can also be used as a starting point for full-time employment negotiations. Our rate card is calculated using four main principles:

1. Inflation matching

For many years SAGE has increased rates below CPI, attempting to maintain a rate card that better represents what editors are actually paid. This dangerously deflates editors’ income over time, threatening to make a career in editing unfeasible.

This year we’ve added the average CPI for 2014, at 6.1%.

We urge all post-production professionals to consider job sustainability when negotiating rates.

2. Skills growth

On top of inflation, we consider a 15-year career growth, which works out to an average additional increase of 3.6% per year. Not everyone will improve their skills at the same rate, which is why we maintain a spread across all levels of experience.

Beyond 15 years of skills growth, highly experienced editors are considered to be in a strong individual negotiating position.

3. A spread of rates

We’ve created three experience groups: junior, mid-level, and highly experienced.

Note that experience does not necessarily equate to number of years spent working in the post-production industry, but rather the specific years of experience at a specific task. Further, we have chosen to not provide a years of experience criteria for each group, as we feel that different editors progress at different rates.

We urge editors to consider jobs offering below their minimum rate very carefully.

4. Rates and conditions comparable to the camera department

SAGE’s policy is that the post-production rates should match those of the camera department, as both departments contribute similar technical and creative effort.

When negotiating, we encourage editors to ask what the other heads of departments are earning—remembering that DOPs typically work a 72-hour week versus the editors’ standard of 50.

We also recommend that editors negotiate for duration-pay rather than lump-sum pay, as this requires the producer to take some of the risk for post-production scheduling.

Lastly, we strongly disagree with the trend of balancing the camera and post-production costs as they appear in the budget. When discussing rates, we encourage editors and producers to compare hours with hours.