Stop the Bleeding

How do we say this tactfully, ever mindful that we are all professionals here, and we all really support each other’s programs and curriculum.  Let’s give it a try…

On behalf of broadcast and video production teachers everywhere, NO, YOU MAY NOT BORROW MY GEAR, OR MY STUDENTS!

While there are a lot of “Cadillac Programs” out there, those schools with video departments that seemingly have unlimited funding and facilities, many more have only a limited amount of cameras, tripods, microphones and computers.  But that doesn’t stop coaches, administrators, department heads, colleagues, the PTA, from asking (or expecting) to borrow gear whenever they need something recorded. 

I actually had a coach send a kid NOT EVEN IN MY CLASS to grab a tripod from my storage area to use for recording a game.  I did not see that tripod again for weeks.  Maybe we should have gone into the locker room and “borrowed” a few shoulder pads.  Or the whirlpool machine.

Respect is what comes to mind first.  Others in your building should respect your equipment, and understand you have no desire to loan it out.  It is there for your students to use on important projects every day.  

There are some things you might try doing up front, before the school year gets underway, to protect your equipment, and your video students, and establish important boundaries.

First, notify your faculty, in an e-mail, that it will not be possible for you to shoot outside events anymore.  Your equipment is vital to your classes, and it is not easily replaced or repaired.  If a camera is used for a non-curricular event, who will account for the wear and tear on your gear?  You really should draw up a policy you are comfortable with, some sort of document that clearly draws the line.

Second, make sure your boss is on board.  That might be tricky if he or she is part of the problem, but they also understand budget issues.  Let them know it is not possible to keep shooting extra events, and utilizing the equipment for things outside your curriculum, unless of course they have some funding for replacement or repairs.  That last part will get their attention.

Third, go to bat for your kids.  Do not hire them out for extra work that usually pays nothing.  Start charging for their time.  You want my kids to record your halftime performance?  That will be $100 dollars.  Can we shoot the match Friday?  Sure.  That will be $150 dollars.

To sum up, get ahead of the game.  

*Write a clear policy statement regarding “outside projects.”  Include language that says something like, “You break it, you replace it.”

*Have a meeting with your administrators and get them on board.  They should have your back when you tell a colleague “no.”  

*Draw up a rate card for your students if you are going to loan them out.  Their time is valuable, as is your equipment.