SAGE survey 2014 results

In 2015 SAGE again ran post-production survey of the year before. Open to producers and editors (SAGE members or not), we're very pleased to release the results now.

You can also download a PDF of the results here.

The previous year's suvery results can be viewed here.


The survey was run for 3 months, from March to April 2015. Public respondents were requested via our mailing lists and social media. Responses were incentivised with two prizes:

The surveys saw 24 producer respondents and 133 editor respondents.

For all graphs, responses from editors are drawn in blue, producers in green.

Thank you to everyone who took part in the survey! Thank you also to our two sponsors, Labspace and Digital Depot.

Summary of results

This is the second of our annual post-production surveys, the first covering work in 2013. This previous survey asked more questions, including many more about working conditions. Many of these questions have been superseded by the expanding records of our producers’ job submission form and our recently-announced job offer reporter. These are essentially both continuously-running surveys, and a report on this will be available a bit later in 2015.

In general, the results matched those of 2013. We have decided to wait until our third survey year to draw conclusions about changes in answers. The previous survey’s answers are sometimes contrasted in the text discussions around each question.

1. Region

Roughly 62% of respondents hailed from Gauteng, with the rest almost exclusively in the Western Cape.

2. Finding work

This question is the only one to allow multiple selections; responses can total over 100%.

Finding work continues to be dominated by past relationships and word of mouth.

*Social media was added as a response from the “Other” section. As such, it may be under-represented. Next year we will include this as a direct option.

3. Contracting and hiring

These responses hold roughly steady with last year’s. It remains concerning to see that nearly a third of editors work on informal verbal contracts. It is easy to turn a verbal contract into a written one: just summarise the agreement in an email and receive a response. There really isn’t an excuse for a verbal contract!

SAGE discourages the use of standard crew contracts for post-production, as these tend to misrepresent the conditions of work—normally featuring crewing hours and work weeks, for example. We recommend that editors modify any standard crew contract they are offered.

Hiring the editor early in production is one of the easiest ways to improve the quality of the post-production process. It is encouraging to see that 60% of producers report hiring during pre-production (and an additional 15% in scripting), though concerning that editors don’t really concur.

4. Scheduling

These two questions should be directly related, and this does appear to be so. Editors would do well to remember that nearly half of producers think that there isn’t enough time for the editing process!

(Yes/No questions have had their ‘No’ responses hidden; you can infer them from the ‘Yes’ responses.)

Editors responding involvement in discussions on style saw a big change from last year—down from ~65% to 42%.

Editors reported spending less time with the director than producers did, a continuation of last year’s result. Spending time with the director in the edit suite is a great way to increase the quality of the post-production work.

5. Post production colleagues

A good assistant editor allows the editor to do their best work, as well as greatly speeding up an edit. Assistant editors can often also be on-the-job learners, which is important for the long-term sustainability and transformation of the post-production industry. Admittedly, small edit jobs don’t require (or can’t afford) an assistant.

Nearly 60% of producers report hiring a post-production supervisor when the job size demands one, while nearly 35% of editors report having to do this task themselves. Perhaps a discussion around the roles of editor and supervisor is needed, along with the appropriate job size for a supervisor.

Over 30% of editors reported being their own technical advisor. This reality in today’s edit suite is unlikely to go away. Since the majority of technical support is done with searches online, this is all the more reason for editors to be given a connection to the internet while at work.

6. Editors’ royalties

The hot potato! In 2013, roughly 35% of producers agreed that editors should receive royalties. That response was down to 12.5% in 2014. Editors held roughly constant with ~75% agreeing.

7. Editors and Directors of Photography

These responses roughly keep track with those of 2013.