Pay Transparency Week Shows the Movement Is Not A Trend

Kitty Hu • June 8, 2023

“All 2022 Salaries and Crew Rates Released by Media Companies!”

This might sound too good to be true…and that’s because it is, for now. From April 14 through the 23, we hosted the first PTP Week with Video Consortium (VC), and support from our partner organizations. As you may have heard, the Pay Transparency Project (PTP) is a community-driven database that offers nonfiction video professionals timely insight into constantly evolving hiring trends and pay parity practices. This grew out of an urgent desire by our communities to move our fields towards greater equity, justice, inclusion, and transparency.

From virtual to in-person PTP happy hours, we connected with members and heard stories about work experiences in the nonfiction storytelling industry. To see the rate submissions, please head to

Photo by Jim McSilver

Kicking off at the SFFILM block party, both BGDM and VC introduced PTP to local and visiting filmmakers. At our virtual gathering, we dreamed up visions for what should and could be industry standards: realistic edit schedules, mental health support as line items, minimum standard rates, childcare support at festivals, the list goes on.

One member reminded us of the challenge of paying yourself as a producer or director and the importance of having funders and grantmakers advocate for that to change. Others discussed how difficult negotiating can be —

Why is the onus on us to ask for more pay or the accurate credit when we’re already doing the work?

At the end of our virtual happy hour, one member left us with an important reminder: We are building upon the legacy of previous generations and our ancestors to reckon with and change the industry as we see it, and we are not alone in this work.

Photo by Kyle Lui

The PTP organizing efforts culminated coast to coast, with an in person gathering joining the Video Consortium and BGDM communities in NYC. A departure from the tone and vibe of usual “networking” type events, the presence and energy from all those who attended made it easier to have those typically difficult conversations around pay. A hybrid raffle and guessing game auctioned off equipment to those who came closest to guessing the industry rate of folks working in a variety of craft areas. Answers were revealed — sometimes with surprise, other times with bewilderment. The levity of the game and the overall event fostered an environment which rallied folks together in our organizing and advocacy efforts.

We’re immensely grateful to VC for the thoughtful collaboration and our allied peer organizations that help us spread the word — Alliance of Documentary Editors, BIPOC Doc Editors, Black Documentary Collective, Documentary Producers Alliance, FWD-DOC, and Undocumented Filmmakers Collective. We are also thankful to Marmoset, Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival, and DOC NYC for contributing to our online raffle.

PTP doesn't stop here. This community resource is counting on your support — submit your recent rates and experiences today!

Kitty Hu
Kitty Hu

Kitty Hu (any pronouns) is a queer Chinese diasporic documentary filmmaker and visual journalist with roots in the Bay Area, California. As the daughter of immigrants, Kitty’s work applies community-centered documentary tactics to amplify stories at the intersection of justice and human relationships, looking at topics like labor, housing, culture, migration, and climate.