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Old May 4th, 2012, 09:48 PM   #1
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How sketchy does this job offer look to you?

I'm going to highlight the parts that make me skeptical; I've only been freelancing for a few years, so sometimes unsavory practices still slip under my nose, while some legitimate, but uncommon, practices look uneasy to me.

"Hello Everyone:

You have all responded to my Videographer needed Craigslist ads at one time or another in the past 6 months. I am accepting bids for the following video services. If you have questions, email them to me and I will respond ASAP. If you do not win this bid, you will still be included in future bids.

Background:

After 15 years of in-house video production, (company) now outsources its video work. Projects such as the one you are bidding on come to us frequently, so there can be future, on-going work for vendors who establish a relationship with us (courteous service at shoot, affordable costs, high quality, fast turnaround.)

This job is a pure spec job for us, which means that we only get paid when and if clients buy the DVDs from us, so quotes need to leave room for us to add on admin and marketing fees to cover our expenses and make a small profit.

Basic terms and conditions:

The bid response is due back to me no later than 5:00 PM Tuesday May 8th. Send it to (email).
Your bid will be binding if accepted.
Use of still cameras that do video will NOT be considered (Canon 60D, 7D,Nikon and other brand equivalents.)
Only the winning bidder will be contacted.
Payment will be rendered once job is completed, based on your invoice to (company).
The bid must be detailed, with costs and services broken into the following categories:
taping
editing
disc mastering
duplication

Job details:

Location: Downtown Raleigh (details will be provided to winning bidder)
Date, time and duration of each performance to be taped:
Friday May 18th, 7:30 to 9:00 straight through, set-up possible anytime after 10AM that day, set-up MUST start at least 60 minutes prior to performance
Saturday May 19th matinee, 11:30 to 12:30, set-up anytime after 9AM that day, set-up MUST start at least 60 minutes prior to performance
Saturday May 19th afternoon, 4:00PM to 5 PM, set-up anytime after 9AM that day, set-up MUST start at least 60 minutes prior to performance
Each performance must be mastered and reproduced on a separate DVD.
Taping must be in HD (full HD preferable), 2 cameras (very good low light capability preferred), 1 manned for close-ups of principals
Copies will be in Blu-Ray and standard DVD with motion graphic chapters, disc design (stick-on labels not accepted), cases and case inserts.
Images will be provided for the disc case cover insert - front and back.
The (company) logo, contact information and copyright statements will also be provided.
DVD copy quantity TBD - but probably in the range of 60 to 70 units.
Blu-Ray copy quantity TBD - but probably in the range of 10-12 units.
Chapters are to be displayed as motion graphics.
DVDs will have start and end titles with 20/20 logo.
DVDs will have performer character / names in scrolling credits at end of DVD. A spreadsheet with these will be provided to eliminate data entry.
Two sets of standard DVD preview copies need to be provided within 2 weeks of performance date. Sooner is better.
Delivery of finished standard DVDs and Blu-Ray copies within one week of client approval.
All change requests from client and (company) will be in writing and as specific as possible,e specially when relating to timeline based edits
Please include in your bid:

a list of your camera gear (make and model)

audio recording equipment (external microphones, Zoom recorders, etc.) make and model

a link to your demo reel

references

anything else that differentiates you from the competition (such as prior experience doing dance recitals)



Regards,"


Essentially, it comes down to three things:

- Does "we only get paid when..." mean "YOU only get paid when we get paid, and we only get paid when," or is it just essentially saying "your ability to sell is important?"

- For having collected contacts for 6 months, this is last ass minute. That's less than 2 weeks away.

- I know the client has every right to pick someone based on equipment, but turning down ALL shooters with ANY DSLR seems... ignorant, to say the least?

Just wanted input. I hate subcontracting, and this one sent up some red flags, but I wondered if they were warranted or not.
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Old May 4th, 2012, 10:28 PM   #2
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Re: How sketchy does this job offer look to you?

I read it as you will get paid once you turn in your deliverables and invoice.

I do a good bit of work in the Raleigh area and no one uses dSLRs for pro gigs. They may be in fashion elsewhere but not here. Most of the freelancers here are ex-news guys so everyone uses either Sony xdcam or panasonic cameras (same as the local network affiliates).

Several of us have dSLRs and dabble in the Indie scene with them where they are welcomed and popular. To be honest though I'm using my F3 more even for Indie stuff just because it is so much easier to use and makes a better image.

Anyway, I don't see anything in those requirements the look out of place.

But, what I can tell you about the gig is that you don't want to have anything to do with it. The price they are looking to hit left all the locals extremely uninterested in the project. Looks like they are now casting their nets out further after not finding anyone local to do it.
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Old May 4th, 2012, 10:30 PM   #3
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Re: How sketchy does this job offer look to you?

Essentially, it comes down to three things:

Does "we only get paid when..." mean "YOU only get paid when we get paid, and we only get paid when," or is it just essentially saying "your ability to sell is important?"
THIS is a BIG RED FLAG for me. If you don't have the money to pay me before the client pays you then you need to find someone else. If you're as big as you say you are then you should have the funds to pay my invoice for the work I've done without having to wait for YOUR client to pay you. Especially since I don't know who you are and have never done work for you before. Money talks...Bulls**t walks! ( this is me talking to the person who posted on CL not me talking to you)

For having collected contacts for 6 months, this is last ass minute. That's less than 2 weeks awayNot really all that unusual. I can't tell you how many jobs I've done over the years with 2 weeks notice and many time much less than that. To me not really a red flag.

I know the client has every right to pick someone based on equipment, but turning down ALL shooters with ANY DSLR seems... ignorant, to say the least?
That's their perogative. If they're the paying client in many case they choose. You go with it or don't get the job. Not really a red flag for me.

Your choice but if it was me, I'd pass. Of course I'm a very skeptical, cynical non-trusting person but that's just me!
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Old May 4th, 2012, 11:05 PM   #4
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Re: How sketchy does this job offer look to you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Medico View Post
But, what I can tell you about the gig is that you don't want to have anything to do with it. The price they are looking to hit left all the locals extremely uninterested in the project. Looks like they are now casting their nets out further after not finding anyone local to do it.
Run in to these guys before? Thanks for the input; their somewhat aggressive message put me off. I've never been very competitive, so kissing a potential client's feet to win the ability to WORK has never been something I'm apt for. They can check out my resume and reel, and talk price with me like a human being, or they can find someone else.

I had a guy tell me "I [had] 2 seconds to give [him] a rate or [he] hang[s[ up and call[s] the next guy" last week. I said "have a nice day."
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Old May 5th, 2012, 01:02 AM   #5
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Re: How sketchy does this job offer look to you?

This sounds, frankly, like a waste of your time. They want you to tape a show and then sell DVDs to the cast and crew. 70 copies at $30-a-piece makes for a pretty low figure left for you as the one doing all the work. What happens if only 50 people make an order?

3 shows? With full DVD mastering and a Blu-Ray option including motion menus? Wow. From my experience I know that takes a long time and from what it seems, they're looking for a pro-level production for almost nothing. Take your chances, but my opinion as well is to keep your distance from this type of thing as you're only helping out the middleman...
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Old May 5th, 2012, 02:33 AM   #6
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Re: How sketchy does this job offer look to you?

I agree with the rest!!

70 DVD's and a smattering of BD's for two days exhausting work seems a bit of a low return on your efforts. I now and again do dance recitals without any charge for the actual shoot and that's a 4 hour gig..my last one gave me close to 200 DVD orders at $30 each ..which of course all came to me so it was a worthwhile venture... IF these guys did in fact give you $30 a DVD they must be charging a LOT more for the final DVD/BD that the client gets....that's quite likely going to put it out of reach of people who would have bought one but didn't as the extra cost for the middleman made it too expensive!!

I would give it a miss..let someone else line this guy's pockets!!

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Old May 5th, 2012, 09:01 AM   #7
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Re: How sketchy does this job offer look to you?

After reading it, I came up with this translation:

"We are looking for the cheapest offer."

The promise of future work: always tricky.
Combining: 'We gathered reactions over the past 6 months' & 'We get projects like this often' makes me think they have 2 projects/year. :-p
Besides that: there is a change they only offer cheap projects in the future as well.

Make an offer anyway to let them know what you charge and what you can do.
Make a winning offer if you really need the money, want to add it to your porfolio or if you are a big fan of dancingstuff.

About getting paid: if you want things to be clear about it: add it in your offer that they must pay regardless of their sales.
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Old May 5th, 2012, 02:49 PM   #8
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Re: How sketchy does this job offer look to you?

My take on the no DSLR/Still camera is simple - shooting and editing a live long form event you don't have time for futzing around with short record/clip limits and manual focus issues...

There are "still" cams that wouldn not present those issus, at least not as much, but I can see how it would save hassle weeding out all the "my cam shoots video TOO!" crowd. The new crop of video capable still cams have their place, one shot long form events isn't one of them IMO, unless you've also got a video camera running "safety" shot.
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Old May 5th, 2012, 03:26 PM   #9
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Re: How sketchy does this job offer look to you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles House View Post
This job is a pure spec job for us, which means that we only get paid when and if clients buy the DVDs from us
This means they don't expect it to make much money. If they expected it to sell 500 DVDs at $50/ea, they would want to pay you a fixed rate. Instead, they expect it to sell 60 DVDs (which is optimistic, this means 40 DVDs) at $10/ea, and they want you to bid $300 so they can make a c-note on it.

I have done these gigs, and they're not bad if you can knock them out. This is not a 5-minute corporate video that you spend 3 days editing - it's a one hour dance recital that you shoot in an hour and edit (via FCP multicam) in an hour, export, compress, burn DVDs. You want one lockdown cam and one cam for closeups - never, ever move the lockdown and when you edit, just cut away from the closeup cam everytime you change shots - then cut back. Template the DVD menu and the open so you can use it again the next time.

Seriously, I was shooting a 2 hour kids' play in two hours, going home, editing in two hours, and billing them for a half-day, then selling the DVDs for a token ($10) charge and keeping the profits. Selling 50-60 DVDs.

Nothing wrong with your skepticism, it's healthy. I bid these gigs honestly, which is probably a higher price than they're expecting. They are getting a lot of responses from a lot of people's Uncle Bob who have both a flip cam AND a Canon Powershot that shoots 240p video. You will be way better than these folks, but higher priced. You can try and sell that. Whether they will buy... I dunno.

My #3 grossing client this past year came to me in 2010 and wanted me to travel to their location, shoot for an hour, take that footage and cut three videos from it, post it to the web and distribute b-roll to several local TV stations for $150. I took their request and quoted them a price around $650. They balked. Then they e-mailed two days later and asked what I could do for $500. I knocked a couple of things off the bid and got the gig for $500. They spent over $10k in 2011. If they'd have asked for the video for $150 and I'd have said "no", I'd have made $0 from them in 2011. Always quote a price, always be reasonable, always explain, and always walk away with a smile on your face.
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Old May 7th, 2012, 02:06 PM   #10
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Re: How sketchy does this job offer look to you?

That's great advice.
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Old May 8th, 2012, 09:33 PM   #11
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Re: How sketchy does this job offer look to you?

I always do a Google search on Craigslist ads. Try something like "xyz (company or person's name) scam" - it helped me weed out notorious scammers.

If the company is OK, I don't see any issues with the business model itself - they are welcome to ask for whatever they want, as long as you agree and they deliver on what they promised, it's all good.

Excluding DSLR's should not surprise you at all; they have no place in such circumstances. I have yet to see one used in a corporate event.

You will get a better feeling about their honesty (or lack of) once you show up at location. I had one very suspicious gig with the guy hiring me being from one state, the company he mentioned he works for from another state, and the distributor from a third state. On top of it all, he was using a Hotmail email address... I took my chances... it turned out all good, and I worked for them again a couple of months later, ended up befriending them.
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Old May 8th, 2012, 11:47 PM   #12
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Re: How sketchy does this job offer look to you?

A request for equipment lists referencing Zoom recorders does not quite float level for me.

There is enough info sought that would enable somebody to send steal to order dot com around to your place and do some discount shopping at you and your insurer's expense.

But that could be just cynical me.
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