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Old March 18th, 2014, 07:37 PM   #16
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Re: The Videographer's Profession : Does it Still Exist?

Hi Guys

I shoot video full time and yes I make a living. Probably the reason I can is that I'm not an artist/creative cinematic genius I'm just a videographer!! If you take your craft as a viable business then yes you can make a living but you do have to hold back on buying new gear every time a new camera comes out. I try to keep my capital expenditure to 10% of my turnover and it works well.

The biggest issue making a living is costing. Being a wedding videographer mainly I hear the creative "film makers" doing a 10 hour wedding shoot and then spending 3 weeks (8 hours a day) painstakingly doing colour corrections, trimming and effects and then they cry like babies about not being able to make a living!

The bottom line is yes you can certainly make a living with video as a profession BUT it has to be a business not an artistic past time you charge for. If your market in your area expects a wedding to cost $2000 and you need to make $100 an hour the math is pretty simple ... you have 20 hours to shoot and edit (a little less actually cos there are running costs too) so if you take 3 weeks fiddling around you are not going to make any money!! Any business, including video will work as long as you treat it as a business and make a profit!!

Chris
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Old March 18th, 2014, 09:37 PM   #17
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Re: The Videographer's Profession : Does it Still Exist?

Tim,
I'm sure there is a "Silver Lining" but it may not be exactly as we want it to be. I'll bet that the very large majority of those of us that are freelancers/independent contractors are the type of person like I am. I'm hard headed, an independent thinker and do not work or play well with bosses. By that I mean if I had to punch a clock and do a 9 to 5 with someone telling me what I had to do and when to take lunch or go to the bathroom I'd either stick a fork in my eye or I would wind up in jail for assaulting an idiot. As a freelancer of course I have "bosses" but I only have to put up with that person for the length of the job be it 1 day or 1 week and I found out years ago I can do anything for a short time.
So a Silver Lining? Some might say NO, me I wouldn't have it any other way. I get to choose and I can only live my life in that way otherwise, I'm not being true to myself.

On the other hand Chris H. my friend I agree with you 100%. when the opportunities came to me to be an "artist" and let my creativity flow like the river, generally that happened on something other than a wedding but once in a while it did but ONLY if I got paid and most only wanted a clear proper sounding document of the event. Other than having to hustle like a mad man, which earlier in my life and career I enjoyed, the wedding business wasn't a bad way to make a living with a bunch of corporate stuff thrown in for good measure and money. As you know about 2 years ago I decided I didn't like the wedding biz anymore and now I can say I am enjoying my life more and more. Maybe I just got disalussioned or just lost the fire but in any case no matter what kind of work one does, you must approach it like a business and do the business thing first before you "pull the trigger" because if you don't you'll be out of business and working for someone else.
I've said it before, I can teach my 15 year old grandson how to shoot but running a business....well that would take a lot more work. Shooting, editing, all that tech stuff is only half the job. Getting the work, pricing it right, keeping clients, keeping them reasonably happy, keeping them coming back (except for weddings) getting referrals...oh yeah and making a PROFIT (not a dirty word) and keeping the business going. That's the real trick. At least IMO! ;-)
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Old March 18th, 2014, 09:52 PM   #18
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Re: The Videographer's Profession : Does it Still Exist?

Hey Don

I'm glad someone agrees with me. Sometimes I truly shake my head when I see posts here that say "I have been working full time on this bride's video edit for the last 3 weeks and now I have a problem" ... So in a nutshell he probably got around $2K for the wedding .. he has driven out to her house to sign her up and also spend 10 hours at the shoot and now after 21 days of editing he has logged up 200 hours of his time, never mind all the other expenses!! Now let's see ..200 hours (being generous!) for $2000 makes his time worth a whole $10.00 an hour. I would rather flip burgers at McDonalds !!

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Old March 18th, 2014, 10:45 PM   #19
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Re: The Videographer's Profession : Does it Still Exist?

Quote:
And the cream still rises to the top
That's true, but never forget, crap also floats. You see that in any good ole boy system. Thanks for the replies. I don't blame the kids or anyone for that matter as change is something that will always happen. I just wonder if this change is always going to be a good thing or if it's just happening too fast for everyone to figure out what to make a living with. I've seen some gorgeous weddings, a lot of creativity added to them, if weddings were my thing, I might pursue that, but weddings were something I did quite a bit of in the early days and I have less than zero interest in pursuing them.

I know the pocket vidiot cameras make a better picture than the Gl-1, I still like the creative control in a camera like the Gl-1.

I don't even see how folks are making any money in porn anymore with so much free stuff on the internet, how do you make something proprietary like that when everyone else is offering the same thing for free? What are the options? Weddings and events? You need a niche for that and it doesn't work in all markets.Some markets are so conservative its difficult to convince someone they need a professional. News? Hell no, overcrowded and already covered. Commercials? Perhaps. Anyone still doing industrials? I saw that business get whittled down to nothing, I was shooting industrials on 16mm film when the average budget was 1000 bucks a production minute ( 20 minute film = 20G starting budget) and production companies employed full time staff. Then in the 80's the companies opened their own on site production studios, some still have them. I remember some of the insurance companies and hospitals had some really nice facilities, many still do. Like you say it takes creativity, but more than that it takes luck. Some folks I've seen just have a knack for walking into good business deals without breaking a sweat.
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Old March 18th, 2014, 10:53 PM   #20
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Re: The Videographer's Profession : Does it Still Exist?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
Hi Guys

I shoot video full time and yes I make a living. Probably the reason I can is that I'm not an artist/creative cinematic genius I'm just a videographer!! If you take your craft as a viable business then yes you can make a living but you do have to hold back on buying new gear every time a new camera comes out. I try to keep my capital expenditure to 10% of my turnover and it works well.

The biggest issue making a living is costing. Being a wedding videographer mainly I hear the creative "film makers" doing a 10 hour wedding shoot and then spending 3 weeks (8 hours a day) painstakingly doing colour corrections, trimming and effects and then they cry like babies about not being able to make a living!

The bottom line is yes you can certainly make a living with video as a profession BUT it has to be a business not an artistic past time you charge for. If your market in your area expects a wedding to cost $2000 and you need to make $100 an hour the math is pretty simple ... you have 20 hours to shoot and edit (a little less actually cos there are running costs too) so if you take 3 weeks fiddling around you are not going to make any money!! Any business, including video will work as long as you treat it as a business and make a profit!!

Chris
Some of these creative wedding folks charge major bucks and have wealthy clients that don't mind paying for the creativity as they're looking for something other than documentation. It's the bulk mass market vs. the specialized niche market. Both can make money if done right, its just that in order to make money on the artsy stuff , you have to have the right client. trouble is, there are so many hungry ones out there giving their creativity away to get the business that it creates a segment of clientele that expect something for nothing which makes it hard on everyone else.
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Old March 19th, 2014, 01:20 AM   #21
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Re: The Videographer's Profession : Does it Still Exist?

What about selling the benefits of your experience ..... ie the ability to get it right the first time?

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Old March 19th, 2014, 06:45 AM   #22
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Re: The Videographer's Profession : Does it Still Exist?

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Originally Posted by Andrew Smith View Post
What about selling the benefits of your experience ..... ie the ability to get it right the first time?

Andrew
Some people know the price of everything...and the value of nothing.

It's like the people that equate quanity with quality. Look at the thread that is about a certain groups weddings. Quanity or quality?

A quick story to prove a point that some of the people out there today who are doing the hiring are not exactly the sharpest crayon in the box. I'm talking about corporate "creative directors" for lack of a better term.

A few years ago I was hired by an AV company here to set up and run camera for a seminar they had been hired to supply gear and labor. OK great, I'd done lots of work for them before, they knew me and my experience and my rate so it was no problem for either of us. The gig was close to home, 2 days and all I had to do was set up the camera I was using, shoot the job, and after the show, strike the camera I was using. Easy Peasy. there was a high priced director in video world calling the shots as we had 3 cameras as well as video drops and PPTs going. He looked familiar to me and we started talking about where we might have worked together before, couldn't come up with it but I had mentioned my experience shooting robotics for NASCAR. We talked about that, had some good conversation and some good laughs and all was fine. BTW, I was the center camera running a Sony DXC50 with a Canon 40 lens. You can pick a fly off the wall at about 100 yards with that combo...sharp as a tack. I was doing my thing covering the various speakers, had a couple who were rabbits and were all over the stage but always in frame and in focus. The director was happy happy! The next morning before we started I got a call from the AV company contact. The person from the company who was in charge of the seminar, a woman who didn't know a camera from a car, had called him and wanted to know why they had sent a guy who did sports and not seminars to cover her job? HUH? His reply was this..."Well, is he doing a great job for you?" Her reply was "yes". "Are the speakers in focus and in frame?" "yes". "Is the director happy?" "yes" "Then what are we talking about? If he can cover a car moving around a race track at 180mph for national broadcast TV, he can cover your speakers walking around the stage, not to mention the fact he's worked more seminars for us than all the other guys working there right now and they've covered a lot. If there's nothing else, I've got to go." CLICK!

OK maybe he wasn't a pleasant as he could have been but the point is this. She didn't have a clue as to what it took to shot the job nor did she have a clue as to who was working her job. All she heard was I had done sports in the past and she couldn't equate that to her little seminar. I had worked with the other camera guys many times in the past doing exactly what we were doing that day and between us we probably had 60 years experience running cameras.

Some people in the position of power have no business being there and I think that is part of the problem with the industry today but then...whadda I know? ;-)
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Old March 19th, 2014, 10:25 AM   #23
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Re: The Videographer's Profession : Does it Still Exist?

It's all about whom you know:

There's only one firm in my area (whom I've also sub'd for) that continues to do a decent business, and that's because of an established customer base. They also do A/V, staging and production work, and are involved in their community via several charities and clubs, etc. Word of mouth and recommendations continues to earn them more work.

You have to be a jack of all trades:

What was once considered a dedicated profession has been relegated to a menial task. So, it's not surprising to see want ads for Art Directors or Graphic Designers whom "have experience in video editing and/or production a plus." listed. This also includes photography skills for corporate communication directors, and once I saw an ad that asked for a Forklift Driver with Photoshop skills as a plus!


Don't drink the mud:

There's much to be said about folks whom deal with dirt poor clients, or those whom don't care to invest in quality. The reality of this might suggest that you can't make a decent buck because all the good clients have dried up. The bigger issue becomes you're acceptance of that. Remember, any start-up is not easy and requires lots of hard work and some capitol (and most likely from other sources or having to work a job). The bottom line is that you're never going to know unless you do it. However, you're gonna have to study those whom are making it today, and realize that it's gonna take more than just being good at one thing.

Accept it or not Change still happens:

Technology affects us all. Even my Dad, a retired Honda auto-mechanic, remembers the good ol' days before computers and modulation were introduced. He, like his older buddies, didn't want to deal with advanced knowledge or computers, online courses and having to fly down to California for extended diagnostic training. He once joked about "needing a 'PhD' to fix a transmission." I'm not so sure that's a joke, anymore.

Soft skills vs. Hard:

Despite all the change in technology. What folks still need today are those whom are experienced in dealing with others and project management: Client and social skills. Scripting and directing. Thinking on ones feet. The kinds of skills that comes with experience, the edge you have over the fresh crew.

Many of you already have these skills and may have to rethink or assess your market and the kinds of work that you should be going for. Maybe it's time to consider being a director, or taking on a leadership role? Don't sell yourself short as a simple gun for hire.
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Old March 19th, 2014, 04:54 PM   #24
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Re: The Videographer's Profession : Does it Still Exist?

Quote:
It's all about whom you know
No kidding. That's everything and you need to be the social butterfly in the right places. That's where a lot of videographers fall short. Fortunately I learned a lot of those skills from my parents who were show people and business owners.However I don't play golf or attend church and don't hang out in places where a lot of potential business might be.

Quote:
Don't drink the mud
Sometimes it's not so easy to separate the mud from the ice cream. There are plenty of folks who have money but won't part with it for what they feel is a "frivolous expense" by hiring a professional videographer and some smaller businesses that are scraping by , but know the value of what you're offering and will pay for you, or at least if you do a job for them on spec basis, it turns out good. It's just hard to tell who's who sometimes.

Quote:
Soft skills vs. Hard:

Despite all the change in technology. What folks still need today are those whom are experienced in dealing with others and project management: Client and social skills. Scripting and directing. Thinking on ones feet. The kinds of skills that comes with experience, the edge you have over the fresh crew.

Many of you already have these skills and may have to rethink or assess your market and the kinds of work that you should be going for. Maybe it's time to consider being a director, or taking on a leadership role? Don't sell yourself short as a simple gun for hire.
There was a time when you could make a good living as a hired gun. That was when production companies were really production companies and not 3 guys in an office building with a computer. These days you almost have to be a one man band just to keep your overhead manageable.
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Old March 19th, 2014, 05:09 PM   #25
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Re: The Videographer's Profession : Does it Still Exist?

Right after I got my TV production degree, I started working staff jobs, I WAS one of those 23YO guys
making 20 grand. I liked the work, thought the money sucked. Saved and bought some of my own gear
started my business and now it's my only source of income. But I do everything, shoot, edit, make
graphics, produce the whole video, even create DVD jackets and inserts. And I live in a town of thirty thousand. And there are no roads in or out so I can't even draw on the 'surrounding areas'. If someone
30 miles from me wants to hire me, I have to charge my day rate and add on $300-$400 for
a plane ticket. It can be done.
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Old March 20th, 2014, 01:44 PM   #26
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Re: The Videographer's Profession : Does it Still Exist?

What kind of stuff do you shoot, Gabe?
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