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Taking Care of Business
The pen and paper aspects of DV -- put it in writing!


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Old November 11th, 2008, 03:35 PM   #16
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I never work for free.

Sometimes, I'll work for something OTHER than money, but never 'for free'.

This goes to that whole 'just starting off and working for experience' - approach. You see it all the time. IF you are in fact, a newcomer, then you may be offered a chance to build your reel/resume by 'working for free'. Alright then, here's where you start building your professionalism. Draw up a contract, that outlines the amount of time you are willing to 'donate' to the project, and what you expect to be donated 'in kind'. The meals, the transportation, the tapestock, the number of copies, the right to use the footage in a demo online - whatever. These are the checkpoints a newbie should use to determine if the project is worth 'donating' their time for. If the producer balks at signing, or doesn't want to be 'held' to any kind of agreement - then move on. You don't want THAT experience. (Expect to negotiate - this is part of the experience you are gaining.)

Look, if Steven Spielberg asks for time, give it to him. The bragging rights alone would be worth a boatload of money... it's not like you're working 'for free'. But if Uncle Bob's Pit Barbecue asks for you to 'work for free' - then ask him if he'll cater your kids birthday party. If Uncle Bob is a real honest businessman, he'll see the exchange as fair - if not - move on.

If they don't have the cash, see what they can barter. Their product? Their own time? (Hey, you run audio for me on this gig - and I'll give you a day of shooting on your project -BUT PUT IT IN WRITING)

Even when I add value to a project I'm getting paid for, I 'bill' it. The client asks for some extra dubs, not in the deal- or maybe some extra service - I list it on the bill, at full market rate - then I put COMPLIMENTARY or DISCOUNT or PROFESSIONAL COURTESY on the bill by those services. They look at the bill, and realize the value they have been 'given' - They are likely to recommend my services, and probaly use them again - while understanding the real cost they might be charged in the future.

I guess the issue is what does "FREE" mean to you? Working for nothing but experience? Then the experience had better be damn well worth it. A badly run shoot that goes nowhere is worth doing ONCE - only to learn never to do it again. (You've paid for an expensive lesson)

But I'm a fan of Groucho Marx' line "Learn from other people's mistakes - you'll never live long enough to make them all yourself."
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Old November 11th, 2008, 03:40 PM   #17
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Richard,
I find your advice about writing out the invoice very helpful. I guess that's something that could make me differentiate from 'newbie' newbie to 'professional' newbie.
Thanks alot for the advice.

JJ
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Old November 11th, 2008, 03:49 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Richard Alvarez View Post
... I list it on the bill, at full market rate - then I put COMPLIMENTARY or DISCOUNT ...
GREAT IDEA! - Since I'm only just starting to break in to the industry on a professional basis, I'm happy to look at 'freebies' but this idea really puts the deal in perspective.

I really agree with the 'put it in writing' as well, that way everyone's clear on who get's what.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 05:23 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Richard Alvarez View Post
They look at the bill, and realize the value they have been 'given'
Thats all good advice I'll be taking on board.
I suppose also when they look at the bill they see you're not a soft touch either.
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Old November 11th, 2008, 06:28 PM   #20
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Glad you guys are learning from MY mistakes!

A young woman is interviewing a female businesswoman who made it to 'the top'. - "How did you get to be CEO?" she asked.

CEO - "Two words - Good Decisions"

The young woman continued - "So, how do you KNOW you're making good decisions?"

CEO - "One word - EXPERIENCE!"

The woman took down the remarks, and said - "Yes, but how do you get the experience?"

CEO - "Two words - Bad Decisions".
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