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Old November 14th, 2008, 05:10 PM   #1
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Business Advocates Using Students to Produce Low Cost Video

Is this right?
The following is being sent out as a newsletter by "I Love Inns"


EASY ways to get your video made for under $200
1. Ask local college film students to do a 2-3-minute video on your inn (Thatís about the average YouTube time.) Locate the film professors and find out what it would take to get a class project going. Invite the class for breakfast or take breakfast to the class. Show photos and talk about your inn. Think of what your goal is--to show the personality of the innkeeper? The view of the lake? The yummy food? The eye-popping activities nearby? Arrange for the professor to come when you have breakfast coming out of the oven, or are serving lemonade and cookies. Think of activities coming up. Murder Mystery? Harvesting grapes? Thanksgiving feast? Baking your secret scone recipe? Create a list of what you think your assets are in descending order--choose 7-12. Give a prize for the best video; talk to the prof. about what might be appropriate.
2. Consider high school film classes as well--some of these kids are experts!


American Historic Inns, Inc.
PO Box 669 Dana Point, CA 92669
800-397-INNS (4667)
949-481-6256
Fax 949-481-3796
Bed And Breakfasts at I Love Inns.com: Bed And Breakfast Reviews and Ratings, Bed And Breakfast Inn Accommodations, Bed And Breakfast Travel Guide


My response to this is as follows (perhaps you are in agreement and will let this company know that what they are advocating is morally wrong!)


I think you should know that there are some people, including myself, who object to the exploitation of an education system for financial gain. Not only that, you are asking local tax payers to support the endeavor and utilize government funds. The equipment used to do professional video is expensive. Some videographers have upwards of $30,000 invested in the equipment and have employees to pay. Yet here you are advising your membership to take advantage of a loophole in the "system" and get something for virtually nothing.
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Old November 14th, 2008, 07:30 PM   #2
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They might want to title this, "The ultimate cheapskate's guide to getting a video made".

I can't object to pitching high school kids to make their videos for them. I would have much rather gotten paid for making videos when I was a kid than my actual first job... Pumping $.36/gallon gas for $1.80/hour. (Guess how old I am.) The downside for the potential client is you could get either Speilberg or sputum. I also don't think a college prof would go for this "contest" approach. The reasons why I'll keep to myself.

If a client gets a good video from a HS or college student for a few hundred buck, he should consider himself lucky and the videographer has the business acumen of an earthworm. Look at the other side. If a kid can build a PT business making videos for locals, it's great experience. Full stop. Plus they get a couple of bucks towards a new video game, outfit, whatever.

This is free enterprise.
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Old November 14th, 2008, 11:21 PM   #3
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What about quality? Not much kids have great equipment.

Unless the students are able to use the film equipment from the school, then it might be good. But that will probably depend on the professor.
So, this depends on the professor, whether or not he is smart enough to see through the scheme or not...

Lets just assume that the professor is smart and isnt getting 'paid under the table'.
There will/should be a red alert going off in his head..
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Old November 15th, 2008, 08:18 AM   #4
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While I don't speak for all professors - I used to get calls every week from folks like this. I would offer them an intern if they write a proposal that would show how the student would gain from it and then the business would then rent the equipment from a commercial source. They had to oversee the student's progress and manage it as a class.

I sent them the intern proposal paperwork, about 80 pages. Nothing ever came of it.

Most states have non-competitive clauses in place that don't allow schools to compete with businesses with their school's equipment.

We did PSAs for non-profits that couldn't pay all the time. No conflict there at all.

You might want to check laws of your state, province, whatever...

My best, from a retired professor.

Mike
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Old November 15th, 2008, 11:53 AM   #5
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Using the Education system for privide business profit

You are right! Most students do not have the equipment... Therefore it raises the question of whether students should have the right to borrow, use, rent equipment purchased by the school or educational organization. That equipment of course was bought with government money or taxpayer money. In that case, you have the possibility of local tax payers and government competing with a private video firm for the work. That is what is wrong with I Love Inn's proposal and the crux of why it is so wrong.

It is fine for a student to offer to use an HV30 of his own to do a video...there's nothing wrong with that!
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Old November 15th, 2008, 01:43 PM   #6
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Hi Tim,

I'm sorry that I wasn't clear enough.

Many states have specific non-competitive clauses for schools' equipment and talent. I was suggesting that you give a jiggle to someone in Vermont to find out if that is the case there. If so, you'd have cause to give these folks a call to give them a warning about protecting your turf. They certainly shouldn't be broadcasting this in those states where it isn't allowed.

Furthermore, even suggesting that a professor get involved might be on the edge. His time is paid by the school, too. That is consulting that is hard to "quantify." Sounds like the organization is encouraging fraud.

My best,

Mike
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Old November 15th, 2008, 03:41 PM   #7
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Hey, getting an intern to do your brain surgery "on the cheap" sounds like a great way to save money! UM... on second thought...

And I suspect as you've pointed out, it's marginal if not outright illegal to use public property (school equipment) for private "gain".

Now if they'd offer the wife and I a "free" all expenses paid weekend on the other hand... I think I'd have to bring the video camera along to avoid my arm being twisted off <wink>!

They have the right idea, just the wrong approach <wink>! Bribing a "private" videographer with food, romantic accomodations and so on in a barter arrangement would make a lot more sense, and they might actually get something usable for a finished product!

"will work for food and a nice little vacation"
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Old November 15th, 2008, 09:15 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
And I suspect as you've pointed out, it's marginal if not outright illegal to use public property (school equipment) for private "gain".
Which of course assumes the school is publicly owned and/or funded as opposed to a private vocational school.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
Bribing a "private" videographer with food, romantic accomodations and so on in a barter arrangement would make a lot more sense, and they might actually get something usable for a finished product!
Which is technically considered "contra" and is a completely valid business model.
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Old November 16th, 2008, 03:45 AM   #9
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No payment in kind: CHIZ!

Bribing a "private" videographer with food, romantic accomodations and so on in a barter arrangement would make a lot more sense


Now, when I was a lad, still in my teens, I was a boom op on a soft (VERY soft: you see more in newspapers now) porn movie. I was paid nothing but money, to my intense disappointment. English readers will be inrterested to know that this little gem was shot on Cromer pier and Brighton Pier- very cold. Technical note, there was a 3D sequence too, shot with two Cameflexes (35mm versions of the Eclair). Really noisy.

Last edited by Nick Flowers; November 16th, 2008 at 03:47 AM. Reason: Extended maundering
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Old November 16th, 2008, 09:33 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Jack Tran View Post
What about quality
Who cares about quality when it is cheap!

:)
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Old November 16th, 2008, 11:14 AM   #11
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The way for a business to 'employ' students, is through a FORMAL internship program. The setup varies from state to state, but basically there is serious paperwork and verification that a student is engaged in X number of hours of professional work for x number of credits.

Barring that, its exploitation of school resources.

By the way, my wife just returned from a big 'fund raising' event for a non-profit last nite. They had a video, that was assembled/shot/cobbled together by a member 'for free - for the love of the issue and because they believed so much in the non-profit's mission'. Basically, it was a disaster. My wife said she couldn't believe how badly it was done, how it had no direction or rythm, no purpose, no 'call to action' - in short, just really really bad. But hey, it was 'free'. It probably COST them more in missed donations than a good one would have.
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Old November 16th, 2008, 12:25 PM   #12
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Hmm. I know that someone who wants a novice interior designer can contact most interior design schools and obtain the services of a student designer. The student makes some money on it, the client gets discounted rates, and the faculty advises students and help them in some way with their projects. Surely they utilize the school's facilities (libraries, supplies) to accomplish their projects. This is perfectly acceptable, and many types of "trade schools" do this sort of thing in their communities to give students an opportunity to practice what they've learned. It doesn't necessarily have to be an internship (although the student will likely have to write a paper about the experience).

The Historic Inns newsletter is not telling the innkeepers to take advantage of college or high school students altogether - it suggests giving a prize. Furthermore, the school would only go along with allowing their students to use their equipment for such an endeavor if they thought it was a good educational experience. They just might see the value in doing it as a class project, and teaching students (I'm thinking college here) how to deal with a budget and clients -- most schools focus more on theory and the creative aspect of videomaking, so this would be an excellent chance to learn the biz side of production.

I am sure there would be paperwork involved. It is quite common for schools to involve their students in activities that support local businesses if it will be a learning experience. But if the school or professor objects, and only allows students to work on school-related projects, it won't even happen. Students who have their own camcorders (and many do) could take part on their own-- no big deal.

The organization is simply suggesting this as a way for innkeepers, who often struggle to keep their businesses afloat, to get a video made. It's not such a terrible idea and they're just saying, "Hey, explore this as an option." Ultimately, it would be up to the local laws, the college or school, and the community to decide whether or not school facilities would be used for such an effort, if they were approached by an innkeeper to do so. I don't see any reason to get bent out of shape for such a suggestion.
.
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Old November 16th, 2008, 12:36 PM   #13
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The organization is simply suggesting this as a way for innkeepers, who often struggle to keep their businesses afloat, to get a video made.

I don't see any reason to get bent out of shape for such a suggestion.
We professional videographers (definition: those of us that make a living doing it) often struggle to keep OUR businesses afloat as well, especially in an environment where people feel that asking for video for free is perfectly acceptable. I have personally expended in the neighbourhood of $200k (that's one fifth of a million dollars) in the past ten years on MY business in capital purchases alone, never mind consumables. If a student wants to try and take away MY livelihood, they should be well aware that I will not look kindly upon it and that when they come to me looking for work or assistance (or to any of the "family" of videographers in my area that know and respect each other), they will be continuing to look.

Nothing personal, but I AM growing tired of the attitude that what I do for a living (and did as a hobby LONG before I became a pro) is easily replaced by someone who is in training AND might have access to subsidized equipment. You want to work in the industry and make a name for yourself? Either apprentice under one or more of us or start your own company with your own money (or your own financing) and build it the old fashioned way - in a sustainable business model that doesn't rely on borrowing equipment.
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Old November 16th, 2008, 12:51 PM   #14
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This is the attitude of many creative business people (videomakers, photographers, screenwriters, etc.) -- that anyone who gives their work away will take away opportunities from the professional. It's not necessarily the case. If you have what what a potential client wants, and you market yourself well, they will pay for it. You may have to work harder to get that paying client, but I don't begrudge anyone who does work for free to get their foot in the door, nor anyone who wants something for nothing. Video people and filmmakers try to get crew and cast working for them for free all the time. How many actors do unpaid work on a shoot? Doesn't the filmmaker benefit most of all from that and the actors usually never even get that DVD they were offered.

The reality is, in this case, that innkeepers who want to pay a student $100 or $200 for a video will probably never pay a pro to do it if they can't get that student. Innkeepers don't really need videos -- usually photos on their websites is enough to entice a guest to stay there. If they want one and a student can't do it, they'll probably ask someone they know who has a camcorder to make the thing and give them dinner in exchange. The big fancy inns that can afford a pro will hire one. So, what client are you losing?
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Old November 16th, 2008, 01:40 PM   #15
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I don't lose clients for exactly that reason: they are CLIENTS, not customers. I build relationships with my clients and don't "win them over" by giving my services away for free. My client base is built on value added service.

The "opportunity" that I miss out on, as you put it, is the opportunity to discuss very frankly and openly what is to be gained by employing the services of a professional who not only knows which end of the camera to point and what buttons to push in the edit bay but ALSO what works and what doesn't in terms of visual marketing from EXPERIENCE. As well, the video that was given away may have cost the end user no money but it may cost them or their organization or business' reputation. I may be able to provide a very attractive price based on actual need as opposed to perceived need (or plain old WANT) by the end user.

You can choose to get the brakes on your car fixed by a backyard mechanic for less than half the price of what the dealership will charge but if the parts fail due to shoddy workmanship when you need them most, did you really save anything?

In video, in many cases you really do get what you pay for. The adage of anything is better than nothing couldn't be further from the truth when talking about building brand recognition. Just my 2 cents. There are a lot of talented individuals out there that are currently in or just leaving learning institutions. They should be working with us, not slitting our throats in the middle of the night.
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