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Old December 24th, 2003, 12:28 PM   #1
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how much should i charge to shoot music videos??

i'm just starting out with a canon xl1 and i would like to know how much should i charge local talent to shoot thier music videos? since i only have two 500 watt work lights, three 250 watt smith victor 3200k photo flood lights and only a couple packs of gels, i will stick to exterior setups until i make enough to pay for better lights.

how much should i charge for up to three local locations and up to 11 different 3:30 minute takes with various angles? all edits will be done within vegas video, media studio, after effects, cinema 4d, and ulead dvd workshop. i will give my clients thier finished product on dvd.

i am currently charging $250.00 for cd covers, so i'm trying to create a comfortable price range for all the extra that will be included in shooting a video.

these videos will be for local aspiring artists, and i'm running a one man team.

if i have to travel out of town how much should i then add to this charge?

thanks in advance
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Old December 24th, 2003, 12:47 PM   #2
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Patrick,

Can you please fill in your location field under "user cp" (see
above) -> edit profile? This will help more with such questions
as well.

Thank you.
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Old December 24th, 2003, 01:47 PM   #3
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i have shot a few local videos and actually have a video on mtv.com as of right now. i have found that my age also plays a major role in this too...being 18 people don't want to trust me with their video, but once they see the demo reel they are all about it. keep in mind that local bands dont have too much money, and you may have to do a few freebies before you can start charging them, so you can assemble a reel. people dont really want to spend money on something they arent sure about. also keep in mind that if the band is paying for the video (they are local so dont have a label to lend them money), they arent going to want to pay you too much. until you can get a reel and step up to larger bands with budgets you are going to be working like crazy for little pay. for local videos i charged $300 for and put over 100 hours into it them (shooting and editing included).
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Old December 24th, 2003, 03:19 PM   #4
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whoa

that is a lot of hours put into a $300.00 budget. I do understand that you have to start somewhere. thanks for the insight. i was thinking about going with $450.00 to start and maybe max out at a grand. i was going to come up with a package that basically stated what was offered in the different price ranges which will be green & blue screens, 3d rendering and compositing, story boarding, script writing, cinematography and so on.

i'm really just learning all of this stuff myself, but i do pick up quick. i currently make cd covers for local groups, so i know that i can tie my photoshop, flash, and cinema 4d background into video.

thanks for the tip Mr. Lohman.
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Old December 24th, 2003, 04:24 PM   #5
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$300 wasnt the budget...it was what i recieved as profit. the budget was payed for by the band (ie. any rentals, extras, set building, lunch for the crew, costum, etc).
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Old December 26th, 2003, 02:08 AM   #6
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Patrik, just a suggestion, rent any pro lights you need when you need them, rather than avoiding situations where you need them. The customers will pay for the expense, and you can usualy rent a 3 light kit for $100 or so a day.

And charge as much as they will pay. :)
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Old December 26th, 2003, 08:49 AM   #7
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I'm more on the fringe of it all and not smack in the middle. I seem to barter more work instead of straight out pay. I recently shot a concert for a local band and will be editing it for a while yet. They will roof my garage in exchange.
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Old December 26th, 2003, 08:55 AM   #8
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cool

nice suggestions from everyone. i wish i had the option to rent lighting, but i'm in a small town where they don't have such places.
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Old January 4th, 2004, 11:36 PM   #9
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Alfred had some pretty good points but did not cover what I feel to be some needed insight. I've seen the Anti-Flag video Alfred did, and was rather disapointed in it. Not to be taken offensively by any means it is not a bash on your work, but I felt there was much lacking for a professional video on a major network for a popular band... that probably should have been done by more experienced, Professional Directors.

All of my major videos have been on Fuse, Mtv, and Mtv2. Even a couple of my "more local" (somewhat popular in areas other than around my area) band's videos have made it onto Fuse. Simply because of the video's quality they were played a few times in shity slots cause the bands wern't as known or popular but.. they aired. Local videos also taking a large popularity within the local areas but not usually aired unless incredible quality is achieved.

Local and Pro, very different things.

Regardless, locally.. it's about your image and what you can offer. Most local bands hear music video and think excitment. Then it's up to you to take that sparked interest and turn it into a paying client. Your equipment should at least look professional. If you show them a "dinky" Sony VX, they'll probably not know what type of camera it is.. and not care.. but just the fact that it looks small like the video camera their parents or friends have from Best Buy will make it less exciting for them. I'm not saying the VX is a bad camera (not my choice of them) but they won't know either way unless they hire you. So maybe it'd be good to show them something first.

You can A) Do a couple freebee videos or B) Make some home made "self" projects for fun.. and to show people.

Locally, not much is expected of you usually. Most importantly when charging them around $300-$400 or more.. let them know that they're getting a deal because most professional videos they're used to seeing.. the budgets of which are usually a min of $16,000 and when you let them know they can achieve similar quality (if you do it right) with a small fraction of that.. they're mouths water... or at least they have for my offers anyway.

After I run my treatment ideas and schedules by them, if they're ineterested I usually charge locals around $500 for DV projects and a lot more for film projects... and any extra budget needs (not including equipment.. cause well, I've got whatever I need but for you that might not be the case)

Make sure you also give the bands the final product.. fit for web use, because that's what will do the local bands the best since most rely on the internet as the largest source of promotion.. which in the end is what the whole music video is for.

This is coming from an experienced music video director, and musical artist as well. :)
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Old January 6th, 2004, 09:42 AM   #10
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Kevin,
if you dont mind me asking what videos have you directed? is there a website with all you work on it. if so i would like to check it out. do you dp your videos too?
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Old January 6th, 2004, 03:26 PM   #11
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Alfred,

Most details of them have NDAs restricting what I can say, but I can tell you I have done work with Staind, Linkin Park, The Movielife, Stutterfly, Story of the Year, Vans Warped Tour, Good Charlotte, A Static Lullaby, Bowling For Soup, Mest, Vaux, and Simple Plan. That's the most I can say right now. I'm not claiming I was the Director on all of the listed band's projects but those are the bands in which I'd been involved with before... I just can't get into the details... I can tell you 2 of those bands I've Directed videos for, and the others have been various parts in the production... That of course isn't counting locals and most of the "bigger locals". I don't like some of the bands in that list either, but a job is a job.

I am working on launching my studio's website but that'll be a little while. It'll have certain things viewable but for the most part I want to show only my most recent works which are either just finishing production or will be in production in the coming 2 months.

Anyway, I DP my videos too, but for major ones it depends on the size of the production. I mostly shoot with Arri 35mm or 16mm cameras or both.. but as I love to make short and feature length films.. I don't always find myself with multi-thousands of doller budgets to make them. This is where my interest turned to DV, and mostly, the Canon XL-1s.. as now I can make quality productions still for a pebble of the boulder cost whenever I want... and they're good for low budget local videos.

I will congratulate you on landing the job, though. I bet you and your crew were very excited to be making something that'd be seen by so many.

How old would you guess I am?
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Old January 6th, 2004, 05:03 PM   #12
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Patrick, you get out there and do those videos and don't worry about how much money you are making right now. If you do a good job, and build a knockout reel, the money will come later. If you absolutely need the money, then work for the least amount possible and do the best job you can. You start getting into money discussions and all the creative juices stop flowing and everything becomes about the money. They pay the expenses, you do the video. Right now, you basically have no experience in what you want to do. So what should they pay for?

Whatever you do, don't take advice from a "Professional Director" who can't even point you to his work. What a gas bag. Get back to us after you "launch" your website. How dare you bag on Alfred's work, and then say you can't show us any of yours? NDA's my butt.

Alfred and Patrick, just keep doin' it, and don't worry what someone else is doing. You have to make your own way in this business, and no one is expecting you to show up with an Arri, so don't worry about the camera. Just shoot as much as you can and keep honing your skills, and if its meant to be, it will happen. It's the imagination they look for in the new videos, not the technical expertise.

Man, that kid ticked me off.
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Old January 6th, 2004, 06:31 PM   #13
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To get back to the header question of how much a producer-director should charge a band to shoot music videos, my answer would be the established production budget plus a negotiated hourly fee for your work, no less than federal minimum wage and certainly no less than what you were paid for your last gig unless you're in love with the project or there are substantial additional perqs that make up for the reduced paycheck. A solid, attractive portfolio is the key to increasing your hourly with each successive (successful) project. Your hours should be tracked precisely and honestly, and no expenses incurred by you--lunches, etc.--should be charged to the client account without prior client authorization and documented expense reports including receipts. Pitch meetings and early preproduction conceptual meetings should not be charged, but any meeting time racked up after you've been officially "hired" should. Once your hourly fee has been established, any deficit in the total project budget should come out of the production budget and not out of your hourly fee--in other words, your efforts should not be shortchanged when the band's pockets run dry.

As the late great Frank Capra said, "What's the difference what you pay me? If you don't think I'm worth it you'll fire me in two minutes anyway."
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Old January 6th, 2004, 10:09 PM   #14
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Pardon me Wayne, but in any of my posts did I "bag" on his dreams or practices? No. I even made it clear that I was happy for him having gotten the chance to do something as exciting to them as having the opportunity to do the video for a popular band. I simply was trying to get accross the point that I (professional director or not) was not thrilled with how the video turned out for a production that was intended to be aired.

He asked me about my work and my website, and I answered. Just because your ego doesn't like it, doesn't mean I'm lying. I don't care if you or anyone else believes me or not, I was simply answering his question even if you don't like the answer. It's the answer.

"How dare you bag on Alfred's work, and then say you can't show us any of yours?" So you're saying anyone's opinion of a video doesn't count unless they can show work of their own to credit their words? So what happens to the millions of people that view the work? How about the audience.. it must not matter if they like it or not because they can't show for any similar or better work? I didn't even say I can't show you ANY of my work. I simply said I didn't have a website up yet with things to view, along with the fact that the NDAs prevent me from legally being able to disclose too many details about the projects.. coupled with the fact that I just don't want to respond with my work to have it put in judgmentally eye'd spotlight from people like you. That's like saying "here's my work to bash because i didn't like someone else's work".

From a "professional" director, or not.. advice is advice.

However, you told him to not worry about the money at first, or to work at minimum. That's solid advice for someone starting out. However, he was asking about how much to normally charge. Robert Schmidt answered with a very good and true response. Also, it is common practice by most professional production companies to pay the lunches and meals of the crew, not the client. The client pays the company, the company pays it's employees; or takes care of them.

Don't fear talking about money, either. Talking about money doesn't make it about money, because if you didn't love what you're doing in the first place why would you be doing it? It's always about the creativity and the final product.

"No one's expecting you to show up with an Arri" - Yeah, people sometimes do expect you to work with film and not DV. If they want it to be shot in film.. then you as a director/producer need to rent the needed equipment and hire a crew that knows how to run it right within their budget.. and if their budget isn't enough minimum.. then you need to advise them of that and their options.. usually raising it, or lowering costs of things.. like moving to "well produced" DV... because it's expected. On the local level, you're right it's not needed to worry about the camera.. but your image helps. Your previous work helps, and your attitude above all helps as well. If you want it enough, you'll get it. Just watch Willy Wonka, the kid got that golden ticket.

Alfred, please as I said originally, try not to take what I said as a personal blow like Mr. Wayne Orr did.. obviously he can't read well enough to see that it wasn't a personal blow. I respect that you're doing what you want to do. WE ALL START SOMEWHERE. Don't just take it from a "professional director", or from some internet asshole who trys to come off over someone else on a messageboard... just take it from anyone who's willing to tell you something worth listening to: If you love what you do, and you keep doing it your best, you'll go places with it. Do take notice to what others are doing.. you learn best by the inspiration of all things around you. Not all things "just happen like they're meant to be" you have to work for them. Do as much as you can, and always settle for nothing less than something you can be proud of forever.. regardless of what you're being paid. What matters most is if your heart's in it... and that goes for everything in life, or idealistically it should.
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Old January 7th, 2004, 06:04 AM   #15
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kevin, i in fact thought it was kind of nice to hear someone that disliked the video. i did not take it as a personal blow, although the context in which you said it made it seem like a personal blow. but hey...its an opinion and you are allowed to have one.

yes we are new to this and yes it was a leap going from no experience to an anti-flag video that was to be aired. the video was a complete rush, we were informed that we were doing it two weeks before the shoot. so that left us two weeks to find a crew, rent equipment, build a set, AND storyboard. we had no film experience and no rental insurance...so that ruled out HD too. heck, we didnt even know there was a film camera rental place in michigan. (we did find it...yes there is only 1) so we went with what we knew and shot it on dvcam (Sony DSR300). once we ruled out film and HD it was agreed on by the band and our company that we were going to keep the budget of this video in the celar.

since then much has changed. we oficially formed our company. we now have rental insurance. next year i am attending a one year film vocational school. so things are on the up and up.
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