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Taking Care of Business
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Old July 1st, 2004, 07:15 PM   #1
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I have been a member here for 1 year and have learned more than anywhere else by simply reading and asking an occasional question. This time I turn to the experts to ask a life changing question. I feel that even though I love shooting and editing video that I lack proper training. I have been looking into online schools and other things that will allow me to learn more about this craft while being able to feed my family work for the phone company. Does anyone have any advice or can maybe push me in the right direction? Does a diploma help at all while trying to obtain a good job in this field or would experince be enough?
I make about $50k working at the phone company and I guess if I had to I could take a cut in pay to do something I enjoy but don't want to work for someone else for long. My preference is to do this for myself and be able to support the family a least as well as I can now.
I don't have to tell you guys how much this hobby/business means to me but I am almost 40 years old and need to do something before I can't learn anything else LOL.
Any help/advice would be welcomed.
"No matter how good she looks; somebody, somewhere is tried of putting up with her crap."

Randy Brazell
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Old July 1st, 2004, 11:56 PM   #2
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I am no expert, been doing professional videography for a couple years, here is what I see.

Keep your day job. It is way better financially IMO in the long run.

I bet there is going to be less and less money in professional videography. I have even seen grandma's doing it in their spare time. Yes, professionally. Unbelieveable. Digital made it so easy, and a lot easier to correct amateur mistakes in post.

Once upon a time, I want to be a photojournalist, a press photographer, maybe magazine. The bottom has fell out of that market since everything went digital (and made it so easier for amateurs to get good pictures).

A friend of mine called recently saying he is leaving his press photographer job, asked me if I want to take over. It pays less than $20K, you have to work up to 60 hours a week, no overtime, must use your own vehicle, must have thousands of dollars of professional cameras and lenses, and maintain them, at your own expense.

Of course that is an extreme case, small city paper, but it goes to illustrate how bad things has been since digital made it so easy. My other press photographer friends working for bigger city papers, refused to tell me how much they make. I bet they are making more because their bosses like them, less so on what the market would bear. Press photographers have become runners, essentially.

So will videography once things are cheaper and easier and more newcomers get into it, like you and I.

The only people making money is going to be equipment manufecturers.

So if you already have a steady $50K job, I would keep it, even if I want to do videography on the side.

The only way I could do this myself is because I have other sources of income. I would go work for MacDonald's right away if I do not have other support. That is how bad videography market is, and will become worse.

The reason you and I are in this position is because it has became so easy to jump in, and this will be our demise too. :-(
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Old July 2nd, 2004, 12:04 AM   #3
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The Power of Professional Video Production.

Man, that's really grim.

I am going to take the other stance and say it's going to get better for professionals. There are more channels than ever to fill on television and more coming. Also, the internet is getting faster (I have 3 megs per second on Comcast now) and that'll open up 1,000,000 places for internet video.

Also, High Definition is HD equipment and be ahead of "grandma" with her fuzzy NTSC that stretches on all HDTV's of the future. Make a great demo and prove yourself to all your customers, so they recommend you on and on..

It's grim if you look at the negative, but I see HDTV being bright and also professional internet video....probably a few years out, but will be as good if not better than current NTSC television signal quality.

Anyone else feel the same? It also doesn't hurt to live near the city!

Christopher C. Murphy
Director, Producer, Writer
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Old July 2nd, 2004, 09:53 AM   #4
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I will also have to disagree with the grim pictue that was painted. As a professional videographer for about 21 years I find the market and pricing increasing. Maybe not at a rate we'd like to see but still getting bigger and more.

I think much of it has to do with 1)the geographic area you are in, 2)the demographics; i.e.; in a town of 25000 people your immediate area draw is probably going to be somewhat less simply because of the number of weddings taking place plus I would imagine that the dollars spent on a wedding is probably somewhat less than a bigger area if for no other reason the income level may not be there. 3) the marketplace itself-part of it has to do with #2 and part has to do with the video community and others in the wedding industry that promote video.
For example in the greater Chicago land area (that includes Chicago and the 6 collar counties that surround it) there is a population of somewhere in the area of 9 or 10 million people and the average income levels are reasonably good thruout the entire area. There are literally thousands of weddings every year and granted while there are also hundreds, NO, thousands, I would say of videographers in the area, it has been my experience that the good ones that produce quality work and charge a fair price are the ones that work more often.
NOW, having said that, yes, anyone with a camera and a computer can be a videographer, just like anyone with a still camera can be a photographer (I was one also before video way back when in the 70's and 80's) BUT if you seperate yourself with quality work, fair pricing and the right attitude towards the work, in other words, I'm not just doing this for a short term to make some money, but if you really care about the work and your clients, you can make a decent living. I have. I've never worked for anyone else as an employee, did I contract out to others? Yes. Gotta eat, but now finally after all this time, things are paying off. 90% of my work is refered to me by other brides and grooms, planners, DJ's, bands, rent-a-revs,banquet facilities and even a couple of churches.
Will you get rich, maybe, maybe not, it's all relative as to your needs,wants and desires. You have to be willing to work hard,smart and constantly look to improve yourself both as a business person and as a creative person. Sometimes the 2 don't matchup.
I'm not telling anyone to quit their job and spend 10's of thousands on gear. Frankly I suggest you continue to work FT at your job and work the video business as a sideline until, if ever, and only you can decide, you can go full time in the video biz.
You know your life,lifestyle and the income needed to live the lifestyle to which you have either become accustomed or want to be living. YOU have to make that decision but you should make it on information and fact, not rumor,heresay and opinions of others EXCEPT for the most important people in your life.


I hope I didn't sound like I was preaching, that was not my intent but this is a decision YOU need to make. I would talk to other videographers in your area tell them exactly why you are calling and ask them questions about the business, then you've got information and fact from people who work in the biz in your area.

It's a great business and I wouldn't do anything else. (but that's me)

Good luck in your endevors,
Don B.
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Old July 2nd, 2004, 07:22 PM   #5
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Thanks for the insite guys. I was just trying to get a feel for things. I really want to do this full time but I guess all of us can't be lucky enough to get paid for having fun. (and by fun, I don't that it is the not a hard job) I think I will continue working on the ADSL for Ma Bell and do as much as I can on the side.

Thanks again...

"No matter how good she looks; somebody, somewhere is tried of putting up with her crap."

Randy Brazell
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Old July 4th, 2004, 12:41 PM   #6
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Barry, if it'll make you feel any better just consider this. If you DID go full-time it wouldn't be fun anymore. Think of all the schedules, customer complaints, equipment breakdowns, bills to pay, bills to COLLECT. Oh, and Mrs. Jones decided to change the music in that one section of the DVD you just made 100 copies of. Again. ;)

Dennis Vogel
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Old July 4th, 2004, 01:09 PM   #7
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I thought about that some. I guess it would take a lot of the fun out of it. I know people can be hard to deal with too. You should try explaining to Mrs Jones your going to drilling holes in her new hard wood to drop a phone/network wire though. No matter what you do it is not going to be right. If someone has to go back after she changes her mind, at least it's not my money I'm spending. A good contract should keep you in the black as long as Mrs Jones knows what she's in for. :P

You guys have giving me something to think about and I really appreicate it.
"No matter how good she looks; somebody, somewhere is tried of putting up with her crap."

Randy Brazell
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Old July 4th, 2004, 03:09 PM   #8
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It's only fun until it becomes your full time job. Then it's work.

Maybe more fun work than most jobs, but still work.
Need to rent camera gear in Vancouver BC?
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Old July 4th, 2004, 09:21 PM   #9
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Hey, I donīt do weddings... but for what itīs worth here is a quote (very freely translated to english) that I think itīs from Confucius, not sure... anyway.. itīs a little utopic but very inspiring...

"If you love what you do for a living you will not have to work again".
Messenger Boy : The Thessalonian you're fighting, he's the biggest man I've ever seen. I wouldn't want to fight him.
Achilles : That is why no one will remember your name.
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Old July 5th, 2004, 04:17 PM   #10
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If you do weddings, you might realize how troublesome how some brides can be, regardless of how skillful, how accomodating, how patient, how generous, how polite, how prepared you are.

Luckily I don't get paid that much, so when cornered, I always tell my guys we don't have to feel guilty because of such. God knows by the time we count all the hours I put in editing, we are paid less than minimum wage, but still, some people are just not knowledgeable enough about videography to appreciate it.

And of course, my @ss always is covered by the contract. :-)
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