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Taking Care of Business
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Old July 28th, 2004, 02:58 PM   #1
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Location: Redding, California
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Aretha Franklin knows how to spell it. Too bad the producers in my town don't.

Here's the question: Do any of you who have your own production company (or freelance) struggle with being taken seriously by the ad agencies/account executives in your town? I can't seem to shake people's impression that I am just a kid with a video camera from Circuit City.

Sure I'm only 23 (i look maybe 26) and shoot on an unassuming DVX100a, (with lots of expensive extras) but frankly I've got a great demo reel. In fact, some of my spots look like they could be national (in my HUMBLE opinion of course:) But that doesn't seem to matter around here. I'm constantly talked down to and harrassed by the agencies that hire me to work for their clients. They assume the worst of me. They assume I'm going to screw up some how. The local TV station (that I used to work for) thinks it can push me around and not pay for the work I do for them. One agency is constantly telling me that the only reason they're going with my services is because all the other people in town were booked. All this inspite of my proven abilities to conceptualize, shoot, and edit great looking local commercials.

What gives?!

All the other places in town have big-store fronts and do crappy work. You know the types - they are sales people more than they are artists. But this seems to attract the ad agencies. Maybe I should just slip my DVX into a hollowed out Beta-cam and buy a toupee. Maybe then I will be taken seriously around here.

Any of you have similar experiences with being taken seriously as a shooter/editor/video-artist?

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Old July 28th, 2004, 03:23 PM   #2
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A lot of it is them trying to get your price down. Some of it is just plain bullying.

When you talk of a toupee and you are 23, I instantly get the image of a shaved head. If true, and the rest of your ensemble goes along with the shave, then I know at least part of the problem. My apologies if I'm incorrect.

I don't accept bullying from anyone. Client or not, I tell them that my relationship with them must be built on mutual respect and if they cannot accord me a resonable amount of respect, we've come to a parting of the ways.

It is amazing how many people back down once you call their bluff. They seem to think that just because they've hired somone, they've got the right to treat you as a whipping-boy. Not so with me.
Mike Rehmus
Hey, I can see the carrot at the end of the tunnel!
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Old July 28th, 2004, 03:30 PM   #3
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Act and dress the part. If you can't act the part, at least dress the part because most are unable to get past improper dress.
This advice also holds for relations with women.
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Old July 28th, 2004, 04:00 PM   #4
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The toupee remark was in reference to the "aging" practices of the other local production companies. As in - no one will take you seriously if you aren't over 50. I have a full head of hair ;)

Yes, I agree with you guys on the dress issue. I try to go with nice pants and a collared shirt when meeting with clients. A little more casual when shooting (just so I can move around a bit better)

MUTUAL RESPECT!! ah ha!! Now we're getting somewhere. It is so hard to do work for someone when you know they are questioning your every move. Vice versa when you know someone trusts your abilities it frees you to be much more creative - take a few more chances - spend the extra time to get the shot just right.

"Act and dress the part" - very true. Clients love when you are confident in your abilities. And I am. My wife says I'm too confident sometimes :)

Perhaps agencies frown upon my services because I'm new in the area. They are used to going to certain production places for their work. But that doesn't excuse all the condescending remarks made in my direction. A little decency and respect would be nice. If not as a videographer at least as a HUMAN BEING...

alas, i rant
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Old July 28th, 2004, 11:26 PM   #5
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Location: Raleigh, NC, USA
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Sounds like you've been engaged in some hostile environments. I hope that those experiences are limited in the future . . .

Perhaps, one thing that will help you command more respect is for you to show A HIGH LEVEL OF PREPARATION. I believe people are attracted to leaders and articulate folks. Be one. Preparation provides this for you because you already know all the answers to questions before they are asked. Plus, you will sound intelligent -- which generates instant credibility.

I'm not in the same type business as you, and I'm really not familiar on how you get/deal with clients. However, here's an idea: perhaps before going to the shoot you could look up the background of the company you're shooting for . . . meaning, you investigate what their business mission statement is and what type of work they do. Work this mission statement in whenever you talk to the client. For example: if you're working for a soft drink company and they want to provide "Soda for the World" work that mission into the concept of your shoot by suggesting a shot of people joining hands infront of a globe or something (I know it's cheesy; it's late at night). I'm sure you'd generate instant respect if you know the mission statement of the company and the client who works for them doesn't . . .

Just an idea.


Kyle "Doc" Mitchell
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Old July 29th, 2004, 11:17 AM   #6
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This is the part of the business that sucks big time, but it's the most important part. Unless you're Ridley Scott or one of his associates, you can't dress like an artist or be honest and therefoire sometimes in doubt about things. You have to ACT the successful producer of commercials, i.e appear what the client expects from such a person.
Networking will help tremendously, because if someone heard from a peer what great job you're doing, he suddenly feels confident about hiring you. People are always afraid to take decisions on their own, that's why there are so many advisors in the world: people want to avoid responsibility for failures ("the advice was bad, not my fault"). So get others to spread the word, family, friends, relations. Ads in the local paper work the same. Somehow it legitimates you as a professional. Good luck!!!
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Old July 29th, 2004, 11:41 AM   #7
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Having worked for quite a while now, i've noticed that there are people/clients with more money around than respect.
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Old August 19th, 2004, 11:49 AM   #8
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well if it makes you feel better, having a film degree in my town means zip.

have a terrible job teaching unappreciative grade school students to use cameras and do simple NLE on consumer software, and now I'm trying to start a small (read: 1 man show) videography freelancing job.

I got bullied by some school to go in and give free lessons, at the expense of my employer's kindness and my own sanity.

now I hate schools and teachers. They don't bring the future up, they just scam your taxpayer's money.

p.s. : I'm 26 but some still say I look 23 :P
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Old August 19th, 2004, 12:08 PM   #9
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If you feel your video reel is as good as you're going to make it, why not begin shooting on film?
All the best,
Robert K S

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