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Taking Care of Business
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Old March 23rd, 2005, 04:53 PM   #16
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When I say 'free' I mean without a quid pro quo. Sometimes its money, sometimes its an exchange of services, sometimes it's an "understanding' that the favor will be called it. (Though not writing it down, is still the best way to ruin a friendship).
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Old March 23rd, 2005, 07:13 PM   #17
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You know that's a fabulous idea about going to events. I never would have thought of that.
Do you then try to sell them on a larger video of the whole event? And what do you charge them?
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Old March 23rd, 2005, 07:18 PM   #18
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Well, the cable's been officially cut off now. =(

But it occurs to me i've got a near-complete Total Training library for After Effects, totally untouched and some other training DVDs that need to be reviewed.

Maybe not being able to watch Law & Order is really a good thing in disguise.

So I'll be sitting here for the next few weeks in front of my computer with my spaghetti, actually learning something.

Time to turn off What Not To Wear and get on with some substantive viewing. It's fun, but it won't make me any money. Clinton and Stacey will have to wait.

*Sigh* I guess you get what you need in life, sometimes.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Edited to add:

OMG it's still on! I turned it on to see if I could get any of the local channels and it's still on, all 99 channels. The cable guy was really nice, we talked for a few minutes. I think he did it on purpose.

Maybe they turn it off later or something. But I think it should go off once he flips the switch, shouldn't it?

God BLESS that cable guy....
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Didn't mean to go off-topic. Back to business ideas?
...anyone still there? ....anyone ? anyone hear an echo in here?
You've all left me...alone in DVLand...noooo......
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Old March 24th, 2005, 07:49 AM   #19
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I'm in the same boat as you. Although I'm not trying to make a living from it, I want to turn a hobby into something that will at least pay back the equipment.
I have researched "Video Biographies" extensively and there are many out there offering them, but obviously they dont say how many they actually do.
I have a web site and have been doing some targeted advertising in my area but still have no paying customers. I think that I will do some more free, on condition that I can use them in my advertising and they talk to all their friends and relatives. It seems that everyone I speak to thinks it's a good idea, but between that and actually opening their wallets !!!
By the way I am using a Sony TRV950 with Azden Wireless Lav and editing with Vegas Studio.
Here is a link to my site
www.flashback-bio.com
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Old March 24th, 2005, 10:09 AM   #20
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Well, I know that there's at least one guy I've heard of who claims to get high $$$ for his biographies.

I want to do something slightly different than what he does, with mine.
It sounds like the money is not here though, because a lot of people don't have the kind of money it takes to pay what the time is worth.

Everyone thinks it's a good idea though. But it does seem time-intensive and it's hard to explain that part of it to people. But it seems that it woudn't be all that different from doing, say, a wedding in terms of time put in. How do wedding videographers explain the time involved in post to their clients? Well it's probably easier in that respect because people expect to pay a certain amount for a wedding videographer. Whenever, just suveying people in general, I've asked what they think would be a fair price for a personal biography, once you get them to even have a concept of what it is, they usually kick back a price that's really low ("I don't know, fifty dollars? A few hundred?") They never, ever say, ' a few thousand." They really have no concept at all of what's involved.

So it looks like maybe this isn't that lucrative an avenue. I'm wondering now which way I should adjust my course to bring in some money and what other types of projects would be a good bet.
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Old March 24th, 2005, 10:17 AM   #21
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Have you thought of contacting real estate agents and offering them video walkthroughs of houses. You could give them a 4-5 minute DVD to show to clients and maybe a small WMV or such for the web.
There was much discussion on this issue a few monthes back on the help wanted section of this board
here is a link to that thread
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?s=&threadid=32947
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Old March 24th, 2005, 10:30 AM   #22
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Hey, that's a good idea too. I 'll check out the thread. Thanks =)
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Old March 25th, 2005, 11:27 PM   #23
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Why not put together a package for funeral homes -- get them to sell it to their clients. If they make enough money from it, they'll be compelled to push it.

Charge a lot for it. After all, this is a very elite package which will let family members for generations to come get to know their kin on a very intimate level. In fact, it would be downright cruel for them to shuffle-off without considering the needs of their loving family members. **wipes away tear**

Most old-folks know approximately when they're going to die, and make their own arrangements (if they're able to -- or their family will do it for them.) The money comes out of their insurance or what's left of their retirement. And it's not like they'll need the money after they're dead (which is why funeral caskets are $20,000).

All the funeral director would need to sell it is a brochure and a demo tape or disc. You wouldn't have to do any selling at all -- just sit back and wait for the phone to ring.

You may want to target extended-care nursing homes as well. Again let the nursing home sell it for you. This time the pitch would play upon the guilt of family members who don't have the time to take care of their parents. A "feel good" gesture for all.

I'm not being sarcastic at all. Business is business. Do you want to eat cheap spagetti dinners all your life?

Also, approached with genuine compassion, this would be a valuable service for your clients.
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Old March 26th, 2005, 03:05 AM   #24
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Yes, actually this is what I've been doing.
I think I'm underpriced though.
Hopefully persistence will pay off.
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Old March 26th, 2005, 10:48 AM   #25
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I know of a guy who does funerals quite a bit. He shoots direct to VHS with no edit, then does a couple of dubs. Funeral home takes half or more of total fee, but he gets 150-200 bucks for not too much work. Families only come together for weddings and funerals.
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Old March 26th, 2005, 11:15 AM   #26
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Yes, these guys sure want to mark it up. I had one say, 'what can you do for US?" I had to really wrestle with what my price structure would be because I wanted to make sure it was me who took the markup, not grieving people.

I know some people tape funerals so that is a market. I can't imagine why anyone would want to preserve such a sad time though. Never did understand that.
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Old March 26th, 2005, 11:43 AM   #27
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My suggestion is to, since you have the time, get some business cards, go to any type of event you can get into (with permission) with your video camera; sports, concert, plays, etc... Make a video. Give the event producers a short clip which you've edited and polished, as well as your rate sheet. Offer them 50% off any job they book with you in the next 2 weeks.
If you do enough, that might get you some steady clients. -->>>

Do I then try to sell them a video of the entire event?
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Old March 26th, 2005, 05:03 PM   #28
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<<<-- Originally posted by Kell Smith :
I know some people tape funerals so that is a market. I can't imagine why anyone would want to preserve such a sad time though. Never did understand that. -->>>

1. Because the deceased never took the time to tell his own story (video biography), and the family wants to preserve whatever stories are told about him/her at the funeral.

2. Because the family is seldom together, and this gives the non-attendees a chance to see what everyone looks like.

So here is your biography pitch: "Look people are going to talk about you at your funeral. This is your chance to tell your side of the story, because you won't be able to defend yourself later."
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Old March 26th, 2005, 05:26 PM   #29
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<<<-- Originally posted by Kell Smith : My suggestion is to, since you have the time, get some business cards, go to any type of event you can get into (with permission) with your video camera; sports, concert, plays, etc... Make a video. Give the event producers a short clip which you've edited and polished, as well as your rate sheet. Offer them 50% off any job they book with you in the next 2 weeks.
If you do enough, that might get you some steady clients. -->>>

Do I then try to sell them a video of the entire event? -->>>

You mean the video you shot while you were there? NO! It is your foot in the door to sell them on your video production skills for their next event!
Now, the success of this depends on
1) your ability to sell yourself and your skills
2) your ability to make a kick-ass video
3) your ability to spell out for them how they can make money off your video by selling it to their clients, patrons, etc...

For example:
I went to a sporting event with my still camera and shot all day. Then I gave the event producers a CD of all my photos to use royalty free on their website (only-not distribute). I suggested that they and I could make some extra cash by selling my CD to people who had participated in the event, splitting the profit 50/50. They were excited because this is extra revenue that they wouldn't have seen, and didn't realize was possible. I'm happy because I'm getting a contract to shoot their next couple events, except next time they are going to pre-sell the photo-CD as well.

Now apply the theory to your situation. :)
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Old March 26th, 2005, 08:39 PM   #30
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<<<-- Originally posted by Kell Smith :
Do I then try to sell them a video of the entire event? -->>>

I did one of these last year, and then presented it to the event organizers this year as a sample. They are about to hire me for this year's event. But they also wanted

1. Copies of the sample video to use in this years sponsor recruiting (I gave them some, but my company name is plastered all over the video and the packaging).

2. They indicated that they were just going to "make more copies" if they needed them, and I had to start explaining that I was not happy with that, especially since it was done for free.

3. Then they called me last Tuesday and asked what the URL was for the web version, because they wanted to give it to the newspapers. I did a simple webpage for them, making sure my company gets at least some exposure if people go to the site. And I had to make sure that I didn't overuse my bandwidth if it generates a ton of traffic.

4. Then they called me on Thursday and said the guy doing this year's TV ad backed out, and could I do one for them (they hinted at free). They wanted it in two days. I had to decline just because I needed to reload footage, have never done a TV ad before, did not have beta equipment to convert and am unfamiliar with the specs of doing ads. If I had a week I would have probably done it, even for free since I am slow this week. But I just felt that in two days, all I would do is look like a schmuck to the TV stations.

5. A few hours later I got a call from them saying that they had someone to do their ad, but he was "unable to use the DVD or web sample footage because of the compression, so could I please give them the uncompressed original footage?". Note that they never asked my permission to use this footage for a TV ad, it was supposed to be just a few DVDs so they could test whether this kind of coverage was something that their event sponsors responded favorably to. I am really glad I watermarked the DVD footage. I had to explain that raw tapes were unavailable.

The event is in two weeks. They are not signed for this year yet, and it is a good non-profit event. But you can bet my contract is going to have all these issues addressed. The moral of the story is that sample footage is sample footage. If you make getting stuff too easy and cheap, it can backfire or cause future problems. In my case I clearly have to rebuild some of the mutual respect aspects of the relationship because I gave them too much (IMO) and it almost snowballed out of control.

This first year, I did not make sure I got every vendor, all the musical acts, or anything like complete coverage. It was practice material, I didn't even intend to make a demo until I saw it come together while learning to use Vegas. . So I really don't want it where other editors can critique the raw footage or submarine my pending job. I don't want local companies mad at me because they were not on the video. I don;t want issues if come of the raw footage gets used inappropriately (none of the images were cleared)

I expect once this one is completed and done according to my shooting/editing skills at this point (complete with voice-over, etc), it should generate even more work. I have already had a couple of inquiries from the one they are showing around town. This year's real project will send one copy to every event sponsor, plus a whole bunch to large companies in the area. The potential is part of why I have been so acocmodating with them (to a point). Maybe I should have done the TV ads too, I dunno...

Doing unrequested "spec" work is great, but you have to draw lines around it or you will get abused. I would never do a spec if I was asked to "just shoot it so we can see what you can do". That is a whole different situation.
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