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Taking Care of Business
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Old January 25th, 2010, 04:51 AM   #76
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Shaun, would you please stop taking anything I write as a comment about you. I was referring to "others" in general and I would have done it differently than Larry.

I respect your opinion and work but you are not so important to me that I want to go out of my way to pick at you.

Stop wearing your feelings for socks and they won't be so easily stepped on.

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Old January 25th, 2010, 11:18 AM   #77
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Reflections from the peanut gallery:

I've investigated and corresponded with TH and am still on the fence. One concern of mine about TH's terms is that I'm in a very heavily populated market, yet their offer to me is/was only $ 200. I don't know how/why they would pay more ($ 225) in other markets; haven't figured that out yet. Maybe because I'm on the opposite coast and/or there are so many more shooters to pick from in my market. (I don't mean to make/provide excuses).

My biggest disagreement with these companies is that often, AFAIK, mine is the only face they see during the entire process. I could make or break a shoot/business relationship depending on how I treat the client, yet there seems no remuneration at all for being a sort-of "sales force". I'd really like to see an arrangement something like their normal fee for shooting/directing, plus maybe a 2% to 5% commission/residual of the total - or at least initial - sale.

I've done jobs similar to these for 2 other companies, but won't mention names.
The 1st I worked for gave me only 1 or 2 shoots; haven't heard back from them in months. Also, I've noticed that the spots created from those shoots are no longer posted on the web. Those jobs required shooting & directing on-site, but no editing or sales effort, other than being considered a "representative" of their business while on-site, in the sense of mine being the only face the client sees and deals with in person. (Personally, I've been very accommodating and friendly, despite telling the client that I was not an employee of the company, and think that, in itself, deserves more than they pay). They paid slightly less than TH offers.

The 2nd has been very accommodating. I can always turn down a job if I'm already booked, and, if they specifically want me, they've even gone so far as to re-schedule jobs to accommodate my schedule, handling all the rescheduling arrangements with the client. It performs all sales, scheduling & contact w/client, (except for a call from me the day before to confirm time & availability). It even provides a storyboard, and requires only that I shoot following that SB, keep a shot list, obtain releases, and send off the tape and paperwork, (though I wish they allowed for FTP transfer rather than sending tapes).
These jobs are the most fun. (I've even appeared in a few shoots when we were short of on-camera characters).
Most jobs are scheduled for 2 hrs; longer scheduled times get higher pay. They encourage b-roll, which probably gets me more call-backs, but no additional $ for the time taken to shoot it.
If a job runs over, I can call to get permission to extend the shoot and, if granted, the extra cost falls on the client. No editing required from me.
They pay for the job and reimburse for tape, mileage (though less than the Federal/IRS rate), and postage. They even provide me with their shipper's account number so I don't have to lay out $ for that. Because there's no editing, these jobs are much faster to complete, and I've done as many as 3 in 1 day. (Matter of fact, for one very select client, I got paid more than I invoiced; seems I misunderstood the payment terms on that specific job and they corrected it without me even mentioning it).
After reimbursement, the $ varies; sometimes more than TH, sometimes less; depends on the distance, but because time spent is considerably less, I make it up in volume. Last year I did as many as 30 jobs for them and I've learned that I'm among their most frequently called shooters in my area. (Round-trip travel for some jobs is in excess of 100 miles).
Personally, I welcome these jobs and hope to get even more this year, because they help me pay some bills in this slow economy. They can also provide potential opportunities for additional work (see below).

Other things/tips I've learned that may help indies doing these spots on their own:
1) depending on the client, there are opportunities for you to pick up other work. Example: if the client is a "gathering place" of any kind, you may be able to pick up additional work from them, e.g. seminars, meetings, banquets, parties, etc. Be sure to leave a business card, contact info, and a good impression.
2) each company encourages as much b-roll as possible. I think I've learned why: after a period of time (not sure how much), they re-cut from the original footage and post what amounts to a different or updated spot. Indies could do the same, i.e. get lots of footage on the initial shoot, and store it. Then, after a period of 3-6 months, replace the original spot with a re-cut from that stored footage. No additional shooting is required...only some additional editing/upload time, and you never even have to leave your studio. It could serve as a great marketing tool, i.e. you're aware of - and prepped to deal with - clips going "stale" over time, and new footage gives a better perception of a busy, vibrant business. You could charge what you want for that service.
3) both companies I've shot for charge the client a (relative) boatload of $. One job I've done involved shooting over 2 days, took about 12 hourstotal time, about 5-6 locations, and the client told me what they were being charged. Knowing that vs what I was paid, I got peanuts and the company got the main course. I was really kind of proud of the footage I provided and disappointed that I didn't earn more for it.
4) most spots are between 30 and 60 secs, though they can be as long/short as you and the client agree to. I've done one which might almost qualify as a "short". That was scripted and storyboarded with lots of input from the client, who had a specific vision of what he wanted. I showed him all the footage, and he was so pleased, he even tipped me.
That spot after company editing was approx. 3 mins long.
5) from most shoots, I end up with approx. 20 min of footage. Depending on how the client(s) take direction and respond, that can involve multiple takes, lots of b-roll, and even shots not called-for in the SB, but each take usually includes at least a few seconds of usable footage/"bites" for later use.

Working for such companies is really a personal decision, but thus far, I've enjoyed it and hope to do more. (Nearly everyone I've met on these shoots has been great; very interesting, funny - even "provocative" people), mostly willing to go to any length to help you get footage you're satisfied with. Many help set the scene, dress the set, and even catch some things you might not notice while working alone, such as an exposed T-shirt or bra-strap. Most are willing to let you call the shots and be creative as you want, as long as you satisfy the SB. The hardest part is keeping them focused on the time. For them, shoots like these are novelties - something fun and out of the ordinary; for you, it's your work.

While I'm still undecided about TH, I hope to continue to get work from these houses, particularly the 2nd company, at least until my network broadens enough to get more lucrative work. (Lately, that seems to be happening; I've recently rec'd small jobs to provide on-screen testimonials and serve as a "spokesperson"...all using a pseudonym, of course).

Good luck to those who choose this option.
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Old January 25th, 2010, 12:53 PM   #78
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Addendum to Reflections:

Apologies for dragging this out, but my intention is three-fold:
1) to be helpful to indies who might pursue these short web spots on their own,
2) to let shooters for these companies know some of what they might face if they decide to pursue these jobs, and
3) to encourage businesses that hire shooters for such spots to re-think their compensation.

While these spots are not feature-length productions, a decent-to-good shooter/director/editor can be a real asset to growing a company's business.

To elaborate on what I see as advantages of working for "company # 2" mentioned in my previous post, they provide:
- the entire sales and marketing effort,
- all time and costs spent contacting the client,
- composition of the storyboard,
- writers dedicated to writing the script for VO,
- actual recording of the VO, (sometimes male, sometimes female),
- editors dedicated to the entire editing effort, including overlays, lower 3rds, etc.,
- revisions and re-cuts based upon client needs, and
- billing/admin costs.
This company has staff dedicated to each of those efforts.
Other "houses" expect all those tasks to be done by one person, for only a few dollars' difference.
That's a BIG difference in the amount of time, the amount of work, and the range of talent (e.g. writing, recording VO, etc) to handle each task required, all for nearly the same amount of compensation.

HTH others who, like me, are still on the fence.
Good luck.
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Old January 25th, 2010, 08:20 PM   #79
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Denis,

Your content here is excellent.

Andrew
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Old February 1st, 2010, 01:22 AM   #80
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Turnhere

That new pitch seems pretty stupid but we have made some money in the past off of them. We charged more than what they offered and had our lower level employees go out and shoot the videos when we had the time. We did like 4 or 5 shoots. They pay some bills but they're kind of a hassle. Things like Turnhere are good when you really need them and not worth it when you don't.


Blare Media - Video Production - Commercial Videography
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Old February 4th, 2010, 11:53 PM   #81
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I applied once but never heard back.

But once you check out demandstudios.com, THEN YOU'LL SEE SOME ABYSMAL RATES.

You get paid $20 for 1-3 minute videos with Broll and credits. They try to bait and switch you by saying it's $200+ per job (which is abysmal alone) yet look under each assigment, you see it's actuall 10 1-3 minute videos at $20 a pop, totalling $200...

ON TOP OF THAT it's up to you to find an EXPERT as a volunteer or paid out of your pocket that must be approved.

God damn.
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Old February 5th, 2010, 11:32 AM   #82
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I was going to work with demand studios on their expert videos, but then i realized I'd rather get paying work elsewhere. :-)
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Old February 5th, 2010, 11:40 AM   #83
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Looking at their "about us" page, I wonder how much they paid for their video. Don't think it would be their lowball rate.

Andrew
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Old February 5th, 2010, 03:38 PM   #84
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WOW!!!

Demandstudios makes Turnhere look pretty good. I'd sure like to hear if anyone has had a positive experience with DS, as a video producer.

Jeff
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Old February 5th, 2010, 04:27 PM   #85
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Both these schemes are not good for anyone's professional career. If you are starting out in the industry and it's experience you are looking for, go to your local whatever, school, grocer around the corner, bodyshop, hairsalon, whatever.. make a cheap film for them. They will never afford a real production and you get experience. They are happy - you are happy.

These DS people have a interesting website which I find extremely misleading.... "job security" was the first word that jumped at me. HA! sure - but what about "security of income" isn't that what people actually mean when they talk about "job security"?
I watched the video of the poor guy with the house full of kids. "I can work from home" he says. Well - he has to - because with the rates they pay him he cannot afford an office ... And of course he can play with his kids - he has to - because his wife is out working to support the family and sustain his hobby.
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Old February 5th, 2010, 08:40 PM   #86
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Actually, even journalists / writers are bellyaching about Demand Studio.

Scroll down and check out the first comment on this item:

Andrew
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Old February 11th, 2010, 02:28 PM   #87
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Cooper View Post
So you're doing 5 hours of work for $100?
In this economy, if you've got nothing else going for you, $20/hr is not that bad a wage. That's more than $40k/yr if you've got 40 hours of work from it.

I used to make $60k at my day job, but I recently took a job in New Zealand that pays $26k. If Turnhere wants to offer me $100 for 5 hours work, I'll take it.
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Old March 8th, 2010, 02:38 PM   #88
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Been there...done that. There's another company called Studio Now that does this too...only they pay more ($255). I've used both companies.

It's interesting to read posts backing these companies up. I used to do that too, until I figured out a few things. Understand that these companies thrive on the fact that too many people justify lowballing their rates. I read things like "I only do it when I'm slow" or "I did three of them in one day and made $675." That's exactly what they LOVE to hear!

Keep in mind that making one of these videos in a 2 or 3 hour window for these companies is on a perfect day. Don't forget the fact you must be open to 2 rounds of revisions. Meaning, the company can reject your video for any number of a million reasons and then the actual customer can do this as well. It might not be that hard...but still...opening up the editing software, making the change, re-exporting then re-uploading takes TIME. They also like to change up stuff on you in the middle of the project. I even had a "script" emailed to me after I uploaded the first cut. Do I get to say "Hey, I need to get PAID to do this re-edit?" Of course not. Guess what? I DONT GET PAID AT ALL UNLESS I REDO THE EDIT. They are holding all the cards here, not us. There's also the times when I drive out to the location and the business owner says: "Oh I canceled that last week." That's happened to me more times than I care to admit...because it's quite embarrassing. They send me a cancellation fee of $50, but there were a couple times they plum forgot to send me that.

For those of you who are backing these companies up and saying things like "hey...if you don't like it...you don't have to work for them and leave us alone," you need to understand something. People who lowball standard industry rates make it hard FOR EVERYONE. If these cheapie video networks grow...then WE'RE ALL at risk of losing work. Joe Blow business owner would gladly pay $500 for a video that would cost them $2000 from a reputable professional production company. They don't care if you tell them that "they get what they pay for" until you're blue in the face....they will still most times go with the cheaper service. The more of you willing to work for very little, the less and less clients will budget a higher expense for making these videos. It will only get worse!

When I worked many years ago in the hotel industry we had something called RATE INTEGRITY. There's a reason why a completely empty hotel during slow times won't reduce it's rates if someone walks in wanting to pay less than the standards. If you want, read my blog post below to hear more about this.

I wrote this a little while back because I too saw that these companies are coming up with ways to undercut legitimate video professionals and conning people into being paid lowball rates. Give this a read:

My Opinion About Some Internet Video Networks - Crooked Path Films Blog

I'm not trying to stir up a fight or be a jerk or anything ...but I see this ALL THE TIME in the industry and it's frustrating. If we all hold true to our standard rates, and maintain RATE INTEGRITY, then these companies will have NO CHOICE but to pay us the fair and justified amount.

Have a great day guys and STICK TO YOUR RATES! It's OKAY TO SAY NO!
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Old March 8th, 2010, 03:12 PM   #89
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Oh by the way....I noticed someone posted that Turnhere is watching this post...

I was contacted the very same day I posted that blog post by someone claiming to be a former Turnhere videographer who now works for the CEO...and wanted to let me know that the CEO himself was going to call me. I politely told him that I probably won't be taking his call, and if he would like to dispute anything that I wrote in my blog post to kindly respond in the appropriate "comments" section, as I believe everyone needs to hear the response...not just me.

Needless to say there was never any response to the blog nor a phone call.
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Old March 8th, 2010, 03:15 PM   #90
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A bit of fresh air and sunlight keeps a discussion healthy. Sounds like a good idea.

Andrew
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