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Old May 18th, 2010, 12:15 AM   #1
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A question of price

I am new to the industry and would like advice from you, the experts.
I have been asked to quote for filming a 30 hour workshop. We will be providing 2 camera's/cameramen, lighting, audio (music to be played before, during and after). Also to follow at least 3 participants and do case studies on them.
To provide our client with one set of duplication ready DVD's we quoted AUD $5,000. The client refused to accept it and said they would only pay AUD $2,200.

I attempted to explain the editing involved in 30 hours of filming and the individual editing of the case studies but the client wouldn't listen.

Before I cut off my nose to spite my face, am I being unrealistic in my quote? What would you have quoted?
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Old May 18th, 2010, 01:07 AM   #2
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I don't know anything about the market in Australia, but even your original quote would be too low here in the Midwest of the USA. $2,200 (about $1,950 US) is amazingly low. Just a quick guess would put this project at 100 to 120 man-hours.

I suppose to a corporate bean counter, that equates to $18 per hour (disregarding equipment costs and other expenses) which they might think is fair pay.

I'd simply tell the prospect I could not afford to take the project.
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Old May 18th, 2010, 01:21 AM   #3
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A question of price

Thanks Chris

I am seriously considering not taking the job, although I will negotiate more to bring the price up. I had anticipated around 100 - 150 hours of editing overall.

I suppose the only drawback is this person is very well connected, so there is the possibility of other work coming from it.

At the end of the day I suppose it is a question of self worth, how much do I want to sell myself for.
Thanks for your contribution, it is food for thought.
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Old May 18th, 2010, 01:28 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vicki Williams View Post
so there is the possibility of other work coming from it.
Yes, more low paying work...

I'll side with Chris' wisdom and assessment here as well.
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Old May 18th, 2010, 02:10 AM   #5
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A question of price

Thanks Shaun

It had occured to me that if I did the work for less than $5,000 any other work that was referred as a result of this job would probably come with the 'cheap' price tag, and we would be labelled as being cheap.

Much better to stick to our guns and be reasonably priced than cheap. If there is a difference???
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Old May 18th, 2010, 05:39 AM   #6
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Vicki, your price appears to be off by a factor of 5-10 depending upon the amount of work involved. Paying your crew and the cost of renting decent gear alone could easily surpass $2000US per day.

According to my conversion $2200 AUD is $1500 US. If you seriously think that $2200 AUD compensates you for 30 hrs. of shooting with 2 camera guys and gear plus shooting, writing and editing case studies, editing the workshops, preparing the DVDs, paying for your overhead, insurance, operating expenses, software, hardware and expertise then go for it. Otherwise walk away. The promise of other work is the great lie of business. If they are cheap SOB's now what makes you think they will suddenly start paying you real money for your time and talent later?
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Old May 18th, 2010, 08:28 AM   #7
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To paraphrase the responses above, Vicki: "Run! Run far away! Run while you still can!" :)
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Old May 18th, 2010, 09:50 AM   #8
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You said you are just starting out. Keep in mind all of the advice (including mine) comes from those who have been in the industry for some time and have the "luxury" of turning away unrealistic clients.

But I can tell you the first paying video I shot was a 20 minute documentary about the history and growth of a business. I worked on that for months and was paid the amount we agreed: $1,000. Today I would laugh if someone offered me that little for so much work. At the time I was desparate for "real" experience. Fortunately for me, the owner of the business was a close friend and was very gratious as I stumbled through the process. It was a tremendous learning experience.

Do you think this company is low-balling you because you're new, or would they do the same to any production company? Do you feel you need this kind of project as a "resume builder" and a learning experience? If so, you might consider taking it for just that - the educational value (plus getting a little money is nice.) If you do take the job, forget about any promises of future work.
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Old May 18th, 2010, 10:54 AM   #9
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In my humble opinion: EVERY ONE OF US who takes low pay work is contributing to the problem.

That having been said, we all need to start somewhere. I started by mentoring under a seasoned producer for a year for not a ton of money and we BOTH benefited greatly from the arrangement. All the "cheap" videos I did when starting out were for friends (many of whom are still clients at my regular day rates), NOT complete strangers. Vicky, you never said whether you know the potential client or not. IMHO, that changes things A BIT. IF you are starting out AND you know this person, PERHAPS this is the project to take at a low cost (as Chris says, partly because you need the work to show future clients and partly because the client has no reassurances of the quality of your work as you ARE starting out - I look back at my first videos and cringe...)

But, DON'T expect members of your crew to work for peanuts (if they are seasoned pros...) just because YOU agreed to a low paying gig.

I've heard it time and time again: "I can't afford your day rate because I'm doing this cheap for a friend". Well, since I DON'T know the person in question, they aren't MY friend so they can pay my day rate.
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Old May 18th, 2010, 02:29 PM   #10
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If I read correctly, you're talking a 2 person crew for 30 hours of seminar PLUS 3 case studies, I presume with another 5-10 hours each, single shooter.

That's about "2 weeks" full time shooting (2 crew x 30 hours = 60 hours, + another 15-20 on the case studies) when the hours add up, BEFORE you dump footage (presuming you're using tapeless, that's still about 3 hours of fiddling to import/catalog, tape is going to take MORE time, even if you just put a tape in and let it download...).

And that's BEFORE you start cutting/editing? Conservatively, this sounds like a "full time" project for about a month when all is said and done...

Ask yourself whether working for below minimum wage is a precedent you want to set.



If this is for a business where they will be making money off the end product DVD (i.e. selling copies either to seminar participants or to others interested in the topic, or even using it to promote their business in the future), ask youself what value this represents to the "client". Seminar DVDs are a hot "info product", and don't sell cheap (even edited, you'll be delivering a pile of DVD's, possibly worth a healthy sum when duplicated/packaged/marketed). I'd retain the copyright and work a licensing deal if there's any possibility they intend to "market" the end product of YOUR labor.

Sounds to me like they want "internet pricing" for a local crew - tell them to hire someone from China or Romania if they want those prices. "Outsourcing" for peanuts is a popular topic in the Internet Marketing arena right now...


Your original quote was plenty "friendly", to insult you with a "less than half offer" is just a sign of trouble ahead. How much respect for your professionalism do you expect you will get if you take this "job"? IMO you don't need to feed the greed or give yourself the opportunity to "contribute" to a project of this magnitude by giving away your "services". I don't care if you're just starting out or not, but if you can make more serving coffee... you've got to draw the line.

FWIW, in relative terms their "offer" compares to shooting a wedding (4-8 hours shooting, + editing, maybe 8-16 hours total = 1-2 days of labor, for a two man crew). And there's no "back end" - when you deliver the product to a bride and groom, it's not like they will go duplicate, package, and market it...

Just because someone "offers", doesn't mean you should accept...
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Old May 18th, 2010, 02:38 PM   #11
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Vicki,
I agree with everything said and especially Shaun. To make it easy figure it this way. Let's say you charged $40.00 per hour with a basic kit. One Camera, tripod, on camera light and single audio. A 10 hour day is $400.00. Not as much as some and more than others. Of course in AU it's probably different than here in the US and even in the US rates vary depending an the area. Anyway, if you're at $400 per day (10 hour day) and you have a 2nd camera and shooter then you're at $800 perday. Now add a light kit, music that there's a good chance you'll have to pay for, add in your edting time say 40 hours, this of course doesn't include your load in time and you're probably at 70 hours or more of edit. Remember no matter what, you're going to have to almost double that since the job never goes as expected. So now figure 120 hours of load in, edit, render, authoring the DVDs burning a master DVD (I'm assuming that's the finished product-even if it's going straight to web you need to encode it) so lets assume you have 60 hours of shooting - 2 cameras with operators for 30 hours each at $40 per hour-do the math. $2400. Add in post production- even at $20 per hour it's 120 hours times $20. Another $2400 plus music, throw in say a couple hundred for the lights and before you know it you're at $5000+.
If it were me and my prospective client said "we'll only pay $2200" I would say "OK, I'm sure you'll find someone that will do it for that but keep in mind that you'll always find someone who will do it cheaper, thanks but no thanks". IOW I'd pass on the job.
I know it's hard to do sometimes especialy with the promise of "lot's more work" but you said it yourself. Once you get the reputation of cheap, it's hard to get away from that.
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Old May 18th, 2010, 05:38 PM   #12
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I didn't read through the entire thread but I struggle with getting paid right or taking cut just to earn something instead of nothing. If you got lots of other work lined up its easy to say no.

In addition, you can always come back to a client and say I can't do x,y,& z for that price but I can scale back my services to fit your budget, or charge you by the hour and do as much as your budget permits. For example for a Wedding instead charging a flat rate, you will do as much coverage as they can afford, that might mean only a few hours coverage and raw footage without editing. I'm not sure if your job allows for that.
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Old May 18th, 2010, 05:53 PM   #13
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Sounded to me like a "client" that wants the whole enchilada for the price of the tortilla...

Stick to your guns, and echoing what Don said - wish them luck finding someone to do it for what they want to pay, knowing deep down they will probably find someone and get EXACTLY what they paid for...

If for some reason they come back with a pile of bad footage asking you to salvage it in the edit... remember to charge double rate!

How did the ole sign in the repair shop go? Something like this IIRC...

Labor rate = $30/hr.
Labor rate if you tried to do it yourself first = $45/hr.
Labor rate if someone else tried to fix it first = $60/hr.

I suppose the "new" version would go something like:

Hiring a professional Video crew = $40/hr.
Buying a video camera = $1000
Letting Uncle Bob shoot for you = $0
the look on your face when you see what Uncle Bob shot = priceless....
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Old May 19th, 2010, 03:48 AM   #14
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I tend to go along Pete's route. If someone wants something that cheap, I explain I'll be there, set the camera up, let it run from one angle, no zooming or panning, then transfer the whole thing straight onto DVD - no editing.

I did it once for a local band (who weren't playing my kind of music). They were thrilled to have a video of their gig - but after a while they realised how boring it was to watch, and how bad it sounded without the sound being properly recorded and balanced.
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Old May 19th, 2010, 04:13 AM   #15
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A question of price

I would like to thank you all very much for your honest feedback. It certainly changed the way I looked at the BIG picture.

Benig a newbie, I was stuck between what I felt I was worth as opposed to the hours of work this job would take and my level of expertise. When I read what you all had to say, it made me realise that I was focusing too much on getting work regardless of what it was.

Your feedback has made me realise that if I don't value my own self worth then nobody else will either. I need to start as I mean to go on and to appreciate that as a newbie it is ok to ask to be compensated for my time and energy regardless of their so called percieved expertise.

Thanks so very much for taking the time to help me gain clarity, I really appreciate it.
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