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Taking Care of Business
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Old August 7th, 2005, 08:38 PM   #1
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A possible corporate gig for me...

Well, kinda.

Hi all,

I'm in the process of finishing up my third dance recital production with one more to go. I'm having a lot of fun and the people are happy.

So. Where I work one of my co-workers has a business on the side and he has a number of corporate clients.

His business involves training security personnel in use-of-force and educating them on the limits of authority that private security has. Yes, we work for a police service.

Anyway, his plan is to produce four 15 minute instructional dvds that will be used for further training.

He's asked me to see if this can be done for a reasonable price by me.

FYI. I have a decent paying full-time job and the video gigs are side jobs that I do not treat like a hobby but rather as a professional business so I don't need the money to survive but I won't work for free. ;-)

I've advised him that the cost will depend on how much he wants it to be a simple "talking head" thing... *yawn* and how much of the video will be "scenarios" presented for assessment.

I'm thinking that, equipment & tape costs notwithstanding, it'll probably run around $2000 per 15 minute dvd. Talent is "free" and I'll have a couple of people (amateurs - in the best sense of that word) working with me for audio, etc whom I'll pay a reasonable amount of money.

BTW. The plan would be to have the whole thing storyboarded and any necessary locations scouted and confirmed. Hopefully we'll be able to shoot all the footage for each dvd in a single weekend. That would be four weekends of shooting and then the post-production.

Is this reasonable? Am I shortchanging myself? Have I no clue?

hehe.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

sincerely,



ian

Last edited by Ian Slessor; August 7th, 2005 at 08:50 PM. Reason: wrong word
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Old August 8th, 2005, 02:08 AM   #2
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Hey Ian,

Several questions regarding your post...

What was the investment in your camera, are you also editing, what other equipment will you be supplying, what are you paying your sound people, 8 10 or 12 hour days, are you planning on having him buy the stock, etc.

If you can please tell us alittle more I'm sure you'll get some great advice from this board.

All the best,

Stephanie
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Old August 8th, 2005, 07:06 AM   #3
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All good questions..

Hi Stephanie,

Thanks for the reply.

I have to have a meeting or two with my co-worker to hammer this out, determining what his expectations are and go from there if it's feasible for him.

FYI. I'll be using a Panny DVX 100A with manfrotto sticks and head, a decent shotgun mic and likely a wireless lav as well. As for lighting I'm thinking a basic interview lighting kit and a cluster of work lights for nighttime outdoors work backlighting (way off in the distance, like in KB V2 at Bud
s trailer in the night scenes....hehe), if any. I'll be editing on my own comp (P4 3.2 HT with XP Pro and Sony Vegas). I have family who've helped me in the past and I can call on them and their basic camera & audio knowledge for boom work, camera work and general grunt duties. I can count on them and I intend to pay them a decent wage (beer and pizza, jk) for their time.

I'm figuring on a single dvd shoot that we could start Friday night and shoot Saturday and Sunday as well. Once again, this would be after everything is taken care of in pre-production. I'm a bit of a stickler to get things right and I don't intend to dive in unprepared but have everything mapped out for the weekend without driving everyone batshit crazy with my anal leanings... that sounds bad. You know what I mean.

I'm not concerned about the equipment costs as that's covered, so much as the overall labour cost of putting this together. Please understand that I DO want to make money at this I just don't need it to pay the bills so I can go a little cheaper on my personal labour costs, especially as this would be my first non-dance recital gig.

Is that sufficient info? If no let me know.

sincerely,


ian
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Old August 8th, 2005, 11:27 AM   #4
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I think $2k per video would be do-able, especially since it's just side work for you. Personally, I would try to get the shoots down to just 1 long day for that amount, since you will have considerable post-production time for these, too.

Whenever I do "flex" pricing, I make sure there is only 1 review...only 1 opportunity for them to make changes. If I were you, I'd be very upfront about this. Any time you work on a fixed price, you don't want an open ended review process that could drag out for a month.

My $.02.

Kevin
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Old August 8th, 2005, 12:32 PM   #5
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I could not quote this without a shooting script. You have had to make way too many assumptions for your guess. This is a potential boondoggle, IMHO.
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Old August 8th, 2005, 12:43 PM   #6
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LOL, every shoot I've ever done was a possible "boondoggle."

Ian, the most important thing on fixed budget bids like this is to put in limitations on what you will do. It will help you keep control of the project and keep the rate decent. Again, you might want to put in a limited number of days of editing, as well as keep the shoots to a single 12 hour day.

Bob has a good point, though. Get as much information as possible before the shoot: script, locations, expectations, etc. This way you can give them a realistic sense of what they'll be getting for their money.

KW
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Old August 8th, 2005, 02:44 PM   #7
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Thanks people!

Kevin, Bob & Stephanie,

Thanks for the insights. This is valuable information that will help both myself and my co-worker determine what he's ready to invest in his business. Hopefully we can come to a reasonable agreement that will be mutually beneficial to both of us.

If anyone has any other advice, please, advice away.

sincerely,


ian
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Old February 27th, 2006, 10:45 PM   #8
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planning project bid

If your client's on camera people are providing all the necessary on camera "talking" info needed for the training, and assuming they are experienced on camera sufficiently to be able to do this successfully, then you probably don't need to add voice over in post. But watch out - even if this is the plan, it may not happen this way - few people can speak well on camera while clearly conveying training info.

Specify in the contract whether or not it includes v.o services in post, who will write the training script, who will do the voice over, etc. If you have to write the v.o script and subcontract a pro v.o. person, calculate this into your plan. Even if your client gives you a fully written script, you still have to adapt the timing to the edit and make some script revisions for that purpose.

I did a 15 min. instructional video for a client a few years ago - she was supposed to talk off camera during the process (recorded only for my writing purposes - so that I'd have all the content down in the correct detail and order. She was supposed to do most of the script - I'd fine tune it for the professional v.o. talent.

My client froze up and was not able to say a word during the procedure I was videotaping. She turned out not to be helpful in writing any of the script - although she was able to give me reference material. So I had to spend many hours studying the procedure myself so I could write the whole script from scratch. Of course revisions and several consults with my client were necessary to finalize the content and still I had to edit the script to time it to the video. I had already signed a fixed contract with her without calculating the added time for this.

Calculating budgets is the most difficult and time consuming thing for me. I just finished writing up a contract for another 15 minute video for this same client and tried to cover the details I missed the last time. It took me several days. I shaved some off the total price because I took into account that she's an individual - not a corp. with a big budget - and she's taking the risk that she may not make enough money to cover her costs - of course there's the chance she could make lots of money, but a risk - so I try to be realistic.
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Old February 27th, 2006, 10:51 PM   #9
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planning project bid

If your client's on camera people are providing all the necessary on camera "talking" info needed for the training, and assuming they are experienced on camera sufficiently to be able to do this successfully, then you probably don't need to add voice over in post. But watch out - even if this is the plan, it may not happen this way - few people can speak well on camera while clearly conveying training info.

Specify in the contract whether or not it includes v.o services in post, who will write the training script, who will do the voice over, etc. If you have to write the v.o script and subcontract a pro v.o. person, calculate this into your plan. Even if your client gives you a fully written script, you still have to adapt the timing to the edit and make some script revisions for that purpose.

I did a 15 min. instructional video for a client a few years ago - she was supposed to talk off camera during the process (recorded only for my writing purposes - so that I'd have all the content down in the correct detail and order. She was supposed to do most of the script - I'd fine tune it for the professional v.o. talent.

My client froze up and was not able to say a word during the procedure I was videotaping. She turned out not to be helpful in writing any of the script - although she was able to give me reference material. So I had to spend many hours studying the procedure myself so I could write the whole script from scratch. Of course revisions and several consults with my client were necessary to finalize the content and still I had to edit the script to time it to the video. I had already signed a fixed contract with her without calculating the added time for this.

Calculating budgets is the most difficult and time consuming thing for me. I just finished writing up a contract for another 15 minute video for this same client and tried to cover the details I missed the last time. It took me several days. I shaved some off the total price because I took into account that she's an individual - not a corp. with a big budget - and she's taking the risk that she may not make enough money to cover her costs - of course there's the chance she could make lots of money, but a risk - so I try to be realistic.
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Old February 27th, 2006, 11:17 PM   #10
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Work v. Time

It sounds like a lot of work for $2000. The training video has a lot of moving parts: First in shooting the various components and second in the post production process. I think your estimates are too low, especially with the amount of planning you described. There is a lot of time involved, and it is important to set your pricing accordingly. Planning is time; shooting is time; blocking, writing and editing are time.

For example:

1 Planning day 8 hours
1 Shooting day 10 hours
1 Screening and Logging Day 8 hours
1 Blocking/Writing/Traking day 8 hours
2 Edit Days 16 hours

My math says that's 50 hours to a first cut. Probably another 8 hours for fixes. Total
of 58 hours. That is for one piece. At $50 an hour, that is $2900 for one piece, round it out to $3000, add in 10% contingency and you have $3300 worth of time invested in that one piece. Multiply it by 4 and you have 16,390...that is getting into real money. In in northern California, it is much more.

I don't know what the rates are in Ontario, but I do think 2 grand is too low. Incidentally, the rates above are for a one-man band.

Last edited by Jack D. Hubbard; February 28th, 2006 at 12:00 AM. Reason: Add to figures
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Old February 28th, 2006, 02:09 AM   #11
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planning your bid

I think it's also a good idea to have your client show you samples of what they are expecting in terms of production values. Sometimes a potential client can show samples of what they like and don't like. This definitely helps to clarify the communication. Some clients don't have a clue that certain things are very costly to produce, eg., they might even ask for something that requires a crane shot, thinking this is just a normal part of doing video.
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