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Old November 13th, 2011, 03:40 PM   #1
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Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Belfast Northern Ireland
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How to charge for scripts for promotional videos?

Hi Guys

How might I charge for scriptwriting services for promotional videos?

A chap who has developed a software app has contacted me with a quite loose brief and says he would like a series of anything between 5-10 creative 30 sec videos involving several locations featuring his app. He has also mentioned he would like to begin with 2 short videos as a 'trial' to see how they do.

He has said that much of the scripts will be ad-libbed and is asking me what my ideas are for each of the scripts based on a loose premise.

In order to 'time' how long it might take me to film each of his "scripts" (locations etc) I require a clearer, tighter idea of what he wants for each individual script, and how many scripts and locations and performers will be involved.

I would like to be able to come back to him and state that he can employ my services as a writer first and foremost in order to get some frameworks of scripts into shape, that could then be used to 'ad-lib' from. Once I have those tighter 'frameworks' of scripts (which will mention locations, performers, what happens, props, costumes etc), I will then be able to 'time' and cost each of the scripts for my video production services accordingly.

At this point I feel like he wants lots of ideas he can use for videos, irrespective of any video production. I think I need to advise him what it will cost for my writing and consultation services.

To do so, I would like to be able to say for a fee of X per 30 sec script he will receive:

2 face-to-face meetings (1 hour each)
1 script outline
2 drafts containing amendments suggested by him:
1st draft he'll be encouraged to submit copious notes for any amendments
2nd draft will feature his amendments and he will be requested to 'approve' and sign-off
1 final draft
All within a 30 day period.

If the 30 days expire and he has not 'approved' the script despite receiving it, the work will be deemed to have been completed and he will be furnished with a final draft and it will be chargeable.

On the other hand, since he's confident much of the scripts will be ad-libbed, I could tell him that I could turn up with my camera and film whatever spontaneous scenes his performers come up with. However, this makes it difficult for me to give him a cost based on how long the scenes will take to film. This option may not be of interest to him as he said that he would set a budget.

Any thoughts or suggestions whatsoever would be really appreciated.

Warm regards

Peter
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Old November 14th, 2011, 02:22 AM   #2
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Location: Belfast, UK
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Re: How to charge for scripts for promotional videos?

This sounds like a rather typical Northern Ireland type that you hear about (although not unique to there I'm sure), who really doesn't know what they want. They usually shoot miles of stuff and relies on the editor to turn it into something usable. I'd just say that this comment is only based on conversations with local editors.

Short form material is extremely difficult to ad lib because everything has to be extremely precise, the most you can ad lib is one or lines based on a script that's already tightly structured. 30 second commercials have a lot of work put into the scripting, sometimes lasting months, the loose "ad libbed" material is actually written with great care.

How much you should charge... The Writer's Guild of GB recommended daily rate for online content is a daily rate of 250-320, 150 for half day, 40-50 per hour, and I suspect your client's jaw will hit the floor. So, I'd charge your normal daily rate and allow at least a day to write each script, possibly you may take longer (I suspect with meetings rewrites etc 2 days), although the actual writing time itself could be spread over a number of days. The problem with these very short scripts is that you might knock one out in less than an hour, while another will take a couple of days spread over a week of fiddling with each line. You'll have to judge how they'll respond and if you feel it'll take longer to write each script.

Ensure you have a signed agreement in advance, because there is copyright involved in this and your client can't use your material unless you allow him. This work should be paid for regardless of if they actaully decide to use your scripts, although they may go with the structure or the story.
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Old November 14th, 2011, 09:45 AM   #3
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Location: Belfast Northern Ireland
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Re: How to charge for scripts for promotional videos?

Hi Brian

Thanks for the excellent advice. Very useful indeed and food for thought.

Warm regards


Peter
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