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Old September 8th, 2014, 04:43 PM   #1
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Promo is too expensive to produce within clients budget.

A client of mine just recently contacted me about doing a 1 minute promo for him for the web. He already has the concept and script ready. To be shot in 3 parts. Each part will be under 20 seconds. One indoor classroom scene part two will be animation about 10 seconds (I'll hire outside help since I don't do any animation) and the last part will be with a model with 3 dogs. I will need to find a venue for the classroom scene and probably a permit for the outdoor scene depending where we shoot. Shooting will be two full days and I will be doing the editing and grading. His budget is $3000 but that doesn't seem feasible since I will have to hire 20 talents to play the part of students, 2 teachers, 1 model and hire three dogs. Only one person has dialog which is the teacher. Hiring talent would probably cost somewhere around $2500. My figures are based on $100 for each person maybe a little more for model and the person with the dialog plus $50 for each dog. I doubt anyone would do it for less although I could be wrong. At first I thought that he was going to provide the students but then I found out that his budget included all the talents. There are also other expenses to consider to be able to produce this video like rent gear ( I have everything needed except lighting equipment for a big venue) the venue itself, stock music, hire animator, permits, crew, etc. I guess my question to you is how should I explain to my client that his promo is more expensive to produce than we thought? Maybe I can suggest him to bring outside help like family and friends not sure if this is professional but it is practical. I also thought about cutting the talents to half the number but that still would be expensive. This is my first promo never done one before so any ideas would be appreciated.
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Old September 8th, 2014, 04:59 PM   #2
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Re: Promo is too expensive to produce within clients budget.

How about approaching a local college running a media course and see if they would be interested in their students assisting on the project? Could be great experience for them and save you a bunch of money.

Roger
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Old September 8th, 2014, 05:20 PM   #3
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Re: Promo is too expensive to produce within clients budget.

Yes I will do that thanks Rodger. Should I get written permission from them if they agree?
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Old September 8th, 2014, 05:25 PM   #4
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Re: Promo is too expensive to produce within clients budget.

I'm sure they will be happy to sign a disclaimer, just have a word with their tutor about it. Certainly in the UK, most colleges love these sort of opportunities for their media students.

Roger
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Old September 8th, 2014, 05:28 PM   #5
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Re: Promo is too expensive to produce within clients budget.

Just remember ... it's not your job to subsidise his reality.

If his budget isn't big enough then it is his problem, not yours.

Andrew
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Old September 8th, 2014, 05:37 PM   #6
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Re: Promo is too expensive to produce within clients budget.

Thanks Andrew I agree 100%. I will try and give Rodgers idea a shot and if that doesn't work out then I will have to charge a lot more.
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Old September 10th, 2014, 04:59 AM   #7
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Re: Promo is too expensive to produce within clients budget.

I have worked on some bigger budget stuff where we hire extras when we need 25 people, but on anything I've ever directed myself, even the $10k stuff, if we almost always use friends/family/volunteers. If you need a teacher and 25 students, I might hire an actor for the speaking role, but a $10k budget can go pretty fast if you need 25 extras for a day or two. This is not to mention feeding them lunch, even basic makeup (powder), parking for all of them, etc, etc.

Agree with Andrew - I'd line item it all out at what I thought were reasonable rates, show him where you are at, and ask where he wants to go with it. If the numbers don't add up, they don't add up. Either scale back production or increase budget.

Also, when you bill to shoot and edit and whatever it is you're doing yourself - don't forget to bill something - a lot of somethings - for all the work it takes to scrounge all this stuff. So if you are paying 20 actors $100/ea, don't forget to mark that up to $125 on the budget, so that you're making (for example) $450 for all the work that goes into hiring and coordinating 20 actors. AND, when the actor budget gets cut and he decides we'll just use 20 of his friends - remember to ADD a line item of (for example) $650 to cast and coordinate the friends. It is ALWAYS more work coordinating friends than actors - you are paying the actors and they know what to do. The friends you have to teach, and they have no incentive to work with you.
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Old September 10th, 2014, 08:57 AM   #8
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Re: Promo is too expensive to produce within clients budget.

Could you drastically reduce the class size by using camera angles & medium-close up shots? For instance show a scene from behind students heads of the teachers on the right hand side of the classroom using 6 students. Then, when the students are seen, place the 5 of them on the left hand side of the classroom & show them from the front. If they change shirts & you rearrange them viewers may not notice it's the same 5 people.

I agree though it'll cost what it costs. People thing so much in video is free or cheap. For instance talent, they think there's tons of people who would just love to be part of a video. While true, it sounds like it'll fall onto you to recruit them, and suffer the consequences if they choose to no-show because they changed their mind, realize it's not worth their time, found something else to do, or are too hungover.
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Old September 10th, 2014, 12:27 PM   #9
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Re: Promo is too expensive to produce within clients budget.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Watson View Post
not to mention feeding them lunch, even basic makeup (powder), parking for all of them, etc, etc.....Also, when you bill to shoot and edit and whatever it is you're doing yourself - don't forget to bill something - a lot of somethings - for all the work it takes to scrounge all this stuff.
Yes it's easy to forget the little things like feeding your crew and talents so thanks for reminding me.
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Old September 10th, 2014, 12:31 PM   #10
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Re: Promo is too expensive to produce within clients budget.

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Originally Posted by David Barnett View Post
Could you drastically reduce the class size by using camera angles & medium-close up shots? ....it sounds like it'll fall onto you to recruit them, and suffer the consequences if they choose to no-show because they changed their mind, realize it's not worth their time, found something else to do, or are too hungover.
Yes this would be one possibility if we were to scales back production so thanks for suggesting this. I also have to remember to hire backup talent in case people decide to bail out at the last moment.
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Old September 10th, 2014, 12:44 PM   #11
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Re: Promo is too expensive to produce within clients budget.

Forgot to ask I was thinking of charging up front a 50% deposit for taking on this job to secure talent payment, equipment rental, secure location and for permits if needed what do you think? In the past I've worked on many gigs without a contract agreement but I need to cover my butt for this one so I have already have a generic contract agreement written up by my lawyer I just need to have him make a few adjustments to it do suit my clients particular needs and then have him sign it before taking on the job. Just want to check to see if this is the way it's normally done.
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Old September 14th, 2014, 11:47 PM   #12
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Re: Promo is too expensive to produce within clients budget.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kajito Nagib View Post
Forgot to ask I was thinking of charging up front a 50% deposit for taking on this job to secure talent payment, equipment rental, secure location and for permits if needed what do you think? In the past I've worked on many gigs without a contract agreement but I need to cover my butt for this one so I have already have a generic contract agreement written up by my lawyer I just need to have him make a few adjustments to it do suit my clients particular needs and then have him sign it before taking on the job. Just want to check to see if this is the way it's normally done.
Always get a sizeable deposit unless it's an ongoing client. Based on what you've described here, 50% would be minimum. And there are lots of ways to get extras for free, but it does take time (yours), to set it up. Make sure that you get signed release forms if they are recognizable on camera... or to be safe, get releases any ways. And yes... if you need crew... Feed Them... well.

It is up to you to educate your client on the cost of production. It's easy to get sucked into his dream, and your desire to create a great project and build your reel. I always start with the question or premise for a client 'what is your budget?' They don't always want to hear this, because they are often used to putting jobs out to tender, and selecting a service provider based on budget, qualifications, etc...

If your client put this out to tender, he might get some young yahoo who will quote this at 3k, but it would likely be an epic disaster, prone to lawsuits, or someone (producer), losing their shirt. Scheduling 25 extras is a nightmare, even if you're paying them. I've been there... 10 is a lot to set up. You will really need a production coordinator to help schedule them. Someone has to supervise the animation, design the sound. If you've scheduled 2 days of shooting, you will need two more in post, at a full 2 more for pre-production, and you're at 6 full days of your time. I am shooting a much smaller project for twice that budget right now... and I underbid it to get the client.

If you shoot guerilla style, you don't need no stinking permits... but this is not recommended. Shoot on private property.

Sometimes you have to let a project go, increase the budget, or convince the client to scale it back.

A simple spreadsheet will make it clear that this project is near impossible to do profitably with that scope and budget.

One thing that I have recently been doing lately is to use stock footage if you make it fit... it's generally way cheaper. This may work for your wide classroom shots.

Good luck!
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Old September 15th, 2014, 07:29 AM   #13
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Re: Promo is too expensive to produce within clients budget.

A common method I've come across in this instance is for the client to be responsible for finding extras. They're saving money by doing the work themselves.
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Old September 15th, 2014, 08:32 AM   #14
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Re: Promo is too expensive to produce within clients budget.

I don't mind going OTT on my responsibilities, but when it's clear the client has a handle on the project. However, once I start generating guaranteed payments for people, out of my running budget, I want either money up front, or a solid contract from a reliable client. I've seen so many projects starting with good intentions go wrong - and people losing substantial sums due to ignorance, not intention.

If you are going to use real professionals with proper contracts and maybe even agents, then they will want paying, even if the shoot is cancelled last minute.

If you can get the client to manage this, fine - but most won't have a clue how it works. I had a client cancel a theatre project a couple of weeks ago, and he was very surprised to receive an invoice for the sound operator, who of course still wanted payment, as he'd turned down other work.

As soon as you involve people, it gets very expensive. I work in Brian's neck of the woods from time to time, and the BBC are great at trying to avoid paying people for doing extra work, despite union agreements that they will pay. It's part of my role to get the guys their payments and I hate it! Tell them it's a good cause, or for charity, or for handicapped kids and I get told (quite rightly) that if they want them, they pay.

Imagine explaining this kind of thing to a green client.

As an educator (school/FE/HE) be aware that students can also be VERY unreliable. One event near me needed about 20 - the local FE/HE college offered to supply them. Out of 20, session two went down to 12, and by session 3, just 4 originals were left. Not always the case, but they got 'bored' with all the hanging around.
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Old September 15th, 2014, 09:22 AM   #15
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Re: Promo is too expensive to produce within clients budget.

Yes, you do need to ensure that the client knows what's involved. Any productions where it's happened the clients have been pretty savvy and know the right contacts.

Some parts of the BBC live in a strange world,
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