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Taking Care of Business
The pen and paper aspects of DV -- put it in writing!


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Old October 19th, 2005, 12:30 PM   #1
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Location: Raleigh, NC
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Video University- Starting a Video Production Business

In 'googling' How To Start a Video Business, I stumbled on Hal Landen's Video University Website. I was wondering, before plunking down hard earned cash, if anyone on here has ever (a) been on his website, and if so (b) bought any of his products for starting or enhancing their video business? Does anyone know anything about Hal Landen?

www.videouniversity.com

I am in the midst of starting my own video production business that will encompass commercials, training videos, legal videos, etc. I know that several things have to happen in order to do it correctly:

1. Incorporate either Sole Prop or LLC (I have an Atty)

2. Talk to an accountant about taxes (I have an Acct)

3. Get equipment insured (Talked to Ins Rep)

4. Get Liability Insurance (ditto)
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What I do not know:

1. Contracts with clients. I believe you have several options:

1 part contract (encompasses the whole project)

2 part contract (part 1 shoot-part 2 edit)

Multi Stage Contract- Deposit, Part 1 for script/preprod, Part 2 Prod., Part 3, Post Prod and Delivery

2. How to charge for services without gouging the client and getting the project, but also not financially shorting myself and working for under minimum wage.


I want to do this the smart way and if anyone is willing to help me out I would certainly appreciate it. I have invested a lot of money in my equipment over the past few years and feel that I have now reached a place in my career where I can do this part time as a business that may allow me to pursue it full time in the future. I am going to start slow and ramp up from there.

Thanks and I look forward to your answers!
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Old October 19th, 2005, 03:00 PM   #2
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I have 2 different "contracts"-one is for weddings which is 1 page (3 copies) which has the scope of work on the front and terms and conditions on the back. I have found this to be very satisfactory for these types of events.
For corporate type work I have a "boiler plate" contract that is broken out into 3 parts. First are terms and conditions or as I call them, the rules of the road as well as the client information and mine of course and the general decription of the job as well as the total price. SECOND is the "scope of Work" what I'm being contracted to do, where, when, how many cameras, operators, audio, lighting, whatever is needed to do the job and if needed, the pricing gets broken on that page. THIRD is the "payment schedule" how much, when it's due, if I get paid in scheduled payments where they are due number of dups and price...in other words all thing related to money.
This starts as a proposal and when the client signs it and I sign it, it becomes the contract or service agreement. I've been using this system for many years and have never had a problem doing it like this.
HTHs
Don B
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Old October 19th, 2005, 06:56 PM   #3
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Don,

Thank you for the help with the contracts. That sounds like a good place to start. I think it is very important that a contract is put in place, and if a client balks at signing one, then it isn't a project that is worth the time and effort. To me, a contract doesn't just cover the producer, but the client as well. A contract is in everyone's best interest and if someone is not serious about the project at had, it may weed them out.

Thanks for the advice Don. I hope Chicago is treating you well.
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Old October 19th, 2005, 07:17 PM   #4
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I once learned a valuable lesson a long time ago. It cost me some money but its yours free of charge.
IF IT AIN'T IN WRITING---IT AIN'T!

Meaning if you don't have a contract or some sort of written agreement with your client you got nuttin'-squat-nada-zero. and you've got no way to prove it either.

Have your lawyer help you write a solid contract or at least the basics to get you started. No matter how nice the people are remember to always CYA!

Don
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Old October 20th, 2005, 10:04 AM   #5
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I spend a fair amount of time at the VU forums. If you want to learn about event videography (especially weddings) that is the best place to do that.

I also bought Hals Video Producer course, It is well worth the money, but a bunch of the technical info is dated. He talks about the time before NLE's, which is pretty useless, but the business and marketing stuff is timeless. Also, he has updated his book since I got it, so the info ion that should now be up to date (I have not seen the new book yet).

I think you can't go wriong buying his course. Also, look for a book by Barry Hapme (How to make money with video?) which is also a great place to start.
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