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Taking Care of Business
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Old June 3rd, 2006, 01:11 AM   #1
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Going Pro...kind of...

For the most part, much of my time and equipment has been used for my own personal projects with the occassional exception of doing a "favor" for a buddy or two.
I'm at a point now where I'd like to get gigs that actually pay and start making these cams earn their keep.
I'm not looking for anything terribly heavy, I'm talking perhaps starting out shooting stage performances for local bands here in LA, light industrial or instructional videos, what have you.
Any advice on the best way to start assembling a client base? A rough estimate on how much to charge per hour?
Local TV spots might be possible as well but I'm assuming the market is saturated here in LA.
I own an XL2 and a DVX.
I do not plan on shooting HD for several months, is this a problem at this time or are most folks OK with SD product?
Any and all advice is welcome.
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Old June 3rd, 2006, 09:31 AM   #2
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I don't know much about your market other than what I hear from these forums. Here in the east the market is full of professionals, weekend warriors, newbies and wannabees so you have to rely heavily on experience to make it.
The best way to start is by joining local groups first, keep your comments to yourself until you learn something and LISTEN to anything that could have a lesson implied, network network network with as many people in the industry as possible, LISTEN some more, create a business plan (you can find some here by searching or google for them), figure out how much you would like to make per hour for a complete job (scripting, taping, editing, etc.) and you will have your answer in no time at all.
Best of luck Eric.
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Old June 3rd, 2006, 10:47 AM   #3
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Sometimes charity work will pay for itself in experience alone. Contact your local church, or a united way rep, etc. and volunteer some of your time to their events. You'll gain valuable insight needed for paying clients with short tempers later on.

Sometimes working for others helps. Many freelancers worked hourly or salaried jobs in thier field of interest before going it alone.

In these situations you'll have room to make mistakes, learn by them and grow.
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Old June 4th, 2006, 10:10 AM   #4
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In a similar boat...

with oars, but not sure I have a life preserver. ;)

Been interested for years, working mostly w/consumer level equipment.

Got lots of encouragement from family & friends, but they weren't making the investment in equipment.

What first caught my eye was legal: not creative, but had hints of potential. Did some research, and made some calls, which introduced me to a local indie producer w/20+ yrs in the business who needed help from time to time. Been working as his "go'fer/lackey/sound-and-light crew" on/off for about a year (while keeping a part-time job), but I've learned a bit from him, including that I believe I can make a go of it, hopefully "feeding" work to each other. (Luckily, my spouse has a good full-time job - bless her).

He's seen some of my early consumer-level work and had only minor criticism. (And he doesn't do wedding receptions - only ceremonies).

I read everything I come across and still need experience, but have decided to buy the equipment and take a shot at it. Every purchase brings on some nervousness and anxiety, but as I get closer to a complete (ahem) "studio", I become more confident I can "do" this. (Of course, I haven't yet run into any of the "business" problems, e.g. non-paying clients, but suspect that will come sooner than I hope for).

If things don't work out, I'll have to return to the real (and boring) "working world", and there's always e-Bay and this forum to sell my equipment.
Good luck...to both of us.
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Old July 10th, 2006, 12:53 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Ferling
Sometimes charity work will pay for itself in experience alone. Contact your local church, or a united way rep, etc. and volunteer some of your time to their events. You'll gain valuable insight needed for paying clients with short tempers later on.

Sometimes working for others helps. Many freelancers worked hourly or salaried jobs in thier field of interest before going it alone.

In these situations you'll have room to make mistakes, learn by them and grow.

I second that advise. I picked up numerous jobs from church members that owned businesses and like what they saw.
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Old July 10th, 2006, 10:44 AM   #6
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This is essentially my plan. Its how I started my web design business years ago. I did a couple of freebies to build a little portfolio then started charging very low fees to "get the word out". Now, I charge a little more than most of my competitors, but I stay busy and get a lot of repeat business and referrals. I'm just getting a little tired of it (since 1999) and I am ready to move on.

I have been editing other's video for years and doing post/compositing work for a long time, but have just recently started doing video work for myself. I like it so much I thought I might take a stab at making a living from it. I will probably start by doing a free "county attractions" video for my local Chamber of Commerce (with my name / website in the credits of course), maybe a free music video or two for some friends' bands to get the word out for that type of gig, etc.

It's a lot of work to not get paid, but you can write it off as advertising expenses come tax time.

As far as what to charge? I have no idea how this type of work normally charges for services. I guess once I start the free work I will have to step back and ask myself what I think is fair for what I am providing and develop a pricing schedule from my experiences.
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Old July 11th, 2006, 11:45 PM   #7
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Yes, on the church thing.

[QUOTE=Peter Ferling]Sometimes charity work will pay for itself in experience alone. Contact your local church, or a united way rep, etc. and volunteer some of your time to their events. You'll gain valuable insight needed for paying clients with short tempers later on.

We're shooting a documentary right now for an aquaintance we met at church years ago. We've shot weddings, and parties and all sorts of stuff.

And now that you've brought this up, i think i'll start going to church again.
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Old July 29th, 2006, 09:09 AM   #8
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I am also looking to start in freelance/ production filming by the end of this year. I am a 15 year old high school student with an XL1 (gift from the parents) and I've done 2 free videos so far; one being a short intro film to a school play and the other being an hour and a half stage production. I am good friends with the soundcrew and conductor of these productions so I will be replacing a "professional" agency simply because I cost less and because I did a better job on sound quality. I do all my own editing on a pc ( but I am saving for a macbook) and the only production costs that I think I will have to pay for will be DVD's so I can get my name out and sell my work very cheap ($5-10) to start.

Once I am about 18 I would like to be sort of an apprentice to a wedding filmography and work and learn with them unpaid for awhile.
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Old July 29th, 2006, 01:47 PM   #9
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LA is a weird market, you need to work your way up. In most cases, newer guys end up working for the same price as just renting a camera. I know a guy who just started there and he shoots with a Z1u and can only get $250 a day, most rental houses are near that per day for renting a Z1u packages. I do some work in LA but always work with much more budget, it is THE most competetive market but there is also the most work there. LA is the one place where talent alone wont go very far, you need to network.



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