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Old January 20th, 2007, 11:58 PM   #1
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A career in video?

I was wondering, as a general consensus for people on the board, a few details about a career in video. I ask this being young and curious about the possibility of working in this field.

If you are willing to share for any or all of these questions, it would be appreciated. Although some of the questions are private in nature + real names are required on the forum.

So that said, IF YOU DON'T WANT TO SHARE obviously, please don't! I hope it is ok that I ask, and if you would be willing to help me out I would appreciate it, as it is very difficult to find any kind of information on what a career as a self-employed freelancer looks like (schedule, hours, education, income, etc.)


1.) Do you have a college degree? If so, in what?

2.) Is video-related work your full time job, or a side endeavor/business?

3.) Do you freelance, or work for another employer?

4.) How many hours a week do you work?

5.) How long have you been working with video as a full-time, or side job?

6.) Do you feel that pursuing a career in video as a freelancer/small business as a primary source of income is a plausible career path?

7.) How much money do you make annually (gross) from video related work?

(I realize #7 is personal, so please skip over if you do not want to answer. Yet, I would greatly appreciate this information as it is impossible to find salary/income reports in this field and it would be nice to know a ballpark).


Thanks so much, and thank you for sharing if you choose to! I really appreciate it.
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Old January 21st, 2007, 11:54 AM   #2
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1.) Do you have a college degree? If so, in what?
Yes in Communications and no the degree didn't make a difference . . . but the education did.

2.) Is video-related work your full time job, or a side endeavor/business?
Video is my fulltime work.

3.) Do you freelance, or work for another employer?
I spend most of my life working for an employer. I now work for myself. We have a small video business. One might consider that self employed or, at times, freelance.

4.) How many hours a week do you work?
Probably about 80. There's paid work and doing the stuff to keep your business afloat which is "unpaid" but it's work. There's also the work of learning to keep up with the latest technology,software, etc. When I worked for employers I was still frequently doing 60-80 hours a week (all paid) but had NO control over my time and life.

5.) How long have you been working with video as a full-time, or side job?
About 25 years.

6.) Do you feel that pursuing a career in video as a freelancer/small business as a primary source of income is a plausible career path?
In the long run, I think it's a better road. Good to work for employers to learn the ropes and learn on equipment you can't otherwise afford though. EVERY video facility I worked for has gone out of business. I feel MORE SECURE working for myself since I know what to AVOID doing now (learned from my former employers' mistakes).

7.) How much money do you make annually (gross) from video related work?
No where near what I think I'm worth. Too much price shopping going on right now. Constant flood of "newbies" some with gear and no ability, others with great ability but undervalue themselves and whose bad business decisions can/do hurt others. Nature of the beast at the moment. The cost of running a business means, after huge expenses, there's very small profit margins so gross vs net is huge.
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Old January 21st, 2007, 02:07 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Cegla
1.) Do you have a college degree? If so, in what?
Yes, television production technology. But I have never once been asked about my education or to prove that I have a degree. Its what you know thats important, not how you learned it. I also volunteered with community TV as a teenager and interned at a Fox affiliate in college- Those two experiences were probably the most helpful for me.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Cegla
2.) Is video-related work your full time job, or a side endeavor/business?
Both. I work full time in TV News and also run my own business doing wedding videos and the such on the side.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Cegla
3.) Do you freelance, or work for another employer?
I think I kind of answered this question above, but once again the answer is both. I have a full time job in broadcast television and do my own stuff on the side.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Cegla
4.) How many hours a week do you work?
60 to 80, depending on how many projects I have going on.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Cegla
5.) How long have you been working with video as a full-time, or side job?
Including broadcast news, four years (when I finished college). I only started my business last year, and am only now starting to get really serious about turning it into a significant source of income.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Cegla
6.) Do you feel that pursuing a career in video as a freelancer/small business as a primary source of income is a plausible career path?
I think that depends heavily on where you live. The more populated areas the better. Also I don't think if your going to succeed you can limit yourself to just one type of video service.... like wedding videos. You need to do legal videos, event videos for schools, advertisements, everything possible.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Cegla
7.) How much money do you make annually (gross) from video related work?
I'm not going to answer this question with a figure, because that figure will be drastically different depending upon the part of the country people are in and what the cost of living is. I make enough to scrape by every month, pay the rent and bills, take my girlfriend out and keep my crappy truck running. I also make enough to afford my equipment and don't have maxed out credit cards or anything. Hopefully with my recent efforts my business will start to take off a bit more and I will be able to get a new vehicle and buy a house instead of renting.
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Old January 21st, 2007, 04:49 PM   #4
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My experience:

1) I have a BA in Speech Communication. While certainly not necessary for video work, it's been a big help, but not at all from the tech or artistic angles. I learned things that have turned out to be very helpful, from how to "carry oneself" (which helps in dealing with everyone, particularly clients, both actual and potential) to the importance of listening and paying attention (rather than merely hearing), to the details of the human attention span (helpful in determining scene lengths, length of dialogue, length of EVERYTHING).

2) Video-related work has been my dream job for years. However, until I got downsized a few years ago, it was more a 20-year hobby than anything else. I've chosen to make it my second career. Currently I have a part-time job in a national retail chain, but am avidly working towards leaving there hopefully no later than Christmas of this year. I've formed my own one-person LLC and have begun to take advantage of any free advertising. My limited funds prevent me from paying for advetising, so I'm developing my own business cards, brochures, and post-cards, and putting together press-releases for any local newspaper that might print them. The limited funds put a dent in my business plan, as I haven't begun any heavy marketing efforts as yet. I've made a few connections with locals in the business, and have done some simple jobs for them, e.g. grip, 3rd camera, and copying/burning footage, but I've learned a bit, too. Among those few contacts, I'm the only one I know who's purchased an HD camera, but have not had calls for work with HD yet. (I suspect that's primarily because of the dearth of ways to view it, short of broadcast or cable). Everything thus far has been SD.

3) Well, I guess freelance, in that I've worked for others in this field, but only on a per-day or per-job basis. My original focus was on legal video, but the first job I booked under my business name turned out to be a small event rather than legal video. Prior to making the sizeable investment in equipment, I worked for a Fortune 100 company for almost 30 yrs in various sytem's related capacities.

4) Hours per week is a tough one. I suspect that when you're in business for yourself, almost every waking hour is spent "working", as long as you consider "working" to be dealing with any facet of your business, i.e. learning more about how to use your camera, your NLE, reading about things you need to know more about (for me, that's color and audio), or even responding to forum posts such as this. Also, I suspect the hours you "work" is a direct result of what you're working on, i.e. if you shoot an event and the footage turns out good, then editing time will be shorter, while editing bad/poor footage would take longer.

5) I've been involved with video since I got my first VHS camera way back in the early 80s. It started out as a hobby, but I took the plunge towards doing it as a business only 10 months ago.

6) Plausible, yes. As others have said, it depends on where you're located. However, only one of the locals I work with/for has been doing it to the extent that it provides enough income to sustain a family. However, the spouse in that household also works, though I don't know if it's necessary to pay their bills. I don't think it is; I think it's more for the benefits/health insurance. The other local I have in mind hasn't been doing it all that long yet, and has done legal exclusively since I've taken on work from him.

7) Gross? At this early stage, that pretty much describes the look of my income statement. I got into this not only because of my interest, but because of encouragement from friends and those I've worked with/for in the past. (I discount most family input, except for my spouse, as I'm never quite sure if they're being polite or simply "loyal" to me/my interests. My spouse is VERY realistic, and would have said "no" if she had no faith in me/my abilities). I'm heavily in debt for my equipment, at present about $ 12 K, and that's only about half of what I've spent thus far, but thanks to her, I've been able to pursue this while she meets the lion's share of the household bills. She even borrowed money for me to get equipment and start the business.
I suspect this hinges on what work you do/can get, and what you charge - or what your clients are willing to pay - for that work. One local I know won't touch a job unless he gets at least $ 110 an hour; another does mostly legal and charges $250 for the first hour, then (I think) $ 100 for each additional hour; when booked for a whole day, I think he charges $1,000 to $1,200. When he subcontracts legal from others, he gets less. Example: one recent month he earned $ 4,500 +/-, but he only got work for 9 days. He filled the rest of the time working for a relative in a non-video capacity.
The folks I've worked with have 2 rules: they won't do wedding receptions, and they won't do porn. I'm hoping to adopt those same rules, but so far they've been forced on me, i.e. I haven't been contacted to work on either.
My last tidbit of experience: the first non-business job I got was basically from being "volunteered" by a local I work with. I agreed to do the job gratis, (that's popular advice to get started somewhere), expecting to maybe earn a few bucks from selling DVD's to interested parties. It was an event attended by nearly 300 people. I hoped to make between $ 100 and $ 200. It turned out that the very day I finished editing, the client informed me that they had many parties interested in the completed DVD, so they just purchased equipment to make copies themselves. My jaw dropped after hearing that. Having agreed to do it, I delivered the DVDs (the completed package was 3 discs) and stayed while the staff reviewed them. While they loved the finished product, and it was more than they expected, I walked out empty-handed. (But I knew that would happen). A few weeks later, much to my surprise, I got a "thank you" card from the client and inside was a check for nearly 10 times what I hoped I might earn from the sale of the DVDs. That was without asking. It was then I realized I might have just enough knowledge/talent/skill/persona/attention-to-detail to make a go of it in this business. It also helped convince my wife. I only hope I can keep it up.

At this stage, I'm willing to do a few free jobs in order to get my name "out there." I have a doc coming up about a college competition that could/should provide a wider, more professional audience than I've ever had before. It will be LOTS of work, more than anything I've done up til now, as it's only me, a still photog who might double as a grip, and whatever student help I can garner, but has the potential of reaching lots of clients. The first meeting should be this week, and I expect to finish shooting in May and hopefully locked in June.

Probably the best advice is to network and make connections with others you can work with/for to learn as much as possible. That way, you can avoid mistakes you might otherwise make.

Apologies for this being so lengthy. Good luck in your decision.
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Old January 21st, 2007, 08:59 PM   #5
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I'm a tad different because I too am young, but figured I'd answer these questions anyways because it's always nice to get some varied responses.

So, from a 22 year old recent grad...

1.) Do you have a college degree? If so, in what?

University degree in Film Studies and diploma in Video Editing. The university did nothing for me (all theory and history) and the diploma was useful because of the equipment I got to play around with.

2.) Is video-related work your full time job, or a side endeavor/business?

I am currently on a 3 month contract with a community cable station with a strong possibility that it will be extnded. I'm also trying very hard to get into doing weddings and corporate video on the weekends.

3.) Do you freelance, or work for another employer?

See #2

4.) How many hours a week do you work?

At the television station, about 50 hours a week. With the side stuff it's hard to tell because I haven't done many weddings yet.

5.) How long have you been working with video as a full-time, or side job?

Graduated last July, first wedding related stuff was done in August, got the TV job in December.

6.) Do you feel that pursuing a career in video as a freelancer/small business as a primary source of income is a plausible career path?

Like other's have said, it depends on location. I thankfully live in an area where no-one else does wedding videos locally. I did my research and found that there are approximately 250 marriage licenses issued each year. When the closest competition is a 30/40 minute drive away, it bodes well for myself.

7.) How much money do you make annually (gross) from video related work?

Since I graduated last summer it's hard to tell, but I will say that in the TV job if you annualize it, it's not too-too much. Enough to live off of but not extravagent (although if the contract is extended we will discuss the wage). I intend to do a couple of weddings a month between April and October.

Hope the answers were helpful.
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Old January 23rd, 2007, 01:25 AM   #6
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OK, I'll play.

1. Nope. Left University after 2 years to go to work. Radio - voicovers - writing - video. IMO, With the exception of highly technical fields like medicine, engineering, etc, college is typically where you learn about yourself -not about your career.

2. Yes. If I don't make video, the family doesn't eat.

3. Self employed for 20+ years.

4. Some weeks 80 - some weeks 20. But that's a trick answer. You see if you're dedicated to the art - each and every moment you live, you're learning how to make better video. When you read a novel, you're learning about storytelling, character development, plot. When you drive to work, you're watching the clouds (light), the faces of the people in the other cars (emotion), and the sound it makes when the roadway changes. When you're paying the household bills, in the back of your mind is the cost of the next case of gaffers tape.

If video is your job, it's something you do. If you come to love it, it's something you live. Big difference.

5. 25 years plus.

6. It's as plausible as your guts and effort can make it. The world is increasingly BASED on visual communications. Video is one of the more tangible, difficult and valuable forms of that. The market is huge, growing, increasingly competative, and never, ever, satisfied.

7. The first decade peanuts. The second, home cooking. Today, nobody questions my invoices, even when they start to scare me. The difference? Untold hours of screwing up and learning from my mistakes.

BTW, you will NEVER get paid in proportion to your efforts. You will ONLY get paid for getting RESULTS for your clients. Get bigger results, and you'll inevitably get bigger checks. Remember that.
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Old January 27th, 2007, 11:30 AM   #7
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Interesting thread....:-)

1.) Do you have a college degree? If so, in what?

Yes, in history from when around the time the earth was cooling...hence not much to remember.

2.) Is video-related work your full time job, or a side endeavor/business?

Both, although full time only recently. At my full time job in state government, I now work with our trainers to produce technical instruction video and stills to compliment our existing training curricula. On the side, my own studio has been in existence for about 10 years, I have created high school sports video and have produced a hybrid music TV show which has played locally on the MyTV affiliate for 5 years.
I also occasionally agree to make an elopement video as the need arises. At my age, I can't handle either the physical or emotional demands of wedding video.

3.) Do you freelance, or work for another employer?

As annotated above. However, next year, I can retire from full time work and will be pure freelance at that point.

4.) How many hours a week do you work?

Full time job = exactly 37,5 hours per week. Part time - average about 20 hours a week. Again, my age, (700 months in baby language) is a limiting factor.

5.) How long have you been working with video as a full-time, or side job?

About 10 years total.

6.) Do you feel that pursuing a career in video as a freelancer/small business as a primary source of income is a plausible career path?

Yes, but I would be thinking about multimedia and broad applications including training, legal, feature, music, event, et al. Although the plague of Death by Powerpoint is spreading, there is hope.

My area has about a million people and is just barely in the top 50 markets in the country. If I were younger and starting out, I think I would try to be in the top 35 or so.

7.) How much money do you make annually (gross) from video related work?

Enough to satiate my quest for new equipment, pay for insurance, throw a little at a SEP-IRA, and show a little profit. But, I am not trying to feed a family thru my part-time endeavor. In a couple of years, I will only take as much work as I can without having the Social Security gendarmes knocking at my door looking for a donation.
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Old January 27th, 2007, 07:51 PM   #8
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If you are really serious, you will jump in while you are young and just go for it. I have been in this business going on 30 years. It's all I have done. I hope 30 years from now you can say the same to someone who asks you about the business.
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Old January 27th, 2007, 10:54 PM   #9
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I guess I'll go - I enjoyed reading the other feedback and hope this thread helps some young videomakers make up their minds a little more on their career paths.

1.) Do you have a college degree? If so, in what?
Yes, Cinema and Photography - the degree sounds good to my clients, but the experience is the most valuable thing you will get from college. I learned a lot there, especially through feedback from teachers and friends - anything you can get before dealing with a client will help you.

2.) Is video-related work your full time job, or a side endeavor/business?
Side business right now, possibly full-time within a few years.

3.) Do you freelance, or work for another employer?
I freelance, although I do some steady work for specific people who subcontract my services. That's how I started with wedding videos, and that's been a big boost - didn't have to start out dealing directly with the client.

4.) How many hours a week do you work?
I work 40-50 hours at my full-time job (sales for acoustic panels) and between 15-30 hours doing video-related work. If I get jobs that I can't fit in during evenings and weekends I take time off from my regular job and do the video work.

5.) How long have you been working with video as a full-time, or side job?
Since I was in school, so probably 5 years. I started out a little rocky, borrowing whatever gear I could get my hands on, and lost a couple of contracts that I wasn't ready to handle, but it's that kind of experience that makes you a little tough and gets you ready for the next job.

6.) Do you feel that pursuing a career in video as a freelancer/small business as a primary source of income is a plausible career path?
Well... I've been trying to figure that out myself. It's a good-sized investment, the equipment changes very quickly and requires a lot of re-investment, and the hourly rate isn't as high as other technology jobs (web design, programming) -- it's got to be something that's in your blood or you won't survive. If you decide to try to make it a career, give yourself at least 5 years before jumping in full-time - if it goes faster, great, but if not, you won't be disappointed and you'll prove to yourself that you're in it for the long haul.

7.) How much money do you make annually (gross) from video related work?
Last year I grossed about $12,000 doing video production work. I probably spent half of that on equipment - wireless mic, outdoor mic muff, a new tripod, good monitor speakers (finally!), better printer, fig rig for better handheld work, a digital still camera and supplies for that... the list goes on forever. I spent quite a bit on supplies and travelling too... before long, you really don't make much at all. Net vs. gross is more important than your gross alone - my total profit is probably half of that or less from last year if you just look at the amount of cash that I have left over. It's paid some bills for me, but I can't live off of it yet by any means. That said, this year I've made almost as much in January as I made the first six months last year, so I'm off to a good start in 2007.

Also -- every job I get right now is word of mouth except for one local paper advert. that I started in December (only one call from that so far). Do good, solid work - it's a slow way to go, but a good reputation is worth a lot. How your client feels about you, your business, and your ability is the most important part of each job -- hopefully they'll pass on the word that you work hard and are professional to deal with.

If you decide to go for it, good luck -- it's a ride for sure.
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Old January 28th, 2007, 07:19 AM   #10
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1.)Do you have a college degree? If so, in what?
No, other than the University of Hard Knocks ;-)

2.) Is video-related work your full time job, or a side endeavor/business
Full time for 23 years and 12 years before that in the still business

2.)Do you freelance, or work for another employer?
Independent Contractor-I have never worked as an employee for anyone although I do ďpartnerĒ with other videographers for some work-they help me Ė I help them

4.) How many hours a week do you work?
Sometime 80 or more sometimes none-it depends on the time of year- what I have going.

5.) How long have you been working with video as a full-time, or side job?
See Above

6.) Do you feel that pursuing a career in video as a freelancer/small business as a primary source of income is a plausible career path?
It certain has been for me- however I have said it before and it bears repeating. You can be the best shooter and editor around but if one has no business skills by the time one learns those skills one is Out of Business.
IMO the skills needed to run a successful business are at least as important if not more so than your technical skills and if you donít have those skills then HIRE someone who does. Get a lawyer and an accountant-have someone who can write a letter and can talk to clients-whatever you need to get the business started and allow you to function best in your area of expertise until you learn the other things you need to know to keep the business going. Iím not saying you in particular but I have seen many people who are really good shooters start a business and a year or less later theyíre gone because they had no skills in running a business. Itís not all that hard mostly good common sense.

7.) How much money do you make annually (gross) from video related work?
All of my income is made from video work-Iíve had years when Iíve been in a very comfortable 6 figure range and other years when Iíve been in a very uncomfortable 5 figure range-BUT it all depends on the demographics of your geographic area, the type of work youíre doing, the competition, the type of business you want to have and frankly how hungry you are to go and get the business. BTW which ballpark do you want to be in. Wrigley Field or Yankee Stadium? There are so many variables but if your asking "Can I make a living at this?" YES-If your asking "will I get rich at this?" No you won't get rich (of course rich is relative-to some it's 100K a year to others, well it's a bit more...)
(I realize #7 is personal, so please skip over if you do not want to answer. Yet, I would greatly appreciate this information as it is impossible to find salary/income reports in this field and it would be nice to know a ballpark).

If you enjoy shooting, editing and the other ancillary sides of the video business go for it-if you don't want the hassle then make it parttime and don't worrry about it-don't do this or any kind of "wrok" for the money only-lifes too short for that-do what you love to do and adjust your lifestyle to fit the income.
Anyway, good luck

Don
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Old January 28th, 2007, 11:09 AM   #11
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im probably not the right person to answer these questions. Im 19 and have only 5 years of experience with video on the whole.

1.) Do you have a college degree? If so, in what?
Nope, still in high school. And probably wont go to collage eather. i think its best to learn from different projects.

3.) Do you freelance, or work for another employer?
I just established my own company, so i could do it legally...

4.) How many hours a week do you work?
Depends, some months are crazy, some are easy. If i dont have much to do, i just read forums or video related books.

5.) How long have you been working with video as a full-time, or side job?
First touched camera 5 years ago.

7.) How much money do you make annually (gross) from video related work?
Hard to say, but i dont have to ask beer money from my parents and i can afford new equipment....
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Old February 5th, 2007, 06:45 PM   #12
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1.) Do you have a college degree? If so, in what?

no

2.) Is video-related work your full time job, or a side endeavor/business

full time

3.) Do you freelance, or work for another employer?

freelance

4.) How many hours a week do you work?

40/70

7.) How much money do you make annually (gross) from video related work?

30,000 gbp = 58,000 usd

6.) Do you feel that pursuing a career in video as a freelancer/small business as a primary source of income is a plausible career path?

oh yeah

5.) How long have you been working with video as a full-time, or side job?

1 year
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Old February 8th, 2007, 10:36 AM   #13
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Okay, I guess I'll pitch in with my modest contribution :-)

1.) Do you have a college degree? If so, in what?
Electronic & Communications Engineering - bugger all use for the creative side, but having the techie background is very useful when it comes to making informed purchases. I ditched the electronics industry in favour of moving into computer journalism and later IT management for the publishing industry, and I've never looked back. I understand computers on a silicon level, but also the creative software and process (Photoshop, Quark, 3D apps, FCP etc). It gives me the best of both worlds - creative and technical.

2.) Is video-related work your full time job, or a side endeavor/business?
Little bit of both. Mostly on the side, but increasingly in my full time job. I'm an IT Manager for a marine mammal charity and we tend to lend our skills to areas outside the job description. Mine has been to organise their photo library and now increasingly moving into video. I've progressed to the point where I'm buying my own gear to take to sea on extended surveys.
I've been lucky - my employers recognise the value of the footage and the skill to get it, even if they don't always appreciate that there's a difference between a palmcorder and a Sony Z1 :-) They've allowed me to pursue this outside my regular job description because it will, ultimately, benefit them. Always nice to have a boss who is flexible.

3.) Do you freelance, or work for another employer?
See above.

4.) How many hours a week do you work?
Depends. Sometimes a regular 40 hour week. If I'm on survey, it's typically 12-14 hours a day for maybe 2 to 4 weeks without a day off (hard work at sea, I can tell you).

5.) How long have you been working with video as a full-time, or side job?
About 3 years - a mere beginner in other words :-)

6.) Do you feel that pursuing a career in video as a freelancer/small business as a primary source of income is a plausible career path?
I'd have to agree with the other posters here - it depends how much you want to do it. If you love it, then it's not really work at all and the money doesn't matter so much. If it's a hobby - well, I'd advise you to think very carefully before taking the plunge. You won't get rich, but the job will take you to amazing places and you get to meet interesting people.


7.) How much money do you make annually (gross) from video related work?
Well, I don't at the moment :-) For me it's a labour of love and I've used my personal assets to finance an obsession. In profit/loss terms I'm a dead failure, but then it's never been about the cash for me. I've had some great experiences and I'm looking forward to many more. Yeah, it would be nice to turn a profit, one day!

My best advice is to get yourself a decent education as a solid foundation, then you can pursue whatever you want to with all your energy. If it doesn't work out, at least you gave it your best shot, and you've got that education to fall back on.

Hey Daniel, whatever you end up doing, good luck!
Lindsay Bruce is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 9th, 2007, 03:43 AM   #14
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Fresno, California
Posts: 528
Ahh, what the hell...we'll give it a go.

1.) Do you have a college degree? If so, in what?
Nope. I too have asked many people this question and it's amazing at how many people have degrees in something, yet almost everyone says they have never really needed it other than the experience. But seriously, who would you rather hire for your event or film? The person with 15+ years experience full time as a camera man or a kid that has a degree, maybe a year out? In this business just like many other technical fields, experience is King.

2.) Is video-related work your full time job, or a side endeavor/business?
It is now. I have always owned my own business doing sound & lighting production, but video was a "natural progression". Although we still provide a ton of sound systems and lighting systems, video has multiplied our business by 10.

3.) Do you freelance, or work for another employer?
Although self employed from the beginning, I (as well as some of my other guys) routinely do freelance camera / switching / directing work for television broadcasts, football, hockey, basketball, corporate, etc. for the local college and broadcast facilities. Making an extra $200- $500 on a day you don't have anything going is some good pocket money. IMHO, better than no work at all.

4.) How many hours a week do you work?
As many as I am awake. At least 80+. There's usually only a few times I'm not working throughout the day: while eating, taking a shower, or in the bathroom (but even then, it's debateable, because I'm still thinking about work).

5.) How long have you been working with video as a full-time, or side job?
Only 2 years now, but have been doing sound & lighting for almost 18. I always equate experience to how much people do a particular job. If you shoot 8 projects a week for a year versus once a month for 5, I think there should be some sort of extra indication of your experience. Maybe "Jobs completed". In that case, almost 1000.

Do you feel that pursuing a career in video as a freelancer/small business as a primary source of income is a plausible career path?
Hrmmm...kind of debateable. It depends on a market analysis and what type of person you are. So many kids now think everything should just be handed to them. If you're willing to work your ass off and you have a genuine love for it, then yes. If you can find a good nitch and do enough work to support yourself, then yes. If you plan on half-assing work and settling for things, then no. We have found a nitch in a market that is very saturated in some fields, very unsaturated in others. Diversifying our capabilities (sound, lighting & video) helps to not have many slow times. As the old saying goes, don't put all your eggs into one basket.

7.) How much money do you make annually (gross) from video related work?
None. I guess if we're talking gross, a whole bunch. But by the time you keep up on the equipment, pay employees, building costs, utilities, insurance, etc. etc, doesn't always leave a lot for many other things. I personally love video equipment. I love my toys. The way I think is that if I have an extra $50k lying around, why not spend that money to make even more money? Not always the best philosophy when it comes to running a business, but I do keep it reasonable. I'm able to do the things I want to do, live the way I want to live, and enjoy things when I want to.


I would say this, Daniel. If you have a desire to get in to the business, weigh the options. It can be very tough to have a family in this line of work. Some people pull it off, but I know of may others that have gotten divorced over it. If you want the business to succeed, you have to put every waking hour into it. Like someone mentioned above, you need to have some good business sense, make smart decisions. Let your customer dictate the things you buy, find your target market. Buying a bunch of cool toys is fun until you find out your client wants something else. Then your cool toy is now useless. You need to be good at communicating your ideas, talents, vision, etc. You have to be able to talk to people and be a pretty decent salesman. You have to be likeable. That means being nice to EVERYBODY because everyone is really a potential client. Smile A LOT (some people can't seem to get this down). Prepare to work like a dog chasing a tenis ball without water. If you're not panting at the end and you have money in your pocket, consider yourself extremely lucky, but prepare to work your ass off to make the money, the clients, and obtain the gear that you must have for that shoot next week. Make friends with other people in the area that do the same thing you do. Help them out - you will need the favor in return some day. Don't take on things that are out of your range, knowledge or capabilities. It will only make you look bad if you screw it up.

Overall, if you're going to pursue it, don't do it 50%. Do it 150% - you'll be successful. Stay humble. If you get lazy, cocky, you argue with clients, spend your money unwisely, etc, plan on doing something else because you won't make it. Research, Research, Research. Have fun & good luck. You'll need it.
Kit Hannah is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 9th, 2007, 04:13 AM   #15
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: San Francisco CA
Posts: 154
A Career in Video?

Hope this helps...

1.) Do you have a college degree? If so, in what?
No. I dropped out of college when I was a junior in Electrical Engineering to pursue IT career in the mid 1980s.

2.) Is video-related work your full time job, or a side endeavor/business?
My video related work is a side business at the moment.

3.) Do you freelance, or work for another employer?
I freelance.

4.) How many hours a week do you work? 40 hours for the major internet search company in Silicon Valley.

5.) How long have you been working with video as a full-time, or side job?
It's been a passion for 10 years. Nothing but eating, thinking, sleeping video.

6.) Do you feel that pursuing a career in video as a freelancer/small business as a primary source of income is a plausible career path? Anything is possible. Just set a goal and starting working towards it in increments...everyday and consistently.

7.) How much money do you make annually (gross) from video related work?
It depends on the market. Don't undercharge but charge as much as you think you can the client results.
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