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Old May 23rd, 2007, 07:43 PM   #31
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Sounds like the old saying:

"Hey, I've listened to five or six symphonies last month alone - I should be able to write one, easy"..

Did you notice the same things happening when the PC first came out?

Giving them a word processor and a novel to read doesn't make them an author.

Giving a kid a video camera and an NLE doesn't make that kid a filmmaker.

If your client wants to hire the kid, let them. More money for you when you make them pay the penalty later on to fix/reshoot/rescue that production.
And believe me, I do. Make them pay more.

I believe it was a far back as Chekov who wished the stage were as wide and treacherous as a tightrope, and all those unskilled enough to tread unwarily upon it would fall to their deaths...

Maybe that kid will turn out to be the bext best thing in filmmaking.
Chances are, though, not.

A niche can be just a high technical level. Just make sure you at least read through your manuals and learn to make your camera really perform well. That's just like a pro pianist practicing scales every day. If you don't, well, there's always another younger pianist who does practice every day...

Go through your job from stem to stern with a tradition and expectation of only the highest excellence. Shamelessly ask for retakes, even reshoots, if at all possible, because it's your signature on the end of those programs.

Doubtless, the kid will ask his dad for $16k to compete with your company. If he's any good, he may get it too. So what do you have that the kid doesn't have? If you answer is "nothing", well, then maybe the kid is right after all.

I seriously doubt it, though.

I was just scalped in a network job by a young editor who thought she was better than me, and convinced the execs that she was. I was fired from the job (senior editor) and had a hard time surviving until the beginning of the present season. She botched the job completely, left indignant, and is now on a cool young crew of the next best show in Hollywood. This is typical, not unusual at all.

The execs from the original show did not call me up, but if they had I would have tripled my rate to clean up her mess. Just to let them know how much I appreciated their business.
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 07:58 PM   #32
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My point? Find a niche, something no one is doing yet or no one is doing well, yet. BUT if you are one of the only people doing X type of work, guess what? - you are the go to person. I found a niche and to this day I am the only one in AZ that is doing it (don't look, I am not advertising it yet).
I agree with that but here is yet another catch to being the unique or first when offering a particular service especially when in a small town. Over the last few years, I have been the first in my area not to create but to offer several useful services before any others. However, the problem with that is these were way ahead of their time and it just didn't catch on because my area is just not up to speed with technology as with many other smaller areas. The problem with this is that by the time the area does catch up to technology, others have discovered these new services to be offered and it is then saturated or worse, offered with a lower rate and less than acceptable support which makes everyone doing it look bad. A great example of this are these video sharing sites that have the broadcasters, actors and oh yes, advertisers really concerned. Those sites are taking tv viewers away and cheapening media delivery. At first, reality shows were the big concerns for the actors but the networks love it because they don't have to pay the cast anything which is more profit for them from the advertisers. Wireless video delivery to phones and PDAs is slowly becoming mainstream and the networks are giving in by supplying their programming because if they don't, someone else will. The next few years in this industry should be real interesting. My advice for anyone thinking about getting into this industry is to get a degree in something that has a more stable income and do this on the side until it makes money. If you are past that point don't quit your current job at least until you win the lottery.
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Old May 23rd, 2007, 08:49 PM   #33
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Giving a kid a video camera and an NLE doesn't make that kid a filmmaker.
True BUT
It makes them a filmmaker in their eyes and their family's eyes. People are, well, gullable (too be nice). They want to believe so bad that their son or daughter is the best at everything, it blinds them to the point of making bad decisions. It may even blind them to the point of seeing a "great video". I've been to a few houses and have had a few people show me their aspiring son's work in which the "whole family" agrees is the best. Sorry to say neither I nor my crew could even come close in appreciation. Whatever works I guess, I try not to bash too much. But it is those decisions bad decisions that hurt our income. It amounts to the CEO of a large company saying "Oh well my 16 year old Johnny can add 2+2, lets have him to our taxes this year." or is that extreme, lol

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Leong View Post
If your client wants to hire the kid, let them. More money for you when you make them pay the penalty later on to fix/reshoot/rescue that production.
And believe me, I do. Make them pay more.
OH I TOTALLY AGREE!!! Heck I don't want to film a graduation anyway, it started as a favor! The problem is that many people are too embarrassed to call after the damage...


Sucks that girl ripped you like that and then gets even more deals! Argh! That would take a 12 pack or two, jk.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 07:16 AM   #34
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In response to Brandon's original question, Yes there could be 8 million videographers out there in 5 years, however, Buying a camera and I movie doesn't make you a pro, it also doesn't make you a good businessman either. As a lot of experienced people have already said, there is no job security in any profession. As many here will tell you, yes you can make a good living in video producion, whether you work for yourself or a company.

Brandon, here's how I did it. I spent years working for tv stations and production companies, In fact I still work for a production company, But I also "freelanced" for a year saved the money I made and bought all of my own gear. I paid cash for everything by the way, no debt to anyone. I started my own company and now get the tax benefits. I have marketed my company thru friends businesses and thru word of mouth and so on. I still have my "day" job, but I work nights and weekends for myself. So I look at that as my "job security." Cause 1 day I may not have my day job, I have little to no control over that. So I am setting myself up with my own "job security." In the mean time I am saving my profits since my equipment is all paid for.

I hope this helps you and gives you a good model for working in this business.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 08:41 AM   #35
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Nearly half my work is either repairing or re-doing something that someone either tried to do themselves or tried to save money on by going with the "cheap" guy.



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Old May 26th, 2007, 03:44 AM   #36
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If you don't love working in post or production get out before it's too late. You'll never make enough money to "make-up" for all the stress, long hours, and degraded social life demanded by this industry. But if you love it, there's nothing better than the feeling of getting a project out the door after you've gone thru hell and high water to finish it under deadline.


Touching on the slightly OT topic of the democratization of video production, I'd dare say there are more jobs now than they were 15 years ago if you include all the networks, the hundreds of cable channels, original internet content, and the DVD market (both direct-to-DVD content as well as behind-the-scenes content on DVD features). Of course there is more competition now than ever, but much/most of that is at the low end. The music, print, literary and photography fields have all gone thru this "shake-up" and managed to survive so I think the video/film industry will too. Like they say, just because you have a baseball bat in the garage doesn't mean you can swing like Babe Ruth.


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Old May 26th, 2007, 12:33 PM   #37
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"dare say there are more jobs now than they were 15 years ago if you include all the networks"

i agree and will add that on average most of those new jobs are paying less $$, IMO overall wages have dropped over the past 10 years ... there are so many out there looking for work (and they have the skills) = the old suppy vs. demand theory ...
i think you'll find that most of these lower wages are in the low- med budget areas of ALL production ( from wedding to commercials to features) ...

i see friends out there working for 5-800 day (w/camera) - which may sound good but 10 years ago that same type project was paying 1200-1500 day ( w/camera) ...

and on the subject of job security ...
sometimes one has to make a choice ?
you can have job security and dislike what you are doing ...
you can love what you're doing and have no job security ..
then there is probably something between those -
i went into the business , loved the work ... the subject of job security never came up ... looking back i can see there was never any job security ...
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Old May 26th, 2007, 01:11 PM   #38
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Agree, Don.

I believe the job security nowadays is in what you do. So, as an editor, I've been going from job to job for over 15 years now. So far I've only had a couple of close scrapes, but that's probably because I never really saved any backup money. I've also spent a lot on diversifying my own business (product, as against service) so that's meant sailing a little closer to the wind than I'd normally do, but that also means an income or investment return in the coming years that normally a retirement account would (perhaps) provide.

So yes, I think one creates one's own "security", in a sense.

Also, I do believe that the economy, like many things, is cyclical. I can remember turning down a job after I'd bid on it because the amount awarded for that job (a series of commercials) was around half the amount I'd bid for the same job for the same client some ten years before that. And that happened in the late 80's.

Then the prices went up again, and now they're down again.

But like the price of gas, they're never down quite as far as they were last time. At least, not for me.

But like the economists say, it's not simply a matter of the same service for less. By that token, a 50MB hard drive should cost less than five bucks new these days. No, they still want your $200-250 for the drive (okay, $199), but now they give you 300GB for that same price.

So the price of entry, at least on a technological level, is constantly climbing. I can remember the words "offline edit" or "rough cut". Remember those words? They actually meant something to people, not too long ago. So now, for the same or slightly more money than before, I am essentially finishing a cut so that the execs can peruse it at their leisure, and pick their notes out of a hat, as they always have.

Value added, I believe they call it.
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Old May 26th, 2007, 02:57 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by Don Donatello View Post
i agree and will add that on average most of those new jobs are paying less $$, IMO overall wages have dropped over the past 10 years ... there are so many out there looking for work (and they have the skills) = the old suppy vs. demand theory ...
i think you'll find that most of these lower wages are in the low- med budget areas of ALL production ( from wedding to commercials to features) .
I read an article recent talking about how people in their 30's are making less now than they previous did at the same age. So much for always moving on ward and up ward.

http://money.cnn.com/2007/05/25/pf/m...ex.htm?cnn=yes


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Old June 12th, 2007, 01:49 PM   #40
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Pen and paper are accessible to everyone, but not everyone is a successful novelist. Similarly, video and film are about telling stories visually. Giving everyone a camera will not make them a successful story teller.

The craft is in the mind, not in the tools. Everyone may have the tools, but not everyone has the craft.
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Old October 9th, 2008, 05:49 AM   #41
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The craft is in the mind, not in the tools. Everyone may have the tools, but not everyone has the craft.
I think that's something that's forgotten all too frequently on here. So many people tend to assume that great technology=great films.

I know a production companies who regularly produce content, some award-winning, for CNN/BBC using Sony Z1s and even A1s. They won the awards for the stories they told, not because they were using the best equipment known to man.

With undercover docs, the most exhilarating moments are usually caught on tiny cameras that produce dodgy visuals, and the sound usually requires sub-titles.
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Old October 9th, 2008, 09:43 AM   #42
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There is never any real job security for anyone anywhere. The guys who worked for Railroad Express Agency (REA)thought they had some of the most secure jobs on the planet. Odds are no one on this board under 40 has ever even HEARD of REA other than classic train buffs. Once you can accept that security is always an illusion, you can relax and do what you really love in life.
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Old October 10th, 2008, 08:05 AM   #43
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Keep the faith....

Hi Brandon,

From my experience the current credit crunch is putting pressure on budgets and I am finding that even multi-national companies are offering pitifully small budgets for productions. Find your niche, build your network and above all keep making really good videos. The margins are tight, but good quality work will endure. I can't tell you whether you should make the leap or not, but I wouldn't be in any other field of work.

Good luck! Kevin
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Old October 10th, 2008, 09:06 AM   #44
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I think that's something that's forgotten all too frequently on here. So many people tend to assume that great technology=great films.
I don't disagree at all Vinny but I AM getting tired of kids straight out of media college tainting people with the perception that technology equals smaller cameras and that they and their $1000 palmcorder can deliver the same end product as my 2 $10k cameras with $15k in lighting instruments and $4k in audio gear and $3k in camera support and...

I ACTUALLY had a client this summer who looked at me with suspicion when I showed up with my tricked out JVC GY-HD200 with oncamera light, wireless receiver et al and said "oh that must be old! It's so big, I thought you had good gear..." ARGH! Good thing I didn't buy the new Sony F700 XDCam 422! That would OBVIOUSLY be worse because it's even BIGGER <tongue planted so firmly in cheek I can taste blood>

Agreed, a natural HONED AND REFINED storytelling talent is more important than gear but good visuals certainly help to tell a compelling story (and sorry parents, your 14 year old little Jimmy hasn't been telling stories as long as I have but I'd love to mentor him...)

Oh, and to stay on topic: I've worked for myself for 10 years and couldn't see myself going back to working for "the man". However, learn to budget and keep a reserve of cash because there are feasts and there are famines in the world of video.
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Old October 10th, 2008, 11:40 AM   #45
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Oh, and to stay on topic: I've worked for myself for 10 years and couldn't see myself going back to working for "the man".
I'm 9 years, 9 months behind you, but already I know I'll never work as an employee again for the rest of my life.

In just three months being full-time self-employed, I've gone through so many ups and downs already. One week I've nothing to do, the other I'm turning down jobs I don't have the time to. I don't know what the next few years are going to bring in the current climate, but take comfort in the fact that I'm in control of my own future, rather than sending off CVs praying someone in an HR office somewhere is going to throw me a bone.

I agree with you on that the equipment does of course count to a huge degree. To be perfectly honest it's the newcomers (and I count myself as one) who I find more likely to forget the importance of good storytelling.

I come from a print journalism background (another industry plagued by kids with trust funds who are willing to work for free or next to nothing), so I'm probably more story-obsessed than the average DoP, some of whom might be within his rights to focus more on the kit and technology he needs to get results.

My ambition is to establish a company that provides a reasonably regular income, giving me the resources to direct documentaries, while also enabling me to learn a bit about sound and the DoP's craft along the way by doing it myself. I love doing it, but don't see a day where I'll have sufficient interest in the tiniest of technical minutiae to be exceptionally great at it.

However, I do plan to hand over anything I can't handle (and believe me, I know my limits) to more experienced DoPs with better kit.
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