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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old December 2nd, 2007, 08:49 PM   #1
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Freelancing For Free, Enough is Enough!

Hey there everyone. I'm just starting off in this business, I've heard that some videographers, often in the wedding videography business, do a few freebies to get some experience.

My first wedding was as a freelancer as a 2nd videographer for someone with more experience, I never actually asked if he was planning on giving me my cut, months went by, no mention of pay, and he never sent the final video so I could at least use some of it for my reel. Then I did a free one on my own. Thats TWO free weddings.. Then he contacts me again. I do another free wedding, He continues to contact me about prospective projects in the future, and I don't know what to say... I want experience, but I feel I deserve to be paid, Since in the very beginning I did not establish any expectations, I feel he may be taking advantage of me, as I am very young.

How do I find out if he's going to pay me for the next job? Or for the last wedding we did? I must admit, I'm quite shy about asking right out.. Everytime he asks me to do a new project, I like to assume that he's going to pay me, but then we shoot it, and thats the end of it. But I figured once he collected his final pay after giving the finished video to the client, that I might begin to see some cash.. Am I being extremely naive?
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Old December 2nd, 2007, 09:02 PM   #2
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Seriously if you don’t have the courage to bring it up Id say wedding videos might not be for you. A HUGE part of the business is customer facing where you need confidence in dealing with (often picky/pushy/bitchy) people.

If you're 'shy' you're going to get railroaded. If you simply aren’t good at this type of thing then you need to partner with someone who is. Then you handle the creative and they can deal with everything else.

Not being mean, just keeping it real.

Best of luck.
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Old December 2nd, 2007, 09:08 PM   #3
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The reason I am afraid to bring is up is mainly because he is the only person I have networked with so far in this business around my area, and I think it's good to have a contact.
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Old December 2nd, 2007, 09:20 PM   #4
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I think you should do 2 things. First decide if you are willing to walk away from the "experience" this person will provide if they won't agree to pay you.

If you are willing to do that, then the second thing is to be honest and forthright. There is nothing wrong with expressing your feelings to him just like you did here. "I have helped you on a couple of jobs already, do you see my contributions as worthy of compensation? If not, what do you need to see for that to happen, and are you willing to compensate me once I'm there?"

If he says no way, you probably don't want to be associated with him as a "contact" in the future. If he will take advantage of you this way, what will he do once you are the competition?

Business is business.
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Old December 2nd, 2007, 09:27 PM   #5
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You need to alter your business relationship with him immediately. Tell him politely and firmly, no more working for free. Ask him for a clear-cut explanation of how much he will pay you and when, before committing to any further work. Tell him that you're grateful for the experience so far, but from this point forward you're strictly for hire. It's time get this matter out in the open, otherwise he'll just continue to take advantage of you. Either he pays, or you part ways. Very simple.
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Old December 2nd, 2007, 09:46 PM   #6
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Hey guys enough of the crummy advise. I need a guy for free to shoot for six weeks in Panama, provided of course he buys his own plane ticket.

Seriously Jenna, you are being used.

Jim
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Old December 2nd, 2007, 10:01 PM   #7
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Okay, what if there is a possibility that he is planning on paying me for this last wedding, i don't think he's delivered the finished product yet so he hasn't collected the pay..

What if he is expecting to pay me, and then I come out and tell him I'm not working for free anymore, then he'll get away with not paying me for the past projects I've worked on. I mean, does he KNOW that I expect to be paid.. ? Isn't that common sense?

or is that hoping for to much? Maybe I should cut my losses and say something even if there was the small chance that he might have eventually paid me..
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Old December 2nd, 2007, 10:11 PM   #8
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You will never see a dime.

Jim
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Old December 2nd, 2007, 10:17 PM   #9
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I agree, if he's not bringing it up either, it's for a reason. Sorry!

Carl
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Old December 2nd, 2007, 11:40 PM   #10
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This would make, what, three times in a row he wants you to help? Seems if you weren't doing a good job, he wouldn't have called you back the second time.

It's time to start the conversation with, "Sure, I'll do it. What does it pay? And when?" You've got your time and equipment costs (I'm assuming you're using your own gear) to cover. Don't go in again without a clear understanding of what you're going to get paid AND WHEN.

Martin
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 07:49 AM   #11
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After 3 weddings you've gain enough 'experience' that you need to start getting paid from this guy, NOW. I agree, alter your relationship with him and when he askes about work answer "fine, how much and when do I get it"?

Old saying in business..."money talks, BS walks" I'll bet when you ask him he'll walk.
Then you should start networing with others.

Don
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 09:41 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenna Klingensmith View Post
I never actually asked if he was planning on giving me my cut

I must admit, I'm quite shy about asking right out..

I like to assume that he's going to pay me, but then we shoot it, and thats the end of it.
don't blame him, it is a waste of energy. you need to look at what YOU are doing first.

i never asked...
i assumed...
Since in the very beginning I did not establish any expectations...
i'm shy...

i'd start right here. because even if you walk away from this guy, you need to examine your own habits, because they will come right along with you into the next situation. the sooner you get with that reality, the sooner you will create the type business you want, i promise.

THE single most important part of being in the video business is negotiating the price...and especially, finding a price that you will feel content with, the price that will allow you to work with a peaceful, quiet mind.
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 12:14 PM   #13
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thanks for all of your advice guys. I suppose I will ask, and I should expect that I'll probably never hear from him again. He's actually been kinda trying to work with me on some of my stuff, I started doing music videos for local bands, and he wants to learn about it, and I suppose he'd work for free, but I prefer being the only person in my area that does that type of thing. Of course, i've been working for free on that as well, without a music video to show, I have nothing to bring bands in. I did one so far, thats enough for me to begin charging, right?

Geez, I just want to make SOME money doing what I love to do! lol
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 12:34 PM   #14
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As others have told you, this guy is using you. When I shoot for someone freelance I don't expect them to be paid by the client before they pay me. Their cash flow is their problem. Others who know me on this board will testify that I'm not a pushy person, but if I do a shoot I expect to be paid quite soon (usually with 1-2 weeks). If I kept getting called back for free work as many time as you have I'd follow the suggestion of others and have the conversation about getting paid. You can do it politely but firmly and you should both be able to benefit. Right now only one side is benefiting and it's not yours. You may be gaining experience, but after three weddings you're probably ready to test your own wings. Either that or start getting paid for your help.
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Old December 3rd, 2007, 12:43 PM   #15
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Jenna:

Don't worry about loosing a business contact. Cut loose from the guy asap. Are you confident yet of working by yourself? If you are, then you should have even less concerns with disassociating yourself from him. Why not start booking gigs on your own?
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