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


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Old February 23rd, 2005, 07:17 AM   #1
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what is it with these people... Rant hat on..


heres a situation where 2 couples wanted to book a double package, so i give them bells and whistles and they still shop around..

so im like, yeah ok.. thats all good, but im not gonna drop my prices jsut coz this next guy is desperate for the job..

GGGGGRRRRRRR

now dont get me wrong, their deal was sweeeeeeeeeeet.. its prolly the best deal ive offered anyone simply due to the double booking..

now the doozy.. theyre gettin married THIS FRIGGIN WEEKEND and they have the audacity to ask for a further discount as well as raw footage..... ARGH!!!!!!! my god.. where do these people get off??

Then theyre like.. can we pay a bit now and the rest later??
and im like.. NO..

I mean would they go to KMart and find a hairdryer for 60bux.. take it to the check out and say.. hey can i give you $40 for this? or how bout you throw in a free brush and hairspray for me?? Or do they go to the petrol pump and fill up.. then go to the check out and say.. hey, can i have a free coke with that??
Or how bout i buy a car.. and pay you when i get some money together??

Come on.. this is a business here.. i mean its good to be flexible.. but sometimes, these lemonade budgets on champaigne diets really get to me.. not the demands.. no.. what they want is usually pretty standard.. but when they start gettin didgy with the cash... sometimes i wonder why i put up with it..
And the other guy.. im [__] this close to refusign to service their day..

Rant hat off..

anyone tick you off like this?? what did you do??
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Old February 23rd, 2005, 07:30 AM   #2
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Next time, maybe give future couples this example...tell them it's really not acceptable behaviour considering you are a professional that is working very hard for them. I think upfront discussions about "how it works" goes a long way. I've done it and it works - tell them where the breaking point is and they will almost always respect it. Obviously, tell them in a way that doesn't turn them off. However, your KMart senario sounds like a good way to put it.
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Old February 23rd, 2005, 07:40 AM   #3
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Mate, im the definition of explaination lol.. i go into so much detail, its almost boring.. lol
I literally tell them step by step what we on the day.
this way there are no questions later on...

no, these poeple know my work.. they know what i need to do the work..
Yeah sure, im a little more demanding than most as i wont do a job unless i have all the details on paper, but then again, im paid to do a job properly, and if i cant, well they end up with a cruddy Presentation at no fault of my own..

Another thing is that i work very differently to most. Im very close with the couple by the time we film, so they feel as if were friends, which is all good, but sometimes they push it.. most times its golden as i usually get 200% cooperation from everyone. By the end of the night theyre buying me drinks and including us in their speeches. This is the type of impact im tryin to create with what we do compared to the competition.

i mean if youve seen my website, youll see how detailed i am with what i do. but i honestly dont think its me or the way i run the business, as i have hundreds of clients who have nothing but praise for the service as well as the end product..

I dunno.. im jsut gonan write this one off as a bad experience and deliver it as fast as i can cause i reallly dont have time for idiots like this.. lol
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Old February 23rd, 2005, 07:40 AM   #4
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I'm not in that business, nor have I experience in it, but Peter, you're right.
Their way of acting is just...well, rude? weak word yes, but sums it to a tee.
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Old February 23rd, 2005, 07:45 AM   #5
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oh another thing i noticed is that the couples that go for the BIG packages, understand that alot of work is involved and appreciate the time it takes to go into detail with them..
theyre ok..
but the ones that go for the cheaper packages just dont seem to understand that irrespective of the package, alot of work is still required to create a decent presentation.
I guess its the attitude of that market... who knows.. but ive adapted my prices and im testing it out on every 5 queries based on their locations and the times in which theyre gettin married.. im not about to offer a 2005 priced package for 2006... these brides are cluey so they milk the fact that if they get in soon, they may end up saving afew quid...
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Old February 23rd, 2005, 07:53 AM   #6
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oh dnt get me started on corporates.. LOL
they love the work, they know i deliver.. but why do they leave everythin to the last minute? LOL

Ok im throwing my Rant hat out the window..

i guess the reason i write all this is coz ive been corresponding to potential clients, as well as existing clients via email tonight for the last 4 hours..
Theyve all been good mind you.. apart from this one numbnuts..
BUT
i havent done ANY editing.. :(

its 1am, and id be lucky to get 2 hours worth of cutting done..
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Old February 23rd, 2005, 09:34 AM   #7
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This kind of this is quite common in any service industry. They end up talking the catering hall down, getting a few freebies from the photog, etc- why NOT have the videographer give you a discount too! That's the mentality.

Beings the product isn't a direct tangeble and more of an actual service the value is sometimes deemed negotiable. Some may feel we are priced in such a way to buffer haggled prices despite the fact many of us are not. I, personally, price myself exactly what I think I'm worth- the amount of time I spend on each project, the finished production quality, etc.

Some say not to negotiate prices and to even post it on your price sheet in bold print, "All Prices NON-NEGOTIABLE". I understand the reasoning behind it- why should one couple get a better deal just because they haggled. However...that said I do feel it's helpful to be flexable withiin reason.

For example- I just got a call the other night from a past groom of mine who's friend I met up with a week earlier in regards to booking a wedding package. He said, "Look... Joe and Lisa (ficticious names) really like your work and WANT you as their videographer but they can't afford it. Me and a few other friends are going to pitch in $1,000 or so to help them out. I really feel akward even asking this but ...is there anything you can do with the price?"

NOW.........the non-negotiable law stated above would have me be very stern and say NO. However I approached it from a more flexable angle, stating, "I usually don't negotiate prices, however beings you and your wife are past clients of mine and have sent me several more bookings I'm willing to do what I can to help you guys out. If they are, indeed, interested in my top (most expensive package) I'll be willing to take $199 off the top and issue a more flexable payment plan that'll break the payments up into 1/3rd's to help spread out the expense over a longer period of time." Sure I am losing $200 but I'm gaining a booking on a date that isn't quite popular and..... it's my biggest package.

Moral of the story- sometimes it helps to be somewhat flexable...not so much so that your being walked on but just enough to make the client feel happy with their decision to book and a comfort in knowing you were willing to work with them. Granted I don't think this completely applies to your situation but you might want to try offering them extras that are of little cost to you. For example, extra copies on DVD. A solid value to the client (if you charge per disc extra) and not much of an expense to fullfill. If things like that don't help then maybe leave your last offer as it stands. If they want you they'll book- if not, you might be better off without this gig/client. Remember we can't expect to book EVERY client that shows interest.
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Old February 23rd, 2005, 11:40 AM   #8
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Hi Peter,

I feel that one of the biggest bargaining chips that we as professionals have can be our williningness to walk (same as the Clients). I think more than trying to stop a Client from walking by negotiating price, we should concentrate on quality of work. If you produce the best video and they still walk, obviously quality isn't a concern - instead, price is, and chances are the price will never be low enough for them.

I took a look at your website to get a better idea of what you offer and I love your site! I didn't see any samples, but the layout is beautiful. Then I found it:
"Studio-D Digital Video and Multimedia Productions is one of the Cheapest DVD Producers in Sydney."

Sounds like you set yourself up for these types of inquiries. Eeks - the "cheapest"??? Maybe these potential Clients are testing that theory.

On another forum, I guess I'm known for all the wacky "rules" we've established for ourselves. But more than rules, I consider them "standards." For example, we won't book in less than 2 months prior to the event. Why? Obviously videography isn't a priority if they waited that long. Chances are it is an afterthought and they're looking for a last minute deal and I don't have time to negotiate an afterthought. Also, chances of getting cooperation and quality footage on the day of the wedding are slim - again, b/c video is obviously not a priority. In our experience, it ended up being one headache after another. Who needs the frustration.

We won't work for anyone but the couple. No parents, no coordinators, not as a "gift." Parents may hire us, but we have to meet with the couple before the wedding. Ever try shooting a b&g who didn't want to be on camera? Again, who needs the aggrevation.

We prefer to avoid certain photographers and turn away several weddings based on that.

We won't book a wedding without consulting with the couple first, preferably in person. Mainly this avoids problems and questions later. Also, we like to read couples and if we don't feel comfortable with them - if there are too many red flags, suddenly we aren't so available anymore. Whoops, look at that, we just received another contract in the mail - we're no longer available.

Of course, we weren't always in a position to be so "picky." We've also been doing this for 10+ years and even back in the 90's we were "selective" and had our "rules." But I admit, sometimes it was hard when the phone would stop ringing... and we would "give in"... BUT we paid the price later and were quickly reminded why we came up with these rules in the first place.

Those 2 inquiries you mentioned - we wouldn't be available. We have a threshold for negotiating and questions. If they ask once, that's fine, but if we explain why we don't or won't give a discount and they persist, they're gone. Let it be someone else's problem.

Glen is so right in that this industry perpetuates the "car-salesman" notion that we are open for negotiating, and our peers can sometimes be our worst enemy when it comes to this - undercutting, etc. I've seen vendors "steal" brides away by "sweetening the deal" - photographers, DJs, videographers, you name it. But after several years of meeting our quota for bookings with our rules semi-firmly in place, I've become fairly confident that for every booking we pass on and refuse to negotiate, 3 more come along who appreciate the quality of work. (I say "semi-firmly" b/c of course there are exceptions to every rule, but they have to be good exceptions...)

So, like I said, having the quality to back it up has really helped in this endeavor. When people start hiring you for you and not by default, you know you have some leverage.

Best of luck.
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Old February 24th, 2005, 02:28 AM   #9
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Nice website you've got, Jennifer. How do you charge your clients?
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Old February 24th, 2005, 07:04 AM   #10
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thanks for the replies.. its really intresting to see how its nto just me thats feeling it..

Glen, in your situation, id probably do the same. Despite my sharpness, i really do have a softspot and i dont like lettin people down. Im also very accomodating.. sometimes too accomodating as my wife keeps telling me.. LOL
I also have payment plans etc but sometimes thres only so much we can do. Im a one man band. so doing al this and working a supply store for my "friendly competitors" really drains it out of me.. Im strecthed too thin now and im burning out. Its not good..

Jennifer, your rules seem to be a good way to go, right now im taking practically every job which comes our way.. at the moment the wedding element of the studio hasnt paid itself off and im tryin to get that happening..Id love to be abel to stell people to take a hike, but im not in that position im afraid..
Thank you for the comments on my website.. i have a student firned of mine who neded a test subject, so i made it as difficult as i could for him, but to create a site which was informative and easy to navigate and answered most of teh clients questions.
Some people cant be bothered reading though.. which is a shame as it wastes so much time when ur forced to explain things..

I like your attitude with the work rules and the way you explain how the rules work. U see, i go with a central business plan, and that sometimes overides any normal though into logistics or the desire to do a certain job.

i think from here, im going to create a set of my own rules and stick with them. I mean if its going to alleviate the tension, it can only be a good thing.
Glenn, your thoughts on this matter are appreciated, and yoru demeaner is very cool calm and collected. My issue is that i get so enthraled with the concepts of some of these couples weddings that im like a little boy. To me this industry is an escape.. i do this as it allows me to earn good money while being creative.

Ive put alot into this i guess.. and i feel that sometimes i need to validate my choice in opening up this business. Sometimes i feel i need to justify what i do to myself to make me believe that what im doing is right for me.. even though i know i love what i do.. reality and friends and family sometimes dissuade me from my passion.. and when a client is difficult, it jsut makes it that much more harder to handle in the belief that im doing the right thing for my business, myself and my family, when im being reasonable and accomodating to their needs..

aaaaaaanyways.. i thnk im going to change that comment (thatnks for pointin it out, i actually forgot that, as were no longe rone of the cheapest (it was a line we used when we first went public to at least get afew cheap jobs under our belt.. i dont need that now thank goodness.. lol

but thanks again guys.. youve really opened my eyes :)
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Old February 24th, 2005, 07:22 AM   #11
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I recently booked a wedding after the bride originally had turned me down for my price. Now in my area I'm just starting out and feel that I price fairly based on the couple or so years of doing weddings and the amount of equipment I have. So I'm a bargain in my area, but not the basement. The bride originally turned me down because I was almost three times as much as the dude that wanted to charge less than my ceremony only price. Well she looked at his stuff and then called me wanting to see my stuff. It all worked out because she said she didn't like the way this other dude's quality and techniques looked. I did move on my price for her, but I think it's fair considering my skill set and equipment.

Who knew that this biz was more than just running around with a camera and saying cheese!


It's helpful to me to hear the stories. I started in this business because I enjoy it and figured if I'm going to do it, it should atleast pay for itself.

And Peter, she did want me to move even more, but I told her that I wouldn't and at that point I was fine wether she walked or I did.

I remember my initial pitch over the phone was lengthy explaining what we offer in terms of multi-camera and pre-wedding consultations and such. I really think my investment in my 'sales pitch' is one of the reasons she called me back.
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Old February 24th, 2005, 07:36 AM   #12
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Pricing/Legal contracts - request for info.

Hey Glen (or anyone) - could you guys share your "price sheets" and or anything else you've got related to the legal aspect of making the deal?

I've got a few things that I'm not happy with - and I've gotten to the point where I need to update my prices and contracts. Actually, I've been so busy that the last few jobs I neglected to have people sign the contract. The reason I gave myself was the "contract isn't updated anyway".

That's a bad excuse for myself, so I need to get on the ball! I've download a few things from others and checked them out, but I'm looking for a solid bolier plate. If anyone has anything please let me know! (or a link elsewhere) :)
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Old February 24th, 2005, 08:44 AM   #13
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drop me an email mate :)
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Old February 24th, 2005, 10:50 AM   #14
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Re: Pricing/Legal contracts - request for info.

"Actually, I've been so busy that the last few jobs I neglected to have people sign the contract. "

Oh my, I actually gasped in dismay when I read that. Dude, protect yourself! It's only a matter of time before that comes back to bite you in the butt. When we first started out - our contract was 1 page. Now it's 3, with one entire page dedicated to the "fine print" alone.

As we encountered more bizarre and sticky situations, we added amendments. Also, as couples brought us their concerns and questions, we figured out ways to make them feel protected, as well.

I'm a huge proponent of laying it all out and answering all questions and concerns BEFORE the contract is even signed, so if issues do come up (b/c no matter how hard you try, one will come along) I can always revert back to the contract and our previous conversations - kinda like an "I told you so..."
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Old February 24th, 2005, 11:02 AM   #15
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<<<-- Originally posted by Peter Jefferson :

i think from here, im going to create a set of my own rules and stick with them. I mean if its going to alleviate the tension, it can only be a good thing.

Ive put alot into this i guess.. and i feel that sometimes i need to validate my choice in opening up this business. Sometimes i feel i need to justify what i do to myself to make me believe that what im doing is right for me.. even though i know i love what i do.. reality and friends and family sometimes dissuade me from my passion.. and when a client is difficult, it jsut makes it that much more harder to handle in the belief that im doing the right thing for my business, myself and my family, when im being reasonable and accomodating to their needs.. -->>>
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Oh good, I forgot to mention that our rules may not be suitable for you, necessarily, so everyone has to come up with their own set of rules of what makes them comfortable and keeps them happy doing this job. B/c without enjoying this, there can be a high burnout rate, if you ask me! Glad to hear you figured that out - coming up with your own rules. Didn't mean to preach mine to you - just offering examples. :o)

I will admit that the hard part is sticking to them - b/c I think we all experience that lag in phone calls and inquiries where we start to question our stability. Desperation sets in - I know the feeling. We have caved on occasion over the years but in almost every case, we were quickly reminded why we "instituted the rule" in the first place.

I so toatally hear you in that last paragraph. This is an interesting biz - very consuming - and without an understanding family or finding a good balance between work-life and personal-life, it can become more of a challange.

My hubby, Brian, will tell you that his life got a lot easier when I became obsessed with the biz, also. Not only b/c I carry half (uh-hem, at least) of the workload, but b/c I'm not bugging him about the instability of it, the equipment purchases and the investments necessary to build the biz, and the time he has to put into it. Instead, I'm right next to him, bearing the burden of love for this job.
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