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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old December 10th, 2009, 10:44 AM   #16
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Reminds me of an American guy I knew who used to have a job selling super-computers to the Chinese. And the inevitable clash of cultures when it came to negotiations.

They'd talk with you a bit and then go to their end of the table (or even another room) and discuss strategy/response amongst themselves before returning to talk again some more. (He never did let on to them that he could understand what they were saying in their native Chinese tongue, but I digress ...)

Inevitably, their response would be .... "We really like your computers, but we need it ... cheaper".

His response? "Sure. What part don't you want?"

The Chinese delegation really hated that.

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Old December 10th, 2009, 02:13 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Smith View Post
.... "We really like your computers, but we need it ... cheaper".

His response? "Sure. What part don't you want?"
Andrew
I laughed when I read this because I've said that to people. they say, "hey, can you do the job cheaper?" Me: "Sure, I just won't use tape so there won't be any need for editing, that'll save you a lot of money"

Some people though just don't have a sense of humor. Too bad!
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Old December 10th, 2009, 11:09 PM   #18
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Great thread.

It is tough but stick to your guns. Giving away your services or even under charging leads to burn out.

This is quite serious for small operators because if we burn out, there is nobody else to step in and take up the slack.

I see it as protecting your energy because the demanding want something for nothing types will suck the life out of you.
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Old December 11th, 2009, 12:01 AM   #19
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Our first two weddings ever were done for free. You need to start somewhere, and not only were these our first weddings but our first gigs of any kind. We honestly did not know what would come out of the camera.

But of course doing the immensely demanding job we do - one that has huge dollar, time and emotional costs (due to our emotional investment in our work) - is not an option at all.

I think it gets a tad more complicated when asked to offer a discount. If it's a Saturday in July, there is no way because that is a high demand day. But what about a Friday in March? Of course the costs are the same to us; I can't go to rent a lens and say, "It's for a Friday, can you give me a discount?" The equipment wear and tear and the editing time will be the same.

But from the couple's point of view, psychologically they expect something, and they'll be disappointed by paying full price, even if they did have the option of walking away. So consider adding something of high value to them and little cost to you rather than discounting the price. Like an additional hour or two of coverage.

Or remove elements of your service (an editing feature, raw footage) that won't adversely affect the product you deliver.

Another approach, though something I haven't done myself, is to incorporate some type of promotion within the wedding to help "get your name out" in exchange for a (slight) discount. But without being tacky if that's possible. Business cards on place settings is becoming more acceptable in my area, though I can't stand it. Name-dropping you during a speech is pretty natural and subtle. Any other ideas on this?

Have a conversation with your client about your costs and offer them the above, if anything it will lead to them having a deeper understanding of what you do, not a loss of respect.
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Old December 11th, 2009, 03:04 AM   #20
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The discount for midweek/out of season weddings stems from the venues. To us the costs are the same but to the venues weekend staff cost more to hire than week day staff (time and a half or double time here). We cant film every day as 1 day filming is 1-2 (or more) weeks of editing. But the venues discount as they want to sell the venue every day of the year.

This then means the budget brides book and expect all other vendors to offer the same discount. Which then means if we were to follow that we need to charge our peak season brides more to pay for the deficit generated by the out of season brides.

We used to offer extra hours but then realised 1 hour is an extra 2 tapes (2 cams). 2 hours of capture time and untold hours of editing the extra footage.
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Old December 11th, 2009, 06:22 AM   #21
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Where we are Winter is June/July and it's also the rainy season!!! So a bride can expect a cold damp wedding. However I have never been asked for a discount due to the fact we here consider the end of May to end of August "off season" Brides getting married in mid Winter pay exactly the same as brides in mid Summer!!

At our wedding reception venues they charge a lot less for a Sunday!! Saturday is considered premium rate but I won't change my rates..regardless of the day, I still do the same amount of work so I expect the same amount of renumeration!!! Simple as that!

I actually did a Thursday wedding last month..first time ever !!! and the bride paid normal prices and never questioned the cost or expected a discount due to the "midweek" period

Now and again I get asked to "sharpen my pencil" and like Don, I simply tell them no problem, we'll cut out filming the bridal preparation..they soon change their tune when they realise that they are not going to get the same coverage for less cost!! I might, of course, add in a little extra that the bride never asked for, as I'm at the venue and basically doing nothing...I call it a bonus but it's an "on the spur of the moment" thing and totally at my discretion...if they specifically ask me to do more than we agreed upon, they pay extra.

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Old December 11th, 2009, 07:49 AM   #22
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The mid-week discount thing isn't reasonable for me because, like Danny said, there is still the post production time which is the bulk of the production.

This may be a little off topic, but I think this anecdote is related.

A few months ago I was talking to a studio that I won't name because I'm not sure if they would want me talking about them. One potential client said that they loved the work and price, they just wanted a simply effect on their highlight reel It was something cheesy and cliche that can be seen all over the wedding videos of the early 1990s and 1980s.

I said, "Why not do it? It will take two seconds and it will get you that much closer to being fully booked. They very politely said to the client that they appreciated the interest, but feel that you're looking for something different than we're offering.

As it stands, they are fully booked for 2010 and have clients that all say the same thing -- we trust you, we know you'll do a great job. Let us know if you need anything.

I guess the point that I'm trying to make is that it is important to stick to your guns. It's easy to fill up the calendar with cheap weddings that come with more demands, but there are couple's out there who value your service and those are the couples that you should be waiting for.

Part of delivering a premium product is finding couples that inspire you as much as your work hopefully inspired them. It's tough to do that when you know they're getting a deal that you really shouldn't have given them.
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Old December 11th, 2009, 07:58 AM   #23
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Reminds me of a thought I have every now and then: When the client doesn't take you seriously, it's time to raise your hourly rate until they do.

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Old December 11th, 2009, 11:28 AM   #24
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This thread is discussing a number of different things that are actually separate issues. Marketing strategies are quite a bit different from allowing one's self to be taken advantage of by some cheapskate. In the marketing area, it can sometimes be appropriate to look for a job that can be used to generate portfolio material which can be used for "show and tell" material that can be used to generate follow-on paying jobs. If not charging for it is necessary to get the job, it still can be appropriate if you wind up with marketing materials that you can use to get subsequent jobs that you are paid for. That's quite different from allowing people to take advantage of you. One key question that differentiates it is: did you seek out the opportunity for a strategic marketing purpose or did someone call you with a mooching or sad story?

Perhaps the most damaging are the low-ballers who, even though they are being paid, charge much less than the going rate. When someone accepts $400 for a job that should be $2,000, it not only hurts their earning potential for future jobs, it hurts everyone else as well because their low-ball price becomes a pricing reference point in the market.
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Old December 11th, 2009, 01:42 PM   #25
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Doing 'freebies' only devalues your work. Either your time and talent are worth something... or they aren't.

That being said, it's a wonderful thing to VOLUNTEER your services to companies or organizations who promote something you believe in or moves you.
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Old December 12th, 2009, 07:09 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Snow View Post
This thread is discussing a number of different things that are actually separate issues. Marketing strategies are quite a bit different from allowing one's self to be taken advantage of by some cheapskate. In the marketing area, it can sometimes be appropriate to look for a job that can be used to generate portfolio material which can be used for "show and tell" material that can be used to generate follow-on paying jobs.
I agree, but in that case can your really call it a freebie? It;s marketing. And you are paying for it with a gig. In other words there is a mutual benefit. Something you at least consider tangible. I just don't like these one sided projects.

Take bands for example. How many of you have been asked if you could do a video but found the band has NO budget. Yet they promise to "throw you some cash when the get bigger and need another video..blah blah blah."

I always notice that the bands get paid, the sound guy gets paid yet the video guy they want shooting them play the isn't supposed to get paid?? My equipment was'nt free nor is my time worth nothing.
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Old December 12th, 2009, 06:16 PM   #27
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Here here

Here here. Two thumbs up. No freebies, ever. Its obviously not worth your time and in the end, you end up paying for these 'freebies' with loss of other possible paying clients.
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Old December 13th, 2009, 11:18 PM   #28
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funny thing is this happened to me.... booked in a semi friends wedding for next to nothing... Turn out a client rings and says wants my best package ($3200 Aussie dollars)...

So bascially i lost $3200 to do a freebie. To make it even worse the client rings after 2 weeks and says hows the video progress? I laughed and said dude, it was free its ready when its ready no sooner.... i said you ringing me to ask where the video is when you paid ZERO $$$$$$ is nothing short of dis respectful... pull your head in.... he understood and never bugged me about it again......

I say cheaper options only for immediate family.... thats it

The funny thing about the whole aspect of FREE is people's expectations..... its hilarious what they want when they are paying nothing!!!!

HOORAY for no freebies for 2010
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Old December 14th, 2009, 09:38 AM   #29
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Funny thread, just a couple weeks ago a "bride to be" here posted on Craigslist that giving free Photo/DJ/Video AND catering work would be a great opportunity because she will place our advertising and market us to her friends... all getting married soon. So she basically wanted her entire wedding free.

To Wedding vendors

To Wedding vendors (Philadelphia, PA)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: 2009-11-25, 11:23AM EST
Reply to: gigs-pdg52-1481835005@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


To wedding vendors,
Are you a videographer, caterer, photographer, wedding coordinator, wedding DJ, or any other type of wedding vendor? Are you willing to provide your services in exchange for you advertisements to my guests? (e.g. your business cards given in favor bags, your wedding information on on my wedding website, slideshow at the reception, programs, facebook--(over 1500 friends with me alone) etc.). If so please respond stating what you are willing to offer and what you would like in exchange. I haven't set a specific date yet, I am still open, although I've narrowed it down to the end of next year. My wedding will not be held on a peak day (not saturday night) so it won't me much trouble for you. I am an entertainment promoter so I'm definitely a natural at promoting and sharing what I loved about a vendor to people in addition to your information on my website etc. So your name will be out there in my community (many friends/associates of mine are either engaged or in a very serious relationship).

Contact me if you are interested!
-Bride-to-Be
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Old December 14th, 2009, 09:52 AM   #30
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The last wedding I shot was at a substantial discount for a great friend in a very tight financial situation. I told him he was getting a lower price than the "family discount".

He thought I was joking when I said that I charge family members.

The "family discount" is removal of fees charged for my presence - an hourly rate. I figure I'd be at the wedding anyhow, so I shouldn't charge them for that. The other stuff - tapes, batteries, editing time, wear-and-tear, discs, cases, paper, ink, etc... - all needs to be paid for.

I informed him not to tell ANYBODY how little he paid for the video. I told him what it should have cost him, and said he could give people that figure. I think he was a little blown away by the cost, but had a better understanding of the time and effort involved in the process.
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