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


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Old January 20th, 2010, 12:35 AM   #16
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The one that makes me laugh is, "We want to create a promotional piece, but there's no budget for it." Okay, so you want to promote something, but you already know that it's going nowhere... so you can't budget for promo work. Thanks, but call me when you find something that is worth promoting.

You need to walk away from clients that don't appreciate your work, and that are obviously grinding you down. But as with everything else, it's best to not take it personally. See it from their point of view (everyone wants a deal, I do too). Educate them a little. When you are starting it's more difficult to pass up work, but just by sticking with your prices you earn a bit of respect, and who knows, they may pay you what you are worth.

Jordan, we've had several experiences with clients who try to whittle down the service by saying, "We don't need this, we don't need that." You need to say, "In order for us to provide you with the top service we are capable of, actually you do need that. I'm sorry but we just don't offer a low budget service. That's because we refuse to create a low budget product."

I don't agree with the argument that the "yahoos" spoil the biz for us pro's. I've been hearing that one for a while. I honestly think that the type of client we want would never hire such a person. And those that do are going to learn quickly from the results and be ready to budget for more the next time around.
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Old January 20th, 2010, 01:45 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Blackhurst View Post
fast, cheap, quality, pick one...
Isn't the saying pick two? ;)

I remember it from a car performance forum I use to frequent : Fast, Cheap, Reliable. Pick two.
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Old January 20th, 2010, 07:12 AM   #18
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In the theme of walking away, I'm inclined to actually say: "I can't beat that amazing price. You should definitely go with them."

When the client has fallen on their face with the cheap fellas, they (hopefully) won't mind paying properly to have it done right the next time. ... which is where you come in, somewhere in the future.

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Old January 20th, 2010, 07:23 AM   #19
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Price...

There is a percentage of the population whose only criteria for purchasing anything, product or service, is price. And there is a percentage that consider price secondary. That's the way it always has been and the way it always will be.
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Old January 20th, 2010, 07:32 AM   #20
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The most common thing I get nowadays is "I can shoot it myself can you edit for me?" I've even got a computer store that I send all of my computer work through who got a commercial done through a local tv station (which frankly is the real problem, talk about lowballers that make total crap!). He told me he knew it was going to be aweful, but didn't call me because he knew they couldn't afford me. Now, they don't know what I charge, BUT, the ABC station did the commercial for FREE FREE people FREE. Because they were buying airtime. Unbelievable. Thank god for weddings.
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Old January 20th, 2010, 07:39 AM   #21
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Except that the commercial shoot effectively wasn't free. Not unless they were wanting to advertise the fact that they are an awfully daggy business. One wonders how much it has really cost them.

On the other hand, the guys at the TV station make your work look good by comparison.

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Old January 20th, 2010, 07:58 AM   #22
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I think it's not just the videogs/photogs that are getting hit. I saw an Ad at Craigslist, " DJ wanted, 7p-12am, must have own equipment, technobeat, etc. $ 85 FIRM, I am not paying more than that."

Let me play devil's advocate about sustainability, $ 850 for 16 weeks is good revenue at least for me. I work for an AV Company and we compete with another AV Company we call the whore, they drop their pants for whatever money so as long as they do the show. For years, they were being brushed off as " amateurs, they can't sustain the business because of their pricing, do they know how much a 10K Lumen Projector cost, maintainace, etc, etc". Last year they bought 2 AV companies, now they are a force to reckon with. I spoke to the owner and his logic is volume of work, I'd rather have 15K in money than 30K in papers. There will be amateur low ballers, then there are Still Motion caliber low ballers, I guess we all have to adapt to the change or we sink.

I use to freelance for a Photog, 3 years ago he books 60 weddings a year. He has this take it or leave it attitude, I won't go down in pricing coz I have been doing this for 25 years, etc, etc. Last year he did 4 weddings, he dropped his pricing but I guess the change was too late.

My opinion & 2 cents.
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Old January 20th, 2010, 08:47 AM   #23
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On the other side of the coin, I hate it when clients say "Oh, that's all? I thought it would be more..." I actually had that happen yesterday and I thought of this thread. It's a simple seminar shoot, just edit out the breaks and put on DVD for the client. Not to mention the seminar is being held literally across the street. I plugged the numbers into my spreadsheet and it said $850. I don't know what price she was bracing for, but it must have been far higher.
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Old January 20th, 2010, 08:56 AM   #24
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Yeah, but Noel.....

There was a time when videographers and photographers had their own studios...
Now their working from home to save costs...
Now they're expected to drop their prices to compete with the kid down the road, who has a video camera and a Craigslist ad?

I've talked with many photogs, and after 25 years, if they've gotta "whore" themselves out, then they'd be better off working at Walmart. At least it's steady work and benefits.

We have a local successful DJ service. They started offering DJ/Photo/Video services at cut throat prices..They're paying kids $100....YES $100.....for all day taping and stills...

Their theory is like Noel said, "volume".....But it only brings everybody down..
Reminds me something out of the movie Boogie nights, when the producers turned from film to VHS...
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Old January 20th, 2010, 09:47 AM   #25
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Hi Peter, I see where you are coming from. I do not condone the practice of low balling & I agree that the practice will bring the industry down, just how this AV Company made the audio-visual industry as a commodity and no longer who has the better techs, the better equipment, etc, etc. For multiple breakout rooms they throw in a kid who just turns on the power for the PA system /projector and call them your AV tech for the day.

But in the end as somebody posted here, there will always be the low ballers and it is a business decision on how we should adapt, ,my pricing is in between the low ballers & the high end market.

Great thread btw.
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Old January 20th, 2010, 10:09 AM   #26
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I wonder what happens when the kid doesn't show up.

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Old January 20th, 2010, 10:09 AM   #27
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@Robert
>I'd rather work for a lower rate than sit around twiddling my thumbs!

I disagree. Your rate is the value of your talent. If people can't afford your talent, then supplement your video work with something that earns you the money you need. Either that or reduce your cost of living (which is not always an option). Fight for your rate.

BTW, I love your green-screen work. Very nice. A fellow HMC150 user in Phoenix!
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Old January 20th, 2010, 10:20 AM   #28
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Hi Noel,

I suspect the phenomenon is quite broad. The print publishing industry giants fell with the intervention of self-publishing using digital processes. The music giants are crumbling in the face of self-marketing by individual musicians who can now produce high-end looking and sounding products by themselves using inexpensive CD and DVD automated duplication companies. The film studios are now desperately trying to headoff the independent producer/marketer/distributer who can do it on their own. Looks like it is now spreading beyond the giants and creeping into the arena of the medium-sized businesses like professional wedding and event videographers and competing with them as well.

All of this seems to be driven by the increasingly potent individual logistical support provided by digital wow! equipment allowing individuals to dabble in just about everything. The populist approach is great fun for the individual where really all that matters is the content (as several people have commented on the quality of YouTube presentations).

I guess the end result is a more widespread opportunity for creativity on an individual level, but a significant diminishment in the overall quality of what we see, especially in areas where previously only a pro could participate.

The giants of the publishing and music industries failed to find a new business model that would support them. It doesn't look like the film studios are really looking for a new business model -- they are simply trying to build a wall so the independent can't get in.

Perhaps we need to try to figure out a business model that will work in the face of these new factors (widespread availability of digital equipment in many areas that allow indivudals to do it themselves at a low level, a preception of "it's easy to do" and therefore should be cheap and quick, and a loss of expectations for quality or even an unerstanding of what is quality).

I sure wish I had the answer, but maybe seeing the problem from a broader perspective will assist us to find the new models.

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Old January 20th, 2010, 10:51 AM   #29
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I feel that we will always be ahead of the game - regardless of cheap techno-gadgets. We've got talent, a multitude of little tools, experience, and the technical knowledge to put everything together in post. That's what we charge for and why everyone else will come up short -- unless they win $10K on AFV.
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Old January 20th, 2010, 11:11 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noel Lising View Post
I use to freelance for a Photog, 3 years ago he books 60 weddings a year. He has this take it or leave it attitude, I won't go down in pricing coz I have been doing this for 25 years, etc, etc. Last year he did 4 weddings, he dropped his pricing but I guess the change was too late.

My opinion & 2 cents.
So last night I'm talking to the father of the bride of the last wedding I shot (whole family goes to my church), and he said that their photog... who also happens to be a friend of the couple... is doing three or four weddings a month during the summer. And he's not cheap ($3k+). And he's only in his mid 20's

I have another friend from college who is a photog and isn't cheap either, and he's always busy and makes a pretty comfortable living. He's my age in his early 30's

The common denominator? They're both REALLY good.

I agree with Dana. People will pay for your work if you've got talent and offer them something they're willing to pay for. Yes, there will always be the lowballers and people who don't see anything past the price, but there always have been.

Last edited by Mike Harvey; January 20th, 2010 at 12:52 PM.
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