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Old August 16th, 2015, 05:08 AM   #61
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

Gabe, when we say that Brides won't pay more, we mean within our price bracket. To use your analogy, McDonald's are not going to cater for the clients who dine at fine restaurants. They target a particular market and their prices reflect that. Same with Wedding videos.

Are there clients willing to pay for videographers to fly all over the World, yes. However there are many many more who won't. If we all went high market, the bubble would burst in a matter of months. There's a need for a business like mine that offers what it offers. Do I want to be that jet setter flying all over the World, sometimes. However I get a lot of job satisfaction from the market I target. Why should the well off be the only ones to have a top quality video. Plenty of people with only ,1000 to spare deserve a nice video just as much as the next person.

I'm not complaining about 2nd shooters, I have 2 I'm very happy with. Are there issues, of course. However I don't think being in charge of a larger business employing more than 5 and paying them loads more would solve all these issues.
The bigger you are the harder you fall is an old cliche but true. Most of the time I work solo and I find that rewarding and mainly stress free. Occasionally I do have a 2nd shooter and must accept the odd hassles hiring someone can bring.

Being a larger business as you describe will bring it's own issues and hassles. You may not have worries over hiring people but sickness, personality conflicts and staff issues will still present themselves no matter what you pay.
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Old August 16th, 2015, 06:22 AM   #62
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

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Originally Posted by Gabe Strong View Post
I highly recommend Den Lennie's book
'Business for Filmmakers'.
The book you refer to is for corporate video, not wedding video, both are 2 totally different worlds so not sure if those tips might be of any benefit, the clients are totally different and one is a controlled and the other a uncontrolled environment. You would be better off watching a workshop from those that did succeed in getting high end clients eventhough they all make it sound a lot easier then it actually is.
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Old August 16th, 2015, 06:29 AM   #63
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

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Are there clients willing to pay for videographers to fly all over the World, yes. However there are many many more who won't. If we all went high market, the bubble would burst in a matter of months.
I think Gabe is looking at this from a corporate shooter perspective, the percentage of corporate clients that have very big budgets is much higher compared to weddingsclients, how many weddingvideographers you know that are flown all over the world to cover high end weddings? I just know a handfull that are able to charge 10K+ for that so it is a very tiny market and it's even worse in Europe, I"m sure the budgets in the USA are in some places way more over the top then what we are used to here.

Last edited by Noa Put; August 16th, 2015 at 07:00 AM.
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Old August 16th, 2015, 06:48 AM   #64
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

Steve and Noa, yo are quite right when you say that the number of high paying wedding bookers is tiny in Europe. If that were not the case, there would be many top priced wedding video companies as there are in the corporate field.

I target my market where I feel the biggest number of customers are. I could quite possibly go a little higher and quite possibly lower, but I am very happy with the market I work in and the profit margins I make by keeping it solo and stress free.

Roger
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Old August 16th, 2015, 08:44 AM   #65
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

Ah and there was me thinking Gabe was speaking from a Wedding point if view. My mistake. I'm out in the field these last few days, so only reading and replying via my mobile. Hadn't yet checked the book out. I agree Corporate and Wedding has a different budget. One is for business, the other for pure vanity. Hard to get Brides to commit a lot for a video they'll see at most once a year on anniversaries.
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Old August 16th, 2015, 09:04 AM   #66
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

I was assuming Gabe was talking about corporate videos because he referred to that book from Lennie which was specifically written for that group, not sure if Gabe does weddings as his main source of income but we sometimes do have discussions here when some don't understand the problems we weddingvideographers have to deal with to find out that they are in a total different line of business, like shooting danceconcerts, which like corporate shoots also have a different audience.
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Old August 16th, 2015, 01:11 PM   #67
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

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Originally Posted by Steve Burkett View Post
Gabe, when we say that Brides won't pay more, we mean within our price bracket. To use your analogy, McDonald's are not going to cater for the clients who dine at fine restaurants. They target a particular market and their prices reflect that. Same with Wedding videos.

Are there clients willing to pay for videographers to fly all over the World, yes. However there are many many more who won't. If we all went high market, the bubble would burst in a matter of months. There's a need for a business like mine that offers what it offers. Do I want to be that jet setter flying all over the World, sometimes. However I get a lot of job satisfaction from the market I target. Why should the well off be the only ones to have a top quality video. Plenty of people with only ,1000 to spare deserve a nice video just as much as the next person.

I'm not complaining about 2nd shooters, I have 2 I'm very happy with. Are there issues, of course. However I don't think being in charge of a larger business employing more than 5 and paying them loads more would solve all these issues.
The bigger you are the harder you fall is an old cliche but true. Most of the time I work solo and I find that rewarding and mainly stress free. Occasionally I do have a 2nd shooter and must accept the odd hassles hiring someone can bring.

Being a larger business as you describe will bring it's own issues and hassles. You may not have worries over hiring people but sickness, personality conflicts and staff issues will still present themselves no matter what you pay.
You are saying pretty much exactly what I am saying but I have one add on.
If you decide to do what you are doing, and target the market you
are targeting...the 1000 wedding, then that is great....you know
exactly what kind of business you want to be and what you should
do to make it successful. I'm just saying if you do that, don't be
surprised when you may have a hard time finding good second shooters
willing to work for what you can afford to pay them! I know a lot
of people who choose this niche and are always complaining about
how they can't find a good second shooter, that lasts longer than a
couple months. And my 'add on' is just saying.....your second shooter
job is an entry level job, just like McDonalds is. You are not going to
find or keep good people in those positions often. As this was a thread
which seemed to be based on wondering where or how to find good second
shooters, I am just submitting that people remember.....if you are in the
above business category, then your second shooter job is every bit as much
of an entry level job in this industry as McDonalds worker is for
the general public. So yes, you will very possibly be dealing with
the 'entry level' challenge.

Last edited by Gabe Strong; August 16th, 2015 at 01:41 PM.
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Old August 16th, 2015, 01:37 PM   #68
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

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Originally Posted by Noa Put View Post
I was assuming Gabe was talking about corporate videos because he referred to that book from Lennie which was specifically written for that group, not sure if Gabe does weddings as his main source of income but we sometimes do have discussions here when some don't understand the problems we weddingvideographers have to deal with to find out that they are in a total different line of business, like shooting danceconcerts, which like corporate shoots also have a different audience.
I do weddings, corporate video, promo videos, even worked a couple days for
CNN and ABC World News the last few months. I understand well the problems
wedding shooters face, which is why I don't depend only on weddings in my
business. Another business lesson I learned, something about too many eggs
in one basket.

As for the book, it is geared more towards corporate filmmakers but it
talks a good bit about wedding filmmakers as well. Pages 88-95 for example
are all about wedding filmmakers and how to market yourself to your
'Ideal Bride'.
I'm not going to say I agree with every little thing he says, but there's a lot
of good in the book.
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Old August 16th, 2015, 02:09 PM   #69
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

Gabe, the problem with these books is that words are easy, applying it is not. I film a guy regularly who teaches How to make a Million Dollar Practise. Does he have a million dollar practise, no. But he talks well and says the right things. Books are often common sense written as inspirational words. Useful tips for the ignorant. I've got books a plenty, some insightful, others less so. However I do run a successful business. Okay it's not targeting high payers but then neither is McDonald's. They do well by knowing that there are more looking for fast food than there are for posh restaurants.

Now as to your other comments. I am not surprised over the difficulty in keeping other Videographers. I am not so stupid to fail to see how the lack of regular work will have those I hire go elsewhere. Common sense. You have targeted one issue among many and made it the defining one in your eyes. It's not one in mine. Finding staff is easy, finding good staff is not.

I don't feel that full-time employment is the only means to find good staff. These Videographers I approach have marketed themselves as freelancers competent in their field. Its not unreasonable to expect that if they apply to work for me, they actually be competent and able to carry a shot without blown highlights, failing to press record, missed shots, dodgy audio etc. I pay these people more than I get myself on some jobs, so I ask for at least the same conscientious approach to work that I give to others when they employ me. I have been rewarded to some degree with this, but in other occasions, not.

To go back to your MacDonalds analogy, I've been to some where I have had to wait for too long and been served by unpleasant staff, but in others I have been served quickly by helpful and conscientious staff. Just because they get paid minimum is no excuse for bad attitude. If they don't want the work, don't do it. If others can do the work and serve customers well, so can they.

In a similar veil, if those I hire are not as skilled as they described or treat it as if it's below their usual level of work, don't apply for it. However if you do, I expect not the same level of experience as me, but at least work as hard as I would in their situation. if they do the job worse than my very first Wedding video, I have to ask why they think they deserve to be a Videographer in the 1st place.

There are plenty of freelancers out there not looking to work for one company as like you they feel it puts their eggs in one basket. It's this pool I dip into. I have a couple of those I find work well, but others that have dissapointed me. Those that do well, I don't expect or ask for a monopoly on their time and if at some point they become unavailable, I am understanding and not the least bit surprised.
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Old August 16th, 2015, 05:44 PM   #70
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

As to what you are saying about 'applying it' being hard, you are right!
If it was easy, everyone would be doing it! If you are still in business, that's
a lot better than many can say!

As for why I have 'targeted one issue among many' and 'made it the defining
issue in my eyes'.....well I did that because the title of this particular thread was
'Second Shooter Add on' and the thread was mainly talking about the problems that
people have in finding good, reliable, conscientious, second shooters. Again,
my point is, if you have decided that your business is going to be a 'fast food'
type wedding business, the employees you have to pick from will usually be
'entry level workers'. It's that simple And that is fine, usually when you are
doing weddings at this level you don't need a 2nd shooter, and only occasionally
run into this problem. But when you are in this area of business, and you DO hire
a second shooter, you better expect that it is very possible that you WILL be getting
some people who will 'blow highlights' or 'miss shots' or 'not get good audio.' I'm not
saying it is impossible to get good entry level workers.....it's just hard. As you
yourself say, some McDonalds have good service, others not so much. To quote
a movie, it's just that the "Odds are not ever in your favor" when you are hiring
entry level people in any industry. Look at other entry level jobs in other industries.
The people there can be good......but often are not. They apply for the work.....
but often give less than optimum effort. I'm not sure why you seem to think
that entry level videographers are going to be different from entry level workers
in every other industry.

Here are a few of your quotes:
"Just because they get paid minimum is no excuse for bad attitude.
If they don't want the work don't do it. If others can do the work and
serve customers well so can they. If the work is below your usual
level of work, don't apply for it. If they do the job worse than my very
first wedding video, I have to ask why they think to deserve to be
a videographer in the first place?"

I've heard these quotes (with slight variations as they are not wedding video
related) over and over the last 12 or 13 years. My wife and most of my friends own
and run (non video related) businesses, most of which employ entry level workers.
So I hear every single one of these every day as my frustrated wife and friends
try to deal with workers who randomly don't show up for their shift, call in on
Saturday morning 10 minutes before their shift 'sick' from a night out drinking,
quit their job with no notice, text their friends while ignoring customers, go into
the office and play games on their phone instead of cleaning the store when
customers are not around, claim their car is broken down, only to be seen out driving
with friends later in the day......I could go on and on here. Trust me,
every industry I know of deals with the exact same problems people on this
thread are having with second shooters. My conclusion kind of
has to be this.....if entry level people do this in every industry from food service, to
tourism, store clerk, guide, deckhand, and cannery worker, cook, and prep worker.....well
it is highly likely entry level people in the video business will have the 'video related
equivalents' of this type of behavior as well.

To go back to your example, if you 'dip into the pool of freelancers', and
are disappointed with the results....I would hazard a guess that if you are
doing £1000 weddings you are not getting true professional video freelancers.
I would be highly suspicious of any video professional who works for what you
would be able to pay them out of a £1000 wedding. Suspicious of them in that
I would not think they would really be a professional and would kind of expect the type
of entry level mistakes you seem to say you are sometimes getting from them.

So why post on this? I guess because I find it ironic that people complain about
entry level workers and somehow expect things to be different in the video
business as they are in every other business out there. As I said, if you position
your business in this part of the wedding video market.....I feel it is just a fact that
you will have to deal with these kind of 2nd shooters. And I say this not only as
a person who runs a successful video business, but someone who has a lot of
experience in other businesses as well. Entry level worker problems are well known.
Add to that the fact that 2nd shooter video wedding work, is very sporadic work, and
I'm just not seeing a good selection of skilled people lining up to do it.

But is there a solution that could help people in this position? And here
may be something helpful....or maybe not as prices seem to be a huge thing
that maybe your market just can't support anything higher. What I personally
did, was find another person who had a style similar to mine and whose work I liked.
(And here I'm talking about another 'one person company'). I 'partnered' with this person,
so that when I had a call for a wedding that I could not do 'solo' (because the bride wanted
special things beyond my ability) I would call her in. And she did the same for me. Not as
a 'second shooter' but as a partner on the wedding. The rate was obviously much higher then
it was when I did a 'solo' wedding, but I was able to offer another 'tier' without having to
worry about the quality of my 'second shooter'. Now obviously this brought in its own
set of problems as we had to share calendars with each other, and 'dual' shooter
bookings could only happen if neither of us was already booked. Plus she had to
make her rate too, so it was obviously more expensive for the brides. But if
you are doing very few '2nd shooter' weddings anyways it might work. Or maybe
you could do this with two or three other 'solo' video companies....so that one of them
will hopefully be free. At least then, you know your 2nd shooter can do things right.
Or maybe it just works for me, because weddings are not all I do so I'm not swamped
with weddings.
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Old August 16th, 2015, 06:05 PM   #71
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

Ugh......sorry, I reread it and my last post is coming across wrong and
kind of mean spirited.

I don't mean it to be bad mouthing anyone at all. I just think that it is
not surprising, that if a person positions their business in the
'lower end' of the wedding market, that the 2nd shooters they will
'tend' to be able to hire (and there are exceptions).....will generally
be shooters who have some of the problems that are mentioned.
I don't think this is a surprising thing and I think it is something you
basically have to expect to deal with when you position your business
this way.
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Old August 16th, 2015, 07:52 PM   #72
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

One more thought about "why second shooters?": chaotic weddings.

I'm thinking Indian weddings, and Asian weddings with tea ceremonies conducted at people's houses. In these sorts of situations, often there's confined space, with no room for a tripod, lots of guests packed around, many wielding mobile phone cameras.

It is such comfort to know that you've got at least two chances at getting the shot, and if one camera gets blocked (for instance, the cameraman is packed in by crowd and can't move), you can still cut to the other camera.
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Old August 16th, 2015, 10:06 PM   #73
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

Gabe, the one massive flaw in your argument is this. How can hiring someone who has say 15 years video experience, has worked in the TV industry and many years experience as a freelancer be an entry level worker. I mean if I was hiring University leavers, yes I would agree with the risk. When I go through the list of applications, I am at least looking for experience. Now I know offering what I do that there is a risk. You presume by complaining that I expect video to be different to other industry's, I do not. I worked at a University in a team that hired students and made the same complaint about those that didn't give the same level of work as others did. I don't care if the wages are entry level or not, my attitude is that of you applying do the job, you do it well.

Now I fully appreciate there are many that don't, but consistently those I have paid he most, that have the most experience have given me the poorest work. How does that square with your theories. The problem is those with plenty of experience can look down on Weddings as beneath their usual line of work. Whereas those coming into freelance fresh are grateful for the work and do a good job. That's how I started.

At a Wedding last year I spoke to a couple that hired a videographer. He had on his website apparently listed working as a cameraman for various production companies including the BBC, was in his 50's, had plenty of samples from other Weddings he had filmed, charged 3 times my rate and did a piss poor job on their video. Biggest complaint was that the guy was lazy on the day and missed things like the cake cutting. Something I've never missed.

If I really thought that more money was the solution to the problems hiring staff, I'd take it. However when I get better work from those charging less, the incentive isn't exactly there to raise prices.
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Old August 17th, 2015, 05:02 PM   #74
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

Steve,

Here is what I am thinking. If you are charging 1000 for a wedding what
are you able to offer your second shooter? Whatever that amount is, you
advertise for a second shooter for it. You now have a flood of 'applicants'
for that position. Apparently, some of them tell you that they have
'15 years video experience' and 'have worked in the TV industry and have
many years experience as a freelancer'. I'm immediately very suspicious of
those claims. Why? Because I am someone who has '15 years video
experience' and anyone I know of at my level that actually DOES have
this experience (as opposed to 'claiming' they do) will not work for that
amount of money! It's similar to when my wife receives applications from
those who claim they have advanced degrees or have managed restaurants
before. Really? Why are you applying for a minimum wage job then?
(She will actually ask them this in a potential job interview!)
Either they are lying about their experience, or if not, there is a very good reason they
can not find work appropriate to their level of experience. Maybe they don't
get along with others well. Maybe they have problems with authority. Maybe they
are lazy. But I can tell you, from experience, any time you have someone that
looks 'overqualified' applying for an entry level job.....there is usually a good
reason for it! Which it kind of seems your own experience has shown to be true?

Obviously there are exceptions. But I've found that as a rule, you get what
you pay for. Buying cameras, tripods, lenses, lights, and yes, even in hired help.
I'm not sure how accurate it is for you to try to compare those you have paid
'more' to those you have paid 'less' and say that often you get better work from those
charging 'less'. How much exactly are you able to pay those that you paid 'more'
to? As someone who has 15 years video experience, I can honestly say, my
day rate is more than you are charging for your entire wedding. My day rate is
the same whether I'm shooting a wedding or shooting a corporate video, or shooting
for ABC World News. Now maybe someone makes a change and starts paying 2nd shooters
200 instead of 100. I'm just not sure that has risen to the level of 'professional'
pay. I'm seriously not trying to be a jerk at all, it's just that everyone I know
that is actually GOOD would charge way too much for a 1000 wedding to be able
to hire them. It's very possible your market is different and professional
video people work for less.....as I said, Alaska is a VERY expensive place to live!!

I also understand that it is VERY hard to offer a high pay rate, without knowing
what you are really going to get in return! Maybe I have been lucky, as every
time I have hired someone at a 'professional' rate, I have got a professional
product. I think that's why it's such a 'who you know' industry. I tend to hire
those that other video professionals recommend as opposed to anyone that
answers an ad I put out. If there is no recommendations from anyone else
that certainly makes it much harder!!! Then the best you can do I suppose,
is look at demos of their work. Not just 'montage' reels, but an actual
entire wedding film they produced! Even then, I suppose they could
lie and 'steal' something off the internet, which really makes it hard. I can
certainly sympathize with what you are dealing with.....in my part of the
world, offering a professional rate works, but if that is not the case for you,
I'm not sure there are any easy answers.
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Old August 18th, 2015, 01:33 AM   #75
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Re: Second Shooter Add On

Gabe, I think things are very different where you are. On the other end of the scale, one of those who contributes here who does theatre work hires professional people for even less and thinks what we charge for Weddings is very good. Take a look at a recent thread on 'Asked to Film for Another Company'.

Jobs at your rate are just not available here. I've never seen one offering 1000 for a day rate for 2nd shooter. I've never encountered any Videographers even asking for it. Most anyone asks for is 50-60 an hour and they're the good ones.

Besides you say you charge equivalent for over 1000 for a days work. Does that include travel, are you any good. If I hired you for a Wedding, would I be happy with what you delivered. Perhaps you only charge that amount because where you live, you can get away with charging that amount. Try charging that over here and you'd be out of work in a fortnight.

At the end of the day if I offered 1000 to 2nd shooters I'm sure some of the difficult and uncooperative ones will be more willing to do their best, be on time and open to suggestion. If only to keep the well paid work going. However it feels like a bribe rather than a payment. Still it would resolve some issues, not all. However I'd have to up my prices and that just won't happen unless I hit a different market. I'll just have to continue to take these risks.

I still reserve the right to complain about it mind. Entry level or not, there are plenty of good ones at this level to show up the bad ones.
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