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Old October 18th, 2006, 08:40 AM   #1
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interview pricing...

Now I know this is a hot topic, with passionate views from every perspective, but I need help coming up with a price estimate for interview work. A business based in NY will be doing some work in my area (20 miles away). They've seen my work and want some prices so they can crunch their own numbers. Here's the work they require, copied from their email:

1. A one-hour seated interview -- one camera, basic lighting, lapel mics, etc. The edit of this interview might also include some scanned or digitally-shot photographs. Delivered nicely packaged on DVDs (4 copies).

2. A two-hour seated interview -- everything the same as above, but more interview content. Also with possible photographs included. Delivered nicely packaged on DVDs (4 copies).

3. A two-camera shoot, maybe you could give me a per-hour cost?

I know prices vary based upon experience and local market, but any ideas from you fine folks, with interview experience or not, would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks.
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Old October 18th, 2006, 08:58 AM   #2
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"Answer"
How much money do you need to live and run your business? At the end of the day (actually month) you need to pay your bills (from housing to equipment expenses) and eat. Less than that and you're going under unless have significant savings to drain.

How many shoots can you do in a day including travel time? Can you make enough doing 1 or 2 one hour shoots in a day? You have to include how much real time, travel, setup, breakdown a shoot takes. Most people will require a half day minimum. There are ways to go lower if you're in an urban area with short travel times, can book shoots in your studio (living room can work), can get back to back shoots with clients who do not go over booked time.

Editing, how long will it take you to edit the interview? That can range in complexity. I charge by hour or day (8 hour day) and may give an estimate if I have COMPLETE details or control over the job. If Flat Fee it means there's an hours estimate with an end date including end of revisions. For example, client might get me for 2 or 3 days or 5 or whatever and that includes revisions.

Two cameras, more crew costs? Lights, an assistant? Do it all yourself, take longer to set up and break down.

I live in an urban area. Charge 3 or 4 hours minimum depending on location. I never use an unattended camera so the 2nd camera person gets paid for both their time and gear. Lighting, I always use an assistent and they get paid. Transporting the above gear usually means a car (gas, parking, etc) and that ups the price too.

I'm in business to make a living (and enjoy doing what I enjoy doing) so I set things up so I am NEVER taken advantage of by a client and don't burn out. That's my RULE.
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Old October 18th, 2006, 09:10 AM   #3
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1 - Half day billing for shoot

2 - Half day billing for shoot

Maybe combine the above at a single location decreasing total time needed? You don't give enough details.

3 - for the above? Anywhere from 50% to 100% more for shoot depending on particulars to pay your 2nd camera person.

Editing. No clue how long it'll take you to edit these depending on color correction, audio clean up, FX for the photos, etc. Maybe double the editing time for 2 cameras. Depending on how much you shoot and what you need to do it could be anywhere from 4 hours to 2 days (or more) and even that's just a wild guess.

If you're doing with with a 1/3" 3 chip camera as a one man band and driving to a location and back to CT, I'd think something like $750 just for your (1) at a VERY LOW price. (one camera with lights and about 4 hours to edit). That might mean doing the shoot and driving home and getting done with the edit in one day. Maybe you can inch lower if you want to low ball but using a car, gas, parking, car upkeep is a BIG expense.
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Old October 18th, 2006, 01:58 PM   #4
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I strongly disagree with bidding a 1/2 day, and a highly, highly doubt you will be working another project that day.

When I shoot in Hollywood.....ie. Hollywood gigs, almost everything is bid for an entire day with atleast a "daily minimum", and this minumum is not based on what Craig stated about "how much do you need to live and run your business", I have never heard of pricing a job based on "ones needs". WHat I mean is, there are standards for any given area when it comes to bidding a job......and this is one way to bid your job appropriately.....not just by saying, well my rent is this much and my car payment is that much....so therefore I bid "x" dollars for the job.

Rates will fluctuate of course, but you should use some sort of standard for bidding and not just grabbing rates from thin air based on what you need to live, your gas money for car, all this stuff.....this is not how a professional bids.
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Old October 18th, 2006, 02:27 PM   #5
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I agree with Joe. First if you shoot the 2 interviews on the same day (preferred) then you're looking at pretty much a whole day because let's face it. If they say 'we start at 9AM' they might not start until 10 or later. OOOPS, now they gotta take lunch so the next interview may not start until 2 PM and by the time all is said and done there goes your day. It seems to me the best way to charge is by day rate, whatever that is for you. For myself, I charge a rate for an 8 hour day with a basic camera package; camera, tripod, single wireless and on camera light. If they want off camera lighting there's an additional charge for that, if they want an 2nd wireless there's a charge for that, if they want a 2nd camera, manned or not, there's a charge for that. Now with that in mind before I blurt out any numbers I get as much information from them as I can and decide what I really need to shoot the job and adjust accordingly. Maybe I'll throw in the 2nd wireless maybe I won't charge for tape stock for the 2nd camera, maybe I'll package it so they feel like they're getting something and I'm still getting the right amount for the job. As for the job you mentioned, I would definately charge a day rate with lights. Remember you're hauling a lot of gear, time to get there, time to set up and breakdown, haul the gear back and oh yeah, I have rarely shot a talking heads without at least some overrun, meaning they have to go back and redo a few questions. It's important to have the person in charge of the shoot there so they can witness for themselves what is being shot so if there's anything that needs to be redone it can be done right then and there. Figure a day rate and don't be shy about it. You can always lower the pricing (with a logical reason) but you can never go up and if you land the job you'd be surprised how much work is involved and will be happy you charged a bit more than you might have been planning on.
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Old October 18th, 2006, 03:37 PM   #6
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....and for any editing, when you make your bid.....do your best to break it down for them so there's an understanding on whats involved, unless they will be present at the edit. your clients will be at the shoot so they know and will see what youre doing.....but if you throw a rate for the edits....they may wonder.....what is actually involved. at the very least educate them a bit opposed to just saying....it will cost you "$$$". most people like to know how their money is being spent when it comes to projects like yours.

for any professional job, ie. talking head interview, inside "studio" type environment will entail the use of lighting, reflectors, grip gear of some sort....i have never shot an inside studio type shoot witout the use of a professional lighting set up, so this should be included with your day rate....just bid it accordingly but I would personally include it becauseyou need it for professional results imo.


for example if i were shooting this project(breakdown of gear/crew):

*multi cam (DV cam format)-2 operators
*lighting, grip gear and expendables
*sound gear and mixer
Rate: a million bucks

I would bid it all together like so.
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Old October 19th, 2006, 11:07 AM   #7
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Thanks

Craig, Don and Joe--I appreciate all the insights into how you each come up with your pricing. I especially agree with not low-balling myself combined with breaking the costs down for the client. Thanks for taking the time to help.
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Old October 19th, 2006, 02:27 PM   #8
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Dont Forget edit time. It is unlikely that you will be able to dump the interviews derictly to DVD. Titles, audio, cutting out bloopers, etc. Figure at least another day for that maybe two.
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