"How to Gouge the Bride"? What are we doing to our image? - Page 2 at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

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


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old July 22nd, 2007, 06:59 PM   #16
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 2,488
I read the original article by Mike Nelson carefully and came away with a more favorable impression. Part of what Mike appears to be doing is distinguishing between what he charges for basic documentary editing versus more creative efforts, and giving clients a choice whether to pay for the more creative work. If that's a correct interpretation then it's arguably a reasonable thing to do, but not the way most of us are used to doing business.

I'd also note that the fellow who wrote the response article which got us all talking is trying to build up his "Wedding Video Done Right" web site and potentially benefits from this controversy. Maybe Mike needs to explain himself better regarding what he does, but that could have been clarified directly before writing an article blasting him in public.
Kevin Shaw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 22nd, 2007, 09:22 PM   #17
Major Player
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 216
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Hoggatt View Post
I agree but the author is advising that you intentionally set up the contract so the bride will need to add features to get the same thing she wanted initially. Here is a direct quote from the article. It is obvious that he plans it this way:

"I have been able to charge twice as much for exactly the same thing after the wedding as I would if contracted to produce it prior to the wedding day."

The point seems to be, sell them a package for a cheap price initally, then require them to buy extras to get what they wanted in the first place.
My 2 cents is that Adam is misreading the intent behind the quote from the article.

I think what the guy is saying is that, before the wedding, you tell the bride "I can give you a super duper nice edit of you dancing with your father on your wedding day" and the bride is so busy with everything else that she doesn't think that would be worth much (and thus wouldn't pay much for it).

Then, after the wedding, you show her the footage and what it would look like and emotionally she feels the impact of the footage and realizes its importance, that she then fully appreciates its full value and is willing to pay more for it.

Thus, you can charge more for it when you have the ability to show the footage of the final product. This just means that it is worth more to the bride later when she can see it.

Just my 2 cents,
Bill
William Gardner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 23rd, 2007, 02:32 AM   #18
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Apple Valley CA
Posts: 4,866
Kevin -

I think you nailed it... guy tooting own horn to get attention/web traffic and bring WEVA to their knees... sigh... Thought his backhanded "complement" to open his attack was a particularly "nice" touch. Guess if your forums have fewer postings than many of the individual "pros" here at DVi <<edit - or even a piker like me, apparently!>> you got to do something to get attention. "Reading between the lines", opining, and generally speculating so as to create a "controversy" is one way. Personally, I won't be asking (begging the way the site looks) to join his organization or get his blessing so I'm a "good videographer", does that make me a "bad videographer"?? I think I'm OK with that <wink>!

Travis - I think we're all a bit smarter than to write contracts to take advantage of a client, but hopefully we're smart enough not to write contracts that end up with the client taking advantage of US! Good to know that sometimes toasts can go on for hours, etc... and maybe add a clause so you're not on the hook for the 3 disk extended version of the "end to end wedding"....

'nuf said.
Dave Blackhurst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 23rd, 2007, 02:45 AM   #19
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 126
Maybe I was reading too much into it but, that article aside, here's my personal philosophy:

1. Provide packages that cover all the typical things that the client would want in her video.
(of course she wants the toasts and dances etc.)
2. Include all the pertinent footage in the product.
(If contracted for 8 hours, get all the pertinent and applicable footage you can in that 8 hours and include it in the product)
3. Deliver a product that far exceeds the clients expectations by including, if necessary, additional items not specifically outlined in the contract.
(I once got some great footage of the bridal party's limo ride from the ceremony to the reception as the limo drove next to us and included a short montage of the limo ride in the clients video)
4. Upsell - Offer additional items above and beyond the standard items at any time after the wedding.
(I offer a "motion pictures" montage of the honeymoon photos for instance, or why not do a "love story video afterwards with the bride and grooms take on the wedding day, or a commentary audio track?)
5. Leave the client feeling like they got an amazing service they are thrilled with, without being nickel-and-dimed so they not only feel confident in recommending you but will go out of their way to promote your business.

I don't see how you can have it both ways. If you feel the need to charge extra for everything you can possibly charge extra for and have so much business that you can't possibly take more referrals now or down the road, then by gosh, the "sell it in post" strategy sounds like the ticket. For me, I'll stick with giving my clients more than they bargained for. I think in the long run there's no better way to do business.
Adam Hoggatt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 23rd, 2007, 05:37 AM   #20
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Charleston, West Virginia
Posts: 131
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Hoggatt View Post
...giving my clients more than they bargained for. I think in the long run there's no better way to do business.
This ideal is good to shoot for, but there is a delicate balance. It's good to throw in a perk here and there, but most clients are very happy to get a quality product that is exactly what they paid for. Going too far over and above for everyone can lead to burnout and financial problems faster than you'd think. Particularly when you discover thet the extra work often has little or no effect on how many of your customers are satisfied or not. The unsatisfied ones will often still be that way even if you give them 200%. It unfortunately took me many years to learn this.
Dan Robinson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 23rd, 2007, 09:31 AM   #21
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 2,488
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Hoggatt View Post
If you feel the need to charge extra for everything you can possibly charge extra for and have so much business that you can't possibly take more referrals now or down the road, then by gosh, the "sell it in post" strategy sounds like the ticket. For me, I'll stick with giving my clients more than they bargained for. I think in the long run there's no better way to do business.
I'm a big believer in trying to offer fair pricing and not giving clients any unfavorable impression, but I've also come to realize that wedding videographers are generally underpaid for the amount of work they do. If you read Mike Nelson's article carefully and give him the benefit of the doubt it looks like he's found a good way to upsell couples on video features they wouldn't have paid properly for before their wedding. Such an approach could be abused to take adanvtage of customers, but it could also be used in a reasonable way to sell them additional services they'll appreciate more after their wedding than before.

Without knowing any more about Mike I'm inclined to think he's just communicating poorly in his articles about what he's doing, leaving room for uncertainty about how he's treating his customers. Let's be clear among ourselves that what he's suggesting should definitely not be used in an abusive manner.
Kevin Shaw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 23rd, 2007, 11:16 AM   #22
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 126
I agree that wedding videographers are underpaid in general. Im not so money hungry that I will sacrifice doing my best job just for a few extra bucks. When I talk about going above and beyond, I think its completely reasonable to put all you can into each project.

Did a wedding weekend before last where the groom sang a song to the bride. I had no idea before the day that this event would happen and it was the last event at the reception so it required me to stay a little longer to get the footage. I see 2 options at this point: 1. Let the client know that I got some great footage of the song and can include it in the video for an extra fee or 2. Add it anyway because not only am I contracted for 8 hours and it happened within that 8 hours but this is a pretty important memory of the wedding for the bride and groom and leaving it out would leave the video incomplete. I chose option 2 (and will every time) because even though I maybe could have gotten more money out of the client, I realize that the extra (lets be honest) 15 minutes it took me to put the song in the video (5 to shoot, 10 to edit, and it looks great) is well worth the positive effects I will reap including a reputation of providing a good deal and an exceptional video. This particular client (in this case, the MOB) was so thrilled with the video and my hard work that she offered (and Im not making this up) me more money (several hundred) than I contracted her for because she felt she was ripping me off. Of course I obliged. Now, I know this isnt normal and has never happened nor will probably ever happen again but my point is that when people get a better product than they bargained for, it will eventually pay off, if not right away. And even if it doesnt pay off financially at all, I will still go above and beyond every chance I get because its the right thing to do. Doing the right thing for the right reason doesnt make you burnt out.
Adam Hoggatt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 23rd, 2007, 02:43 PM   #23
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 2,488
There's certainly nothing wrong with giving clients a little more than than they bargained for, and it's also reasonable to try to find ways to get paid decently for the work we do. The important thing is not to do either of those to excess: don't give away your time and talent at prices which are unfair to you, and don't gouge clients or do anything to give the appearance of improper business practices. In the example under discussion, we can't conclude that the author of the original article is treating his clients unfairly based on the limited information provided, but we can see that he's trying to be a smart business person. If anyone's going to try to follow his suggestion for a post-wedding client meeting, just make sure you don't do so in a way which might be considered unfair.
Kevin Shaw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 23rd, 2007, 02:59 PM   #24
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 126
Quote:
If anyone's going to try to follow his suggestion for a post-wedding client meeting, just make sure you don't do so in a way which might be considered unfair.
Agreed :)

And I'm not saying everyone has to do things the same as I. I just would hate to see colleagues giving our profession a bad image. I can't say what the motives of the original articles author were and in defense of the response articles author, I think he did leave room to be wrong, even if he did assume alot. However, it is a bit fishy to me that this article from June http://www.eventdv.net/Articles/Read...rticleID=12671 seems to be a set up for this article from July http://www.eventdv.net/Articles/Read...rticleID=12876 .

I'm not judging him but some things he said just don't sit quite right with me.
Adam Hoggatt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 23rd, 2007, 04:04 PM   #25
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 2,488
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Hoggatt View Post
I'm not judging him but some things he said just don't sit quite right with me.
As I said before, I think he said some things poorly which have a valid point behind them. If you read both articles carefully and give the author some credit for the difficulty of communicating in writing, what he's saying is don't give your work away. His most controversial comment may be his observation that he can charge more for some services after a wedding (when the couple realizes they want them) than he typically could beforehand (when couples are watching their wedding budget). There's nothing wrong with that provided he's treating each of his customers fairly, and that's something we can't determine just from reading the articles.

Looks to me like the guy who wrote the original articles is a smart business person who's using good marketing to earn more money, and the person who criticized his article is over-reacting in a way which isn't helping anyone. By all means treat your customers as you would want to be treated, but don't overlook legitimate ways to improve your bottom line...
Kevin Shaw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 23rd, 2007, 04:47 PM   #26
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 126
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Shaw View Post
By all means treat your customers as you would want to be treated, but don't overlook legitimate ways to improve your bottom line...
I don't see deliberately setting up your contract in a way that allows you to add additional services later at a higher price legitimate. I can't see how what the author wrote is NOT suggesting to do that. If you disagree then fine but I refuse to do business that way. It kind of shocks me that several people here don't see anything wrong with it. In my opinion, you have to be all about money in order to have that viewpoint. I, for one, am in this business because it's what I love to do and I would hope that's why most wedding videographers do it. If you want to justify his comments as a fair and ethical way to do business then well, good luck with that but I disagree and I'll leave it at that.
Adam Hoggatt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 23rd, 2007, 05:09 PM   #27
New Boot
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: South Bend, IN
Posts: 24
I would strongly suggest before you keep beating on the author, you actually contact him first! I've sat in his seminars and I have spoken to him personally, what he is talking about is fair, legitimate and good marketing practices. His clients are not "blindsided" with anything and his contracts are not "rigged". Every client is presented with what is possible and can hire those services at the outset in a packaged form. Being that it is prepackaged it is discounted vs the prices of say an ala'cart. After booking and post wedding his additional marketing kicks in and the client is presented with another sales pitch for the things they did not book up front. They at that point can say no and continue on with what they contracted and will receive an excellent product for their money. However if they decide to go for something in post that they didn't book up front, the feature is now charged at an ala'cart rate that is by nature higher than it would have been if booked before with the package.

These are accepted and standard business practices in most industries. If I build a house and then decide after it is completed or half done that I want another door added, that door is going to cost 2x what it would have cost in the planning sessions. More power to Mike.
Brian Peterson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 23rd, 2007, 05:26 PM   #28
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 2,488
Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Hoggatt View Post
I don't see deliberately setting up your contract in a way that allows you to add additional services later at a higher price legitimate. I can't see how what the author wrote is NOT suggesting to do that.
I'd call that a misinterpretation of what he's saying, which is that his clients are more willing to spend their money for upgrades after the wedding than before. If he takes advantage of that fact by pitching upgrades in a post-wedding meeting and setting prices to levels he can collect at that time, that's smart business. It makes me a little uneasy too, but so long as he's not boxing his clients into a corner then there's no harm done.

Let's say you determine that a fair price for feature X is $500, but before their wedding few couples would be willing to buy it at that price. If you sell it to them for less than that you're not being fair to yourself, but if you wait until after the wedding and they pay it then you're not being unfair to anyone. The question is whether the author is using that approach or doing something more sinister, and I wouldn't be too quick to judge him about that.
Kevin Shaw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 25th, 2007, 05:02 AM   #29
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 126
Here are some of the many quotes in his article that I had a problem with (I had to cut out a ton so as to stay within fair use):

Quote:
Extra videography can also mean extra opportunities to profit from what we can create in post (more on this in my next column).
The first article sets the premise for the second. His advice is to charge not for amount of coverage but for each separate item and how well he edits them. He is "creating" the opportunity to make more money later. This was my first clue that something was wrong.

Quote:
I conduct a meeting with the bride about two weeks after the wedding for three main reasons...Third is to help a bride deal with her increased value of video after the wedding.
The problem here is that once the wedding is over and the videographer is already hired, OF COURSE THE VALUE GOES UP! He is now the only person on earth that can give her any video of her wedding!!! He holds a monopoly on the footage!

Quote:
After reviewing the footage I compare what there actually is with what the bride bought in her package. For each section, I look for the following for each section: videography time; work-tape minutes; and number and length of toasts, speeches, presentations, and musical numbers. Then I assign a percentage to the amount of usable footage. There are many factors which can affect how good the footage is, most of which are out of our control. These include weather; lighting; decorations; the beauty of the facility (or lack thereof); if the bride has provided enough time for videography at each event; how good the other vendors are at their job and whether or not they respect videography; how easy the customers are to work with, and even how attractive they are. All of these things and more affect the quality and quantity of the footage you get. If something is out of sync with what the bride planned for and purchased, you have a responsibility to let the bride know, and to make a recommendation to help resolve the disparity.
So apparently, the bride has contracted him for a price that is to vary based on how pretty she is and how emotional the wedding was????!!!

Quote:
Some people call this an upsell, but they’re wrong—an upsell is getting the client to buy something they do not need but you have convinced them that they want, such as adding 4-wheel drive to a car for a person who will never drive in snow or leave the asphalt. By contrast, selling more features into a bride’s wedding package after the fact is an easy soft sell because you are simply sharing with her what actually took place. She was there, she knows what you are sharing makes sense.
Brides also buy with emotion, and seeing wedding footage for the first time (and remembering them as they actually happened) stirs those emotions.
Several people have argued that Mike was just using an upselling tecnique but he openly admits that it is not.

Quote:
I have been able to charge twice as much for exactly the same thing after the wedding as I would if contracted to produce it prior to the wedding day, and still sell most brides on this product.
Because now, he and he alone has the footage and if they want to ever see it again, it's going to cost them.

Quote:
For a dance of the bride and her brother who is acting proxy for a deceased father, mix in photos or video of the deceased father.
...then see if she feels guilty not buying THAT footage!

Quote:
In summary, what the bride pre-plans for her video and what actually happens rarely are the same thing.
This is exactly the reason videographers (other than Mike Nelson) charge based on the time spent in production (the "coverage time"). This fact is ONLY a problem when you set up a contract the way he has purposefully done to cause this problem, the solution of which is only for the bride to pay money she didn't think she would be paying (or want to pay) before hand.

Maybe we as videographers ARE underpaid. Maybe we DO deserve to get more for what we do. But in NO WAY does that justify us taking advantage of the emotions and unexpected quirks that happen at every wedding.

Quote:
I have never meet anyone in this industry who is happy about their delivery time, and I’m no exception.
Hi Mike, Nice to meet you! My name is Adam and I generally deliver the final video within 1 week. The longest I have taken was 2 but that was a while back. I'm quite proud of my delivery time.



The entire problem and I think what Hank's point is, is that Mike is intentionally setting up his contract so that only very specific events (and the quality of those events) that occur during the wedding are to be included in the video.
Quote:
how many locations, videographers, hours of coverage, and hours of editing are covered; the length of edit; plus the number of toasts, speeches, and live performances, and how long each will be.
(Who's gonna know how long the toasts are going to be?) Then, once he has all the additional footage of the things that were not spelled out, he can now sell it for a premium. What he is doing is setting the contract up to fail.
Quote:
Profitability begins with the wedding day, and how you define the limitations of your basic services and then make provisions for expanding them.
He is allowing the bride to think she has all she needs when he knows full well that there will be more to the video than she bargained for. When he sets up a contract, Mike knows full well it will not cover everything the bride wants. HE SET IT UP THAT WAY!

Again, there is a reason we set up contracts the way we do. To allow for the wedding to happen the way it happens and allow the client to see it all on video. What Mike is doing here is ONE OF THE REASONS WE ARE UNDERPAID. Because brides feel that what they get is not worth their money! The videographers that are fair are not professional or talented and the ones who are good (I admit, Mike is an amazing videographer), gouge the bride for whatever they can. This is why Hank wrote his response and why I am in complete agreement with him. Let's change the bad image that we have by standing up for the brides!

If the bride signing Mikes contract in the first place was your sister, would you advise her to sign it? I certainly would not!

Kevin, I hope you can now see the problem with this article and I sure hope you don't have plans to follow his advice. Not only is it wrong but I could see potential legal problems arising from this practice.
Adam Hoggatt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old July 25th, 2007, 06:48 AM   #30
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Aus
Posts: 3,884
I think the point of payment here is missing the point entirely.

Here in Aus, to put a client at a disadvantage in such a way would lead us to deregistration of our business license.
No ifs or butsssss, and definately no doubts about that.

Any aussies reading this need to carefully consider this line of thought in regard to editing and which "Scenes" are left in (at a price) vs which scenes are standard with the packag chosen.
Do not be alarmed if a client refuses to pay the additional fee for the Bro/Daddy dance becuase as far as teh cleint is concerned, the videographer was there to capture the day and edit the events in a way which represents the day itself.
By NOT providing the daddy daughter dance to the client, the videographer is risking a breach of his own agreement (for coverage and provision) of said material. Be it edited or not.

but going back to my point of "missing the poitn re cost"
The only reason our costs are low, is because
1) Our work is not considered an artform as photography is. Once we can market our work as an artistic piece on par with good to exquisite photography, only THEN can we charge what we want to charge, however this will never happen for most people because...
2) Videographers continue to undercut each other depsite teh difference in quality of work.
3) videographers continue to provide substandard edits to clients which bare no artistic, cinematographic or emotional value to everyone else who might just happen to be overlooking. For teh couple, it might be fine, for longterm sellability, it doesnt exist.. in most cases its rare...
In turn, the precendent of "what to expect" is set by the "bulk" number of jobs done by any given cookie cutter company.
Anyone can cut a wedding in one week, but i can guarantee you that anyone who says they can deliver long form feature length fully edited multicammed presentations in addition to 15minute highlgihts presentations, in addition to image cdroms of said footage in one week is full of it. Its a physical imposibility unless the company in question outsources its editing services
When doing 60 odd weddings a year at no less than $3k a pop, one has to be realsitic about delivery time.
4) Cost of equipment. If a client does not understand the investment WE make, then they wont trully understand teh INVESTMENT theyre abotu to make. in turn, Videographers rely on this lack of information to mislead potential clients which in turn...
5) causes problems for the industry itself as those uneducated clients are the first to complain

Show them the art behind of what we do, and we will make the money in which we are trully worth, its that simple.
Peter Jefferson is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:50 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network