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Taking Care of Business
The pen and paper aspects of DV -- put it in writing!

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Old March 26th, 2008, 10:47 AM   #1
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Video Networks

Hi all,
I am very curious if anyone has any experience with some of the Video Networks such as PixelFish, Curbstream, TurnHere, Impact Media Network, Spotrunner or similar ones? It's a thread I'd love to begin here.
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Old April 28th, 2008, 07:45 PM   #2
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I just joined PixelFish and Curbstream and I have uploaded a demo to Impact Media Network. A representitive from Turn Here contaced me a few weeks ago for some information about myself. Curbstream wants a membership to WEVA for $180 and I did not see a way to become a contract provider for SpotRunner. I have not yet received any offers of "jobs available" from these sites.
There is also This site lets you choose which subject you want to produce ranging from sports, automotive, crafts etc. You must use an expert as your talent to produce these videos. I am also member of I receive occastional "requests for videos" You must submit a pitch form online for your ideas.
I found a lot of these sites advertising on craigslist. Most of these sites requre at the least 3 ccd camera, a wireless mic and a pro tripod. A lighting kit, pro editing capabilities and a high speed connection is also good idea. You will also need an online demo as well.
Looking on expertvillage I found they need a radiator video. I need a radiator and guess who's brother is an ASE mechanic. Perhaps I could talk my brother into helping and pay for my radiator.
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Old April 28th, 2008, 07:52 PM   #3
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I've been contacted by several of the above or contacted them. Most of them want to pay about $200 or less to produce, write, shoot, edit and compress for web delivery 30 sec. commercials.
"The good thing about science is that it's true whether you believe it or not." Neil deGrasse Tyson
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Old April 29th, 2008, 12:14 AM   #4
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In other words

Originally Posted by Rick L. Allen View Post
I've been contacted by several of the above or contacted them. Most of them want to pay about $200 or less to produce, write, shoot, edit and compress for web delivery 30 sec. commercials.
They want the world, but will pay beans. Nothing new there.
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Old May 2nd, 2008, 11:26 PM   #5
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Tread carefully when dealing with...

the low-paying jobs for places like that, particularly if they ask you to sign a contract or a "release". I've already seen at least 1 contract that states a specific dollar amount you are to be paid, and later in the agreement it states that you are not entitled to terminate the agreement, regardless of the event. It also claims that whatever you produce is a "work for hire", though I think that's arguable. (Does something as uncertain or non-specific as "a 30-second commercial" qualify as a work for hire? I would expect it to describe the work with a bit more specific detail, e.g. "a 30-second commercial highlighting neighborhood pizzarias").

The "process" seems to be that you basically produce 30 sec commercials, i.e. write them, find the footage from libraries, find the audio/music from libraries, then submit them for approval. After approval, you edit them, get VO that they provide, sync it all up in low-res for web display, then load it to their library of stock commercials. Later, IF it sells, you create the hi-res version for non-web.

They pay x dollars only if your production sells from their library stock, but they pay you each time a different client buys it. (Though there's no way for you to know that it's been bought, other than to take their word for it).

So, if 3 clients who happen to be pizza parlors all buy the pizza commercial you produced, AND all do it within 12 months of your completing the production, you get 3 times x, but only once, for the first year following production. If another pizza parlor buys it later, but still within 12 months of production, you get another x dollars. If it doesn't sell at all in the first year, or sells only AFTER the first year, you get nothing, and they get everything. That could be quite a bit of work for what could be anywhere from zero dollars up to, but less than, $ 50 per sale. (At least for the contract I'm looking at right now). OTOH, if 20 pizza parlors buy your production within a year of when you produced it, you get 20 times x.

I'm not an attorney, but I don't like the idea of those 2 items, (a fixed amount and a non-terminating contract) being combined. Essentially, it locks you to a maximum payment amount forever, and for each commercial you produce the potential for pay only lasts 12 months. If your work is good enough to become popular, then all the benes go to them and you're still locked-in to a paltry few bucks, with no way out and no way to increase the amount you get paid other than to produce more commercials and HOPE that they sell.

I might feel better if those contracts included different wording something like "whichever is the greater of: a minimum of x dollars, a negotiated rate, and a prevailing rate", and something that at least lets me re-negotiate after 1 year, or 1 year after my first sale, or the payment drops to 1/2 x for the 13th thru 24th month, or just to terminate the contract and sever all ties. (While termination may be implied, e.g. you could produce work so poor that they keep rejecting it or you constantly miss their deadlines, the conditions of termination are not specified for either party). But the way it's written, and given my understanding of it, you'd be under contract to them forever.

It reminds me of some of the rock/pop singers when they were just starting out and new to the business, a la Billy Joel and Bruce Springstein. In their inexperienced youth, each signed contracts with their "first" agent, and those contracts were written giving the agent nearly total and absolute rights for years afterward. It cost each of them big, big, bucks
to get out of the contracts, and caused them to stop producing/writing/singing for quite a while. This isn't exactly the same, but I balk when a contract contains the words "in perpetuity".

I'm looking at one of them right now, and I'm inclined to forego the "opportunity" least for now, or until they change the conditions of the contract.

I'd welcome learning if others have had good experiences with these companies. Please chime in; I could be way off base.

Hope this helps.
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Old June 25th, 2008, 12:39 PM   #6
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Hi. I just found this thread as TurnHere had blind contacted me about signing up. I have a few problems with their contract and am waiting to talk to their attorney <shudder>.

So no one here has actually signed up for TurnHere, completed a job, and been successfully paid?
Michael A Westphal
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Old June 25th, 2008, 07:21 PM   #7
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Signed up (TurnHere), got a phone call, thought it might be a good opportunity... I won't be the blue guy in the corner holding his breath though. Similar results with Sagas. Lots of promise if you can work for cheap, and actually did get a couple offers at one point long ago when they were starting out, but wasn't able to follow up as they were geographically undesirable.

While I think these networks have some "good ideas", like so many good ideas, execution is another matter altogether. The forums at both of the above sites would kill you with the echo... I think they banked on thousands of small businesses desperately piling into online video yellow page ads... can you say recession? Ultimately the only work you can really count on is what you generate yourself!

I'm not being critical, as one of these days someone will hit the jackpot with a video concept that connects with the massive market that no doubt yearns for the services of professional videographers... maybe... sigh...
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Old June 26th, 2008, 10:08 AM   #8
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I signed up with TurnHere about 6 months ago and have yet to receive a job offer.
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Old June 26th, 2008, 11:44 AM   #9
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Interestingly, I got an e-mail from Sagas today (perfect timing). It boiled down to... our plans haven't panned out... seeking a partner or buyout... please update your profile so you look as good as possible to the possible partner/buyer...

I'm paraphrasing, but that's the gist of it. Not a great surprise as I've dealt with many "startup" type businesses, and some make it, many don't. Good ideas and products don't always make it in the marketplace, so it really comes down to whether the Venture Capital runs out before the "big break" (meaning a company hits it big, or everyone gets the "go home, last one to leave please turn out the lights" notice).
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Old September 28th, 2008, 08:05 AM   #10
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Recently I came across a quite informative chart featuring a list of sites which are supposed to "help filmmakers and video producers make money." I'm sure many of you here are familiar with many, if not most, of those sites but I thought I would provide the link for anyone who isn't. Sites that Pay for Film and Video: From CinemaTech

I took some time to review some of these sites, and I'm afraid I cannot disagree with what has already been mentioned here in this thread. It is indeed true that many of these companies have come up/developed very interesting business models, however when it comes to how they deal with us, video content makers/producers, the story is all too familiar; you provide high quality equipment and do all the work, and they end up being profited; and maybe, maybe, you might get a thin slice of the pie if, and only if, and, when, and only when. That is not what I would call "help" (filmmakers and video producers make money).

My feeling is that if you already have the equipment, can tell compelling stories and are honest to (both) yourself and your prospective clients, just work for yourself.
Stelios G.M.

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Old November 15th, 2008, 12:30 AM   #11
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I am filming my first client tomorrow. I work for pixelfish. I have no idea how its going to be but after reading this thread I must say I'm a bit worried. Hopefully they followup with thier promises.

I'll let you know how it goes.
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Old November 15th, 2008, 06:47 AM   #12
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David, let us know what happens. How things go.
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Old November 18th, 2008, 07:49 AM   #13
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In a nutshell, you do all the work, they make all the money. Time consumption versus dollars made means you're working for pennies.

Like one of the posters said above, don't hold your breath.
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