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Old December 23rd, 2008, 07:03 PM   #1
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Elvis on a motorcycle Shooting News Video.....

I always carry my XH a1, looking for the plane crash or Elvis on a motor cycle. How can I sell my video and make the most money for a one time news piece? Should I get an agent or what. Suppose I got something big, like a bank robber or a movie star kissing a elected official?

I want to be prepared to sell my video so I can afford more equipment. Are there companies that buy this stuff? I do not want to become a sneak camera man, but want to know how to sell and who to call when or if I get some thing great.

Suggestions please
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Old December 23rd, 2008, 08:38 PM   #2
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The station I used to work at got calls quite frequently from people who took pictures or shot video of this or that and how it should be on the news. Those calls were forwarded to the news desk where they would go to voice mail. The producers would listen to them and promptly delete them. Frankly, I couldn't blame them. Most of the things that John Q. Public considers to be newsworthy just isn't.

I think the cards are more or less stacked against you here. In news, All the big networks (ABC, CBS, etc.) have 3 main ways of getting what they need out in the field. The first is that they have their own staff photographers that go out and get it. Second, they can call their affiliate stations in smaller markets to see if they can obtain footage through the affiliate's photographer staff. Or third, they have a list of local freelancers who wait for that magic call. While I've never freelanced for a big broadcaster before, it sounds like it can be quite the cutthroat venture. If you're not available to go to where they need you to go and deliver promptly and properly, there are several other people on the list just waiting to take your spot. Basically, it's more of a "don't call us- we'll call you" kind of thing.

Aside from the big fish, there are other broadcasters and shows like TMZ, or Inside Edition that will call around looking for footage or perhaps even freelance work. What they pay is dependent on a few variables such as quality, how fast you can get it to them, exclusive license, etc. But, the biggest factor is CONTENT. Some of these places will fork over for something shot with a cheap cell phone if the content is worth it. How much they'll pay is up to negotiations though, and I can't really give you any insight there.

In the end, you'll have to ask yourself if its worth it to carry your camera around and wait for random events to occur. If you really want to shoot news, I'd suggest going in and applying at a local station to get some experience. If you're looking to freelance for one of the big networks, they won't touch you unless you have their required gear. Older formats like BetaSP are giving way to newer formats like XDCAM. Either way, that's a lofty investment. There's also the competition factor to deal with. There are A LOT of photographers on the freelance lists, so you probably won't be able to just sign up and start working.

If you're carrying your camera around all over the place, you might look into shooting some stock footage and selling it on places like istockphoto. You won't get top dollar for HDV footage due to the nature of the format, but depending on what you post, you might be able to make a few extra bucks each month. Its definitely NOT the way to go if you're planning on retiring to Bermuda in 5 years though. Hope this helps...
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Old December 23rd, 2008, 09:33 PM   #3
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Well, I am already retired and this is becoming an expensive hobby. I have been the first at a fire and shot some ok video of a twister in town. I called the news guy and he said that they would mention my name on air......... I would rater have some money! Thanks for your input,
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Old December 24th, 2008, 08:25 AM   #4
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Google "how to become a stringer" and read through some of the stuff you find.

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Old December 24th, 2008, 09:39 AM   #5
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The TV stations I used to work for paid up to $50 for stringer video (if it was really good and from a major story that they missed). You can contact the assignment editor at your local TV stations and give them your phone number. If you enjoy being awakened in the middle of the night to go to a fire, fatal wreck or shooting (that's all you'll be called for) and think that you can shoot enough of the above to pay for your hobby then go for it.

Also, keep in mind you will be entirely on your own. The cops will probably hassle you since you don't have credentials and if you get hurt or trash your gear it's on you since you are NOT a station employee.
"The good thing about science is that it's true whether you believe it or not." Neil deGrasse Tyson https://www.nautilusproductions.com/
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