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Taking Care of Business
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Old September 10th, 2005, 05:55 PM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: NYC
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Interested in freelance, need help with price structure


I've been pursuing freelance graphic and web design work, and am looking to start incorporating some video work as well.

I have some friends in the NYC burlesque scene that I have shot material for, and am putting together a performance reel on DVD for one of them. After some discussion, she suggested that I do the same for other BQ girls, which I thought was a good idea.

What kind of price should I consider charging? My friend's DVD, for example, will be four of her acts (each roughly 5 minutes long) that I shot on different occasions. I'll prep all the video, put some menus together, etc etc. I would expect that future DVDs would be a similar format.

Another performer's manager expressed interest in getting some of the video to use on their site. I would want to keep the copyright, and license use for a year at a time. Again, I'm not sure where to put the pricing.

Finally, I feel like a broader application of my skill set could be used in putting together electronic press kits for artists, and supplying them with DVDs of performances, bios, contact information and what have you. Has anyone had much experience with that type of work?

Can anyone offer some pearls of wisdom? Thanks for your help and advice.
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Konstantin Vilenchitz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 10th, 2005, 06:13 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Toronto, Canada
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Well one way to look at things is to figure out your minimum costs.

Annual (minimum) salary you want to make. Freelance income is unsteady so you want to make a little more than a salary job. If you'll barely scrape by at $18k/yr (arbitrary figure), you need to make more than $18k.

Equipment costs, including depreciation

How many unbillable hours for each billable hour. For example, you will spend lots of time talking to people about prospective projects, and advertising or doing word of mouth. Not every project is going to happen. If you do your own accouting, those are also unbillable hours. Working on your demo reel, getting business cards, etc. etc. are also unbillable hours.

Expendables, travel costs per project

Glenn Chan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 10th, 2005, 07:22 PM   #3
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Venice, FL
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Here is another approach.

1. Figure out how many hours you spent working on your friends DVD.

2. Ask her if she would be willing to pay $x for it. If she says yes, ask her again with a higher price until she says maybe.

3. Offer to do her friends reels at that amount. If they all say yes, then for the next round charge a higher price for comparable work. I am going to guess that most artist reels like this will be roughly comparable amounts of work, with maybe a simple and a complex version.

4. Keep successively raising your prices until you are only getting 50-60% yes answers, and also wish you were working more. Then instead of dropping prices, get out and market your business more aggressively at that price.

Not sure about the web thing. Gotta feel out their perception of its worth.

It is called demand-based pricing. It rewards you for doing good work that people are willing to pay more for, rather than time-based pricing, which is wage-slave approach in the long run. You will note that you never needed the answer to #1, but it is good to know as a reality check. Figure out how many reels you can do in a 20-30 hour week, and if that makes you enough money to live on (for now) at your starting price. Maybe, Maybe not, just know the answer.

In NYC, there are people who do nothing but head-shots for actors. And the get an amazing amount of money for doing it. Actors and wannabes pay up because of the photographers rep. When an agent or producer sees a head shot done by a respected head-shot photographer, they treat the actor more seriously (or so the story goes....).

Just keep working at higher and higher prices until they respect the hell out of you. :)
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