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Guest September 28th, 2006 08:09 PM

Looking for Opinions on this Job
Well I am a current college student and I came upon this job ad for a production technician with some experience. So I had a meeting with the company and their project plans. The project will last about 2-3 months and they want my help and input with the project. Because of confidentiality, I will not completely explain the project, I will only say it uses green screening and compositing. (Like the green screening effects in Forrest Gump or Multiplicity.) We need something to get a start with this project so we can put out a prototype.

They want me to make a proposal to them asking

1) What equipment to use. (Programs necessary to make these effects look real). I currently have Premiere Pro 2.0, AE 7 Pro which I know how to use. I have 3Ds Max 8 but I have only touched the basics.)
-Green screens
-Microphones for voiceovers
-Computer to run the programs.

2) Wage (I will be editing the footage, greenscreening, and pretty much just putting the project all together in the end.)

I am asking for this advice because I know some of you guys run successful video production businesses and I would like your expertise.

As for budget, I was told that he is very flexible with it.

If you need any more information, I will try to inform you as much as possible. But keep in mind that the project plans must remain confidential.

Benjamin Hill September 28th, 2006 09:30 PM

Sean, if I understand correctly, someone is interested in hiring you as a video production consultant. Are you wanting someone else to tell you what to charge, and what video equipment you should recommend?

Guest September 29th, 2006 08:59 AM

Here is the deal. I am only 18 years old and the only experience I have with video production is with me and my friends in school, doing projects and short movies. It got more serious, we bought better cameras, equipment, etc and I was looking for a job where I could get some more experience. So I looked into this and it turns out that this company has just started and has this big project and need an assistant. Their ad made it seem that they were looking for someone to just edit and such, not propose the entire project. They said they interviewed professional videographers and such but what they really wanted was a young college student with some energy for this project. I've never really done anything of this magnitude and such professionalism before. So I'm almost not sure to tell them I am not the right person or to go ahead and engage in this.

Benjamin Hill September 29th, 2006 09:22 AM

Sean, it sounds like they're laying it at your feet. If they say they prefer a college student to a professional videographer (probably for budget reasons), then they can't have tremendously high expectations, so keep that in mind.

If being a video professional is your goal, then arbitrarily decide what you're worth, take the gig and advise them to the best of your abilities & experience. The worst that can happen is you'll learn from doing it.

Denis Danatzko September 29th, 2006 11:03 AM

I agree w/Ben.
Aside all the "practical" considerations" of income, interfering with studies, etc., it sure seems like a good opportunity to gain experience and help you learn more about what you can and can't do, and what you know and have yet to learn.

Remember, too, that you're young, and this is a JOB you're talking about...not life in prison or slavery. If you've been honest with them about what you HAVE done, and what you do and don't know, then they "know what they're getting." I think little more can be expected of you at this point in time.

2-3 months fits into a semester. Is there some way to do this as an independent study course or internship to provide both money and credits?

Our final "job" is to merely "push up daisies." What do you want to do before then? You only go around once in life, so enjoy the journey as best you can, pursuing what interests you.

Gregory S. Ouellette September 29th, 2006 11:09 AM

being 18 your life experience is quite limited. by no means do i mean that as a putdown- your potential at 18 is huge if you actually have direction and are motivated. what you will face as a major obstacle is "not knowing that you dont know".
benjamin is correct- you are being chosen primarily for budget reasons and your enthusiasm is probobly engaging. but directing and organizing a large project is daunting. knowing your equipment, programs, and such is one thing. having contingency plans and real life problem solving experience for when things begin to fall apart is what will show the most.
i remember being 18 and it would have been pretty easy to impress me. likewise, i could easily manipulate and shine on any 18 y/o at the age of 40 now.
dont worry about how much you will get paid- you have plenty of time to generate income in life. make it crystal clear to the folks you are in contact with what your known limits are and sugget that many others will arise, but that you will do your best to deal with them.
in the end, if you can get a seasoned resource made available to you if you get in over your head and they are willing to cover your consult costs that would be ideal. you could meet with that person before the project begins to get some guidance and then as needed.
in the end, make sure you are fully credited and get things in writing and signed. a lot of these projects that start out like this end up as a pile of miniDV tapes sitting somewhere and that is where it ends.
get out there and best of luck.

Steven Davis September 29th, 2006 11:12 AM


Originally Posted by Denis Danatzko
...and this is a JOB you're talking about...not life in prison or slavery.

What a great line. Thanks for the laugh.

I definitely agree that this is awesome experience. I would take as many notes on this project as possible so you can refer to it later, and start slapping together that resume now.

Peter Wiley September 29th, 2006 06:09 PM

The situation you describe sets off alarm bells for me. Doing good quality greenscreen is not a simple or inexpensive process (have you done any?). 2-3 month project sounds rather involved (there are feature films that shoot in less time). I would want to have a very clear understanding of the expectations the potential employer has about the quality finished product and your responsibility for producing it and also their experience in managing a project like the one they want you to do.

It is quite possible that they have very unrealistic expections, indeed I'd guess they have no idea what they are doing or they would be doing it differently.

Being able to make a reasonable proposal for a project like this requires experience with having done such a project. Specifiying the lighting required, for example, depends entirely on what's being shot and how (people, objects, camera movements etc.) -- something you just have to have experience with to estimate. Last thing you want to do is make a proposal that ends up being wrong because you discover 1/2 way in all your assumptions are off -- a circumstance that could put you on the line for expenses not imagined in the original proposal. A reasonable employer is not going to put a young person in such a position.

Guest September 30th, 2006 06:49 PM

When they were interviewing me, they were asking me how I would go about doing the project. And as I was telling them, they seemed to have no idea what I was talking about. They didn't even know Adobe Premiere was primarily Windows based. I don't even think they knew what AE or 3ds Max 8 were. One is a lawyer and the other has some degree with business, while the other is the guy's brother. They had this "vision" of this project a while back and started to get into it now. And it seems like they are hiring me to do everything. With my lack of this type of experience, I can see myself going into this project and then hitting problem after problem after problem and have it be a disaster. Since these people appear to have nearly zero experience with this, I believe they should hire a professional, not a high-energy student.

I am on the fence with this. I am currently seeking a mechanical engineering degree and at this point, school is way more important. I need a basis for my life first before I build on it. Although I would love the great experience, it's just not a high priority at this time.

Denis Danatzko October 1st, 2006 06:44 AM

The added info helped.

Originally Posted by Sean Gipe
Since these people appear to have nearly zero experience with this, I believe they should hire a professional, not a high-energy student.

I am on the fence with this. I am currently seeking a mechanical engineering degree and at this point, school is way more important. I need a basis for my life first before I build on it. Although I would love the great experience, it's just not a high priority at this time.

Given your school situation, and your uncertainty about their expectations & knowledge, it seems you should pass on this right now. Our son is also studying engineering, civil, not mechanical, and I know how demanding he found his schedule and classes to be.

I can't imagine you taking on such a large project (2-3 months) - and doing it well - while keeping up with classes. Because you have youth on your side, I suspect there are other opportunities in store for you down the road. Finish school, and keep your eyes open for those new opportunities.

Guest October 1st, 2006 11:16 AM

Thanks for the advice guys.

Peter Wiley October 2nd, 2006 07:44 AM

Sean, I think your analysis is a wise one.

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