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Old February 28th, 2023, 05:28 AM   #1
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How Much To Charge For One's Services?

I've been asked by a UK Government organisation to provide some video footage of local National Nature Reserves. This is to be incorporated into a film they want to make about NNRs and how they might relate to the general public, the tax-payers. They've seen some of my YouTube uploads which prompted their interest.

Footage to become their property.

I've been asked to work on a daily basis for a few days during March. Footage basically wildlife and habitats which I'm quite familiar with and happy to do.

I've been asked to quote a daily rate, and would appreciate any suggestions as to what this might be.
I'm strictly amateur (and retired) albeit sold a few clips over the years.

I'm a bit non-plussed about a daily rate as opposed to simply being paid for footage. So any ideas about a daily rate or alternatively a rate (per minute?) for footage?

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Old February 28th, 2023, 06:45 AM   #2
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Re: How Much To Charge For One's Services?

I assume you don't need the income to put food on the table or keep the heat on, right? I also assume you aren't bidding against losing the work to someone else.

So it really comes down to how much it takes to get you motivated to do it. There are a lot of things I do for free because I want to do them, and other things that I charge an outrageous amount for because I am not interested very much.

There is a tipping point where the money makes a difference between dreading a shoot or looking forward to it. Find that tipping point, and then you have your day-rate. In other words, I like to quote a price where if they say "yes", I'm happy. And if they say "no", I don't care because I wouldn't do it for less.

BTW, seeing your name in the credits and getting a pat on the back from the producers might be compensation enough. Nothing wrong with that.
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Old February 28th, 2023, 06:01 PM   #3
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Re: How Much To Charge For One's Services?

Good advice there Doug. Mine is, I’d scout around to find out what others would or might charge for a similar project. You could call others as the client and get quotes for the same exercise.

You could quietly find out if others had worked for them before and why they didn’t call them. They might have been regulars who priced themselves out of the job, or bad vibes.

Good luck, you’re about to find out how it all works and you’d better step on it, the Ides of March are upon us.
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Old February 28th, 2023, 07:15 PM   #4
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Re: How Much To Charge For One's Services?

Since you’re retied, the information you can “bring to the table” is valuable because you remember what the environment was like in years past. In a mater of decades, the environment has really changed. As humans, many of us relate to larger animals but the small critters, and plants, are import to the eco system. For the younger biologists and viewing public perhaps you can have a positive impact to tell it like it is was. Decrease in food sources versus human population increase, talk about tipping points, what’s wrong with this picture?

In the Northwest (Washington, Oregon), for example, bears, fish, and even ants are part of the food chain; break the chain and survival of “stuff” happens. Insects (bee decline is in the news) are a very important part of the food chain but tend not to be glorified as much as some animals such as bears, deer, birds, or even plants, water, and soil. It's all important.

In the 1940s it was all about reclaiming the marshes, tame the wild rivers, and conquer the wilderness (forests). What was wrong with that picture? One answer is the Monarch butterfly is in steep decline as its flyway has been seriously damaged. The Monarch kept another species at bay (bark beetle?) so now forests are dying, which in turn have become tinder for forest fires.

In the 1970s one would drive along Interstate 5 through California and Oregon and the windshield (windscreen?) would become splattered with bugs so one would have to stop at a gas (petrol) station to clean the windshield. The gas station would have a squeegee-scrubber with a rough side to help clean the bug splat along with a water bucket, and a paper towel dispenser to dry the windshield. Unfortunately, today, the gas stations don’t have anything because there aren't any bugs. Things have changed in just a few decades.

Doug had an excellent post and here is a thought about the opening line….” I assume you don't need the income to put food on the table or keep the heat on, right?” What about the inflation of food prices (egg prices impacted by bird flu virus) and heating (Europe and the UK is in the news about snow and flooding, this winter due to climate change). Hmmm.

Speaking of bird flu, let's not forget about microorganisms, they’re an important part of the food chain too, and perhaps even more important! Video through a microscope? Movement of invasive species?

And speaking of “tipping point”, if it were me, I’d volunteer to be an assistant for nothing. Well, maybe a free lunch?

Hopefully this is not A SINGLE movie, but a series!

Last edited by John Nantz; February 28th, 2023 at 08:11 PM. Reason: fee lunch? > free lunch?
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Old March 1st, 2023, 01:03 AM   #5
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Re: How Much To Charge For One's Services?

UK Government knows exactly how much TV costs, so being retired shouldn't really make a difference. If you chat to the Guild of Televison Camera Professionals, I think their attitude should be that to be fair to the people who are still doing it, you should charge a realistic amount, as the commissioner may have also asked others to quote, who do need food on the table.

The are two elements here too. The shoot and the ownership. Your material becomes theirs. In perpetuity, in any medium, in any territory normally. No guarantee even of a credit. So a broadcast camera person might cost 200-300 a day plus expenses to capture the video. That's about the same as a plumber.

What is the value of bought out footage? To hand it over and walk away is totally up to you. You don't need it, so it is a one off item. Years ago, I started to never sell if there was a remote chance I could use it again, and I licenced it for five years. When I shot the workings of a laundry, I knew I'd never ever use this again, so I happily sold them everything for an agreed buyout of 450.

Just remember that there are vanity projects ( this isn't one) where you get kudos from the job and it perhaps generates more work in the future. You have an interesting project, so income isn't important. Just be aware you could wipe out others who do need the money, but they might just have asked only you?

Why not quote them a day rate and a nominal rights fee? Morally, that would be how I'd do it
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Old March 1st, 2023, 02:24 AM   #6
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Re: How Much To Charge For One's Services?

Some very good points above, some that have also occurred to me.

In normal circumstances I would have offered my services, and footage, for free, and would have expected so to be asked. My footage would be of local wildlife, stuff I see and film almost on a daily basis, while paid for, professional footage, interviews and the like would be a matter for the pros.

I need to do a bit of digging but I suspect that this is one of those instances where there's been an underspend of an annual budget, with underspent sum not available to add to next year's spend, and furthermore such "inaccuracy" to be deducted from next year's budget.
(I have to complete my paid for filming by March 31st.)

I don't need the dosh, modest sum as it might be, but I don't wish to rock their budgetary boat.

I need to discuss this informally with the Agency, i.e. in person, not via e-mail. I'll let you know what happens.


Last edited by Ronald Jackson; March 1st, 2023 at 02:34 AM. Reason: grammar etc
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Old March 1st, 2023, 11:34 AM   #7
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Re: How Much To Charge For One's Services?

That's interesting for me, what you wrote about doing this kind of shooting all the time anyway. Not that you need to give it away though.
Last summer I was contacted by someone who has been producing mini-docs with interviews, to shoot an interview session near where I live and of an artist I collaborate with frequently, including shooting stills and video of their work in progress and of them telling stories.

I knew what was paid for the last interview - $700 for a local firm to deliver unedited footage. I asked for $800 and the producer brought up that $700 figure. Nice try; that was a few years ago. I anticipated that so I offered to include some of my own never before seen footage "for nothing" as long as we could agree to my $800 asking price. Done. I was actually more interested in seeing my content as part of the final product so that was the benefit of approaching it the way I did. This was my first time being a solo freelancer hired by a known producer of this, or any type of professional content.
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Old March 2nd, 2023, 12:00 PM   #8
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Re: How Much To Charge For One's Services?

I worked on a theatre project - got a 'technical manager' credit for something that was on Youtube - no real issue - I'd been paid for the job without the video component, and that was effectively a freebie. However, now it's on a subscription service and in the absence of any proper contract, I guess the credit doesn't;t pay for food on the table, does it?

We've all done this stuff really.

My best example was when I went to the No 2 star in the show to ask if she'd be up for a live TV session as an OB the following week, along with the No 1. She said yes and wanted a fee - 500 for doing it - 2 hours on site and 20 mins on air. I got this for her. The No 1 did NOT ask for money. They both signed the same contract, but with one clause missing for the one who didn't ask for money. Very often the big clients don't even care about the money, they just won't offer it. You have the problem of asking and getting rejected, because once you ask, you cannot go back,
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Old March 2nd, 2023, 04:25 PM   #9
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Re: How Much To Charge For One's Services?

Roll a D-20 and multiply it by your Charisma modifier
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