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Struggling to find clients

matthewc's picture
Last seen: 3 years 6 days ago
Joined: 08/24/2011 - 4:16am

I'm a film student in Boston and a resident of Cape Cod. My dream is to make movies someday, but paying for expenses is nice too.

I work very hard to find people who might be interested in my services, which ranges from event video, music videos, and commercials.

I've tried to reasonably price my service at $350 per day on production, a $100 consulting rate (which is for people who want help on troubleshooting), and $50 per hour for editing. Which I think is pretty cheap. And lots of people have turned their noses up at it.

Posting on Craigslist has found me individuals who won't even pay more than $100 or less.

Recently I've just given in and have been marketing my price at around $150 - $200 flat. Which I've begun to regret, but what else can I do?

I have no idea how to just simply find and call up places that might require my service. And I have no experience in putting myself out there.

Is there any advice someone can give me as to where to begin?


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 4 months 1 week ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

Are you looking for work (clients, customers) as a shooter only, or are you seeking to marketing yourself as able to provide turnkey production. It would seem the latter as you point out having a day rate for shooting (I presume), a consulting rate for people wanting help on "troubleshooting" whatever THAT entails? and an editing rate.

That being the case, are you wanting to acquire business in all areas of production, including event production such as weddings and other individual celebrations?

Personally, Craigslist is a cancer that eats up legitimate services/products for reasonable prices and is the armpit of garage sale mentality. But, just as spam and junk mail serve a purpose work (because if it didn't the shear volume of it wouldn't be so huge) I suppose so does Craigslist.

I focus primarily on small businesses, independent businesspeople, individuals and their celebrations, funerals, memorial montages and pretty much ALL events other than weddings. I started out of course, like so many independents have, doing weddings but quickly moved to diversified production services, preferring other production options to doing weddings. Nothing personal, just business (for me ;-)

That being said, I developed a website that over the years (websites are ALWAYS works in progress, never really finished or completed ... a dynamic economic environment precludes having a static website environment) has added a multitude of sample clips representing the many facets of production work I offer. I've continuously worked to simplify its presentation, navigation and reduced the rhetoric (all websites pretty much ALWAYS have too much rhetoric ... my theory is if they've found and visited your website they're already sold on the service, they just need to be sold on picking YOU) to the point that I try to provide a basic synopsis of what I offer, how much it costs and where I can be found or areas I serve all supported by sample clips of my work.

I don't attempt to entertain, oversell, impress with Flash intros and whizbang stuff ... just clean, simple, easy-to-navigate meat and potatoes information.

Business cards, short and sweet production sample DVD or an overview of work, direct-mail postcards and letters and constant shameless self-promotion pretty much requiring that I be "UP" 24/7 because I NEVER know where my next potential client might show up.

Marketing IS a full time job and unfortunately independent operators have to wear many hats: production, marketing, consulting, design, lighting, audio & audio sweetening, post editing, etc. etc. etc. Marketing is performed by some on an "as needed" basis, meaning that when jobs, work, business falls off, they start marketing. The downside, of course, is the weeks without business/income/cash flow that occur until a flow of interested clients returns ... IF it does.

Video is, especially for the independent, a feast-or-famine business. A former manager I worked for many years past said something that I resented at the time but unfortunately has proven true over the years. I was in retail merchandising, selling electronics and furniture, etc. on the floor at a now defunct department store (this was in the days before self-serve warehouse sales like Costco, etc.) for a pittance salary, making my money off commissions. I was flush one week, way over the top in sales with a huge check coming and decided to take my one day off for a change.

He suggested I "come in" and work on my day off because I was "on a roll" and had a chance to make a banner week and the income BETTER! On the other hand, when I was having a slow or no week he also suggested I "come in" and work on my day off so I might be able to improve my bad week.

As an independent, this is also true, and if I don't market consistently, while juggling production, on-site work, editing, billings, return calls, client services, etc. I'm going to see a falloff in video business income and it might take days, even weeks, of marketing, cold calling, guerrilla-style running and gunning, just to get business back in line with my needs or even any income at all.

So, website, samples, business cards, direct-mail marketing campaigns, continuous and shameless self-promotion with a "nothing too big, nothing too small to accept" mentality. Consistency and persistency work.


Charles Schultz's picture
Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Joined: 10/25/2010 - 10:38pm

Matthew, Earl is a wealth of wisdom, listen to him. You can also try local networking groups to promote your business, BNI while a little pricy is a good group for obtaining client, Yellow Tie is also a good group to get into. Do a web search and see if you can find a group.


matthewc's picture
Last seen: 3 years 6 days ago
Joined: 08/24/2011 - 4:16am

Thank you both very much. I can't tell you how much this helps. I've been to way to many forums full of very immature and annoying people who aren't any help at all.

http://www.rainriderproductions.com/

This is my website for any of you guys to take a look at and critique. The primary samples for clients are on the main page, which I've been getting steady interest with. And I have business cards too, and I've been handing them out to as many people as I can.

Direct mail marketing sounds like something that would really help. Would yellow pages be a valid source for having numbers to call about my services? Or is there another number that businesses should have for that sort of thing?

Also, am I reasonably priced as far as my general production rates go? I didn't really have much to go off of until I was asked to assist an editor on a CrossFit Regionals broadcast and was paid about $500 a day for that weekend since I was the first local editor they could find.


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 4 months 1 week ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

Yellow Pages sucks and is over-priced for any effectiveness they claim to have in today's Internet-focused world.

Your original pricing structure is a good starting point, but I wouldn't stay with the Craigslist pricing. Dump it!

You'll find some pretty decent marketing strategies and other information on my video marketing and production blog, active since 2004, at E.C. Come, E.C. Go

As soon as I can I'll take a look at your website and samples, and provide any useful input I can. Good to see you onboard at Videomaker, and Charles is another guy who won't give you bad info. Another one of the good guys here.


composite1's picture
Last seen: 5 months 4 days ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator

Matthew,

As always Earl is a good source of info and real-world experience. I'll merely add that bringing your prices down to attract customers is not always a good idea. There are so many people jumping into this business who do not understand the cost-to-labor-to-profit ratio that must be maintained in video and film production. Unlike your accountant or lawyer who also produce 'subjective services' for a premium price, video production is not seen as a 'necessary' service by those who operate on the low-end of needing said service. What that means is; people who don't understand how the service actually works for them don't think they need it.

That said, for most people including small and medium sized businesses, creating a video presence for their company or motion media for training/educational materials seem more in the realm of 'Hollywood' or Fortune 500 companies. Which by the way is utter B.S.! The two hard things are to attract clients who recognize they have a need and then convincing them they can get it done without spending a great deal of money. Thing is you do have to let them know that they will have to pay something!

Bottom line is you definitely get what you pay for. $300 bucks for a day's worth of production? How much gear did you bring? How many hours did you work? Did you do the one-man-band thing or did you have help? How far did you have to go to get to the gig? Did you edit the project? How long was the final product? Did you do any greenscreen/compositing? Did you add music? If you did, where did you get it from?

All those questions and a bunch more have to be answered and I can tell you particularly in the market you're working in you can't wipe your backside with $350 a day or $100 for consulting! To paraphrase one of the older members, "If they can't meet your price, don't meet them." Now, I know all that sounds high and mighty when you're trying to make ends meet, but undercutting yourself isn't helping you at all. You're at the stage where you're going to have to do some 'low-ball' if not pro-bono gigs to get your name out there. Note that I said some, you do not want to get into the habit of doing freebies!

However, you pick out your freebies and low-ball joints very carefully. Case in point, I did some quid pro quo work for a local golf tournament. I didn't charge them for my services, but got to film and photograph the event in exchange for some very expensive promo material and the rights to the photos which I offered for sale to tournament participants. Didn't sell any photos, but made some connections which paid off later plus I have stock photos and video that I've sold over the years.

You being in the Boston Metro area means you have a very deep market to work in. However, the deeper the market the bigger the players with already established clientele. Also, you've got 'schools' of little fish like yourself all thrashing about in a 'bait ball' undercutting each other with ridiculous offers of $300-200 for a full production. 99% of which is utter crap that pollutes the industry waters because of poor quality and customer dissatisfaction.

So the good news is; you're in a market you should be able to support yourself in. Bad news is; you're going to need everything Earl said, work twice as hard and network your butt off to build up a client list that will allow you to pay the bills. Maybe if all the people who get into this thinking 'oh I'm going to make a killing 'cause it's easy and I'm cheap' would take everything we've mentioned into account things wouldn't be so difficult.

Don't lose hope or perspective though. Set your current goals based upon what you can actually deliver. You'd like to cover a wide base of clients, but you won't be able to initially. Do weddings for a time, they're a pain and don't pay much initially but they are 'doable'. Then network your way into other things and build your business along the way. Sorry there's no KABLAM! one-trick solution to your problem. However, this has been the path all of us have followed who are still in business. Before you know it, an opportunity will come upon you and from all your hard work you'll be ready for it and business will take a great turn for the better.

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com


chamberlane altatis's picture
Last seen: 10 months 1 week ago
Joined: 07/27/2011 - 8:24am

Hi Matthew! They already said a lot about how can you do more in your business so I'll not talk more about that any more. You said you wanted some critique for your website so I just reviewed it a bit.Trulyyour works are awesome and I can say that you're a great film maker. Making website as a tool to advertise your services is the right way but you have to make the website attract more audience. And what do I mean by that? Let me share you a bit about SEO things.

If I wanted to produce a video for example and I am looking for those kinds of services online, what will I type? Maybe I'll type in "video services" you're of course no where to be found in google. What I mean is that, target some keywords that most people are searching on google but the competition is low. You can do so in google adwords keyword tool. Once you found a good keyword, write some articles targeting that keyword. You can use it as a title and use it frequently in the body of your article. Use it as well in the tags. However I don't see any blog page in your website. I encourage you to make one and post articles frequently.

Google also loves social bookmarking so better keep on posting your works to your facebook page and twitter account linking to your website. You can also do so in google +.

Aside form that, I suggest you make a page about your services describing all things that you can do with all the packages and prices in all of that sorts. You just made this things in contact us which I think is not enough.

Well, I can't say all of them here. If you want, you can take a look at my site as an example. I've been working on that for just less than two months and I'm now 4th in the google front page when you type the keyword video production tutorial which is my target.

By the way, I'm not an expert here, I'm just trying to share some thought I learned and maybe it can also help you improve your site.


matthewc's picture
Last seen: 3 years 6 days ago
Joined: 08/24/2011 - 4:16am

@composite1 - My gear consists of a Rebel T2i with a Audio Technica shotgun mic and Zoom H1. Usually with a tripod or steadycam. And one kit lens, and a prime lens. I edit on Final Cut Pro 7.

How would I price this? Its become very hard for me to figure out whats appropriate for me and my work, and even when I get interested clients they scoff at the price I have. I have a friend who did do videos for free, and then started to slowly charge more and more for different people. Now he makes music videos for about $3,000 a pop (Last time I checked anyway) Its all now varying on the budget of the production.

Should I follow his example?


matthewc's picture
Last seen: 3 years 6 days ago
Joined: 08/24/2011 - 4:16am

@chamberlane While I use Webs.com for my website, its SEO properties are a bit confusing. But your advice is very helpful. And I will mostdefinitelylook into my site and find out how to improve my SEO. Thank you so much.


composite1's picture
Last seen: 5 months 4 days ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator

Matthew,

Right off the top I can tell you as is you will not be able to attract or charge clients premium prices with what you currently have. Unfortunately, we live in a 'cosmetic society' meaning 'looks are everything'. When you show up to a shoot with pro or pro-looking gear, potential clients recognize right away that you are serious about your work and they will have to pay for your services. Doesn't mean whether you're any good or not.

When starting out your best bet is to base your initial pricing on your state's average hourly wage for your profession. Seriously take into account what your actual overhead costs are and what you need to make on a job to meet those costs per month. Don't be foolish and not include things like; cellphone, land line, rent (for apartment or house), utilities and so on. All those things are overhead costs when planning what you intend to charge.

Another thing is to setup a budget to 'accessorize' your gear properly. When I got started on my own after working for a large production house, I only had a Sony Handycam (High-8!) However, knowing the limitations of the camera I picked up a few accessories like a good tripod with a Lanc-controller, extra lenses (wide and telephoto), plus some basic lens filters and simple mic's (lavalier and stereo.) My kit was straight consumer-grade, but the way I had it configured it looked much more professional.

My gear didn't look like I was a hobbyist and I knew exactly what I was talking about when I dealt with clients. Oh yeah, I've had lots scoff at cost (even one's who had the money to pay!) But, you don't deal with them. They will be a pain and will bitch about the cost and try to whittle you down on everything from start to finish. You have to remember, you're out to convince a client that you are going to give them a product that's worth the money they'll pay.

I constantly get calls for gigs and they ask, 'Hey we like the quality of the RED camera, do you use that?' My answer is, 'Sure can if you're willing to pay for it.' When they find out how much it's really going to cost, those who are willing go forward. Those who aren't are happy to hear about less costly alternatives.

So you're using a Rebel T2i which is a consumer-grade rig with a prime and the plastic kit lens that came with it. You also say you have a tripod and a steady rig. With one shotgun mic and a Zoom H1. Do you at least have a Lens Hood for your prime? You also need to get a viewfinder to go on your camera for when you're shooting video. Zacuto and others make some fine viewfinders that will help you see your image better during the shoot and make your gear look more professional.

Also, you need lens filters to fit both lenses. Tiffen makes some nice and inexpensive Digital Video filter kits with ND's, UV, Polarizers and others to help you get good images. Then there's your audio gear. Please tell me you use headphones and not earbuds to listen to your audio going into your H1? I use an H1 in addition to my regular audio gear primarily when I'm shooting video with a handheld point and shoot rig.

Oh and do you use a slate with a clapper during shooting for audio sync? One it helps you sync audio with ease in post and has the added bennie of giving your shoot a more pro feel. Clients get off on seeing the clapper come out and it makes them feel like they're in a 'real' production.

These are just a fraction of the things you'll need to give yourself a more 'polished' look with clients and also make shooting for you much easier. Now, don't run out and buy the most expensive junk you can find. Don't get 'El Cheapo' but don't pay through the orifices either for accessories. Remember, if you want people to take you seriously, you have to look pro, sound pro and produce professional looking work even if you didn't have high-end gear when you did it!

Lastly, don't worry about what 'your friend' is doing. You'll have to find your own niche whatever that may be and set up your pricing accordingly. Here's a link to your state's Wage Averages by Industry. It's not precise as other states but it's a good place to start looking. Good luck.

http://www.bls.gov/ro1/oesbos.htm

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com


matthewc's picture
Last seen: 3 years 6 days ago
Joined: 08/24/2011 - 4:16am

@composite1 I'm not sure if my question was answered.

That was good insight on having a more professional look. But I'm not sure if the link you gave me really helped.

Are you saying I should just charge 30 bucks an hour? I'm a slightlydependentstudent so I don't have to many expenses to base my own business charge on.

And based on what I have? Based on the videos on my site? Or the equipment I own? Which of these is the reason I shouldn't charge any premium prices.

It would be better for me to understand if I had an example of what you charge, or what you think I should charge.

I don't mean to be playing 20 questions, I really appreciate the advice,I'm just trying to make sure I get this right before I go out and start marketing myself like Earl says.


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 4 months 1 week ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

Three factors, basically, have an effect on your pricing decisions, Matthew:

1. ALL costs to do business (EVERYTHING from pencils and pencil sharpeners, to cameras, lenses, software, paper, envelopes, insurance, food, percentage of area of your home used strictly for business, portion of the phone used for same, dining with potential clients, gas, materials, supplies, the kitchen sink) That list sounded cute, weird, a bit over the top, but actually THAT and more gets left out of many expense calculations by independent businesspeople. But all these things and a million more reflect the REAL cost of doing business. I didn't touch on advertising, marketing, maintenance, salary, etc.

2. Local pricing, what the market will bear, what your competition charges, the rate reference Wolfgang provided a link to.

3. What you need to pay the bills and survive in a highly competitive marketing environment/area.

OK, 4. What you want or need to make, whether it includes a salary, profit or even comes close to paying the bills for living, as well as the expenses for doing business. So, not only what the market will bear, but what you can bear.

That being said. It isn't really rocket science. As all who have replied here have added factors and thoughts, realities and corrections, the IMAGE thing is important, but not always or necessarily, as Wolfgang "sort of" alluded to, etc. etc.

Initially your equipment and presence, air of confidence, take command attitude (with moderation ;-), the way you look, dress, conduct yourself and what you drive, how your website, business cards, equipment and teeth (I'm missing a couple and I've no doubt that sometimes plays against me, but I'm still not totally ugly ;-) all have a bearing on your initial contact with potential clients. As the clich goes, You only have one chance to make a good first impression.

That quickly goes by the wayside if you do not produce, perform or deliver for a bounty of reasons, or excuses.

BOTTOM LINE! Don't get into a habit of giving your work away; Do charge something. Don't be the the local K-Mart Blue Light Special; Do offer reasonable prices based on what others in your marketing/service area are charging (unless, of course, YOU, YOUR EQUIPMENT and PRODUCT are all demonstrably superior); Don't try to charge premium prices for mediocre work with consumer equipment and inappropriate or unprofessional behavior.

I would suggest that you have the confidence to set a day rate (regardless of your equipment) of no less than $500 with a half-day rate of no less than $300, for shooting/acquisition. But then that also has to factor in any additional expenses YOU experience, hiring for sound, grip, equipment rental, etc.) So, rate plus estimated/anticipated expenses.

I would suggest sticking with a $50 per hour editing rate, but get to the $100 level as soon as you can deliver ALL THREE, even though THAT clich says you can't have all three: GOOD, FAST & CHEAP. At least be good, fast and affordable. I would add a fourth, dependable.

I would suggest dropping a consultation fee, or reducing it to $25 per hour. I mean how much consultation are you really experienced enough to offer at this time? Just saying. Also, subtract your consultation fee from the final bill ... credit your client with that fee against the total bill when you're hired for the job.

There are other considerations but first you need and want to get some work. You've been given a HUGE amount of information and seriously GOOD resources here. Enough to RUN with. Jump past the basic insecurities and go for it. Just do it. Get 'er done. Try and fly. Stop beating the matter, and yourself up. Essentially you're frustrated and a bit worried about going over the edge too much or not enough, screwing yourself or others. Mostly, OTHERS aren't going to LET you screw them, so just accept that what choices you make and GO FOR NOW will also be invaluable learning and experience.

It NEVER gets perfect, but it does get a wee bit easier ... sometimes ;-)


composite1's picture
Last seen: 5 months 4 days ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator

Matthew,

The link I gave you was to give you an idea of what the average basic hourly rate for work done in your industry. It was only meant as a starting point for you to calculate how much you'll need to charge. If I remember correct, the rough sum was $29 an hour. However, as I said the chart from your state is not precise. Other states have more detailed info concerning photography and video production specifically.

There probably is such info for Massachusetts, but you'll have to dig for that info yourself. As Earl and the rest of us told you, you're going to have to figure out what your costs of doing business are on a monthly basis and then make your pricing to fit your needs vs what your potential customers are willing to pay. Since I don't live in as large and competitive a market as you, my numbers won't fit your model. Even the numbers that Earl gave you may not fit either because his market is different than yours. Also you have to remember Earl, myself and others who've commented have been at this a while and have client's and reputations built up which you do not have.

So based on the Massachusetts chart, $29 ph is the average amount people in your state get paid for work in the 'arts' in your state. That's your starting point. As Earl 'sort of' alluded to, you can't be 'super cheap' and profitable. That only works when you are working in vast volume which you won't be doing. Until you build your rep, you'll be working on one project at a time and that job will have to sustain you until you bring in other assignments.

So your question was; How much should I charge? The answer is; No one can tell you exactly. You'll have to do some research specific to your location, overhead and tools available concerning your cost of doing business to figure that out. As time goes on, that number will shift according to how well your rep grows and the type of clients you're pulling down. Believe me, I asked the very same question years ago when I started and had to take all available info and figure it out myself. Picking a number arbitrarily is not smart and will cause you problems down the road.

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com



matthewc's picture
Last seen: 3 years 6 days ago
Joined: 08/24/2011 - 4:16am

Thank you both. It means a lot that I'm getting some great advice from such friendly people.

You've all been a great help. And I hope I can properly put this new knowledge to good use.





Jack Wolcott's picture
Last seen: 7 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: 01/02/2008 - 11:51pm
Plus Member

Matthew, here are some observations regarding your web site. People come to a web site because they're looking for something, because they have a specific need. They want to transfer film to DVD, or convert VHS to a digital format, or find someone who can shoot a wedding, etc.

When they arrive at your home page they want to see if your company can do what they're looking for. They want to see where you're located -- perhaps to see if you're nearby or too far away for them to travel -- they want to know your phone number so they can talk about what services they need and they want your email address.

The odds are they really don't care about Twitter, or Facebook or your blog; they just want their problem taken care of. And while video clips of your work are interesting, they're a very small part of your marketing.

It's important that your services are listed right up front; that your address, phone number and email address are too. Pull down menus are great, but they create a needless layer of technology between the potential client and what he/she needs to know at a glance: can this company do what I need to have done?

We ask every client who comes to us or calls us on the phone "How did you find us?" Almost without exception they say "on your web site. We needed someone to do (fill in the blanks) and found you." I'm always amazed at how many clients are doing research for someone else. A secretary, for example, whose boss has said "I need these 23 8mm and miniDV tapes digitized to my hard drive." Back in the day, the secretary would have picked up the Yellow Pages and looked for "tape transfer" or "digitizing tape." Today she heads for the computer and Google. If she doesn't see the solution to her problem at first glance, she's off to another page.

Bottom line: if I were you I'd rethink the web site. Who you are -- a picture of you is a great idea, by the way -- what you do, where you're located and how to contact you directly, right at the top of the home page.

You might take a look at http://www.videoccasions-nw.com; it isn't perfect, doesn't use Flash and doesn't have spiffy bells and whistles. But it has a great deal of content which, by the way, is important for search engine ranking; it usually ranks on the first search page, and it brings in an awful lot of money to our business.

Jack


grinner's picture
Last seen: 6 years 8 months ago
Joined: 12/29/2007 - 2:56am

I don't put my location on my site as it just doesn't matter where I am... I'm an email away from any client on the world and I have a current passport if I need to shoot on the other side of the globe. I do list my social networking sites because I pitch turn key as campaigns and they can serve as examples or at the very least let new clientele know I am hip to their needs today. I keep in plain and simple with just images and html so it's friendly for all... especially mobile. NEVER have I put price points on my site. We can talk about it when they call me. Truth is, I don't work by the hour much anymore and flat bids are how I can bring my rates back up to where they were before the depression began. I boast my reel and list a small number of clients I have worked with over the years and those are what seperate me from other freelancers or production companies a browser my be seeking. I targeted my key words not based on what I do, but based on what I prefer to do. Therefor most of the new clientele that finds me through search engines are interested in original programming, motorsports, or EPKs/Music videos. Same with my reel. I show what I want to do more of.

All this said, all we are talking about here is what kind of bait you use when fishing. That's not how to gain new clients. Yes they'll trickle in (just a few a year) but to obtain new clientele you'll have to market yourself much more aggressivly than just dropping a line in the water and waiting. If new in business, you'll flood your market with post cards week one. You'll know you'll not be getting any responses from these but you'll also know when you start cold0calling wekk two, your name will be familiar. You'll hit every schoozefest in town and there are plenty to hit every week. When you see a need... like a horrible local or regional spot, you'll know that's who you need to call because that's someone you can obviously help... they just don't know it yet. When they explain they got the production for nada because it was worked into the media buy, you'll politly explain that's why you are calling... because the bottom of the barell image is not how they really want to present themselves. You'll be flexible and creative with your flat bids and you'll always give em more than what they were expecting. Once ya get a new client in the door you'll know you have them forever... because you are better than anyone else in your market and you'll seal a new booking before they split that day.


vpmedia's picture
Last seen: 3 years 2 weeks ago
Joined: 08/16/2011 - 12:42am

 The more you network the more job opportunities will present themselves.  Plus it eliminates the cold sell.  I now make sure that I have some kind of depository for my different works and direct people to my youtube channel for video work.  Most everyone knows how to work YouTube and then I have a blog for both Print and Video demos.  Very little wording on the blog because people are there for the demos not for my writing skills.


SteveMann's picture
Last seen: 9 months 1 week ago
Joined: 07/26/2005 - 4:35pm

Don't forget - you asked.

If your website is intended as your primary source of business leads - it's a barrier. Facebook on your home page? Really?

Members"??? To what? You're not AOL, what is this "Members" stuff? Would you shop at a department store that takes your contact information just to walk in and look at the prices???

"Clients interested in work should go to the contact page for rates information and send an email. Serious inquiries only."

Whoah - why don't you just say: "If you have to ask, you can't afford me"? Why are you throwing obstacles in their path when you should be doing everything you can to engage them?

Your website is all about you. The client is there asking "What's in it for me"? And I don't see any answers.

Your site is also weak in the area of SEO. Every page has the same title - Google doesn't like that. The title is where you want your best keywords. Your description is your first chance to convince them to look at your site. I your case - "I am just like every other videographer". Nothing in the description sets you apart except that you don't know the difference from filmmaker and videographer. Clients do NOT search for a filmmaker to shoot a commercial. They look for a videographer or video producer. Also, you are wasting the H1, H2, etc tags. This is one of the prime locations that Google looks for keywords. Your website address is not a keyword.

Here's how you look in a Google search:

<h3 class="r">Home - Rain Rider Productions</h3>

<p class="f kv"><cite>www.rainriderproductions.com/</cite><span class="gl"> - Cached
<span class="st">Rain Rider Productions is a small East coast freelance production company residing in Boston and Cape Cod. Actively involved in projects like commercials, ...

There's your page title and descriptions. See why they are so important? This is the first thing your visitors see. By the way, try searching for "Videographer Cape Cod" - you weren't even on the second page of search results. I had to specifically Google your website URL to find you, and even that specific, you were down in the middle of the page.

Like I said - you asked for it.

Hope this helps.

Steve Mann


matthewc's picture
Last seen: 3 years 6 days ago
Joined: 08/24/2011 - 4:16am

@SteveMann

All the advice is great. I take no offense.

Problem is, my website works through Webs.com and I don't think their SEO settings really help at all. I can't seem to figure out how to make that work better. Unless you know something I don't.


Michael Daly's picture
Last seen: 5 months 6 days ago
Joined: 07/31/2011 - 10:06pm
Plus Member

Sorry to ... intrude .... Such great information for people like me too! I had no idea that information and assistance would be so focussed and so useful when I signed up. Think of me as a thirsty camel finding an oasis guys.


hmueller's picture
Last seen: 10 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 07/03/2009 - 6:12pm

Matthew, for the types of video work you mentioned in your first post, I can recommend Earl's direct mail approach - it really works.

But be patient, it is not easy to get work but it will become easier with time as you gain experience and become known.

Don't limit yourself to the few types of videography that you mentioned. There are many other options like training videos, travel videos and more. Many of these you can do on spec during periods when you have no other work.


matthewc's picture
Last seen: 3 years 6 days ago
Joined: 08/24/2011 - 4:16am

I've come across a new dilemma, I've followed the advice you guys gave me. I've been using my other website to promote myself as a video service provider (https://www.bostonfilmstudent.com) and so far its attracted a few people. One whom requested I work on 4 PSA's and I sent them a quote based on a 4 PSA contract. The quote came out to be at $7,800 and I've not since heard from them. And its been like two weeks.

The other, requested a quote for a one day shoot on anexercise video (supposedly a pilot for a series of videos?), the total $1,700. Haven't heard from him either.

I now garner interest, but scare people away with the price. Which I don't post on the website, I just show off what I offer. But its based on these numbers.

$500 per day

$300 per half day

$50 per hour (Post) - Based on 6 hour days (ie $300 per day)

Is there any way I can boost a clients interest, or find a multitude of clients who will pay? Coming from a student who doesn't have the money for direct mail, or anything but using SEO optimization and some internet videos to promote myself.


composite1's picture
Last seen: 5 months 4 days ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator

Matthew,

As I and others mentioned, part of your problem is you don't have a reputation yet. Okay, you've got a site but what's on it? How many projects have you worked on outside of those you did in school? You're going to have to get out there and shoot while you're not doing paying gigs yet. The footage you get will build up your material you can present on your site so potential clients can see what you are capable of. And initially, you'll need to do a couple of freebies or quid pro quo projects.

Your website and marketing are fine to get the interest of clients trawling for someone to shoot something. Problem is; most of those folks are just window shopping. Where a good deal of your customers will come is from referrals. How many times have you asked a friend, 'hey you know someone who can.... for me?"

Production companies and freelancers get over the same way by people who used the service and told their friends. In the meantime, beef up your knowledge and skills so you can get picked up for crew gigs. Working with others is a great way to build up a strong referral base.

Finally, when it comes to doing freebies 'pick your battles'. Don't just give a client a freebie out of the blue. Pick something on a scale you can complete without putting a strain on your limited equipment and resource. Something like shooting a small charity event and so on. You're trying to make contacts and get yourself out there. If you just can't pull off a freebie, try doing the project for cost meaning you 'break-even'. You don't make any money, but you don't lose any either. Do it as an 'introductory offer' and do your best at it. You'll be surprised at how often that works. Of course you let the client know you'll charge full (or discounted for regulars) price for the next one.

Also, don't be so quick to mention price. Most callers who ask about money are just on 'fishing expeditions'. They'll waste your time because once they know 'how much', they'll move on. Save the 'how much' for the submitted proposal.

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com


EarlC's picture
Last seen: 4 months 1 week ago
Joined: 10/15/2008 - 1:15am
Plus Member Moderator

I suspect, also, that when somebody finds your website and responds to Boston Film Student dot com they're not anticipating the kind of prices you're quoting. They're expecting a "starving student" "starving artist" willing to do a LOT for very little, something more in line with CraigsList listings. "Student" implies you're still getting an education, have very little practical experience and are an easy touch for cheap labor. Just saying ...


composite1's picture
Last seen: 5 months 4 days ago
Joined: 12/11/2008 - 7:54pm
Plus Member Moderator

"... When somebody finds your website and responds to Boston Film Student dot
com they're not anticipating the kind of prices you're quoting."

Wow! I didn't realize you had that on your site. You might as well have put 'I don't know what I'm doing.com' up. Earl's right. When people hear 'student' it translates to 'I don't have to pay this rookie!' Change your site name and get that student crap off of there. No wonder no one's taking you serious. It really strikes me that you aren't ready for freelancing or god forbid running your own joint yet. Your best bet is to crew up much as you can or link up with someone looking for a protege'. Interning is another way, but you'll be working for free or very little going that route.

H.Wolfgang Porter, Composite Media Producer Dreaded Enterprises Unlimited, Inc. www.dreadedenterprises.com


shootatwill's picture
Last seen: 1 year 1 month ago
Joined: 10/26/2008 - 8:04pm

Great info everyone. Thank you all for taking this topic seriously.

Matheww,

Find some video associations in your area. They are a great way to network and meet some great contacts that may need your services. Likewise, gives you great contacts/resources for you to hire.


TAPPY's picture
Last seen: 1 month 2 weeks ago
Joined: 03/20/2011 - 3:26am

I really appreciate all of the wisdom and honest advice from the
"vets" out there. It's great to find some people willing to
take the time to help out the noobs and inexperienced. So much great
advice.

I don't have much to add, but did you keep in touch with the kids that
studied web design (if there was a concurrent program) at your school?
There's a chance you'll find clients who need web work-- so if you have
contacts that need web work, you can probably help each other out. You could even give your web design contacts a
small commission if you want (to really incentivize them to sell a video to
their customers), but how thatd work would depend on your relationship with
them.


andymchere's picture
Last seen: 9 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 01/03/2013 - 8:43am

Seems like matthewc has bitten the dust!

His website is no longer active http://www.rainriderproductions.com/

 

This is the story of the video business all over.

 

No way of making a decent living from it anymore. A bit here and a little bit there.

 

All the information given looks very interesting and is mostly common sense but if the (one off) customers won`t pay what you feel it is worth, its a no brainer....your out of business.

 

There is too many gurus dishing out therir marketing knowledge for the production business and I can guarantee you they are probably in the same position as all of us. Struggling and skint!!

 

The gurus just want to sell you the dreanm and eventually charge you for it.

 

Here in the UK you can check out limited companies for free. Out of 50 companies I checked only two seemed to be in profit and they were in the tv broadcast sector.

 

Its the way it is and it is never going to change. Equipment is so cheap and so many are trying to do it now. This means a race to the bottom. Famine famine famine.!!!

 

Sorry for the rant but I`ve been in the business for over 28years. Seen the changes and the perception of our dying business.

 

Would be better off working as a checkout assistant at a local food chain. At least I would have a guarantee of a meal each week.!