a question for experienced video production specialists

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    • #46969

      I am a recent college graduate whom accepted an internship at an advertising firm. The company is small (20-30 employees) but is growing, as they are creating a Video Department in order to eliminate the high prices charged by independent contractors. I am being trained to be their Video Production Specialist in order to bring all production in-house. I shoot and edit for them, and am supposed to help start writing too.

      My days usually, I will shoot video for them on an AG-HVX200, either in their green screen studio or on location, edit said video using FCP, as well as AfterEffects, and collaborate and coordinate with other graphic designers and/or writers.

      Unfortunately, I think that they are training me, a recent graduate, because they do not want to pay an experienced video specialist more money. I am afraid that they will low ball their salary offer to me, so I was looking for any input on what I would be fair. I don’t want to want to be taken advantage of. How much should I be expecting?

    • #193439
      AvatarGrinner Hester

      Not much but that aint the point. Of course they are trying to save a buck, hence the hiring of a student instead of outsourcing freelancers. Look at it as learnign more there on the clock than ya did in school and ya won’t feel exploited. You can ask for 30k a year but don’t turn down whatever is offered. You’ll get decent raises or move onward and upward as a result.
      I can tell ya my first job at a tv station paid a whoppin’ $3.35/hour. My first salary positin paid less than that because I started at 18k a year and worked 80 hour weeks. Give yourself a 10k raise every two years by moving onward and upward. You’ll move to various markets, hone skills and enjoy the ride. I moved my family to five states in as many years at one point, just salary-climbing and dream-chasing. My wife has never had to work and ends have always been met. You can work yourself into a a fine six-figure salary and then self-employ/self-empower yourself should yuo want more but dues will have to be paid first. If ya don’t take this gig at an entry-level pay scale, somebody else will.

    • #193440

      Learn all you can on their nickel – When you decide you have a significant level of knowledge, look for a decent paying job.

      This company sounds like they will bleed you dry for as little as they possibly can. When they’re done chewing you up, they will spit you out and look for fresh meat.

      When you get to your next position (the one that pays reasonably), tell these yokels you would like them to develop a full ad campaign, complete with television spots using a-list actors, full color spreads for major print distribution and multiple radio spots – all for under $50.

      OK – Sorry – Rant over…

    • #193441


      Your situation is unfortunately the norm. If you look at most of the job posting sites, there is a tidal wave of offers for ‘recent college grads’. That’s code for: we want to use you up and we don’t want to pay. As one of those ‘awful contractors who charge too much money’ I recently got a reply from a potential client, “We appreciate your enthusiasm for our project, but we’ve been in business for 19 years and we are looking for individuals who are looking for fresh experience in the production industry.” Translation; “We know you are a seasoned pro and we’d have to pay you.”

      Grinner’s right about having to pay dues, but you’ll pay them in your own way. I got into the biz through the military and unlike the civilian industry, I went from grip trainee to full producer in 18 months because I had an aptitude for it and pushed hard as hell. When I transitioned to C-Villian life, I thought that having a deep background in real-world production would translate easily into a solid career. It did, but not the way I thought. Nobody would hire me. HR’s would take one look at my resume’ and run for the hills like they saw Herman Munster! I talked to a friend and colleague who was a reservist and still worked in the industry. In the service he was a top of the line producer/director/DP. In hollywood it had taken him 14 years to finally get to 1st camera. He told me point-blank that ‘when people see your experience, they either can’t believe you’ve done so much in such a short time or they get scared and think you’ll take their job from them.’

      I wanted to stay in ‘the family business’ so I started my own Co. It hasn’t been easy, but for me it was the proper path. I think Grinner’s path is terribly optimistic, but it worked for him. Your path will be different. Where it won’t be different from any of our paths is you’ll have to work hard, constantly train and put up with mountains of BS until you get to Grinner’s ‘promised land’ of “Six figure salaries and self-empowerment.” You may be one of those people who step on the ‘luck landmine’ and blow-up right off the bat. More than likely, it will be on long hard slog that will be lit only by your passion for the work.

      Be advised: when you work for a company as an intern, they are completely in the driver’s seat. Right now, they are ‘getting the milk for free’ so be prepared for the high possibility of Bircat’s ‘chewing up and spitting out’ scenario. However, should they do the honorable thing and hire you for all your hard work more than likely they will just say, ‘we’re offering you X take it or leave it.’ No matter what the number is ask yourself; can I live on my own on this salary? Can I deal with these people on a daily basis? Can I grow with this outfit or should I have a back-up plan ready?

      Most students straight out of college are so keen to get work, they don’t ask themselves those questions. When you become an employee, by contract you become a ‘bonded servant’. To paraphrase a Steven Segal line, “Most masters are ungrateful….” Can you serve a potentially ‘ungrateful master’ to the best of your ability? You better be sure.

    • #193442
      AvatarGrinner Hester

      Many students (in this industry) make the mistake of thinking a job is owed to them or waiting because they have a degree. That’s not at all the case. It usually just places you in line with dudes 2-4 years younger than you.

    • #193443

      rjdthree posts:

      >I am a recent college graduate whom accepted an internship at an advertising firm. The company is small (20-30 employees) but is growing, as they are creating a Video Department in order to eliminate the high prices charged by independent contractors.

      I love it!

      Thirty-plus years ago corporate accounts began to invest in their own video production gear. After all, they watch television and know what they like, eh? Why should they pay those exhorbetant fees to some guy with a 16 or 35mm film camera to do his hocus- pokuss mumbo-jumbo witchcraft when they could make a one time investment ( $ 150K and often much MORE! )in some video gear and train up some dude in the mail room to run it? How hard could it be?? The instant gratification and low media costs of video production allowed for numerous playbacks and tweeks so that they could be sure to ” get it right “.

      I was a freelance soundman for some of the local film production companies and found myself being hired to run sound for the corporate video departments ( THAT was unusal since everybody knows sound, right ?! )And I was there when the committee of suits gathered around the monitor and began to argue about color balance, etc while I and the talent were dozing in the corner.

      It’s amazing to see how some things never change!

      R Crampton

    • #193444

      I know you think that as a college graduate you are now in a position to earn big bucks. But let me tell you this. You are now beginning to learn. In college they taught you the basics, that’s all. You now have to go out into the real world and really start learning.

      My advice to you is to accept whatever they are paying. Be enthusiastic.Keep your eyes and ears open. Learn what you can from more experienced people and when you really know stuff, then move on.

    • #193445

      rjd – I don’t know if you saw, or read the response I gave you when you contacted me via private message, but here it is. Much, of course, falling in line with a lot of what has already been said.

      It would primarily be based upon your actual abilities and knowledge regarding the equipment, production abilities/basics and advanced capabilities, and editing skills. If you are entering with NO job experience, or commercial production experience, it might be a bit difficult to expect anything more than minimum wage up to about $10 per hour starting out, in spite of your education.

      And, “internship” has all-to-frequently been taken as a way to take advantage of labor and skills regardless the ability or experience. Keep that in mind. Unfortunately the industry and/or companies with a need to facilitate or utilize video and/or multimedia related skills tends to make newbies run the gauntlet before paying them what they are worth, if ever.

      If you are knowledgeable, skilled and capable in production work beyond the “concepts” approach via education, then you should be able to command $25 to $35 per hour (with some benefits as well) during a brief trial period. If you have professional skills and capabilities then you should also demand better considerations once you have completed a, say 60-to-90-day period.

      It all really depends on how quickly you can get up to speed and address their needs. Most companies WILL use them to the extent you allow them. You will have to accurately assess you knowledge, skills and abilities, as well as your level of self-confidence, esteem and sense of worth and be willing to take a stand if you warrant it.

      Also, if you ARE a bit hesitant to claim pro quality production abilities and are going to require some time to get up to speed in the real market, then it might be in your best interest to accept an indefinite “internship” at hopefully better than degrading salary or wage levels in order to get some of that “experience” everybody wants but seems unable to pay for and a higher degree of confidence that will suit you a year down the road when you feel ready to negotiate for a better paying position.

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