Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › General › Video and Film Discussion › Don’t all jump on my head but…
- This topic has 1 reply, 7 voices, and was last updated 3 years, 4 months ago by Anonymous.
April 25, 2010 at 9:18 PM #43218AnonymousGuest
…is there a good reason to speculate to accumulate by offering a cut-price – or even a freebie – for your first attempt at a new genre?
For instance, I have always made sports and music-oriented pieces, interviews, live recording of sports events and festival-type open-air gigs plus a few indoor events and the majority of them have been lucrative.
But an article in Videomaker a few issues back got me thinking about making video “commercials” for business websites. This would be a completely new genre for me so I approached a guy who has a business he runs with his mother and his girlfriend and offered to make a vidcom for him to use on his website – free of charge as long as we did the work in my free time and as long as it didn’t detract from my other filmmaking. He jumped at the idea, of course. I explained there were no guarantees but that I felt a) I could do the job and b) that I would not allow the finished product to be used unless I was 100% happy with it. He agreed to that and we shook hands on the deal. So, I think I have a great opportunity to use him and his product as a guinea pig, to identify problems, to help me hone skills as a storyboarder and scriptwriter (he will obviously have a huge input in both areas but has little knowledge of either of them). I figure I will end up with a video which will help his business and give me invaluable experience and which could lead to referrals and more business – paid business.
So, ladies and gentlemen, am I right or wrong to do this. He did tell me he had thought of “just taking some camcorder shots” but I convinced him a properly storyboarded, scripted, shot and edited video would be far more likely to generate new business for him. He said he had explored the possibility of hiring someone to make the film and had been quoted a whole lot more than he could afford. I told him I would be happy to do it for nothing as it was a gamble on both our parts, but that any further work, for him or people he referred to me, would be at a suitable fee.
All opinions, good or bad, are very welcome. I’m committed to the deal now so I won’t back out but I do value your input.
April 25, 2010 at 9:45 PM #181106CvilleParticipant
I would bet most people on this forumhave done a freebie at one time or another. Your reasons sound valid.
It appears to be a win-win situation for both of you.
April 26, 2010 at 1:43 AM #181107composite1Member
I didn’t read your full post. That said having been where you are (and still on occasion) you may have to do a pro bono gig. A) don’t get in the habit of doing them. B) be very, very selective about who you do them for. C) Write the entire job up as if you were going to charge them for it and make a visible note that the ‘fees have been waived’. You’ll want a record of how much went into the job so at the end of the year you can count that as a ‘loss’. D) only do pro bono gigs if you have something to gain from them ( i.e. promotional points, setup for future paying gigs, etc.)
As a newbie with no reel and no reputation, you’ll have to start somewhere. Just remember, 100% of client’s will try to get something for nothing if they can. Don’t get into the habit of working like that.
April 26, 2010 at 5:55 AM #181108AnonymousGuest
Hi composite, thanks for the advice. I don’t intend to do any more freebies of this particular genre, after all if the client is potentially going to make money from my efforts, then I want some of it. I need to build up my reel and rep and I figured 1 freebie could be a win-win opportunity,
April 26, 2010 at 6:28 AM #181109
We’ve all done this. It CAN be a sneaky snake, but there can be occasional rewards. The primary approach (and I DID read your entire post 😉 would be as you indicated – a self-education process, or to acquire material for marketing demos.
You’ve got the right idea about it, just proceed cautiously.
As Composite warns, and maybe not strongly enough, don’t let it become a habit. The “habit” part comes when you are up against others to whom your Pro Bono clent has referred you who think they’ve got leverage to grind you down. Getting into and out of such predicaments without a degree of negativity can be challenging.
When it happens to me I don’t hem haw around about it. Referrals looking for a cheap trick can “bite me” and I tell them I already have a slate of “favorite charities” and pro bono clients and cannot spend further (current year) production calendar time doing gigs without monetary compensation.
April 26, 2010 at 7:22 AM #181110AnonymousGuest
I already have a slate of “favorite charities” and pro bono clients and cannot spend further (current year) production calendar time doing gigs without monetary compensation.
EXCELLENT! Have you copyright on that, Earl,or can I use it? To be fair, I have warned the guy that if he gets enquiries from, or refers me to, other people, he doesn’t tell them of our arrangement, only that my fee was within his budget. He’s agreed so, hopefully, any business coming my way will be expecting to pay. And point taken about the length of the post – I’ll keep’em shorter in the future.
April 26, 2010 at 7:29 AM #181111
Use the retort with my blessings, Bob. Glad you found something of use in my comments. And, I am one of those who, with occasional exception, post long and read long posts – doesn’t bother me. I am dismayed when I read responses where the writer hasn’t read the entire post to which he/she is responding – only because I cannot see how a person can accurately reply without having noted more than just the gist of the post.
I get slammed on various boards for long posts/responses, but I that is the way I am. I’m continually frustrated (30-year career journalist/publisher/writer here) because it seems whenever I write tight a reader will come back seeking more detail or information; yet, when I write LONG, and include ALL the pertinent (IMHO) info, they don’t read it all, commenting on “how long” my “book” was, then somewhere down the line ask questions that were answered in my long post/response.
Oops, sorry for the length of this response 😉
April 26, 2010 at 8:24 AM #181112AnonymousGuest
<grin> I know where you’re at man. For me, also 30-odd years as a sports journo, author and photographer, now retired and doing what I wanted to do since 1998 -record news and sport interviews. Which is why making what I call a vid-ad or vid-com is such a big step for me and why I sought opinions from those with more experience than me.
Thanks to all posters to this thread – food for thought.
April 26, 2010 at 6:08 PM #181113composite1Member
“As Composite warns, and maybe not strongly enough, don’t let it become a
Don’t get into the habit of doing Pro Bono gigs! Don’t get into the habit of doing Pro Bono gigs! Don’t get into the habit of doing Pro Bono gigs! Don’t get into the habit of doing Pro Bono gigs! Don’t get into the habit of doing Pro Bono gigs! Don’t get into the habit of doing Pro Bono gigs! Don’t get into the habit of doing Pro Bono gigs! Don’t get into the habit of doing Pro Bono gigs!….
April 26, 2010 at 6:27 PM #181114Grinner HesterParticipant
Ya simply can’t get into this business without doing some freebies.
April 26, 2010 at 8:51 PM #181115
Personally, I think you went from “not strongly enough” to needing to clean your keyboard – the keys or repeat phrase button are sticking 😉
April 26, 2010 at 10:01 PM #181116shastabroadcasterParticipant
Even Sees Candy hands out “free samples” to build up their business. Using a business contact website as a place to hone your skills before going to market makes sense. I also do sound systems and on-site event recording. I’ve done a few freebies for the local Women’s Refuge over the last couple of years. That has now paid off by resulting in my two biggest (paying) jobs so far this year, provided great word-of-mouth referrals and a showcase for my productions. So don’t be played for a schmuck, but a little goodwill goes a long long way in a dog-eat-dog economy.
April 27, 2010 at 7:34 AM #181117AnonymousGuest
Composite – I hear you and I will NOT make pro bono jobs a habit – I promise. But the general feeling seems to be like I said in my original post, sometimes you have to speculate to accumulate. What I didn’t want to do is approach the guy,offer to do the job for 50 quid (75 bucks – or thereabouts)and find I was working for a GBP-per-hour. Alternatively, I could have quoted him a much higher figure which would have scared him off although it would have been a ball-park figure because I really have no idea what the job will entail in terms of expenses and time spent. This way, I can make a reasoned judgement at the end of the job as to hours put into it in total x the figure I would want per hour and then see whether it is worth going down that road. If it’s not, I’ve only wasted my time – and it’s mine to waste. If it is worth doing, then I have a good starting point from which to estimate the fees for the next job – if it arrives.
But I do promise not to make a habit of doing Pro Bono jobs!!! I hear you man.
Thanks for all your responses – much appreciated
April 28, 2010 at 8:55 PM #181118harpervideoMember
That’s how I started out. But PLEASE, try not to make a commercial. Web visitors don’t search for commercials. Use your other skills and tell why he is the best at what he does, do a how-to, make it some kind of CONTENT. Web video is all I do, and a lot of the initial contact with clients is education. They have to be prepared to make a piece that informs, educated, and entertains. Do that, and the time spent on their website increases. It makes for “stickier” websites, and that will benefit your client greatly.
April 28, 2010 at 10:23 PM #181119AnonymousGuest
Hey Harper, I totally agree with you – I have already pointed out to him that a video will encourage casual visitors to his site to linger longer. We have still to get together to talk about the actual format so any advice offered now will help a great deal.
To give a little more detail, the guy makes window blinds for large office and domestic windows. He has a really extensive range and has a small factory where he, his mother and his fiancee handle the business. He did some work for me and I was impressed and because I had identified this genre as something I wanted to explore, I came up with the offer.
I must admit that, right now, I’m not sure how long the finished piece should be. I would like to video him with two “customers” and follow him from the initial inquiry, through the measuring procedure on-site and then back at the factory with scenes showing him actually assembling the blinds finishing with him installing them and finally a moneyshot of the satisfied customer admiring the finished job. Is that too long? It seems too long to me but I think it needs to be fairly comprehensive otherwise it won’t show what the guy can do. But I’m also aware of the yawn factor. If it’s not fast-paced, visitors will be clicking away in droves. That’s obviously up to me in post-prod and I am confident I can achieve good results BUT the whole idea is to test the water and see how hot and deep it is.
ANY advice on length of the finished product will be very welcome but I certainly don’t envisage it asa 29-second commercial.
April 29, 2010 at 7:03 AM #181120
April 30, 2010 at 8:07 AM #181121AnonymousGuest
Thanks Earl that’s really kind of you. I have seen one of these clips before and yes, they will be very useful. I’m much obliged.
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