I’m in in a very weird situation, advice please!!

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    • #46509
      AvatarScriptGirl
      Participant

      OK, I need professional opinions here:

      You guys know I’m interested in getting into weddings and although I have a lot of education don’t have a wedding reel to back it up. I’m booked for two weddings, but through acquaintances and I’ve offered to do two (I figured just my first two only) for free to get the experience and footage.

      So, one of them is awesome and there’s no problem. The second one just laid a whopper on me. She’s HIRED ANOTHER videographer. So immediately, I’m like, h— no, forget that, but I don’t know if that is wise or prudent and it’s simply my pride is getting in the way of my future career progress. I mean, I have a master’s degree in film/video and she knows that, but I can only guess her reason is she thinks I’m a newbie and might screw it up and it’s her wedding, so I guess I can understand that point of view….I guess…

      Now here is the REALLY weird part. She just told me, in this email that her older sister is the writer and director of the movie [b]MONSTER [/b](Charlize Theron won an Oscar for it). So I’m just in shock and TOTALLY don’t know what to do now. I mean, I’d almost do it just to meet her. And I’m sure I’d be so bold as to give her the screenplay that was my thesis in college (!)

      So, what does everybody think? What would you do in my position? And what do I say to her? I already emailed her back and told her that I still love to do her wedding, am extremely talented, reinforced the degree, gushed over her sister, but told her I thought it would be a little strange working alongside of another videographer (I left out the part that it really pisses me off that I’m sure she’s paying the new addition) and I needed to think about it. Was very sweet and didn’t at all come across as mad, because I’m more in shock over the entire thing than anything else (mostly because of her sister!)

      Has anyone ever had this happen before, that someone wanted you to work alongside another videographer?

      And more importantly, so now what do I do? πŸ˜•

    • #191742
      AvatarScriptGirl
      Participant

      Wow. What a morning. The plot thickens…

      She just emailed me that if that’s how I felt, she would only have me shoot and she’d even pay me!!!!

      So what do I do now? Do I charge her, and if so, what? And I’m just curious as how y’all would have handled the situation, she hadn’t come back and said that.

      Man….

    • #191743
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      You know, most videographers in this area have an exclusivity clause that basically says that if they show up and another videographer is there, they can keep the money and leave without even filming. It’s likely that if they hired someone, and you both showed up to do the videography, that the one they paid for might leave anyway. It sounds like you’ll get the exclusive, but if not, make sure they read the other videographer’s contract closely.

      If she’s offering to pay now, she may be setting you up for a firing, because you’ll be "too expensive". Then again, she might have realized her bad taste, and is trying to be polite. I’d say, since you offered to do it for free, you should probably only ask her to pay for materials if you want to charge at all. Maybe $75 to $150 to cover the cost of your tapes, creating the DVDs/VHS tapes, and any other stuff you might need to pick up (filters, etc) for the event. Maybe charge a little more so you can rent a few extra cameras and mics.

      Also, figure out what you’re worth, and let her know that your service is worth that much, and that she’s getting a teriffic bargain. (Don’t use words like "cheap" or others with negative connotations. Make it positive!)

      On the west coast, a videographer can charge $3000 for a basic wedding without flinching. The west coast economy can handle that. It’s a similar story for most of the east coast. In the midwest, you’ll find that videography fluctuates a lot from region to region, but it’s always lower than the coastal areas. When I was filming in Omaha, Asking $1200-$1800 for a basic wedding was "fair" (being per capita the richest city on Earth heped with that). Up here in Central MN, home of the dirt-poor farmer, my basic package is currently on sale for $600, and none of my competitors but one charge over $1100 for the basic package (and that one has very few clients, from what I hear).

      Ultimately, your cost is determined by what those in your area are willing to pay. Call the other videographers around the area and ask them how much they charge (or check their websites). That will give you a feel for local pricing.

      The only other piece of advice I can give is to be totally honest with people, even if it hurts you. In the long run, even if you miss out on a client or two, people will stat to recognize you as a fair, honest individual who’s not going to hype up their product or sell them something they don’t need. Honesty is a virtue that a lot of people remove when they go into business. Admittedly, it’s hard to be honest when all of your competitors are willing to fudge on the truth. But if you do it, in the end, you’ll build the business others will trust, and your name will be the one people think of when they want a good videographer.

    • #191744
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      Beth,

      Very interesting!

      I have been in many discussions regarding a topic similar to this at where I work. It has to do with the value of a just out of college type person versus maybe someone who didnt really go to a 4 year college but has 10 to 15 years experience instead. Dont get me wrong in that college is a GREAT thing and education of course is good. There are however various times where experience makes a difference and maybe has a bigger influence on decisions.

      An excellent example would be if you were to have a special kind of surgery that isnt done very much. Would you go to the young doctor that just got his licenses and the ink is still wet or would you go to a doctor that has been around for 15 to 20 years and has done this surgery 75 times already?

      Professional videography is sort of the same thing. There are special little things that one develops along the way that will help make the end result turn out that much better. Obviously you have the education. In fact you may have more that a lot of us on this site so I have to think that you have the basics down and understand how everything works.

      Do I think you can do it?

      I think you can.

      Now does the bride think that you can do it?

      Keep in mind that she just might be a little more nervous and apprehensive because after all she is getting married for the first time and she planning the biggest day of her life. All she wants is to make sure that everything goes right because remember there is only the one ceremony and you only have one crack at this.

      As far as your question, I think it is totally up to you. How confident and comfortable do you feel? Everybody here pretty much started out the same way with doing their first 2 or 3 wedding jobs for nothing. Usually its family relation or close friends because if something did go wrong and hopefully it wasnt a total loss, the couple would maybe be a little more forgiving and wouldnt be to upset. The fact that they didnt have to pay anything will help too. Later on down the road when you start taking on jobs and you are starting to charge big money, you will find that couples will not stand for screw ups and boo boos.

      IMO… trying to work around another videographer at the same wedding will be clumsy not to mention awkward and crowded. It will also be a distraction because you will have 4 to 6 cameras on tripods all over the place and the two of you would be fighting for the money shots. I would either take this brides offer of doing it or I would choose not to double team it <BUT> I would instead watch what the videographer does during the ceremony and learn from that. You could maybe pick up a few things as far as how he/she planned the shots and operated during the ceremony.

      As far as a little piece of advice to leave with you… you have to make sure you get the actual ceremony done right! After that just shoot b-roll until all of your batteries run dead. Once you have everything on tape the pressure is off. The creative editing is a little less stressful because can always change… re-do… or undo until you get it the way you want it. That is where you put the show together.

      Good luck and may your camera always stay focused!

      RAM

    • #191745
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      An excellent example would be if you were to have a special kind of surgery that isnt done very much. Would you go to the young doctor that just got his licenses and the ink is still wet or would you go to a doctor that has been around for 15 to 20 years and has done this surgery 75 times already?

      I’m a terrific nitpicker, I know, but I can’t resits it sometimes! πŸ˜€

      Your analogy is flawwed, because the doctor that’s been in the field 15-20 years also has the papers that the new grad has.

      A better analogy would be to choose between a newly graduated Doctor, and a man who’s been treating illnesses for the last couple decades, even though the summation of his education was his CPR certification class he took 20 years ago. Now you’ve got a doctor whose licensed, insured, and covered versus a "doctor" who has seen it all, but has no formal education. Who do you want cutting you open.

      Of course, not holding a degree in the field of video production myself, I can honestly say that this is a lot different. Experience is a life-saver, and even the best education can’t compensate for that. But at the same time. if someone has a masters degree, that also must mean that the person has relative experience, has written a thesis on their major, and has been trhough probably 6 years of trining from people who are experts in the field. They’ve probably interned or worked in the field that interests them for the length of their education, and created videos and films that were critiqued by their teachers. While Beth might not have her own demo reel, I highly doubt that this is the first time (or even among the first hundred times) she’s used a camera.

      Honestly, once she gets two or three of her own weddings under her belt to where she feels comfortable, I’d trust her as much as I trust anyone whom I film with. Experience is priceless, but experience along with education can be incredible.

    • #191746
      AvatarScriptGirl
      Participant

      Thank you all for your very thoughtful reponses. I had no idea about the exclusivity clause, so that’s great. And it’s also good to know that I did the right thing by being totally honest with her upfront, because when she was saying she was going with someone else (or rather, in addition to me) I was kicking myself. I wouldn’t have lied, ever, but I was thinking I shouldn’t had been so vocal about lack of wedding experience. So I did the right thing from the beginning. Good.

      I honestly think, and we’ve had several email exchanges since then, that our rapport + my reiterating my other qualifications had a lot to do with her changing her mind (and it turns out she was just looking, she had not hired anyone yet). Plus, I believe my supreme confidence (arrogance??) in myself with also beneficial. I actually told her, that I really didn’t think she was going to find anyone better than me in the state of Alabama (this wedding is in Birmingham). So I honestly think everything is cool on that end, and I’m just going to ask for my cost tape, DVD, since I started that way to begin with (that’s for that advice too). This is probably going to end up costing me a small fortune, but hey, now, it’s time to call dear old Dad! (I wish I were kidding about that).

      Now can I do it, THAT is the question. I’m going to buy a second camera (already had that in the works) and then maybe hire a student (maybe even two) so very preferably with their own cameras to help. What do you guys think about that? And then spend a small fortune of my father’s money (I hope, I hope).

      What I keep thinking is that I really do want this to be perfect, not just because I’m a perfectionist and I really do, but also to impress her sister. I DEFINITELY plan on giving her sister my thesis screenplay (after the festivities of course, as I leave, or maybe as the bride herself to do it) and no matter how much she likes my screenplay (remember, I’m first and foremost a writer), she’s going to hate me if her sister’s video sucks.

      Sorry, guys, for writing such books here. I am so grateful for your input and feel like we’re all good friends, really.

      Any more advice is appreciated and I’m sure I’ll be asking more technical questions as we go along, so forgive me in advance for being such a pest.

      Hugs,

      Beth

    • #191747
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      On a roll:

      I’m a terrific nitpicker, I know, but I can’t resits it sometimes! πŸ˜€

      Just like my wife! X-D

      On a roll:

      Your analogy is flawwed, because the doctor that’s been in the field 15-20 years also has the papers that the new grad has.

      I’m not sure if I made my point correctly. I agree with the fact that the older doctor has the same credentials but I was looking at it from the number of years point of view. You learn basic medicine in college but you REALLY learn or maybe I should use the term "get better" at it through practicing medicine over the years. Reaching the top of your field comes through years of experience. "Experience" being the key word I was addressing.

      I’ve meet people like Beth before. From reading her post, she seems to have drive and confidents and she seems like she will do anything and everything to get the job done right. Anyone taking on a Master’s Degree has to have traits like that. Between that and her education, she’ll "Get er done!" πŸ˜€

      Beth: I don’t think you’ll have a problem. GO FOR IT! πŸ˜‰

      RAM

    • #191748
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      Nah, no worries. Asking questions doesn’t make anyone a pest. That’s how we all got started, after all.

      Parents can ge a great source of funding. My inlaws actaully gave us about half of our startup capital when we re-started the business last year (I sold off all my gear to move up to Minnesota and get married about a year and a half ago. For almost 6 months I was out of the wedding business-that stank!) Today, we’re doing very well, our parents are just about paid off, and we’re upgrading a lot of our gear.

      Here’s my advice to you though. While you’re his daughter, also present your proposal to him as a businesswoman. Before my wife and I went to ask her folks for money, I spent over a month drawing up a business plan. I studied the competition, and came up with a list of the reasons my business might fail, and what I would do to prevent that. I also wrote up al the reasons my business would flourish. In the business plan, I outlined exactly where every penny of their money was going, nd I showed them how I was even going to use the money I still had from when I was in business before. I think if I had just said to my fathr in law "Hey Kev, I need some cash!" He’d have told me to take a hike. But again, the honesty thing came into play. I showed him my business strengths. I showed him my honest weaknesses, and what I could do, if anything, to overcome them. By the time I had called him, I had already formed the business legally, had opened a bank account and registered my trade name. He found that very impressive, and I think he saw that I was serious, which was why they obliged to fund us on this.

      When you ask for money, I strongly advise you to ask for at least 25% of your budget for loan repayment. e.g. if you need $6000, ask for $8000. That way, you have money to ensure that you can pay back the loan on months when you don’t have income (and starting out, you WILL have those!). 25% would get you through about the first year of your loan. By then, if business isn’t picking up, you’ll have some time to consider other options, including liquidating your business to repay the loan, or requesting another loan in hopes of more work in the future.

      Believe me, borrowing money is tough to do, but it can help you get ahead. Good luck!

    • #191749
      AvatarAnonymous
      Inactive

      RAM,

      You’re coming in Crystal Clear here. I just like to obsess on the details. πŸ˜€

      Just like my wife! X-D

      Because my wife sometimes read what I write here, I will abstain from making my otherwise obligatory wise-crack comment, but you can be assured that it’s in there wanting to come out! X-D

      (Hey Chels-Love you, Honey!)

    • #191750
      Avatarvideolab
      Participant

      Beth,
      I would have gone ahead and shot it (if they would still let me). IF it is true that the writer director of any oscar winning movie. You cant buy that kind of contact. I could imagine you are trying to find some contacts right now and just meeting this person would be worth shooting the wedding. As they say in this business its not what you know its who you know. You should take every opportunity to meet people who work in the industry. You never know what could happen. I would suggest however to maybe try to get on as a producer for a local station or something that involves writing so that you can stay in practice and meet some people in the industry. The person I replaced at my station is now working as an animator on the new Garfield and another as yet unnamed feature film. Many of the other people at my station move on to Cali to work on feature films a producer at my station also just finished a re-write for a feature film(3m budget). I imagine (correct me if i am wrong) with the amount of education you have you will want to move on to something bigger and better like that. When I got out of school I started a wedding business to make some money until I could get a job at a good production house. It was just too boring. While you could get somewhat creative with the reception and the open and close I couldn’t get into it. I got a job at a small station and just love it. I have pretty much total creative freedom within the subject matter. I am not making quite as much money as if I had made as much as I was projecting to be making with the wedding business if it had continued as it was when I quit. I am however much happier (having weekends is great) and my career looks better because my next employer will like to see a three letter broadcasting network over a unheard of wedding production company. One nice thing is that now I have a bunch of equipment to produce my own projects with. Not to say that weddings are not a great thing to do. I have seen some excellent (cinema quality) producitons in the very high end while reaserching for my company. The money can be great too. If your good at production, marketing and business.

    • #191751
      AvatarScriptGirl
      Participant

      VL — I know. After the whole thing went down, I told my Dad and he said I was crazy to have even given it a second thought just to meet the sister. But, like I said, the whole situation had me in shock and the person who hooked me up never mentioned a word about the sister (but we are only casual acquaintances) and I checked it out and, believe it or not, it actually true (that occurred to me as well that it was BS).

      Anway, just a little background, I went to graduate school in LA and did spent time there after I finished, trying to meet the right people, get involved in projects and basically "make it" alongside of 5 million other people. I just couldn’t handle it after awhile. The cost of living, the "industry," having no family out there made it really difficult, did I mention the cost of living 😯

      So I moved home to Atlanta and, through my contacts (friends I grew up with) started creating marketing materials for Fortune 500 companies (even shot a couple of marketing and training videos). But mainly as a copywriter with a little graphic arts thrown in. So I’ve actually owned my own business for awhile and have created more than a couple of business plans πŸ˜€

      So, to make a long story short (too late, right LOL), it’s a nightmare working in the corporate world. Although I was paid well, "Corporate America" turned out to me, not worth it, IMO, so I decided I wanted to own my own production studio (writing and directing also). Atlanta is very big on music video scene and that was like, the ultimate goal. So I thought weddings and events would be a lucrative transition, make some cash, get some gear and be able to expand as I went along.

      This has gone on long enough, but that’s pretty much the story of my life (not that you asked X-D ) And on a personal note, I am separated from my husband, no big deal, really, but have no idea where that relationship is going (no kids) so I’ve thrown myself even more into the idea of getting this idea up and running. But now, I am three degrees separated from Charlize Theron, and am remembering my "Hollywood" dreams.

      Anyway, it’s been an exhausting day and I really appreciate everyone’s support.

      Will keep y’all posted,

      Beth

    • #191752
      Avatarjaelah
      Participant

      Hi Beth,
      I am new to this forum and have been reading some of your posts. Here’s my advice. Do the wedding for free. You need the practice. If another videograher is there thats even better. You have someone to ask help from.
      Just do it. Whatever equipment you have, use it. If this is your first wedding you are bound to make mistakes. That is how you learn. But you will learn. And you will get better each time.

      Some of the things I learned the hard way. USE AC power when you can. At my cousins wedding my battery died the minute the wedding march started. I nearly died!!!!! I thought it was fully charged. Luckily I had 2 older cameras (one old full VHS camera set up on tripod at the back of the church and one older VHS-C camera I had given to a young boy (a guest ) to shoot as the attendants came through the door at the back of the church. I RAN down the side aisle and grabbed the camera from this poor boy and RAN back up to the front of the church where I had to handhold the spare camera for the rest of the ceremony and pray I didn’t run out of tape.

      I was able to edit the 2 videos together (on the floor of my apartment using a mixer!) and get a decent shoot from it but I did not get the bride walking down the aisle with her dad except a short side shot and the back view.

      Another thing: Some churches only let you shoot from the balcony. Not so great.

      Also at one wedding reception the photographer would move to where ever I was shooting and get right in my way. I would find another place and he would move over there too. He was in a lot my video. So I zoomed in closer on the couple to get him out of the picture.

      My point is, you never can anticipate and plan in advance for everything that will happen. Just jump in and do it.
      Good luck girl! Have fun. Same thing for the charity event. Plan as best you can then just go do it. Make a list, check it twice. Then GO!

      The worst that can happen? Your video is not perfect and you may not get a reference from them. But you will have learned and you will do better each time and soon you will be a pro. Also…pratice practice practice on your editing skills. This will save your butt in the long run.

      jaelah

    • #191753
      Avatarvideolab
      Participant

      I agree with compusolver in many of his comments. AC power would be a bad idea. Sure its continous but it also means wires and being tethered to a wall. Also as he said I would not mention that you do wedding videos to anyone but wedding clients. Like he said a band will not want a wedding videographer working on their video and the same goes for any professional productions. A broadcast producer will think of a wedding videographer as an amiture. Regardless of how good they are. That part of the video industry is like the red headed step child. They are looked at as not good enough for "prime time". "Thats why they do wedding videos". (Not my words something I heard a producer say while looking at a reel from a potential new hire) Also never and i mean NEVER use wedding footage on a demo reel that you send to a professional studio. That is one sure fire way to get your reel into the trash.

    • #191754
      Avatarjaelah
      Participant

      Just to be clear on the AC power vs Battery. If you read my sentence you would have seen the ‘when you can’ also. I did not mean to suggest never using batteries. The camera was set up behind and to the side of the pulpit. There was no foot traffic in that area and the power cord would not have posed a problem. The problem was, I didn’t have it and I needed it.

      That was several years ago. It was my first real experience shooting a wedding video. I did not have the most up to date equipment. I was self taught and I did it on my own. I just wanted to learn and get my feet wet. I did. I learned many things that day.

      My reason for posting in the first place was to encourage Beth to just do it. No matter what. It is very easy to become overwhelmed at first and talk yourself out of it because you don’t have all the right equipment or you don’t know what you need to do. I started with a VHS-C camera and a used mixer. I wasn’t asked to do the wedding. I asked my cousin if she would mind if I did it. For free of course. It actually turned out pretty great. That was the best learning experience. I found my strengths and weaknesses.

      I just encourage anyone who wants to this to just go out and do it. The more information you have the better, however there is such a thing as ‘overkill’ In the end there is nothing that can take the place of the experience you gain each time you do it.

      One last note. About giving your ‘screenplay’ to the other videographer. Unless you can engage them in a discussion about that (which is going to be hard because they will be busy as all get out) I would suggest maybe just asking them if they might know someone who would be interested in reading it. Or get a business card from them and contact them later on. It would be really tacky and probably pointless to try to give it to them at the wedding.

    • #191755
      Avatarjaelah
      Participant

      No worries Hank,
      I didn’t feel put down at all. A little misunterstood but that’s ok. I just wanted to explain the reason for mentioning the AC. My first wedding video was a disaster. I wasn’t prepared for anything. My cousins wedding was my second. It went much better but not perfect.

      I agree, this forum is great. I wish it had been around when I started.

      Thanks, I think you give great advice and I’m sure I will be asking for your help in the future.

      Jaelah

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