We will pay you, BUT, we want it for free!

Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews Forums General Open Forum We will pay you, BUT, we want it for free!

Viewing 4 reply threads
  • Author
    • #53809


      Advice required

      I will surmise my experience to give a quick and clear version of events

      I am an amateur videographer who owns and uses 4 different types of HD consumer cameras

      I was booked to film a live concert in Oct2012 using 3 cameras – fee free, called "exposure and experience"
      I was happy to do this on the premise that I might get future booking (you've all heard this before)

      Concert was filmed over a 4 hour period and all went as expected from an amateurs POV. Promoters were surprised to see 3 cameras and offered to book me for all future shows PAID for. Pricing not discussed though!  

      Editing was performed using Vegas Pro12 synced with Plural Eyes3 – all went well. I spent approx 20hrs editing video and audio. (I need you to not laugh right now).

      Invited one of the promoters to my house/home studio to view and collect finalised/rendered video file. He was surprised considering the relatively low level of organisation regarding the filming. We talked for a bit, while the file (22GB) transferred to his external HDD and we seemed to hit it off regarding music interests and family life.

      We got to the point where he asked what I would charge to film future events, I hadn't given it much thought so I offered a two part fee – $250 for the night approx 4 hrs and $250 for a basic edit – no titles, no colouring, no audio adjustments – just sync video and cuts.
      His response, was surprising to say the least, I remember, he paused – looked at his iphone, pressed on an app (I'm assuming his text msgs) and blurted out " we were hoping you would do it for free".

      My reaction was swift and clear – "sorry, you got the first one for free but I cannot sacrifice my time like this". It instantly became uncomfortable for both of us, as I must have given off negative body language –  I have to admit I was furious.

      Of course, the next concert came up (followed this on their web site) and no booking. I felt annoyed and betrayed, but got over it quickly.

      Last week I received a call from one of the other partners, having viewed my video, wishing to book me for all future events. He confirmed and asked me what my fee would be and I quoted the same. He called back several minutes later with a sense of urgent enthusiasm to lock in 2 dates. At that moment I agreed.
      Having thought about my initial experience, I returned his call and explained to him what occurred, and then cancelled my services.
       Let me explain – having read enough on forums ie Videomaker and others, I believe I under priced myself to the point that I was taken for a joke. This allowed the first guy to have the nerve to ask for a freeby. Insult was added by them, firstly offering money and then wanting it for "free".

      I guess I don't really want any dealings with people that may be in the end – be manipulating frauds, and MOST importantly I want to satisfy my pride. I feel vindicated at the moment, but I am also annoyed with myself for undercutting everybody (including myself) with this ridiculous price. They really want me "on the team", obviously because I am ridiculously cheap.
      My last dialogue with them was that "I do not want to do this" and they would leave it open for me to rethink and decide.

      BTW – my footage was to be aired on a community based channel on FOXTEL Australia.

      My question to all the fellow folk on Videomaker is – What should I do?

    • #205877

      Learn the lesson, which it sounds like you've already done, and move on. Don't beat yourself up over what happened.


      Have an attorney help you draw up a solid contract. You can certainly rough one out yourself, but have a professional look it over to make sure it will hold up in court. It should spell out, among other things, your hourly rate for shooting and for editing. My advice is not to combine these into a "package."


      Decide what you think you are worth, create a rate sheet based on this decision, and present a figure based on that to the music group. You worked approximately 25 hours for about $20 per hour. It doesn't sound like that's enough for you: how much is?  Decide that and tell your would-be clients. If they don't want to pay what you think you're worth, walk away from the job as fast as you can.


      I've always felt that one of the things that separates amateurs from professionals is that the latter are willing to walk away from a job that doesn't meet their requirements, whether those requirements concern working conditions or pay. You obviously feel you're worth more than what you were payed; stick to your guns and continue to turn down this gig unless your terms are met.



    • #205883

      Jack is right on. You can't beat youself up over it, you're going to have to forget about pride. This is business and that will only get in the way. We've all been there and this is something that is getting worse. Outsourcing over seas is just getting more popular and the prices for it are very low, basically what they would pay for an hour for a total project from some guy in India. But outsourcing significantly limits the scope of the finished project. 


      So out there you have the shoddy business man always trying to get something for free, the naive business man who thinks it never hurts to ask and those confused as to why what they want costs so much compared to outsourcing over seas. But don't get upset when you run into any of them, always stay calm.


      As Jack pointed out, you need to get the business side of yourself straightened out. Figure out rates, contracts and such. Not only does it make life easier but it holds all the answers to any business situation. If someone is putting effort inito trying to get you for cheap, you'll have answers to why you can't without hesitation and sometimes that will still get you the gig from those that try to get something for free, especially from those that don't understand the cost. I also never turn down a gig directly, I raise my rates in that situation. You don't have to like every client but you do have to have work coming in. Raising rates gives them the option to leave and all people aren't to talkative about what they couldn't afford. Just keep a pleasant attitude because sometimes they pay it and you get extra for the BS you have or will endure. I used to walk away from gig's but its a different time now and if you can save some and get paid for the trouble its worth it in the end. The way I see it is the BS always increases the time to get anything done, so it does accrue cost. 


      So have a stiff drink, get you head in business and never quit.

    • #205905

      Freebies, rarely lead to paid work later – just a fact of life.


      I concur with Woody's advice but I NEVER quote hourly rates. I now work in blocks – so I have a part day, a normal day and an extended day, and I can vary the actual hours as appropriate. I'll quote a normal day which might be 6 hours, but a different client could find the normal day is actually 8 hours if the actual work to be done is simpler. A couple of clients have pressed for an hourly rate, but I resist. I tell them I expect the work to take 'around a day' they get a day rate and that is that. A request to do a small edit to a previous job could be a part day, and if it takes 2 hours or 5, I consider it a part day. Works for me.


      I started this because one of the rules for certain types of self-employment in the UK is NOT beng paid hourly, Some trades have exception, but video isn't one. 

    • #205914
      Ron West


      Right as usual, Jack; get a contract. And yeah, I don't like to quote hourly either, especially if they really want to know, because I like the freedom of gauging the challenge inherent in a gig; a 5-hour shoot can pose a wide array of challenges. If it's a walk in the park, I may be able to give someone a break, if it works strategically and humanely; on the other hand, if it's going to put us through constant hoops and ladders, we can account for that. Thus, we're never in the position of "giving a discount" to one and having someone toss that in our face when they present a project with four times the challenge. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't get your business face on; establish base rates in-house: hourly, daily, extended daily, and so forth. Then, you have a framework within which you can determine your flexibility. Nobody has mentioned including front-pay in the contract. If you include a clause specifying a deposit, you'll provide a motivation for full payment and a guarantee of at least something, in any event. You can refer to it as "a percentage amount" and leave the amount blank, to fill in before presenting to the client. If it's a return client or clearly reliable, waive it, showing what a nice guy you are.

Viewing 4 reply threads
  • The forum ‘Open Forum’ is closed to new topics and replies.


Panasonic LUMIX GH5s w/ Leica lens

Given away to one lucky winner

Competition is open worldwide