What should I charge?

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    • #92456
      AvatarStudio QTE

      I am 15 and I have been editing videos for five years now. I started with Corel Video Studio Pro X4, which was a really great beginner software. Now, five years later, my school is offering to pay me to edit some of their projects. I have already edited many of their projects for free, but when they approached me with larger projects, I told them I could not take such projects on, at least not without some kind of payment.The person in charge said I should do some research to see how much a beginner video editor makes (which is perfectly acceptable), and come up with a price that I think is right.
      After doing a bit of research, the average beginner editor makes $12 / hour. If you ask me, that seems like an awful lot. At that rate, I would be asking them to pay me $1,200 to edit a drama performance, which is an hour long and take about 40-45 minutes to edit a 2 minute segment (which is one of the projects they need done). At most, I think they would be able to pay me $200.
      So where is the fair balance? What should I be charging to edit a project that is and hour long? The project is fairly complicated, as I have to line up a video track with an audio track that is similar, but does not match it completely. Also, there are two camera angles, which only adds to the mess. This means a lot of cutting, stretching, and tweaking to make it look as good as possible. It’s a long process.
      Also, what about shorter projects? They asked me to create a slideshow that is 35 seconds long. They already supplied me with the photos, so this could easily be done in under an hour. No text of any kind, just a simple fade at the beginning and end. I’m doing this one for free, but what if I had charged for it? What would be a fair price?


    • #215379

      You really have two issues here. You say “At most I think they would be able to pay me $200” so the question is are you willing to do all the work you anticipate in this project for $200? This is a “yes” or “no” question.

      Then you have the issue of how much to charge in the future. In Seattle, where I live, the minimum wage is $15 an hour. You would make that serving burgers at a fast food stand or doing yard work. After five years editing experience don’t you think you’re worth at least that much? I’d say probably more.

      One thing you might do is suggest an incremental scale: explain to the school that you will do the first couple of projects for $12 an hour, the next couple for $15 and finally $20. Have a firm idea of what your skills and artistry are worth and expect to get that. You will!

    • #215382

      You’ll have a problem. Educaction is amazingly two faced. In one hand, they promote their students as amazing, talented and having an excellent career ahead of them. In the other hand, they know exactly how much it will cost to get an older (non-student) to do the job. Ask yourself who else in the school could do it? Presumably the staff in the department who do media type stuff. These people would work on an extra to their job project for what? $50 an hour (based on UK education pay). They don’t want to do it, or just don’t have the budget, so they’re asking you. Ask yourself if they really want you to do it because you are good, or because you are free/cheap? The best students always get used for these kinds of projects. Your pay will NOT reflect how good you are at all, it will reflect how important it actually is. They will not be expecting professional results. They will be expecting something complete. They will not appreciate how much time and effort you put in, and they won’t be expecting to pay you adult pay. Sadly, they will explain this by telling you how lucky you are to be getting the experience.

      Best advice is to tell them how long it will take, and use a local pay rate for your friends to do the comparison. They will try to use the experience as a hook. Tell them that Corel isn’t the kind of software professionals will use, so when you move onto proper editing software, this project won’t help you a huge amount. What you could do is choose barter. Get them to pay for a year’s student subscription to Adobe CC. This is something that can be slipped through the books, and is genuinely helping your career. If they say no – then you know that career advancement was not a serious carrot to dangle.

      I was in education for quite a long time, and know most of the tricks to get things done for free/very little. I used students all the time – and now I’m out, I make a point of using my old students on my projects at the going rate wherever I can.

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