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All the above are possibilities.
Just to give another perspective, here’s what I’ve done, and have charged the “garage bands” I’ve worked with over the years. Off the top, most of those with whom I have worked have been really digging and scraping, trying to get their name, music, personalities and BRAND “out there” while holding down odd jobs, REAL jobs or bussing tables. They often do not have a LOT of money to dink with, and are still trying to find sponsors, gigs, resources and distribution.
But, I have also found that the truly dedicated, serious groups/artists, when confronted by something that could “work” for them, will find a way to fund the effort – maybe not with the big bucks, but to a level that makes what I’ve offered an acceptable (for me) combination instead of out-and-out charity.
I have videotaped performances, with all the clearances and permissions of the artists, their music and the establishment where they are playing, using the best combination of techniques, MTV-style moves and a few of my own, capturing house sound, as well as my own, and even occasionally had the guys do some lip sync for me. I have also videotaped these people in the odd assortment of places they’ve managed to arrange for their ongoing practices – often almost a party itself with their assortment of friends, special others, and roadies, etc.
I charge EVERY band that has brought me in for this an up front flat fee, regardless of the amount of effort, equipment, interested assistants or whatever, I have brought into the equation. I shoot them for up to two hours, provide them with a RAW DVD and they make the picks, then put it together for them for $400. They, in turn, agree not to copy, sell or package this DVD through ANYONE but me, and in turn I make them short runs to put on the table during gigs, along with their t-shirts and other stuff – 30 @ $8, 50 @ $7, 100 or more @ $6. I don’t make much on the DVDs (I ONLY use standard-size blanks), but the formula works generally speaking, for me.
MORE hours = MORE money charged.
I have occasions when I’m running hot and cannot keep up with the garage band demand, and other times when I don’t hear from anybody for months and months, but that’s OK, because if you’ve read my blog at http://www.eccomeecgo.blogspot.com you know I am diversified and have a BUNCH of ways to make money in this business.
When a group hears about me from another group, or gig location, etc. and contacts me, or I them, if I am interested in them, their style, personalities, etc. then we’ll “talk” about it and come up with an informal arrangement/agreement. Except for releases and guarantees of copyright ownership, I don’t collect any other paper/documentation – most of these people like it loose and I’m OK with that.
Others will try everything they know to beguile, rip off, take advantage, use, blah, blah, and when I sense or see this, I go on to other things and thanks but no thanks.
I have occasionally had the pleasure of doing something bigger with some of the bands, and that’s always a nice thing, or being brought in for documenting a road trip or something, though I don’t do that much anymore – I’m getting too old for the all night parties and night life intensity 🙂