I shoot half-day = $150 pe

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AvatarEarlC
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I shoot half-day = $150 per hour; full day = $100 per hour, both for one location, single set-up, for 8-hours total including set-up and break-down.

I edit according to a supplied EDL, or autonomously and provide a VERY rough cuts edit for preview so I know we’re all on the same page, for $100 per hour, or sometimes based on a “finished minute” approach at $250-to-$350. That depends on a LOT of whereas and wherefor clauses or lack thereof in the production agreement, the complexity, etc. Client then comments for changes, etc. and I finish accordingly.

ANY client, commercial or otherwise, wanting to “sit in” on the editing process needs to be willing to pay $500 or more per hour, depending on the amount of “input” the client wants to have in the process. There are numerous whereas and wherefor clauses in THAT agreement especially. It will NEVER be cheaper, or faster, or even necessarily BETTER if the client goes this route with me.

Most recently I shot a series of “talking heads” for web production and advertising purposes. The shoot was originally supposed to last four hours or less; the talking heads were supposed to each have up to 30 minutes to do their “takes” of one or two “1-minute” presentations and maybe one of “5-minutes” duration. All that went out the door because MOST of them were simply NOT prepared although they had plenty of lead time, were supposed to be the leaders in their field of experience, and were supposedly accomplished workshop/seminar presenters and capable extemporaneous speakers. NOPE.

Because such things occur more often than not, and most commercial clients ALWAYS underestimate theirs or our expectations, I usually always include a clause that points out EXACTLY what will be done if all goes the way they said it would. Thus a “simple” shoot that would have included two set-ups, and six speakers would up taking multiple set-ups, last minute changes, thoughts and ideas, and too many takes each that progressively went from poor, to bad to worse.

In almost every instant I had to work from several takes to get one that might work for them, thus increasing the amount of editing time involved. It went from the anticipated (by THEM) “clean-up” edits, intro title, doughnut for opening/closing and one copy each on DVD, high resolution web ready and medium web ready, and THEY were going to do the uploading. NOPE.

NOTE: It will ALWAYS be MORE work than explained, understood, described or anticipated. It will ALWAYS take MORE time, both for shooting, and for editing. The client(s) will ALWAYS try to get a few extra “little things” tossed in for no additional cost – going from concession to concession. The old “given ’em an inch and they’ll take a mile” cliche.

Pad your bids, and charge accordingly, based on contingencies rather than stated actuals. Get it in writing with signatures by the decision makers, not their “hired help” who most often are full of self-importance and self-professed experts, whatever.

That gig should have cost the company ONLY $1,000 for four hours shooting, or less, and two hours cleanup editing, delivery of the three qualities of perhaps nine separate clips. With THEM doing the uploading and repurposing.

Instead, and thanks to contingencies written into the production agreement, signed by their “decision makers” (yes, multiple signatures, with ONE person designated to “sign off” on completion), they were billed for more than $3K.

That brings up another thing: get a 30 percent to 50 percent deposit or retainer upon signing of the agreement; get a “progress payment” payable at the time you (if you do this) present the VERY ROUGH CUTS preview; final payment upon their receipt of the product.

Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter WHO you do business with, like Mr. Toupee, er, uh, Mr. Trump says, “nothing personal, just business” NEVER, EVER deliver the finished product without a specified and binding payment agreement, or preferably receiving the final amount UPON DELIVERY. Once they have the final product in hand, your negotiation powers are zero – nothing you can really hold over their heads.

If my clients have a problem with how I expect to get paid and when, knowing my reputation for solid business and quality, hearing from many positive referrals, or having met with me a number of times and already gaining a number of concessions from me I prefer to NOT give, then I know from experience to expect “problems” when it comes to getting my money. So I am always up front in doing business with anybody, telling them I am not a large production company capable of extending payment plans, net 30s or subsidizing them. So, if they want good (often GREAT), relatively fast (often VERY FAST) and cheap (I prefer to call my productions “affordable”), then I in turn expect to be paid upon delivery of the product, and not a minute later.

The client I used as an example? I have done everything promised in the agreement, on time or early, and their product is sitting on my shelf waiting for delivery. They have been notified when it would be ready and were notified when it was ready several days early. They’re dragging their feet in getting the balance to me, so I’ve reminded them of their agreement to pay upon delivery, and to notify me when their check is “in hand” not when it is “in the mail.”

Much longer, and they will also have to wait until the check clears mine and their accounts before final delivery of ANY further video product.

It’s business, right?

Oh, and I am now doing the uploading, but that is on hold as well until they “Show me the money! All of it!”

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