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Charlie

First paid job - need advice PLEASE!

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Hi all,

Up to now I have been making shorts for festivals and modelling / music videos just for the fun of it!!

A company contacted me recently after seeing my website and have asked me to make a video for them. They are like "Escape Room" where people play a game that is some kind of mystery. I have never been but you may know what I mean as these kind of companies are all over the world.

The video they want is to be shown during one of the games, at the beginning, middle and end. It is three parts that help/or not, the players during the game. Each part is a monologue with an actor giving advice or instructions.

They are hiring me as Director, Cinematographer and Editor, basically they want me to do everything, BUT they will arrange the location and set design. I have already told them they will need a sound recordist on set who they will have to organise and pay separate. (I know someone and they have his details).

At the end of it all, I will provide them 4 video files - The three separate monologues. One teaser video for web promotion.

It can be shot in one day I think, no problem. At a guess I will need three full days to edit/grade etc. - So 4 full days of my time, skills and equipment.

I am trying to get by filmmaking business off the ground and this is a great opportunity!

What would you charge????....and what should I need to make sure is in the contract?

I honestly would be so grateful for some guidance here.

Thanks!!! 

 

 

 

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

Determine what your time is worth for each day, and add 10% for contingency.  Add/list expenses, plus 10% contingency.

 

Hint:  don't list the contingency amount separately -- just include it in the amount you list for your services and also in the amount for the expenses.

 

Have fun!

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Well for my day job I charge certain amount per day but I am established in that profession and know the rates. I have no idea for this, As its my first job I am happy to charge 100.00 Euros a day (with clauses on what that includes) but maybe that is way to cheap, I have no idea!

I dont care too much about the money on this one, I see it as a stepping stone to further work and one day quitting my day job forever!! hahahaha

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From what I understand, industry rates for commercial/corporate dry hire non-union camera ops (not even good ones) run about $600/day, significantly more with a kit.

Editing/vfx/color maybe $300-$500/day, more if you use your own computer.

Heck, I know DITS making $1500/day regularly.

Sound, $700/day wet hire.

And that's before a 4-10X agency mark up (what the agency or studio charges the client).

But your potential client isn't hiring at industry rates for a reason. I'd just ask them roughly what their budget is. I wouldn't undersell yourself at $100/day. That'll make them suspicious that you don't value your own time, and they won't value yours.

I wouldn't try to take home a full rate for your first job, but I also wouldn't undersell yourself. Ask them roughly what their budget is or bid a little high and let them negotiate down. At least then they will recognize up front that you respect yourself. But the reason it's a difficult question to answer is that there's absolutely no standard or good answer for this kind of work. Which is why I wouldn't feel bad asking them what their budget is.

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I would come up with an approximate hourly number that you're comfortable with and use that to create a standard half day and full day rate for quoting clients.  Shooting and editing rates may be different depending on what kind of gear/skill level you have, etc.  Add in (or have available) rates for additional shooters, assistants, rental gear.  There's too much variation in markets to really throw out numbers.  But don't undersell yourself.  If you want this person to be a recurring client, it will be very difficult to raise your prices later if and when this is more than a side gig for you.

Contract should include things like:
Contacts, addresses, dates, locations, delivery format, licensing information, payment terms, total project price, retainer if any, limit of liability statement. Contracts may vary quite a bit depending on local laws, so it's always best to consult with an attorney, but a document with the basics is better than none at all.

You'll want to have model releases for anyone appearing in the video, esp if it is being used for promotional use.  You may need a location release or permit if the location isn't owned by the client.

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First how "big" is this project ? Is that for national TV or small web diffusion? Then is that work for hire? Do they provide the contract? What are the conditions? How complex the project is exactly? What delivery format do they want? (resolution, FPS, color depth, etc.) You mentioned monologue, is that a simple tripod interview type of thing? You are not going to charge the same way for a huge project for national TV a small agency that sub-contract the work to you.

Then you must list your cost and expenses:

- Equipment (rental or amortization if you use your own)

- Insurance if you have one

- Tax (federal, state and all other tax that) on your general income (LLC) or corporate tax.

- All other direct fees: parking, transportation, actors, location rental, stock music and footage license if any, etc

You can set your price based on EXPENSES - PRICE = benefit or actual money in your pocket. That's "Invoicing 101" but if your costs are $2,000 you won't make a dime if you charge less than that.

In your quote/invoice break down the costs and expenses so the customer realize all the elements. Mention your base price multiplied by the number of days:

- On site preparation and filming ($200 days X 4)

- Editing and color grading ($200 days X 4)

- Equipment rental (camera, light, etc.) (xxx)

- Actors (xxx)

- Song license ($150 for internet license)

- Studio rental (xxx)

It's very hard to tell you what to charge without knowing the conditions and complexity of the project but don't go the cheap route. First because you will look like an amateur and second because all work must be paid and you can't work for free or for less money than a Mc Donald's employee. I checked your work and I think that you should at least charge $400-$800 per day depending on the complexity of the project. Now if you really want the job for your resume and reference you may want to lower the price but in this case explain why and include a SPECIAL DISCOUNT line at the end of your invoice (eg. 80% discount)

And by the way congratulation for your work.

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, OliKMIA said:

First how "big" is this project ? Is that for national TV or small web diffusion? Then is that work for hire? Do they provide the contract? What are the conditions? How complex the project is exactly? What delivery format do they want? (resolution, FPS, color depth, etc.) You mentioned monologue, is that a simple tripod interview type of thing? You are not going to charge the same way for a huge project for national TV a small agency that sub-contract the work to you.

Then you must list your cost and expenses:

- Equipment (rental or amortization if you use your own)

- Insurance if you have one

- Tax (federal, state and all other tax that) on your general income (LLC) or corporate tax.

- All other direct fees: parking, transportation, actors, location rental, stock music and footage license if any, etc

You can set your price based on EXPENSES - PRICE = benefit or actual money in your pocket. That's "Invoicing 101" but if your costs are $2,000 you won't make a dime if you charge less than that.

In your quote/invoice break down the costs and expenses so the customer realize all the elements. Mention your base price multiplied by the number of days:

- On site preparation and filming ($200 days X 4)

- Editing and color grading ($200 days X 4)

- Equipment rental (camera, light, etc.) (xxx)

- Actors (xxx)

- Song license ($150 for internet license)

- Studio rental (xxx)

It's very hard to tell you what to charge without knowing the conditions and complexity of the project but don't go the cheap route. First because you will look like an amateur and second because all work must be paid and you can't work for free or for less money than a Mc Donald's employee. I checked your work and I think that you should at least charge $400-$800 per day depending on the complexity of the project. Now if you really want the job for your resume and reference you may want to lower the price but in this case explain why and include a SPECIAL DISCOUNT line at the end of your invoice (eg. 80% discount)

And by the way congratulation for your work.

 

 

 

Wow...thank you!!! Such a great compliment.

Although this company is like Escape Room, they only have one location but judging by the google reviews it is very popular. As far as I can see they are not national.

The monologue is three separate pieces of dialogue, same indoors, controllable location, it is like the actor is talking to the participants of the "game". It is a very simple shoot. I've shot short films in much tougher conditions in one day!!

When I met with them today they did not appear to have any idea as to what goes into making this type of video. I did ask them about budget but they had no idea!! I get the impression this is the first time for them.

They have already secured the location (which I know well), actor and a sound recordist (both I recommended)

I like your idea of breaking down the actual costs then providing a ONE TIME discount and I will make sure I detail explicitly what is included in the price and what is not. I will also make sure the contract covers everything, I am very anal about detail...hehehehe

The only other crew member I need is lighting, I have someone and a price from them. I will use my GH5 and Zeiss glass, mostly locked down shots, maybe a slider which I already have.

I know the actor too, he is very professional, I am not worried about him at all.

The only thing I have never done is license music which they will definitely need!.....though I know a composer who can probably create something for me for less money (he is a good friend!)

Cheers!

 

 

 

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If you ask about budget they will always low ball it or say "as low as possible" which is normal. You must provide a price range based on the complexity and level of service. Tell them that you have a wide range of options, that you can do A for $ or Z for $$$, then let the customer pick where he wants to put the cursor. This way you respect his choice.

Also, no need to be too "anal" about the contract because it may deter the client at some point especially for small project like that. Put the essentials (price, deadline, delivery format, license rights, the do and don't etc) but in any case if the client break some small conditions what are you going to do ? Hire a lawyer at $2000 block rate to fight for a $1000 job ?

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I expect most of us have done work cheaply when trying to make a start in a creative industry that we love. Whatever you decide at the end of the day - make sure that after costs you are left with no less per day than you'd earn in a good day on your day job!

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9 minutes ago, Tim Sewell said:

I expect most of us have done work cheaply when trying to make a start in a creative industry that we love. Whatever you decide at the end of the day - make sure that after costs you are left with no less per day than you'd earn in a good day on your day job!

I'm quite lucky (well it was actually a lot of work!) that I already have an interior design business that does quite well. Thing is, cinema is my passion!!!....

If I won the lottery, I'd work on films etc for nothing........whereas I would definitely, 100%, quit interior design!

 

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Just thought I'd update you guys. 

I sent a very detailed quote with a discount, one time only, VERY competitive pricing....the client said they need to think about it, it is more than they thought!!! :lol: 

Who'd have guessed!!....I swear people think creative work should be free!!!!! hahahahaha

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16 minutes ago, Charlie said:

Just thought I'd update you guys. 

I sent a very detailed quote with a discount, one time only, VERY competitive pricing....the client said they need to think about it, it is more than they thought!!! :lol: 

Who'd have guessed!!....I swear people think creative work should be free!!!!! hahahahaha

You've got a great eye, Charlie. Don't undersell yourself. I just had a peek at some of your work, it's definitely worth 500-800 euros a day. Whatever you do, I wouldn't charge a mere 100 euros a day. I've got 1/50th of your talent and I could probably command several times that for a day's work if I wanted, though I don't shoot commercially and don't even have a proper portfolio. If you do accept it for less, please, please, don't tell me about it... Your work's absolutely worth more than 25 pints of beer at a pub. 

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Charlie, you are in a great position of leverage. Your work is good and you have a steady source of income, so you don't need this gig. That's an excellent place to start from.

Another bit of advice I read that didn't occur to me at first....but makes sense.... is that it's normal for people to balk at your prices a bit. If every single person happily accepts your rate without question, then it's a definite sign that you are undercharging and leaving money on the table. Took me a while to get this.

Ray Roman has talked about this. He's a really high end wedding video guy, and he says he books maybe 15% of inquiring clients. Not everyone can afford you, and that's okay. I would always worry the second a client got cold feet about pricing, but now I want that a little bit. It's part of the process, and ensures you're actually getting what your worth. Nothing will kill morale faster than grinding out high volumes of work for cheap. I've been there, and it made me question whether I even liked doing video.

You are in a perfect position to avoid that trap. 

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You guys are very kind indeed!

Everything I have learnt I have learnt through trial and error, studying movies, youtube and forums like this one. Mostly by making MANY mistakes!

I have told them that they might find someone cheaper but the result will not be as good, I am sticking to my guns!

PS - I am shooting a modelling music video this weekend and have a feeling it will be my best yet....this girl is soooooooo sexy!! hahahah......will post it when its finished.

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