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A frank response to the posts " I QUIT.... Working for nothing" and "" Worth It Anymore"??"

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Chen Wu XinA frank response to the posts " I QUIT.... Working for nothing" and "" Worth It Anymore"??"
by on Aug 15, 2012 at 4:46:08 am

A frank response to the posts " I QUIT.... Working for nothing" and "Worth It Anymore??"

To the original poster,

for many years i was like you, it was hard to find work - and there is nothing more demoralizing than the feeling that no one wants to hire you, when in fact its just the market shifting.

However, i decided to take matters in to my own hands and started producing my own tv shows.

Due to the rising demand in content acquisition by TV stations and networks world wide there is no shortage of work BUT sometimes that work has to come from yourself!!

You have your own equipment
you know how to tell a story
you know how to shoot and light etc
and edit
and produce
and schedule
and budget
so and so on

Don't waste your passion, don't give up. If you have to make ends meet by changing jobs/fields, do it, BUT you still have weekends to create!!

What i've found is:
- everybody is a TV show just waiting to happen
- everybody is an interview just waiting to happen and you don't have pay to interview someone
- every city is brimming with a TV show just waiting to be shot
- locations are available for free, for a simple line in the credits, or a mention by a host etc


Right now i'm in current production of:
- a 13ep x 22min business round-table show, à la "dinner for five", or filmfellas
- a 13ep x 22min Eco/green home show à la HGTV
- a one off x 52min about architecture in my city
- a one off x 52min about the awesome scale of statistics in my city ("90 million taxi rides a month, WTF")à la discovery channel megastructures etc

and:
when i need extra hands like a:
- boom op/sound recordist
- graphics
- a second camera (b cam,jib, stabilizer etc)
- production assistant
- or any extra help
- grip, focus puller
...then I hire those kids who work for almost nothing!
and:
VO artists who work via the internet, do a great job, and don't cost a lot.

Will HGTV buy my show? NOPE
will Discovery buy my show? hell no!

BUT (via television programming distribution companies)there are 1000s of international TV stations and networks and inflight, vod, fvod, terrestrial, broadcast, cable, satellite, iptv who will buy.

AND TV shows, like books and music, can sell for years and years and years

My biggest costs for these productions so far will be the cost of the deliverables to the television programming distribution companies. ie: HDCAM masters(...one tape per episode, yikes!)

one caveat, you need to complete a series/one-off before a distribution will think about selling it for you but THAT IS A RISK YOU MUST TAKE IF YOU ARE LOSING THE ABILITY TO DO WHAT YOU LOVE!

and i also:
- sell my stock footage
- sell my stock audio/music

there is still a career in the stories around you!

cheers


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Todd TerryRe: A frank response to the posts " I QUIT.... Working for nothing" and "" Worth It Anymore"??"
by on Aug 15, 2012 at 5:29:27 am

[Chen Wu Xin] "...when i need extra hands...then I hire those kids who work for almost nothing!"

Oh that's what we love to hear....

There's being economical, and then there's being "penny wise but pound foolish." I'm not sure being a cheapskate is something to brag about or be proud of.

Those jobs on your list... a no-experience almost-freebie kid as a camera op? A sound recordist? A graphic artist? A focus puller (which is one of the most-difficult-to-master and unsung jobs in the business)?

Quality-wise, you get what you pay for.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Chen Wu XinRe: A frank response to the posts
by on Aug 15, 2012 at 11:19:52 am

'cheapscate'?!?

wow, not really, its called being economical! Staying competitive.


why pay the 50 year old videographer 700 to shoot a talking head, when a 24 year, who has a quality reel and comes recommended, will do it for for 240?

Do you call all your potential clients who go with the cheaper bids than yours, 'cheapskates'??


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Mark SuszkoRe: A frank response to the posts
by on Aug 15, 2012 at 2:49:43 pm

"You pay peanuts, you get squirrels".

Xin, I liked your initial post and its "can-do" optimism, very much. It echoes much of what I've said before. However, you can always expect the old pros here to bristle a bit when someone suggests hiring less-experienced people at very low wages.

There's nothing wrong with giving newbies a break, but that comes with the understanding that you're going to have to hand-hold them a bit and supervise them more tightly to ensure mistakes don't happen. Interns are there to learn first, not just to be cheap labor.

Secondly, inexperienced talent plus below-market rates often equals an un-even product quality, and false economy. My good late friend Lou Rosenblate used to call this "Stepping over dollars, to pick up dimes". When you wind up having to do re-shoots, or having to replace damaged gear, because the bargain-basement CraigsLister over-sold his or her abilities... that's not savings. Or if you run longer because of mistakes and on the job traning sessions for help that's not fully capable yet, that lost time also represents lost income. Nowhere is this more evident than in hiring actors themselves: cheap unskilled amateurs cost you more in lost time than it would have cost to hire experienced pros who get it right in one take, and are consistent over multiple takes.


So, I applaud the first part of your post and the sentiments there, but I'm with Todd in saying the way you phrased the part about hiring cheap labor, hits a sour note for me.


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Todd TerryRe: A frank response to the posts
by on Aug 15, 2012 at 2:57:37 pm

[Chen Wu Xin] "Do you call all your potential clients who go with the cheaper bids than yours, 'cheapskates'??"


Oh sure, if they are one.

Some are, some aren't. We'll frequently refer potential clients elsewhere if their project simply doesn't warrant the rate that we charge, and they can get work sufficiently for what they need elsewhere. There's one particular one-man very-solid company that I refer people to at least every week or two when we have a potential client but they can more than get by with less than high-end work.

But some definitely are cheapskates. We had a guy come in this week who wanted what should have been a higher-end medical video re-done. He'd already had it produced elsewhere, and was horrified at the results. We were, too... it was literally sub-par for junior-high audio-video club work. Literally... horrible lighting, bad graphics, terrible editing, the talking heads were with an on-camera mic 10 feet away, and all the transitions were clockwipes. If it hadn't been so sad, it would have almost been funny. Well, we gave this guy a very reasonable quote, only a few thousand bucks (probably half what it should have been), but this guy balked... that was way too rich for his blood. And yet he wanted a high-end video, and this guy is probably worth millions of dollars. Is he a cheapskate? Absolutely.

I'm with Mark... I applaud your enthusiasm and can-do attitude. But I'm just saying you get what you pay for. Several of those positions you mentioned are very skilled positions. A good sound recordist can make or break a project. There are ACs in Hollywood who work focus-pulling for years before learning to perfectly and repeatedly nail a pin-sharp focus in a moving shallow depth-of-field scene. But you are touting (with an exclamation mark) paying "next to nothing!" to get these important jobs done.

I hire very good people, and I pay them very well. It does make a difference.

Although I'm not a freelancer myself, I often hire them and have many friends who are freelancers. It's disheartening to see that this business has turned into a pay-'em-peanuts or "Who's the cheapest guy I can find on CraigsList?" mentality. And it sure shows in the finished product.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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walter biscardiRe: A frank response to the posts
by on Aug 15, 2012 at 3:02:04 pm

[Todd Terry] "I hire very good people, and I pay them very well. It does make a difference."

1000% agree. Those who do good work with a lot less are a very rare breed. Those who charge less and turn out crap are a dime a dozen and quite honestly, are good for my business when we have to come in behind them and clean up the mess.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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Tim WilsonRe: A frank response to the posts
by on Aug 15, 2012 at 4:21:27 pm

[walter biscardi] "[Todd Terry] "I hire very good people, and I pay them very well. It does make a difference."

1000% agree. Those who do good work with a lot less are a very rare breed. Those who charge less and turn out crap are a dime a dozen and quite honestly, are good for my business when we have to come in behind them and clean up the mess."


I was in a small market where the cable companies did local commercials for free. I built my business by doing work that was so much better than what people got for free that I could charge pretty much whatever I wanted.

That said, I don't agree at all. People doing more with less isn't rare. People like that are running through the COW by the hundreds of thousands.

Walter, you're one of them. You're just doing it on a larger scale. One of the several key vectors in your business is that you've used technology and creativity to do the work of a company ten times your size. But you started a business in your 30s as one guy doing more with less. The difference now is that people are starting in their 20s.

Chen Wu Xing wasn't even talking about a business owner, but talking about a hireling. You can get really good hirelings for peanuts. A suit by the interns on Black Swan is turning into a class action suit against Fox, because they were working for free, instead of the contract amount of the...oops... $8 an hour they were due. The suit will surely spread to the other studios as legions of young people are demanding the right to be paid $8/hour on Oscar-caliber feature films.

Seriously, did Black Swan turn out well enough for you? You feel like anybody needed to go in fix it? And not that key VFX shots were being done by $8/hour interns -- but I guarantee that when you look at those 300 names scrolling through the credits, you make more than all but maybe two dozen of them, and that a lot of key shots DID have people working for free on them, instead of the $8/hour they SHOULD have been making.

Look, I've spent most of the past decade orbiting around education. The fastest growing liberal arts programs have been media-centered for years. They're not just scratching their asses in those programs either. Students are often working with better gear than you are, and working on real projects -- including things like Black Swan -- for next to nothing, and coming out of school every four years, ready to work for next to nothing on a full-time basis.

Schools like Full Sail are doing laser-focused training on producing genuine artists. In fact, you have to qualify with a pencil and a paintbrush before they let you touch a camera. A lot of these kids have chops that you never will, and Full Sail is cranking them out every 13 months.

It's not just the gear that has become commoditized. Creativity, skill and experience have too.

Tim Wilson
Vice President, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW Magazine
Twitter: timdoubleyou

The typos here are most likely because I'm, a) typing this on my phone; and b) an idiot.


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Chen Wu XinRe: A frank response to the posts
by on Aug 15, 2012 at 5:23:46 pm

OK, perhaps I was being too colorful and enthusiastic in my hope of trying to save a creative individual. The last thing we need in this world is less art.

How's this
and when i need extra hands like a:
- boom op/sound recordist
- graphics
- a second camera (b cam,jib stabilizer etc)
- production assistant
- or any extra help
...THEN I HIRE PROFESSIONALS FROM THE APPROXIMATE AGE OF 21 TO 32 WHO CHARGE ON AVERAGE A THIRD OF WHAT THE LOCAL VETERANS IN MY MARKET CHARGE.


Gentlemen
Sometimes it helps to ignore the ambiguity of a few words and embrace the intended spirit of the message, and then nurture that spirit with energy and enthusiasm!!

my intention was to show the poster that a good production does not always need a huge crew, a huge budget or the most talented people, and that he/she can continue to tell colorful intriguing interesting stories and create a good watch! and hell hopefully continue to make a living while doing so?

Does having the best people help? sure. But...I'll listen to an old cassette tape boot leg of a Beatles gig before I listen to a Justin beeber CD, even though the beiber tracks possibly employed the finest, trackers, mixers and mastering pros in the biz, not to mention studio musicians.

My old cinematography teacher, a former head of the canadian society for cinematographers, also use to lens for the CBC (Canada'a BBC). He used to regale us with stories of skeleton crews, and nagras with reels erased and used a dozen times, and machine ops who were asked to edit once a month by producers under the gun of the deadline.

And these docs, just brilliant! All story!

Walter, I truly admire you and the work your company has done, I've been following your career for as long as it has been public on the internet, probably I guess from the beginning of creative cow, and your blog has its own column in my news reader app. (great ed. on CNN BTW)
If recall correctly, Good Eats, first season, didn't have the greatest production value. At this moment I can't recall if it was the video that was blown out, or audio that was distorted on an episode or two, (god, I hope its not MY dvd copy) anyways my point is, someone had the idea for a great show and they did it.

when the masters were handed into the food network, it still aired, even though someone at quality control probably said 'hey the audio is 6db in the red'

But it aired cuz it was good tv!

Please, never tell a fellow creative (especially someone we don't know personally) that they 'can't', or 'shouldn't' produce something because they can't afford the best people.

cheers


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walter biscardiRe: A frank response to the posts
by on Aug 15, 2012 at 8:35:54 pm

[Tim Wilson] "Schools like Full Sail are doing laser-focused training on producing genuine artists. In fact, you have to qualify with a pencil and a paintbrush before they let you touch a camera. A lot of these kids have chops that you never will, and Full Sail is cranking them out every 13 months."

They're laser focused on the craft for sure, but I've yet to meet any of these folks coming out of the art schools who have any clue how to do time / project management. And that's where they get themselves in trouble, allowing me to come in and clean up after them. They'll hone in on that one part of the project they really like and then the rest of it falls apart. I've seen videos with absolutely incredible opening titles and graphics, but the video itself looks like crap because the person spent weeks creating the graphics and 2 days cutting the video, and it shows.

It's one thing to simply know the craft. I have an 11 year old I can call upon to add muzzle flashes and all manner of SFX to AE projects if I want and he's quite talented. There's a high school not even 3 miles down the road with more SFX and video talented kids than we had at Syracuse Univ. when I was there and we are already making plans to work with the kids and get the involved with our projects.

That's the disconnect Tim. Laser focused incredible talent is out there, but turning them loose on a project is something I would have a hard time doing unless they are just one small part of a large team.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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Chen Wu XinRe: A frank response to the posts
by on Aug 15, 2012 at 11:57:27 pm

[walter biscardi] "That's the disconnect Tim. Laser focused incredible talent is out there, but turning them loose on a project is something I would have a hard time doing unless they are just one small part of a large team."

Again, you are choosing to isolate a few words to make your point, but are missing spirit of what Tim W. was writing about.

we are not talking about the people we hire to come in and produce(project management)a production on their own, that's my job!!! Just its as yours, as the head of your company.

When we hire, we are hiring individuals to perform specific tasks. Who can get the job done.

most of us agree we hire on personality, quality of work, and work ethic, regardless of age. The quality/cost of work directly relates to the work being assigned (project management 101)

And sorry i'm not going to hire the best boom op who works major TV/Hollywood caliber productions for a talking head gig.

I'm not going to hire the Maya guru to do a simple title.

I'm not going to hire Todd's Fantastic Plastic to come in with HMI's and an e35 cinema camera package to shoot a locked off, medium close up of a customer testimonial.

I'm going to go the with people who do a great job, and of course cost is a factor!! If they are young, so be it, if their rate is low, awesome.


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Ned MillerRe: A frank response to the posts
by on Aug 16, 2012 at 4:24:31 pm

Dear Chen,

Where can we see these programs you have produced so we all know what we are talking about here? I see no evidence on the internet of your existence. Please advise.

Sincerely,

Ned

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
http://www.bizvideo.com


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Chen Wu XinRe: A frank response to the posts
by on Aug 16, 2012 at 11:28:27 pm

[Ned Miller] "Dear Chen,

Where can we see these programs you have produced so we all know what we are talking about here? I see no evidence on the internet of your existence. Please advise."


No thank you, i take my privacy very seriously,

If Creative Cow would like verify my existence, the email i address i used to sign in with contains my business website URL. My business website contains my phone number. If Tim Wilson would like to verify and post "Yes, he does exist", Tim, feel free to do so.

Sorry Ned, privacy is sacred, people put WAY too much information on the internet.

Besides, i'm almost 50, have two kids. You think i have time to twitter away?

Cheers


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Ned MillerRe: A frank response to the posts
by on Aug 17, 2012 at 12:32:17 am

Well....this is suppose to be a community. You say you're doing:

Right now i'm in current production of:
- a 13ep x 22min business round-table show, à la "dinner for five", or filmfellas
- a 13ep x 22min Eco/green home show à la HGTV
- a one off x 52min about architecture in my city
- a one off x 52min about the awesome scale of statistics in my city ("90 million taxi rides a month, WTF")à la discovery channel megastructures etc

We here on this forum are trying to understand the quality level you achieve with the type of crew you hire and their (low) rate structure. Yet we can't view it? We have no idea if you're real.

No offense. I'd like to see them to understand you're point of view.

Best regards,

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
http://www.bizvideo.com


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walter biscardiRe: A frank response to the posts
by on Aug 17, 2012 at 6:37:01 am

[Chen Wu Xin] "No thank you, i take my privacy very seriously,"

He's not asking for your personal information, he's just asking where can we see examples of your work?

Like our work can be seen on the Food Network (seasons 9 - 12 of Good Eats), PBS (The American Land, thisamericanland.org, Foul Water Fiery Serpent, foulwaterfieryserpent.org) Global Health Frontline News which has appeared on CNN, ABC, BBC and China broadcast, (ghfn.org) and others. And there are additional samples of our work on biscardicreative.com in the gallery.

So Ned is just asking where can we see examples of your programming? What website should we be going to so we can view programming you've produced? Nothing secret about that.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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Chen Wu XinRe: A frank response to the posts
by on Aug 18, 2012 at 4:18:10 am

first,
the work i do is nothing special, its not great but pretty good. there is nothing i do that you haven't seen before in good quality mid end corporates. Although I try my best, MY work is not the issue in the original spirit of my initial post!

to inspire a fellow creative, a fellow artist, to feel that there is a spiritually rewarding future in what we do when they felt otherwise.
THAT WAS MY INTENT!

Showing you my work without supporting documents such as invoices and contracts is useless with respect to the reasons about WHY you want to view my work. Especially if you choose to believe cost and quality must go hand in hand. (i use foamcore instead of reflectors. would you like proof of their quality as well??)

The minor and inconsequential claims I made about choosing lower costs freelancers were so innocent, inert and innocuous I'm wondering as to why everyone is making such an uproar about it. to imply that they are spurious and to go so far as to suggest i am cheapscate, or that i do not exist!! this is insane. (Ned Miller wrote to me, ''I see no evidence on the internet of your existence. Please advise''. Who the flipping hell do you think you are!!!!)

do you people always dispute the trivial claims of posters who declared they received a quality product or service while not paying the highest price without proving it somehow.

second and much more importantly
HOW DARE YOU!!

how dare you press someone for information which they explicitly communicated they deem private!!

And you professionals?? Maybe. But at this moment you are acting like school yard children!

I am a sole proprietor, and work with one other individual full time.

my video work is hosted on my business website. because I'm a sole proprietor my business website contains MY home address where my children live!!!!! the phone contact number on my website is MY home number MY cell number and fax number!!

In my initial post I did not even mention the city in which I'm currently working on a show specifically ABOUT the city I live! ie '' - a one off x52min about the awesome scale of statistics in my city'' because I chose to limit my personal life info.

In addition, there is no signature with my URL under my posts! NO! Because I HAVE CHOSEN NOT TO!


IF I CHOOSE NOT TO EXPOSE THAT INFORMATION HERE THAT IS MY CHOICE.
My choice!!!! Not yours!!


Maybe I do not want my customers / freelancers / on screen interviewees / on screen talent/show guests i use to search my name only to find that am openly discussing a deficiency of mine or discussing their business with me, including possibly sensitive financial information such as the rates they charge!

this was thread marked first time i posted on the cow. I was hoping to continue in the future to get help or offer useful, helpful, nurturing inspiring posts. If I were to write in a future post, ''... I have shoot tomorrow, I would like advice on such and such...'', then the world knows Wu Xin is not home today, let's break into her home''.

I'd like to post without worrying about whether or not I am leaving my personal life open.

last time i checked, creative cow provided some measure of anonymity for its users.

If you cannot understand, then I'm sorry you!! Feel free to party like its 1984


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Mark SuszkoRe: A frank response to the posts
by on Aug 18, 2012 at 4:55:30 am

Xin, I'm responding to something else here now. It may be a better business practice to create a separate postal address, phone number with voicemail and such, to keep your business identity separate from your private life, as you referenced. The internet makes this relatively easy to do, not all that expensive, compared to the peace of mind you seek, and I think many sole proprietors do something like that.

If I wanted to run several lines of business, say, a wedding/event biz, a corporate biz, and a sports documentary biz, I can build separate online sites for each, but still answer all the calls and emails from one central point. This is useful because those three kinds of customers don't normally work with video producers that work with another one of those three. The corporate clients don't think much of wedding guys, etc. Now you an differentiate and pitch specifics to specific separate markets. But still centrally manage them, as if they are all subsidiaries of Xin Productions. This also adds a layer of privacy to your home address/phone information. which you voiced concerns about.

Just a suggestion, FWIW.


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Ned MillerRe: A frank response to the posts
by on Aug 18, 2012 at 3:18:50 pm

Have you ever heard the Texas expression, "All Hat, No Cattle"

If you are not familiar with this expression you can find the definition here:

http://www.usingenglish.com/reference/idioms/all+hat,+no+cattle.html

Please do not take any personal offense. You may find http://www.dvxuser.com more to your liking, they don't care about anonymity. Here, we like to know who we are communicating with and learning from. How can we value someone's advice if they may be "blowing smoke"? See:

http://www.thehindu.com/education/know-your-english/article3248063.ece

I'd love to be able to produce by hiring crew at one third the rate of pros like you do, please teach us how. Since this is the Business forum we'd all like to know how to increase profits by hiring recent grads without them screwing up. But let us see what it looks like. If you have no proof then how can we continue this thread of yours? Send us a link. We don't want your phone number or home address. But an end credit saying Produced by Chen Wu Xin would give you credibility and not threaten your personal anonymity at all.

So, show us your cattle...

Many thanks,

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com


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Chen Wu XinRe: A frank response to the posts
by on Aug 19, 2012 at 12:46:21 am

[Ned Miller] "I'd love to be able to produce by hiring crew at one third the rate of pros like you do, please teach us how. Since this is the Business forum we'd all like to know how to increase profits by hiring recent grads without them screwing up."

Ok Ned, i gotcha,

(and i'm born bred and raised, third Gen Canadian, we use the same idioms as you. You don't have to explain, hehe)

I'm uploading to the Demo section on Creative Cow now
http://reels.creativecow.net/film/ndi-2-directors-cut-30sec-spot-avcmvc1280...

What would you like to know? cost/working with crew member stuff?

ummm, ok, I’m just gonna write what comes to me, excuse my grammar and spelling.

So ok, it’s Shanghai, china, but it’s not that cheap! Top/mid people here make just as much as their American counterparts.

I’m putting ALL costs in Chinese currency (RMB), all costs are give or take 100 or 200RMB. And It’s about 1$USD=6RMB,

- Second TV spot I've done for this client, it’s a large training company (4000+ employees, 150 000 customers)

(Day=8hours)
one day shoot(very quick shoot, about 6 hours filming), 6 days preproduction with their marketing people, 3 days edit w/client, 1 day music, half day for VO, 1 day for final assembly. My rates are about 3000RMB/8 hour, more or less plus costs upfront. Overages, within reason come out of my pocket – keeps me aware of everything!!!!!

- My deliverables for this spot are one 15 sec and one 30 sec cut; uncompressed .avi on USB stick. The client takes care of print to tape, the dupe house knows what format goes to which network/station, about 500/ hour plus stock.(not my problem...yet)
-- no colour correction yet on this spot. The client will decide later if they want it done by me or by a real colourists, cuz they're not cheap.

- The PA/assistant director, whatever you want to call her, is an event coordinator for Seagrams (Bacardi etc), not a PA!!!
- About 1700RMB a day, she was billed for 4 days spread over one month (she came to 3ish meetings for free about 6 total hour’s maybe)
- she scheduled everything : transpo, lunches, crew pick up, got the gov and building management permits /permission for the outside shots and communicated with the client regarding extras, location access, release forms etc. liaisoned with everybody including my client!
- Roughly about 4000RMBish for the, transpo, lunches, all the little extras
- there is pan up of the actress as she enters the buildings, the women on the poster is a well known Shanghai celeb and former spokesperson for the client, the PA contacted her agency and got approval to use the image (my client must have paid something??)

- All the Chinese extras are students of that company; I believe they received free contract extensions for their studies as compensation, and a milk tea. They brought their own wardrobe (it’s sweltering July, but the spot will air in October in Northern China where a few dozen new centers are opening) if you look closely in the background everyone is in shorts!

- The foreigners are employees of that company as well, teacher/trainers I guess? Maybe admin (the owner of the company is Canadian women)
- Everyone made it to the locations by themselves, but transport was paid for.

- The first location was the court of a mall; other locations were owned, operated by the client (and were all across the street from each other)
- the office location is the office of the client’s VC
- the elevator shot was unplanned – the marketing guys thought we needed it - it was stolen location from a hotel across the street during lunch.

-The videographer,whom my friend recommended , had filmed their wedding but is actually a studio wedding photographer by trade (huge industry here! A dozen or more massive “photo studios malls” in Shanghai alone)
- He was paid 2100 or 2200RMB and brought two assistants, paid by him
- He used 2 Canon 7D w/50mm 1.4, would swap them when the heat warning came on
- Available light only ‘cept a small LED,
- the assistants used a large 150x200cm and small 80ish cm reflector on stand, and a large configurable flag. He used my CF cards. He brought his benro or velbon photo tripod. The head, i have no idea.
- all shot in sequence

- make-up/hair stylist, hired by the photographer, paid by me, was 900 a day. I gave her more because she used much more make than she thought she needed. She earned it, it was absolutely sweltering and the actress was sweating constantly!!

- The music was written/performed by me.
- i edited the spot. i used AVID 5.5MC in case we go to a colourist in the future, or else i would have used Vegas 9

- Voice over is done by a professional hostess, she came to my mixing room/VO booth to record, 100RMB/hour, 4 hours total. (the marketing guys were killing us try to perfect it! A hundred takes that all sound great to me, and in the end we ended up time stretching it argghhh!!! You can distinctly hear the artifacts when the VO track is muted)

- Marketing did their own proposal, shot list and the shots they wanted, they gave me tons of referral pics and videos of style, emotion and the pacing they wanted. then i did a stick figure storyboard.

- the actress is a receptionist for the client, the company emailed “all the young pretty girls in shanghai offices”.
- she was paid her normal salary for the day.
- they did their own auditions, which i told them to film and we discussed it later

- client paid just over 50000RMB, about 8000dollars approx (plus whatever cost they had on their end, ie man hours, extras compensation etc)

Whats else? I think that’s enough info?

You want to know how to save money, honestly, I don’t know - think outside the box a little.

KISS – keep it simple stupid.

I find if you get the client to contribute as much possible, that helps a lot!! Plus it really gets them to communicate with you, you get their take on why they chose such and such location or why they want the actress they do, and they feel like they have more control that way. You end up spending a lot of time with them. They get so pumped up when they feel like they are making a movie. And it helps because you have to go through every process with them and in doing so you go through every process again and again.

Think outside the box when hiring people, not everybody needs to be film job oriented.
i.e event coordinator as a PA!!
this is great, her real job is making sure people are supposed to be doing what they need to do, regardless of if it’s a fashion show, gala, expo - or a film shoot!! She knows how to talk and who to talk to! Its her job. She had never a done film shoot before, so during the meetings i made sure she understood a few things. Most importantly that she is my voice to everyone and everything except the camera and the actors. When we were filming, right away i got her behind the camera, looking the replays, after 30 mins i could just point to a problem on the monitor and she's barking orders at the extras, "when he yells action, laugh more don't just stand there" or telling shoppers to stop walking when we're abou to shoot. She would instinctively arrive on location and talk to the people who matter, again her normal job.

How about the studio wedding photog as videographer!!
I saw my friend’s wedding vid, looked beautiful, i went to his photo studio, saw his dozen Philip bloom style vids he had made, looked through his photo portfolio. I showed him the pics of the location we'd be at and he said, “No lights”. I thought it was a question, but nope, he meant he was going to use available light only. I wasn’t impressed, but after an hour of going through his portfolio, I was definitely impressed. He wowed me so I hired him.

Look, every gig is different. You don’t need me preaching to you, or teaching you.

Just approach everything with a slanted view, indie style, where resources are limited and you gotta do what gotta to get the job done!

So, there it is, you asked for it

Don’t make assumption, ask questions first!

Cheers


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Chen Wu XinRe: A frank response to the posts
by on Aug 19, 2012 at 12:48:33 am

Hi Mark

Interesting!!!

I just checked, and my city, being a major financial hub has tons of these companies/services!!

With respect to virtual addresses -
Unfortunately an area of our apartment has a few rooms allocated as a small studio, editing suite and a small mixing room that doubles as VO booth so, basically I need clients to be able to look up my address on my website in the taxi ride over, or to show their driver, so a virtual address wouldn’t work well.

However telephone communications …hmmm??
We have a home phone land line that we use solely for the business. I know I’ve lost quite a few possible interviewees for the TV stuff, after they’ve asked for my URL …then I never hear from them again. Not that our website is bad, but it’s totally, completely head to toe corporate, and small business oriented.

Just checked a few places; around 100 USD a month for virtual phone number/communications with a real receptionist answering.

I wonder how they handle multiple business calls to the same number. No info in their websites relating to how they might route multiple identities to one land line and two mobile numbers.

Do you have any experience in this Mark?

Thanks again


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Mark SuszkoRe: A frank response to the posts
by on Aug 19, 2012 at 1:44:11 am

"That's classified, need-to-know". (In Michael Westen voice)

I don't know about Hong Kong, but here you can rent access to a dummy office with a nice meeting room, a front desk receptionist, all the appearances... for a month by month rental. So you have the good-looking place to take meetings, and you shoot mostly on location, so no studio rental to keep up.


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Chen Wu XinRe: A frank response to the posts
by on Aug 19, 2012 at 7:19:24 am

[Mark Suszko] I don't know about Hong Kong, but here you can rent access to a dummy office with a nice meeting room, a front desk receptionist, all the appearances... for a month by month rental. So you have the good-looking place to take meetings, and you shoot mostly on location, so no studio rental to keep up."

Unfortunately in Shanghai real estate is quite expensive, especially commercial property, besides i like working from home.

however, studio space in Shanghai is quite cheap, top photo studios run about 200USD dollars a day, and include a basic flash kit w/soft boxes and one assistant.

in June, we shot in a 57'x57'studio w/25x25m high ceiling cyc wall in one one corner for 180USD a day .

http://dev.rimagine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/about-studio1-thumb.jpg
http://www.rimagine.com/about-us/photo-studio-shanghai/


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walter biscardiRe: A frank response to the posts
by on Aug 19, 2012 at 6:55:21 pm

[Chen Wu Xin] "second and much more importantly
HOW DARE YOU!!

how dare you press someone for information which they explicitly communicated they deem private!!
"


Wow, then I really have nothing further to discuss with you. You're on a public forum making all sorts of suggestions as to what other people should do. But we can't question what you do or ask for samples of your work.

Have a nice day.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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Bob ZelinRe: A frank response to the posts
by on Aug 19, 2012 at 9:26:03 pm

boy, how did I miss out on a great fight like this !
Awesome thread. I guess "you snooze, you lose"

Bob Zelin



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walter biscardiRe: A frank response to the posts
by on Aug 19, 2012 at 10:13:37 pm

[Bob Zelin] "boy, how did I miss out on a great fight like this !"

We are so disappointed in you right now Bob......... :)

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
Editor, Colorist, Director, Writer, Consultant, Author, Chef.
HD Post and Production
Biscardi Creative Media

"This American Land" - our new PBS Series.

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Tim WilsonRe: A frank response to the posts
by on Aug 19, 2012 at 10:38:26 pm

[walter biscardi] "We are so disappointed in you right now Bob......... :)"

My feeling is that it's never too late to show up and cause trouble. Carry on, Bob.

Tim Wilson
Vice President, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW Magazine
Twitter: timdoubleyou

The typos here are most likely because I'm, a) typing this on my phone; and b) an idiot.


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Chen Wu XinRe: A frank response to the posts
by on Aug 20, 2012 at 11:11:08 pm

in my initial posts i had been nothing but polite, even after i was called cheapskate, and even my existence was questioned. (Which I found strange considering the relative non-troll nature of my thread starter)

i then responded politely to a rather rude toned post asking to see my work.

i stated my work is hosted on my website which contains personal info and I prefer not to post the URL on such a public forum. Jeez, there is even a disclaimer on the top of each forum warning of googles tracking policy.

Walter, if you didn't read that post of mine, and continued to ask for it , or simply did not respect a simple wish for some anonymity, then YOU ASKED FOR IT! You could have completely ignored it, and offered your own advice for creating on budget or you could have not posted anything at all. But instead you gave us a long list of places we can see your work (even though I previously mentioned I'm quite familiar with and respect you a great deal ). Good list of places we can see your company's work and all, but useless for this thread.

After Ned Miller politely responded to my, admittedly too-angry post, and because I understood that yes, my tone of the previous post was harsh, and negative and most of all non-constructive, I recanted - AND I realized I could post video directly on the cow, without the trouble of signing up for a YouTube etc account, i then posted a video here, along with as much info i could remember without pouring over excel files of invoices.

so Walter if you have nothing more to say, that really REALLY sucks, because I'd rather read one post of yours than a hundred of mine, and I'm pretty sure that sentiment is echoed amongst all present.

i signed up for a cow account JUST to create this thread to help a fellow poster. it wasn't supposed to be anything other than a post meant to encourage another individual I felt was on par with me business wise, as not all of us here have large thriving expanding business. I'd venture to guess most of us don't!

Although there was some helpful posts in this thread, for the most part it was met with very little of anything constructive. (Including this rant)

But I'll state my original intent of this thread one more(third?) time: if you have to choose between:
giving up a career for lack of funds
or
Continuing to create while pinching a penny.

Pinch away, be frugal, be DIY, think outside the box. If you gotta hire interns today to be here tomorrow, phi beta Kappa!! To paraphrase Bob Zelin, who must have stated a million times, ''it can't be done'' to the perennial question where a poster asks can which computer monitor he/she can grade/colour on. ''It can't be done, but get that panny industrial plasma for fraction of the price and it'll work in pinch!''

He never said, ''quit, change your job''







Ps
(Sorry for my spelling/grammar, I'm on my phone and in transit)


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Ned MillerRe: A frank response to the posts
by on Aug 22, 2012 at 12:46:13 am

Thank you Chen for proving you are really in the biz.

Best regards,

Ned

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
http://www,bizvideo.com


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Chen Wu XinRe: A frank response to the posts
by on Aug 24, 2012 at 4:54:21 pm

My pleasure AND my apologies for past offences!!


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Mike CohenRe: A frank response to the posts
by on Sep 24, 2012 at 2:41:34 am

Late to the party here.

What was the original post that Chen Wu Xin was responding to?

As for the overall theme of the thread, I agree you get what you pay for. Although sometimes you can pay the appropriate amount and still get the occasional person who is asleep at the wheel. As a producer it is my job to manage the crew, to ensure that my client is getting what they are paying for. Usually the client is paying me and I am paying the crew so it is a double safety check to make sure you get what you think you are getting.

Measure twice, cut once - you can apply this truism to any situation.

Mike Cohen


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Ned MillerRe: A frank response to the posts
by on Sep 24, 2012 at 2:43:50 am

Too late Mike. The tempest in a teapot is over.

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
http://www,bizvideo.com


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