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Total Project quote for infomercial.

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Ryan Cathey
Total Project quote for infomercial.
on Jul 30, 2008 at 4:55:03 pm

Hi all,

I am trying to make sure I am on par for a low budget DR-TV spot I am producing.

Final Length - 1:30 (min:sec)
Script - $500
3 days of shooting Equipment + 3 man crew) - $4,500
3 Actors (1/day) - $250
Narration - $1,000
Editing/Post (10 days) - $6,000
Administrative Fee - $700
Producer's Fee - $1,500

Total - $14,950

I know that these things can run upwards of $150,000, but I wanted to see if this was just unreasonable.

Any words from experienced cow users would be appreciated.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Total Project quote for infomercial.
on Jul 30, 2008 at 7:29:35 pm

Did you split out the admin fee from your producers fee just to make numbers appear smaller, or is someone other than you actually doing the admin stuff? And what specific admin stuff is it? The video crew and gear: fee could be low or high, depending on the gear and level of experience, how many shoot days, also if union or not. Seems like a lot of edit days for a short piece.

I always eschew fixed fees in favor of hourly or daily rates. Even for the most well-prepared person, sometimes situations arise that add hours you didn't budget for. Then the fixed-price line loses money.

The script for example: that fixed rate, does it cover re-writes on the set or in post? Guild or not? If the crew is at least middling competent, it looks like they may be earning far more than your actors?

That makes me wonder if the actors, at that low price, are really any good. They may be excellent actors that just cut you a break. But if they are poor actors that could only command sevety or so a day, they might actually cost you more down the road, in bad takes, blown schedules, re-shoots, extended repair sessions in post, etc. plus lower overall quality and belivability.

Good writers and actors don't COST: they SAVE.

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Ryan Cathey
Re: Total Project quote for infomercial.
on Jul 30, 2008 at 8:49:34 pm

The admin fee is to cover work already completed on finding writers, crew, actors, even though the job has not been awarded.

The crew is pretty experienced, but not union - gear is pro (Canon XLH1 is the lowest common denominator - all else is very high end, but they wanted the cost savings of HDV).

Editing is due to the expected re-edits (they want 2-5 versions in order to test different markets i.e., highlighting different features).

This project is definitely being billed per hour, but the client wanted a rough idea of the overall cost. They've been burned by other DR-TV spots ($250K) that didn't give them the return they wanted.

Actors - may have to re look at this but I figured $250/day per actor (1 actor per day).

The production budget is for crew and equipment.

From what I think you're saying, I'm pretty close, but again, I too, have been at the mercy of the flat rate, and it's not fun. This will definitely be billed per hour, I just wanted to make sure I wasn't undercutting myself and then have to go back and ask for x the money. Thanks for your help!


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Ryan Cathey
Re: Total Project quote for infomercial.
on Jul 30, 2008 at 8:51:06 pm

Sorry, I see now what you were seeing...

Actors - 1/day @ $250/day = $750

Sorry for the mistake!

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Greg Ball
Re: Total Project quote for infomercial.
on Jul 31, 2008 at 11:11:24 pm

Where can you find actors for $83.00 per day? You editing rates seem low as well. $60 per hour? Where can you get a 3-person crew with equipment for $1500 per day? As producer are you going to be involved in the edit? Is there any pre-production planning build it? $1,500 seems cheap.

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