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Editing Compensation?

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David Burkart
Editing Compensation?
on Oct 1, 2010 at 4:20:06 pm

So I recently graduated (Spring '10) with a degree in Telecom. I've been writing for this site for several months and recently shot and edited a documentary-style short for them, about 7min long.

They loved it and want more. I said I could produce for "fair" compensation.

It probably took 2 hours to shoot and 2 to edit. However, I think I could whittle the process down to 1.5 hrs (less shooting and more straightforward editing)

They're offering $50/video. Not nearly what I'd "prefer" but A) I really want to build my portfolio and B) I don't want them to walk away if I ask for a bit more - say, $75...

What are your thoughts, CC?

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Mark Suszko
Re: Editing Compensation?
on Oct 1, 2010 at 5:05:45 pm

Better to do it for free than charge too low a rate. Free at least earns you some respect. The shmuck rate will become an anchor you can't get free of later.

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Shane Ross
Re: Editing Compensation?
on Oct 1, 2010 at 7:00:57 pm

Yeah, that is odd. You get respect when you do something for free, and when you charge a full rate. But a half-baked are labelled a schmuck.

$50/video? for 4 hours of your time? Sorry, that's $200 for me. But just starting out? Tough call. I'd want to charge $100...but I can tell that this is for one of those very high volume websites that just cranks out content. When starting out, this is a good way to learn on the job, and get paid. But note that you won't be able to support yourself too well, unless you do like 3-4 videos a day. 12-16 hours....


Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def

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Micah McDowell
Re: Editing Compensation?
on Oct 3, 2010 at 1:25:15 pm

Yeah, charge at least a little more.

Remember, it's not just your time. You're using your equipment to shoot and edit. That stuff doesn't pay for itself.

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Mark Stuart
Re: Editing Compensation?
on Oct 5, 2010 at 3:48:09 pm

$50 per hour is more realistic than per video! Like someone mentioned, that's the irony, free or decent pay. If you go for the "schmuck rate", they'll want endless changes, tweaks, etc. If they are paying full price, every adjustment costs. If it's free, it's free: Here's your video, goodbye!

Good luck!


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grinner hester
Re: Editing Compensation?
on Oct 19, 2010 at 4:42:44 pm

Some students look at low/no pay as exploitation. Some see it as opportunity. See it for what it is and it's a pretty easy decision to make. You can make this money making videos right now and multiply your income later or at burger king now and stick with the pay that is offered. It's up to you.

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Ross Daly
Re: Editing Compensation?
on Dec 3, 2010 at 5:14:07 am

I say go for it with maybe three caveats;

1) never let these low level jobs take away from your hunger to find and go after better, more rewarding work (both financially and opportunity-wise).

2) Find ways to cut your 4 hours per video down, but don't let that become "your style" No one wants to be known for being the fastest sloppy editor around.

3) Stop once your reel is not being benefited. You are doing a disservice to yourself and others by editing at such a low rate. Those kind of jobs are best left to excruciatingly hungry high school students. At some point it will become clear that ~$13/hr pays you less than volunteering to crew local productions or attend networking events.

And don't take this as an insult. I think we have all taken work that wasn't perfect, but was a tiny step in the right direction. Aim for each and every step to be in the right direction and you will eventually get there.


•You Down With FCP?

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Aaron Cadieux
Re: Editing Compensation?
on Dec 4, 2010 at 4:40:18 pm

Don't sell yourself short. Charge a full professional rate. You should be getting at least $200 - $400 dollars for a job like that depending on the quality of the work you're producing. People are stupid, and usually are clueless as to what goes into this industry. If your client is too cheap to pay your rates, let them go find a student hack to produce work for them. People that haggle over rates are the same idiots who post in the "jobs" section of Craigslist and say "no compensation, but you'll get credit in the film and you'll have something for your reel". Those people should all be shot off to the moon in a one-way rocketship.

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John Silva
Re: Editing Compensation?
on Dec 6, 2010 at 12:30:57 am

Since your starting out its fine to charge a little less. We all value or time differently. Most rates in NYC are around 50$ an hour on the low end, so I'd say find a sweet spot like 30ish. If they don't want to pay you they're not running a video outlet you would be proud of putting on a reel. Not to mention your producing this, and using your own stuff. Dont sell yourself short.

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