Wedding business advice please?
I know this probably wierd putting this in this forum, but AE forum is one the most widly used forum i can think of on here. I mean i use it alot. But onto the question. Let me start off with the story. I came up with this idea to start a wedding videography business about august last year. I knew i was gonna have a second hand for a second movable camera. I decided to go to my friend and invite him on to work for me (everyone i know says that a no-no in business is to wrk with your friends) and work out how to pay him like i said 35% of what we make, but at this time i figured he was going to contribute 35% of the work. Well we move in together and one day he was arguing with me that he feels it should be a partnership, i was kinda ache but i was what the hell lets see how he does. We get two weddings, one in october and one in november. the one in october is my brothers, we are doing it for free for a promo video. It ends up being down in florida which im from georgia. All he basicall had to do was pay for his share of gas down there and film for 6 hours, he got a free hotel room and basically a free 3 day vacation on the beach. I edited it and authored the dvd and stuff.
Now on to the second wedding, i set this one up and it is a payed one, for cheap ($300) still to get experience and more footage for the promo and samples. Well we go and film for about six hours, just the ceremony and reception. i gave him a job to scan in some pictures for the video, it was like 20 pictures and it took him like 2 weeks to do it, he has an unbelievable amount of free time (basically works 12pm to 5pm 6 days a week and thats all), if im wrong please correct me but i think that it should of taken 20 min, and 40 min at the most to scan in those pictures. So i consider scaning those pictures in an hour of work so basically he spent 7 hours so far, well i spend at least, and i mean at least 20 hours editing and authoring the dvd plus the six hours filming. and it doesnt stop there i also design the dvd cover and and dvd tops in photoshop and print them out. So all said and done he got his 35% which came out to be $105 and my cut was $195, well i did the math and it ended with him doing 7 hours of work he got payed 15 dollars an hour and i got payed $7.50 an hour for a baseline 26 hours which pry was really more time.
Okay now here comes the doozy, his dad mentions to the a guy he knows at the county chamber of commerce that we have a business like this. the guy mentions a job he needs done, so his dad gives us the number and my friend calls him up and talks to him for like a minute to set up a meeting. we both go meet with the guy and tells us what he wants, pretty much a mixture of some video and pictures of specific tourist attractions and he wants it to be able to be played in a computer off a cd. So the deal is a thousand dollars. Well i come up with the ideal to do it in premiere and then use sorenson to compress it down and pull it into flash and build a player and export it as a windows projection file and add a auto run to it so when someone puts in there computer it will play automatically and it would be small enough with good quality to fit on a cd. Well for this job he is telling me he thinks that he should get 40% because he set it up, which all he did was call the guy. so i did the math on this if we both do about 10 hours of filming the places and stuff and then i do the minimum of 20 hours of editing and all the other stuff i mentioned, he gets payed 400 dollars for 10 hours of work and i get payed 600 dollars for 30 hours of work, so he would get payed $40 an hour and i get payed $20 an hour.
To put this all in perspective, im the only one who knows how to use all the adobe software and macromedia (like flash) and write the autorun. Im 19 years old and ive been able to use photoshop since i was 10 and i've spent all 4 years in high school taking technology to learn adobe software, and still to this day i spend every day trying to learn new things in this software and dv video as well as hd when i can afford it. Now i gave him some total training dvds to learn some premiere and AE basics and gave him the chance to learn photoshop, which he was in technology all 4 years too and had that oppurtunity to learn that software. those training dvds sat on his desk for 2 months and he never watched them and he pry opened photoshop twice for 15 minutes at a time when i gave him the chance.
Now if you read this far i really appreciate it cause your a trooper. So if you have any advice at all what i should do please give it. But to add one more thing in, i used to drive a honda civic lx and it had 300 thousand miles on it and it went totaly caput on me so my so called business partners step mom is letting me drive her old car which has only a 100,000 miles on it and its a '99 and im paying her payments on it since i dont have any credit. Basically im an easy going guy and i try to avoid confrintation and my lifetime dream is to become a Film director and right now i go to college, work at bilos everyday on the stock crew, and i work on the wedding business as well as a website and graphic design business as well as work for a local tv show. Im tryng to get as much experience as i can and work hard, and ive basically lost my social life doing all this. So i've decided to turn to creative cow for advise because i know alot of people on here have pry been through situations like this and can give some real good advise.
You've just made some bad business decisions and learned from them. Time to take action and kick your buddy to the curb. Hire him as a shooter for $40/hour. After all, that's about what a shooter should be making, depending on market of course. Sounds like that's what he's getting. As you've probably discovered, you're not charging enough for your services. Charge full rate, or call it pro bono like your first wedding. But you've got zip for margins to work with, even at $1000. For the $1000 gig, your buddy should get a 10% finders fee (if he's not a partner) and of course a decent wage (I'd say $40/hr is fine, or less if he's not that great) for his work.
It's obvious you're the one with the plan. Now you know why not to jump into biz with friends. Tell him he's doing a great job, but it's getting too crazy and that you'll pay him $20/hour for shooting, and by the job for scanning, etc. He'll probably jump at it thinking he's getting a great deal, when in a sense, you're buying him out.
any advice other than yours is better Justin Produtions, Im not spilling my life out im simply asking for advice on the business situation and i did use spaces for the paragraphs but cow automatically took them away. And i put the car factor in there because im afraid if i say something he doesnt like he will try to screw me over on the car deal, without a car no business no work no money no car ever or a roof over my head, get the picture. I know everyone has problems, but thanks anyways.
Sorry if I were a little rude in my last post. I know it's a lame excuse but I was darn tired. But still, I don't regret what I said. I regret what I didn't understand in your post.
The first thing I would suggest you is reading books on how to think big and like a winner. They will learn you things as much as they did for me. Maybe it sounds a little off subject, but trust me, it can change your life if you follow them. You got some experience? Apply it like a winner. Don't let your friend earn more money than you like that, it's a really really big mistake. Awful.
The second and last thing would be to make yourself heard (like I said in my previous post) and put some publicity around saying that you have great potential and you're not like the rest of us. Saying that YOU are a winner, YOU got experience, you work with a GREAT partner and YOU produce a lot and YOU are happy with what YOU are doing. It has to be clear in your mind.
For the wedding buisinnes, Steve said it all.
Hope that helped a little.
Adobe After Effects 6.0 Professional
well i appreciate that justin productions and thanks for the tip on a book like that.
1. Dump your partner. Join a film or video co-op and meet people there. Don't get a partner there, but hire someone who will work for you. Be in charge of the money and the job at all times. When you get to know people and business better, you can consider looking for a partner.
2. If someone gets you a gig, it's often good business to pay them a finder's fee of 10-15%, unless you have a contract with them to do otherwise.
3. For more information, consider posting on the COW Business forum.
4. I know you have a story to tell, but it's always a good idea to edit one's posts so they are brief, concise and state the problem clearly so it is easier to solve. And please, if you're poing to be a Director, making pitches, writing treatments, writing funding applications, you should learn to write properly. Maybe you're quite engaging in person, but that post was difficult to read. Writing is different from speaking. You're going to be communicating a lot in the written form, and if someone doesn't like your writing skills, your pitch or application could go in the garbage. Now's the time to start writing well, so it becomes a habit.
If this advice didn't go down smoothly, consider that this advice was no more personal or invasive than "improve your animation skills". A skill can be learned and refined, whether it's business acumen, writing or animation.
I appreciate the advice steve roberts. I do communicate with business clients alot through writing, especially in email. But on the cow I do less worrying about the structure and quality of my writing in posts. I usually just try to get the point out there as easy and as fast as possible on the cow. I apologize to everyone for my post being hard to read.
Matthias, sorry to pile on here, but I hope one of the courses you are taking at college is English. It'll go hand in hand with your solid technical skills towards making you a successful professional. Good luck!
Don't work with your friends. Be friendly with who you work with, but don't start up working with an existing friend. Especially if you have to be "the boss". The conflict between being a friend and a boss is too much. I speak from experience, trust me it's thin ice and I'm lucky I never fell in freezing water.
Beyond that, you're young with a good initiative and a bright future. Best of luck to you, you've come to a great place for advice.