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Industry Standard For Second Shooters (Wedding Video)

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shane jennyIndustry Standard For Second Shooters (Wedding Video)
by on Sep 7, 2011 at 7:45:52 am

To put it simply, I'm starting a wedding video company and am trying to get my numbers right for our cost break down analysis. I know everybody's situation is unique, but I'd like to get an idea of what percentage of a job goes to your right hand man, aka, second shooter.

Our crew consists of three people: myself, my second shooter, and my 3rd camera operator (she arrives and presses record with none of her own equipment invested and is very happy with an hourly rate).

I value my second shooter tremendously and after breaking down costs, I have a preliminary estimate of 15% of the job going to my second shooter. I'm assuming this is a very generous figure and would love to hear your thoughts, suggestions, or advice. Please feel free to ask questions etc... Thanks guys! Your expertise is invaluable to me as a start-up business owner!

"Just along for the ride"

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Mark SuszkoRe: Industry Standard For Second Shooters (Wedding Video)
by on Sep 7, 2011 at 4:10:56 pm

So why do you want to offer the valuable second shooter a percentage, versus just paying his day rate?

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shane jennyRe: Industry Standard For Second Shooters (Wedding Video)
by on Sep 7, 2011 at 4:21:11 pm

Because 15% of our next 4 weddings is far more than double his day rate ;)

So I take it most people are paying "day rates" and not percentages? Really need some insight here.

"Just along for the ride"

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Brent DunnRe: Industry Standard For Second Shooters (Wedding Video)
by on Sep 7, 2011 at 7:45:11 pm

I don't pay a percentage. I pay an hourly rate. If I have a new person that I have to train, they get paid less than my experienced shooter that I don't have to hold their hand through a shoot.

Why would you pay your shooter percentage of your business when you take all the risk and do all the work getting the job?

With an hourly scale based on experience, you can then add that to your pricing based on the time you will be shooting. The client is then billed accordingly.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
Video Marketing

Sony EX-1,
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Mac Pro Tower, Quad Core,
with Final Cut Studio

HP i7 Quad laptop
Adobe CS-5 Production Suite

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Chip ThomeRe: Industry Standard For Second Shooters (Wedding Video)
by on Sep 8, 2011 at 7:12:56 am

The one thing you are not taking into consideration here is the greed factor.

There are going to be times when you are going to have to take some short deals, just to keep some income coming in. 15% of a short deal isn't going to be anywhere near what it sounds like you are going to pay your second shooter for these next four gigs.

If you give your second shooter BIG BUCKS for these four gigs, it is now mentally set in his mind that is how much money, not percentage, you are going to be paying forever! If you run into a run of three or four short deals and try to get away with a shorter 15%, he's going to either beech about the low pay, complain that you aren't getting enough money for the gigs, or going to go looking elsewhere for the amount you used to pay him.

Seeing how you have had to build the company from nothing. Find and recruit the people. Go out and find the customers. Sell the customers. Create and maintain any advertizing or web presence. Purchase any additional gear and peripherals. Have had to do all the rest of getting a business going before the first dollar comes in. PLUS have to go shoot these weddings and edit etc, deliver, listen to any complaints, fix any issues that arise and are at risk for any liability that may arise. When you take all that into account, at 15% HE is making a killing and YOU are losing your shirt!

In the industry that incorporates my day job, the average net profit after all expenses, after everyone is paid a good wage, after all deprecations, after all taxes and everything else that legitimately comes out of the checkbook, the average NET PROFIT for a business operating in this industry is just somewhere between 3% and 5% of gross sales. Under 10% NET PROFIT is customary for almost all businesses in this country.

I suggest to pay his day rate and maybe slide him a few bucks in cash when you are packing up as a thank you, if you feel compelled. IT will make a much better impression and won't screw things up if the next deals are as big.

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grinner hesterRe: Industry Standard For Second Shooters (Wedding Video)
by on Sep 9, 2011 at 3:08:52 pm

You wont base his rate from a percentage of your bid. You'll just agree on an hourly rate or flat price for the shoot. You know the usual half day rate is 400 bucks and you also know most wedding videographers don't adhere to freelance production rates. Most of the time, they'll do it for 35 bucks an hour because they are trying to get into production. Negotiate a price that benefits you and keeps him happy.

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