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Just landed 8 HOUR long training course for county, no idea how to price it...

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Ted BraggJust landed 8 HOUR long training course for county, no idea how to price it...
by on Nov 18, 2014 at 4:42:28 pm

Hi all,

I'm in Houston, a somewhat wealthy major city surrounded by poor smaller towns and spread out counties. Finding a common thread as far as market pricing for this area is impossible to nail down. For starters, hardly anyone makes corporate / training videos...most of them hail from Austin. I've tried calling them, but get stonewalled. The other counties are tight lipped and won't divulge what they paid...not even a bloated estimate.

SO. I have the job ("all about who you know" -- it's so true)

The 8 hour training video course is for county water upgrades, all the guys and gals working on them have to take it. The re-certification fees ALONE will net the county over a million dollars this year. My day rate is $800 -- but I've never worked for local government before, and never on a project this big.

Some of ya'll are going to say to figure in how much for on-screen talent, camera/equipment rental, etc, etc. and that's where I'm leaning, but I've heard from other industries that work with govt alot, and they encapsulate with a flat fee.

I do not have a budget stated from the county yet, and the last time they had stuff done was way back in the early 90s on DigiBeta.

Anyone here work with local govts, cities, counties? What's been your experience?

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Mark SuszkoRe: Just landed 8 HOUR long training course for county, no idea how to price it...
by on Nov 18, 2014 at 8:58:39 pm
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on Nov 18, 2014 at 9:04:35 pm

So, it's probably not one, 8-hour video, I'm guessing it is eight, one-hour videos. Or eight hours spent watching x number of hours of video, then working quizzes and practice exercises that could take up to eight hours. You mustn't assume that there are 8 actual hours of video required to make 8 hours' worth of training. You and they would need to specify. But my guess is that there are a bunch of workbooks for the class, with lists of things to know and quizzes to check you know them, and you're basing the videos on major sections of those workbooks.

As to talent, I don't know what your specific content is yet, but you probably need an actual worker or two, showing how to use the tools, take the measurements, what-have-you. That person might also be a voice-over narrator or presenter. Or, for more money, you'd have a "pro" presenter, depends on how flash you and they want this, and if you have talent in working with non-TV-pro content experts to communicate what they know.

For an effects/graphics budget and locations, you'll need to figure out how many pipes, valves and dunsels have to be physically shown, where that can be shown, and how many men and hours are needed to fully document in detail how you connect whatever to whatever, showing how to check for xyz factors, etc.

Which comes down to a major issue:

Is there a script for this monster? Because a Creative Treatment and Script will dictate the costs and time this will take, and prevent wasted time and money.

If not, I suggest you use your Amazon Prime membership to overnight yourself a copy of John Morley's "Scriptwriting For High-Impact Videos".

Morley's book is the bible for making effective corporate videos from training to promos to documentaries. It's a fast read and full of helpful examples, checklists, etc. I know, I helped review his second edition and made my living from the tips in his first edition.

John's book will tell you everything you need to ask those clients at your next meeting, and what to do with it. Even if they think they already have a "script", (so many times, that is just wishful thinking) you should run it through the process in John's book to perfect it. A pro tip: being handed a powerpoint slide show with margin notes is not a "script"...that's barely an outline. That is raw material to be turned INTO a real script. Shooting a guy reading his powerpoint slides into your lens is NOT a training video. It may satisfy some check-off box on a form somewhere, but that is NOT a professional training video.

If you don't think you're the right person to do the actual writer's work, I know a guy who can help:-)

How to bill out this beast? If it really is eight videos, you could offer to go actual hours for pre-production, shooting and post spent on video number one, then make a slightly discounted flat rate bid on the other seven, based on what you learned in making part one. My thinking behind that is that a bulk of your time expenditure is going to come out of gearing up the first episode anyway: buying storage drives and blank media, renting a camera or other specific gear, like maybe a bore scope or whatever, the graphics and music packages, getting the lighting setup figured out, establishing the ingest and cataloging of the footage and materials and the costs of the DVD or interactive authoring procedures, if any. Plus, any required captioning or additional languages needed, since this is Texas, you may have to add language tracks for Spanish and Oklahomian or something. You'll want to be able to justify your costs on a spreadsheet at some point. And always, add in sufficient margin to make this project not only pay back your expenses, but add enough to make it really worth a month or more of your full time, attention, and effort.

If this is one, eight-hour-long day seminar that will include videos, live or taped Q&A, and exercises or quizzes, you bill for expenses and your hourly rate for the shoot day, then figure out how many days, conservatively, the edit might take, based on your experience and understanding of the material and what you need to do for time-consumers like building graphics or animations, etc. Take those hours, add in a fudge factor of 5%, multiplied by your editing day rate, to get into the ballpark. Any written proposal, even just the estimate, has to make it clear there is a number at which they have to pre-approve going further, and that if an estimate is exceeded by more than a few percent, you have to ask them for more to cover it. otherwise there is every possibility you will spend all this time and effort and lose money at the end. Flat rate pricing is for suckers; I prefer pricing the project by major milestones paid in thirds, with one third or more down to start, the middle third at the edit approval stage, and final third at approval/delivery. That way everybody is protected at all stages of the project and nobody is left hanging if the project fails at some point.

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Ted BraggRe: Just landed 8 HOUR long training course for county, no idea how to price it...
by on Nov 18, 2014 at 9:41:18 pm

Thanks Mark. The course will consist of 8 one hour videos, with on-location exteriors, studio time with onscreen talent, VO, motion graphics, the whole bit. I will have to write the script (awesome book! thanks)

I was toying with a finished minute setup... but $1000 pfm at 480 minutes is nuts. Since each hour is a different facet of the training, I don't see much room for recycling footage or templating sequences. All videos will have same look and feel, so...

I think I can figure things out from here. Thanks again. I'll let ya'll know how this turns out, and post samples once we're done. :-)

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Steve BrameRe: Just landed 8 HOUR long training course for county, no idea how to price it...
by on Nov 18, 2014 at 10:42:14 pm

"way back in the early 90s"

Are we actually saying that now?

I'm gonna need some more Advil...

Asus P6X58D Premium * Core i7 950 * 24GB RAM * nVidia GeForce GTX 770 * Windows 7 Premium 64bit * System Drive - WD Caviar Black 500GB * 2nd Drive(Pagefile, Previews) - WD Velociraptor 10K drive 600GB * Media Drive - 2TB RAID0 (4 - WD Caviar Black 500GB drive) * Matrox MX02 Mini * Adobe CC * QuickTime 7.7.5
"98% of all computer issues can be solved by simply pressing 'F1'."
Steve Brame
creative illusions Productions

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Mark SuszkoRe: Just landed 8 HOUR long training course for county, no idea how to price it...
by on Nov 18, 2014 at 10:45:33 pm

There was one time you could rely on a thousand bucks per finished minute. That time was in the eighties.

That was possible to quote then, with confidence, because you had so few options. You shot one roll of tape on BetaSP, mastered to one-inch or beta, delivered your maximum one-hour program on BetaSp or VHS, S-VHS or BetaMAX. Your music and sound effects were fixed costs off of needle-drop records, and your graphics were simple Chyrons, or artwork made by an artist using Letraset and black and white cards or slides. There were few studios and fewer editing places, so costs were very stable.

Today, there are just too many ways to make a project, to quote a grand per finished minute and be anywhere close to right. It would be random chance if you hit it just right, rather than over or under, neither of which is very good business at all. You either lose money or price yourself out of the competition.

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