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What would you have charged to do this?

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RandyWhat would you have charged to do this?
by on Jan 29, 2007 at 7:25:35 pm

I have been editing a local church TV show and recently redid the closing of the show for them. The old closing was done by someone else, I believe it was the local cable station, and I offered to do a new closing at a low fixed price just to show them what I was capable of doing. Now they want me to redo the show opening.

What I want to ask of all of you is after looking at the old and new closing video clips links below, what would you have charged to do this new closing at the level I did it at without taking in consideration how many hours I may have spent on it or my market location?

There was a good amount of creative time just spent on various versions that didn't work or get used that people never see in the final closing. I used After Effects, Lightwave 3D and Premiere for various FX and compositing, Digital Juice elements and video clips from previous shows. Many tweaks, timing with the audio and various versions for final approval took lots of time also. I used the same music and voice-over but remixed the music levels and processed the voice for more presence using WaveLab.

At the beginning of each clip there is a couple seconds of a still graphic from a promo that is not part of the closing:




Randy Wheeler

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John Davidson (fomerly JNeo25)Re: What would you have charged to do this?
by on Jan 29, 2007 at 8:12:03 pm

ugh. Real Audio files. I would charge you with disorderly format.

John Davidson____ writer | producer | director____

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RandyRe: What would you have charged to do this?
by on Jan 29, 2007 at 8:34:46 pm

The reason I didn't include the Quicktime clip links is the file sizes are huge when compared to RealVideo at the same visual quality. I used Premiere Pro to encode the Quicktime clip and RealProducer Plus 10 to encode the RealVideo clips. Also the RealVideo clips progressively download and I couldn't get the Quicktime clips to do that. For a 1 minute DV.avi clip encoded to Quicktime ended up being 30MB and RealVideo at only 6MB and I still think the RealVideo one looks better. Why such a difference in file size when the quality is no better and in my opinion a little worse including the washed out blacks Quicktime added after encoding?

Here are the Quicktime versions:

Old Closing

New Closing


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John Davidson (fomerly JNeo25)Re: What would you have charged to do this?
by on Jan 29, 2007 at 9:16:37 pm

Weirdness. I've never figured out why Avid and Premiere like to dirty up QuickTime files so much. A comperable sized file exported from Final Cut would be about 12mb tops and look flawless. However, your post was about what could be charged for this, so I better give you an answer!

It looks good, certainly more of an eye for design than the original. You didn't mention how much time/hours you spent, but I'm guessing at least a week of work went into it (probably more since you've referenced lightwave and multiple programs). In all honesty, due to the market size, content, and type of client, you probably can't charge more than 1-2k and expect to get paid (that price may in fact be higher than they are willing to pay). If you were a larger market, other things would be considered like redoing voice over and having a good mix ($700 for VO, $1200 for mix). Edit time, assume 2k for one week of machine use, plus 2k for editor time. On top of that, you're also working with lightwave and other advanced programs, so designer time needs an additional 2k. Revisions? You bet. Add 2k. Insurance, tapes, web postings, and the purchase of Sorenson Squeeze to get you those small yet juicy quicktimes, add another 2k.

End result, I'd charge at least 12k for the whole shebang, probably more.

Hope that helps!

John Davidson____ writer | producer | director____

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Steve WargoRe: What would you have charged to do this?
by on Jan 30, 2007 at 6:59:09 am

For a church? Around $700
For a large corporation? Around $2000

In my wildest dreams and in a market where I had the only production company for 10,000 miles? Around $12K

The true answer is that there are usually a number of people connected to churches that are willing to donate all of their time to get something like this done. You've done a really nice job over what they had, for sure. When it comes to charities and legit non-profits, we usually ask to be reimbursed for our expenses and blow off any profits. Any time we do, we usually get some sort of windfall job within a few weeks that makes up for it in droves.

Hey, it ain't always about money. When word gets out that you helped the church, you can count on a church member hiring you for something at full rate.

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona

It's a dry heat!

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Mark SuszkoRe: What would you have charged to do this?
by on Jan 30, 2007 at 3:52:34 pm

Steve has it exactly right here. Unless we are talking about one of those domed-stadium mega-churches with their own satellite- distributed syndicated show. Bill them at or close to cost, with your time discounted. Give them an invoice that shows the amount you'd have charged a non-church client for the same work, and circle the discount they are getting.

You can either take it as karma, as the rewards of tithing, or simple agnostic human networking. It all comes out as Steve says. The word of mouth advertising you get out of this will offset the lesser amount you bill.

There's also the chance you can write the thing off as a tax deduction for the higher amount, ask an accountant about that.

This is a different case than the issue of "grinders" as Ron calls them. Unless they have already approached you with the classic phrase, "if you can give us a break on this one, you'll get all our future business". But my impression was not that they have already it you with that "magic phrase".

In this case I'm looking at it from the reverse perspective, where you are suggesting the discount yourself, up-front as a one-time- only example of your quality and commitment. It is important you don't waver from that one-time-only stance. You want the buzz about you in the church congregation and the people they know to be that you have the mad skillz, not that you're talented but a pushover on billing.

So "cast your bread upon the waters" with this one, and see if you can hook a bigger fish out of it.

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grinnerRe: What would you have charged to do this?
by on Jan 30, 2007 at 4:56:46 pm

I think you did what you wanted by introducing your services with this piece. Now charge what you'd normally charge if they balk, walk. You may haggle a bit if you think it'll be worth it with a a good quantity of work. You could certaily pitch em a whol graphics pachage, new backgrounds, lower 3rds, billboards, ect and that could keep you busy for a while.
It's been my experience that churches pay low end for high end. I think 25 bucks an hour was as much as I ever got out of em and even then they'd sometimes want my check as a "love gift".
keep havin' fun, man.

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RandyRe: What would you have charged to do this?
by on Jan 30, 2007 at 7:32:56 pm

It's a small church and they are definitely "grinders" on the TV show I edit for them. I am currently trying to bail out of the situation and offered to build them a computer edit system based on what I use, all the project files and training on how to edit the TV show at a level that I'm currently doing for them. I've been doing the show for the past 6 months with no "word of mouth" work coming in from it so I don't see that changing.

They agreed to the initial price I proposed, which is surprising considering all the past grinding, and will come up with the initial 50% payment at the end of February. Nothing is signed so I'll just have to wait and see if that goes thru. I'm requiring 50% up front with the computer delivered and 50% before training starts which includes handing over all the project files which is over 100GB in size.

The interesting thing is that I had offered to do this months earlier after I edited a couple shows but they, out of the blue, sent me an email right after I finished the new closing stating that they would accept my offer of bringing the editing of the TV show in-house at their church. I made it clear that I would not be training them on how to do motion graphics like I did for the new closing, just editing and only editing software will be installed on this computer.

That's one of reasons I did this new closing at a low fixed cost. I wanted to derail the weekly grinding process that was going on with the each TV show edit. Problem now is they have been holding off on editing any new shows for the past three weeks so maybe they are trying to save up money for the "buy out" proposal.

If they not come up with the money at the end of the month, should I tell them that the price I gave them is no longer valid and could possibly be raised?

Thanks for all the comments so far,

Randy Wheeler

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RandyRe: What would you have charged to do this?
by on Jan 30, 2007 at 7:55:22 pm

I just remembered that I was to going meet with the church a couple weeks ago to discuss pricing and basically eliminate all the "grinding" going on. I had sent an email stating the topics we'd be going over and some of the changes I needed to have done in order to continue editing the show for them. I'm sure that's a big reason why they decided to jump on my "buy out" proposal.

I guess if you want to eliminate the "grinding" from a client, always have an out for them that you can profit from.


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