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Freelance editor: New and different clientele - how to proceed?

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Wolfgang Niederhoffer
Freelance editor: New and different clientele - how to proceed?
on Aug 6, 2008 at 5:25:03 pm

Hey Folks,
I've been freelance editing for about a year now using my own home FCP system. I don't have any fancy decks or video monitors and it hasn't really mattered because I've mainly been working on short form internet jobs. I've been trying to grow my client list and just got an email about something that may be a bit out of my league.
Its from a company that already has a corporate video, but they've changed their logo and name from the acronym to the full name. They've emailed me about possibilities of changing the video to match the new name and logo. The logo is fairly prominent from time to time in the video and the vocal talent says the acronym over and over in referring to the company. I'm curious about how to proceed.
Its in the very early stages and they want an estimate of cost and whats possible. Should I try to do the whole kaboodle? Graphics, find a voice talent, recapture the original tape at some outside facility in town? Oh, there's also a graphical bug in the corner of the whole video with the logo that I'd have to cut off probably which would turn the video into 16:9.
Is it legal to go into another production company's prior work and tweak their graphics and vocal talent? The client should own all rights to the video content, right?
I guess I'm just new to this and curious about how to go forward with contacting this potential client. Hopefully my posts will narrow a bit as I communicate more with them and see what exactly they want/need.

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grinner hester
Re: Freelance editor: New and different clientele - how to proceed?
on Aug 7, 2008 at 2:05:28 am

Jumping in over your head is the best way to learn how to swim and because this gig is unsupervised, it's ideal. Take it on and learn a lot.
The audio is your biggest challenge as I assume there is music under the old vo. I'd prolly redo all of this from scratch (but I dunno how much tlakin' head you're dealing with).
The grafiz ant no thang but a chicken wing. If your comfy producing graphics, this can be an opportunity to add to your reel.
As far as time, man you cant even guess that yet. Quite em a flat fee and take a bit on the chin of you have to. Again, this is an opportunity. Dont pass due to intimidation.

If it helps, I was once hired by a national network over the phone after telling them I knew the Night Suite, the NLE they were using at the time.
I then ran out, found the only Night Suite in town and learned it.
Ironicly, I then trained the staff on it when I got to Nashville.
moral of the story is it's very healthy to get in over your head. Just dont ever do it in front of anybody.

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Wolfgang Niederhoffer
Re: Freelance editor: New and different clientele - how to proceed?
on Aug 7, 2008 at 3:34:55 pm

Thanks grinner.
Yeah my first inclination is to dive in and do it. I've got enough friends in town that I can ask questions of in case I bump into a problem and I feel like it won't be the most difficult job. But the client still hasn't gotten back to me with exactly what raw materials she has available for me to work with. There is no talking head stuff actually. Just narration under video.
One biiig problem is that there's a little bug in the corner of the video with their old logo/name. I said that it was possible to just cover it up. I was thinking some kind of lower third bar which I'd make a bit solid and place the new logo on top of.
In terms of the audio, I'll also have to find new music as well as the only sound effect used which is the sound of a projector. Any idea where I might be able to find those resources? I'm familiar with KillerTracks and BMG, but don't you have to be a big company with scale to use those sites? Is there some place that's better for a one off kind of thing? I'm not sure how regularly I'll be doing jobs like this so don't need really to enter into some kind of ongoing subscription.

I'm also struggling with how much to quote for the job. I know there are other posts out there on the subject. I can't really give a quote until I know what I'm working with anyway. But considering that we've got sound recording/editing, graphics creation, and whatever compression/mastering I do at the back end, that could add up to a decent bill.
It would also be helpful if you have any advice about calculating that stuff and how much of a cut I should take for other people's work (ie, if the voice talent charges 60$/hour, what do I then charge the client? or if the recording studio charges 50$/hour, what do I charge the client?)
In the past I've only worked on small scale things where I can do all of the work myself with my own equipment.

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grinner hester
Re: Freelance editor: New and different clientele - how to proceed?
on Aug 7, 2008 at 3:53:39 pm

I just multiply my hourly rate by how long it otta take and then add some fluff for revisions or stumbles. Doesnt have to be harder than that. This is something you'll get better at with experience.
Don't fret the bug, as you mentioned a letter box and the new logo can take care of that.
Doesnt sound like you really require raw materials. Just an audio swap and logo change.
Have fun with it. Dont go into it with fear... go into it with intrigue.

same can be said for life in general, I suppose.

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Mark Suszko
Re: Freelance editor: New and different clientele - how to proceed?
on Aug 7, 2008 at 7:37:01 pm

Sounddogs probably has the projector sound effects cheap. I have used them before and like them for this kind of stuff.

Can't say too much more since we don't know what kind of b-roll and original source materials you will get to work from. If you can get the original footage clean without the super on it that's going to look the best, obviously. The morelimited your source materials, the more compromises you'll have to make.

One thing I'd advise you to watch out for, as a duty to the best interests of your clients: sometimes re-purposing old footage makes perfect sense. Other times, it actually creates more work and expense, at less final quality, than re-doing something more "customized" from scratch. Keep a litle running total in your head and keep comparing what the "fixer-upper" is costing them versus what you could do better and cheaper for them from scratch, more purpose-designed for what they want to do.

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Wolfgang Niederhoffer
Re: Freelance editor: New and different clientele - how to proceed?
on Aug 8, 2008 at 5:14:38 pm

Sounddogs looks good for what I need.
Basically its just an 8 minute industrial with no nat sound. The music stays at one level and the narrator at another. Should be a straightforward job. The content is kind of dated, but I'm not sure that they have a budget to reshoot the whole thing. Apparently it all still applies to their company but the fashion choices of some of the 'stars' are a bit 90s-ish. I genuinely think retooling the audio and fixing the logo if possible will be way cheaper than a reshoot.
Again, this all depends on what material exactly I'm repurposing. I doubt that they have an unsupered version because I doubt they thought ahead that they'd change their logo in 10 years when they made the original. But who knows - I may be surprised yet. And I'll keep an eye on costs of this repurpose vs. costs of a brand new project. Thanks for that tip.

One more question: I've got my self set up as a sole proprietor, how do I deal with business costs in terms of buying sound or paying for voice talent/recording space? I'm just getting going in this and as you maybe can tell I've got little experience bringing together a larger project.

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grinner hester
Re: Freelance editor: New and different clientele - how to proceed?
on Aug 9, 2008 at 12:43:41 pm

You should set up a business account and work out of that but as a sole proprietor you certainly don't have to. I used out regualr checking account for years and just kept reciepts for expenses for tax purposes.

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