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i can't believe that this is true

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Jeremy Doyle
i can't believe that this is true
on Jun 2, 2009 at 6:49:43 pm

cross posted in the Art of the Edit.

I'd really like to know where they get these numbers from
http://tinyurl.com/qfffqb

Or am I just that out of touch with this market?






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David Roth Weiss
Re: i can't believe that this is true
on Jun 2, 2009 at 7:08:51 pm

Jeremy,

Some guy in Massachusetts probably filled out the survey as a joke, saying that he made $2 million a year, and that skewed the entire category in every way possible.

Maybe it was our own Tim Wilson... He's got a wicked sense of humor and he knows numbers well enough to pull this off.

Tim, if it was you, it's time to confess and we'll give you 5-Cows.

David

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, and Indie Film & Documentary forums.


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Mark Suszko
Re: i can't believe that this is true
on Jun 2, 2009 at 7:51:28 pm

Well SOMEBODY had to balance-out all the Craig's List editors working for just a screen credit and a bag of Taco Bell.


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Mike Cohen
Re: i can't believe that this is true
on Jun 2, 2009 at 9:11:37 pm

I don't know, if you are a freelance editor in NY making $200/hour that could be $416,000/year if you are booked 5 days a week. Not the norm but it would skew things. And it would be awesome! You could buy a lot of Blu-Ray movies for that salary.

Mike


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Mark Landman
Re: i can't believe that this is true
on Jun 2, 2009 at 10:18:40 pm

I've got to learn not to drink things when I'm reading stuff on the internet. I nearly sprayed Coke all over my laptop when I read that survey this morning.

Mark Landman
PM Productions
Champaign, IL


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Andrew Kimery
Re: i can't believe that this is true
on Jun 2, 2009 at 10:55:00 pm

I know more than a few freelance editors in LA that clear six figures and only look to work 9-10 months out of the year.


-A

3.2GHz 8-core, FCP 6.0.4, 10.5.5
Blackmagic Multibridge Eclipse (6.8.1)



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Nick Griffin
Re: i can't believe that this is true
on Jun 3, 2009 at 12:30:42 am

Hey guys, the COW (like many of the professions represented here) consists of a wide range of individuals: Some at the top, some just starting out, some in big towns/national/international markets, some in Podunkville, still trying to get out.

I point this out because I'm not at all surprised by this as an average. I do however agree with David and think that Massachusetts is somehow skewed. Or maybe it's that New York and California are large enough that the major hubs lose out because of the averaging in of the many small towns.


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Tim Kolb
Re: i can't believe that this is true
on Jun 3, 2009 at 2:20:57 am

Keep in mind that many of us are independent.

I suspect that they may have had some respondents who have confused gross billings with personal net income...




TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,


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Shane Ross
Re: i can't believe that this is true
on Jun 3, 2009 at 5:15:44 am

I will go on record now to say that I clear 6 figures, and I work in NON-UNION documentary TV production. MInd you, I'll bet those numbers are for TV and FILM editors. Feature Film Editors clear $5000 - $8000 a week. I'll let you know that the union minimum is $2665/week, and many documentary productions pay that if you are good...but some pay between $1500-$2000/week.

But look at the union minimum (that many non-union TV editors can get) and if you work year round that is $138,580. But most of us have a month or two of not working, so subtrack $10k to $20k...and you still have 6 figures.

But then the cost of living in LA is nutty. 2 bedroom homes...in the VALLEY...go for $500,000!

Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Tim Kolb
Re: i can't believe that this is true
on Jun 3, 2009 at 1:26:54 pm

Geographic location has something to do with what is an adequate income as well...obviously in Los Angeles, 100K/yr is not an excessive amount of money.

Here in the midwest, 100K is a different number...however, it's not outrageous as a gross income number. Remember that with 15% social security and another 20-30% in personal income taxes (depending on where you live, and where the tax brackets fall), not to mention that most of us have to spend money on equipment and other business-related expenses in any given year...

TimK,
Director, Consultant
Kolb Productions,


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Mike Cohen
Re: i can't believe that this is true
on Jun 3, 2009 at 2:28:31 pm

Great points all around. A national salary average is kind of BS. As Tim has pointed out 100K in New Britain, CT is probably equivalent to 200K in Boston or 300K in NY or LA based upon what you get for your money.

Gross vs Net is also another great point. Depending upon your expenses, 100K is either a lot of money (you live in your parents' attic and drive a used Geo) or just getting by (wife, 2 kids, mortgage, minivan, annual trip to WallyWorld, property taxes, insurance, payments on your EX3, etc.).

And if you are freelance you are responsible for your own taxes and possibly no group insurance, or no insurance at all which has a cost of risk - so to the younger folks reading this thread, as well as to folks trying to advance their careers, you need to look at the big picture.

As for me, I won't post my salary (5 figures), but I do a lot more than shoot and edit video, I live in a city with very high property taxes, and next month when I pay off my Saturn I will jump for joy at the extra $300/month, which no doubt will be used to pay my property taxes.

Mike Cohen


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Jeremy Doyle
Re: i can't believe that this is true
on Jun 3, 2009 at 6:07:22 pm

I thank you all for your various view points on this. I realize that where I'm located is a contributing factor in all this. I just saw those numbers and they are much larger than what I make. I'm just a staff editor that pumps out 26 episodes a year shows that air mostly on cable and dish, so it's not surprising that I make less. And once you start to add in all my employer paid social security taxes, 401k contributions, and insurances it would probably total just a a few thousand short of the median they have listed.

I really enjoy my job, where I'm located and the people I work with, but when you see something like this it gets a guy thinkin'.



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Franklin McMahon
Re: i can't believe that this is true
on Jun 3, 2009 at 6:02:40 pm


It's good to strive for more and advance your career. Once you see the potential in the landscape, and movement of peers, it can be good and healthy to ponder the options and/or next move.

So yes...keep thinking. :)

Frank

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Shane Ross
Re: i can't believe that this is true
on Jun 3, 2009 at 6:18:35 pm

Yeah...I will have you know that as a freelance NON-UNION editor, I have to pay for my own health insurance and have no 401k. If I was union, then I would have health insurance....thru the union. And they have a pension fund as well.

Interesting to note, many people like to hire editors on shows as NON-union, but pay them the same rate. Why? Well, lets say that as an editor you earn $2500/week. If you are non-union, you cost $2500/week. If you are union, they pay you $2500, but then pay the UNION an additional amount, like an extra $500...that goes towards your health coverage and pension fund. In this way the union acts like the company that groups you together in a health group.

I really need another union job.


Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Mike Cohen
Re: i can't believe that this is true
on Jun 3, 2009 at 6:35:08 pm

and don't forget that with a salaried non-union job with benefits, the employer pays usually 50% of the premium for health insurance ( a significant number if you have a family), disability insurance, dental etc as well as 50% of your social security and sometimes a 401K contribution(matching or otherwise) - amounts that are above and beyond the actual salary you earn. So for a salaried employee with full benefits, the salary may be $50,000 but the company is actually paying closer to $60,000 or more.

This thread has provided a nice cross section of examples, since we have staff editors, freelancers, small business owners and people who do a little of everything.


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Bob Zelin
Re: i can't believe that this is true
on Jun 4, 2009 at 1:31:51 am

Jeremy writes -

I really enjoy my job, where I'm located and the people I work with, but when you see something like this it gets a guy thinkin'.


REPLY -
it should get you thinking. I am from New York originally. In one of my first jobs, I was the video tech for Panavision, and would get sent out on hi end film shoots to assist with "complex" video products for Panaflex film cameras. I was a "staff" person with no overtime - so my boss would charge $90 per hour for me, and I would be there late on a Friday night, making ZERO EXTRA MONEY - no overtime, just my salary, while everyone on the film crew was making big money, and my boss, who was out having dinner, was making $90 per hour on my time, while I made nothing. If something like that doesn't get you "thinking", then you are a wuss.

Anyway, 25 years later, I got too old for the rat race of NY, and moved to Florida. I went into culture shock when people just starred at me when I told them my rate. "How could I survive on less money" - well you make that tradeoff, on quality of life, instead of killing yourself in NY or LA, or Chicago for the "big bucks". It's what you consider important.

With that said, it doesn't only apply to your salary vs. freelance rates. Most of us (small business owners) know exactly how much we charge for a production or post production job. When I found out that the Toyota distributor spent $75,000 in one evening for a video production in Las Vegas for a corporate trade show, I cried in disbelief as well, because I am not fortunate to have those kinds of clients.

bob Zelin





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Patrick Ortman
Re: i can't believe that this is true
on Jun 4, 2009 at 8:17:25 pm

I know! That's exactly it, you make a ton of cash but it costs $4,000 a month to pay the mortgage for a small place. Ugh! Still, gotta love the opportunities LA presents.

Another data point- I know a few editors who clear an easy 6 figures, too. In LA. Working non-Union mostly.



---------------------
http://www.patrickortman.com
Web and Video Design


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Timothy J. Allen
Re: i can't believe that this is true
on Jun 3, 2009 at 7:42:22 pm

There's less than 19,000 Editors in America? I guess they aren't counting all of those guys with Final Cut in their garage studio that charge $50/hour as "professional Editors". That's ok, I guess I don't really count them as "professional" either.




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Bill Davis
Re: i can't believe that this is true
on Jun 4, 2009 at 8:23:47 am


I remember at NAB talking with Brian Meany, the product manager for FCP and his mentioning that there are over a MILLION actual REGISTERED copies of the program in worldwide use! And that's just ONE NLE system, so there are a LOT of people editing video out there. However, I doubt more than a tiny fraction of them list VIDEO EDITOR on their IRS declarations and get into the Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers for occupations. OTOH, I'll bet every person cutting a major TV show DOES list that as their occupation. So I think the problem here is that we all have one kind of definition of what an "editor" is - while the government statistics are about something else entirely.

FWIW.



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