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Price Estimate - Assistant Editor for a Television Show

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Tenille SusanPrice Estimate - Assistant Editor for a Television Show
by on Aug 9, 2010 at 2:13:32 pm

Hi folks,

I run a small post-production company and a client who we've been working with has just had their docuseries picked up by OLN (meaning it will be broadcast in Canada and the USA)

They have asked me for a quote, and I was hoping to get some suggestions from you guys on pricing. They would like me to quote them a flat rate based on each show, and have asked me to travel and find accommodations 3 hours north of my current location for the duration of the post production.

The problem is, aside from the massive relocation of my office, I've received mixed information about my duties on the project. There is only one other editor, and he has said I won't be working unless absolutely necessary; But the producers have said that I'll be editing much of the show.

I'm trying to price myself competitively, while still covering my bases (and they want a flat rate). Any thoughts?

Thanks,
Tenille


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Mark RaudonisRe: Price Estimate - Assistant Editor for a Television Show
by on Aug 9, 2010 at 5:21:51 pm

Sounds like there's a lot of uncertainty here.

You asked for our thoughts? Here's my thoughts:

You need to have someone write down ON PAPER, exactly what your role will be.
Asking questions here ain't gonna help you. Speak to the people who are PAYING you,
and get a deal memo outling your role, start date, end date, rates, terms, etc.

This is standard procedure for most professional hiring. NOT doing it is just plain stupid!

Mark



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Mike CohenRe: Price Estimate - Assistant Editor for a Television Show
by on Aug 9, 2010 at 5:58:53 pm

Mark beat me to the punch - you need to tell them to put in writing what you will be doing BEFORE you can give them a price. Otherwise it is saying "how much to build me a house?"
Mike Cohen


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Ron LindeboomRe: Price Estimate - Assistant Editor for a Television Show
by on Aug 9, 2010 at 6:14:01 pm

Mark and Mike have stated the most serious defect in their request and I will overstate the obvious by adding that without a definition of what they REALLY and ACTUALLY want from you, you will be locked into a situation wherein you will likely be moving your equipment, etc., to another town to work for $20 an hour or less. (That is what nearly always happens in these instances.)

Also, in nearly every case of this kind of thing that I have seen over the years, the one in your role comes out of it as the one that takes the blame for everything that was not clearly delineated and planned for, with no one wanting to take responsibility -- so, the one at the bottom of the totem pole learns the old adage that "Dog doo rolls down hill."

Avoid human nature at all costs: get it in writing.

Best regards,

Ron Lindeboom
CEO, CreativeCOW.net

Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.

Graveyards are full of people the world couldn't do without.



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Tenille SusanRe: Price Estimate - Assistant Editor for a Television Show
by on Aug 9, 2010 at 10:57:43 pm

Thanks all; such a plethora of information here.

The problem is, the 'first time' producers I'm working with are (like me) new to broadcast, and thus have limited idea of what exactly will be required. The problem is that they have a strict budget, and that is why they have asked me to provide a flat rate.

I had a meeting with the Producers today, and they have cleared some of my uncertainties. I will in fact be traveling to the new destination in housing provided by the client.

All in all, It is looking like I will be spending 3-4 months working 10-12 hour days on this project. The actual duration could vary, so I'm wondering if anyone here has billing suggestions.

I'm considering providing a fixed rate for a fixed time (i.e. 40 hours a week for 3 months), with overtime billed at my hourly rate. I suppose my main concern is, how much does one charge for this type of production? and how much would the relocation affect the bill?

There are 13 total episodes, and despite my (assistant editor title) I expect I will be doing 50% of the actual editing.

Thank you Ron, Mike and Mark for your suggestions, after I arrive at a billing structure my client and I are comfortable with, I will get everything in writing.


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Mark RaudonisRe: Price Estimate - Assistant Editor for a Television Show
by on Aug 10, 2010 at 12:56:20 am

[Tenille Susan] "despite my (assistant editor title) I expect I will be doing 50% of the actual editing."

Did we not say "spell out IN WRITING" what you're going to be doing? If they want you to edit, then your deal memo should say, "EDITOR", not "assistant with a high likelihood of editing"!

Come on! Take that "kick me" sticker off your back, and start acting like a business person. If you're not happy with how the working relationship on this project turns out, then you only have yourself to blame. Be up front. Be clear. Be fair. But get it in writing BEFORE you start. Your bargaining position will never be stronger.

You keep asking how much to charge, but then you're throwing in these "uncertainties". We can't help you with that. You need to understand what's being asked of you BEFORE you can price your services accordingly. For example, there's a significant difference between an assistant editor's rate and an editor's rate. Sounds like they're trying to get you to work as an editor but at an assistant's rate.

Mark



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Mike CohenRe: Price Estimate - Assistant Editor for a Television Show
by on Aug 10, 2010 at 2:11:05 am

If you client has a fixed budget established, chances are they have an established budget for the assistant editor. budgets are not big bags of money looking to get spent - a budget is a definite plan on how monies will be disbursed. Get it?

As in every thread like this, we don't know your costs, your overhead or you standard of living. 3-4 months of work may sound like a good thing, but if you only keep a few percent of what you are paid then how good was it?
Mike Cohen


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Tenille SusanRe: Price Estimate - Assistant Editor for a Television Show
by on Aug 10, 2010 at 2:51:02 am

Thanks Mike,

When I asked the client how much they're willing to allocate to me for the three months, their words were, "quote me how much you would charge, and we'll see if it's in the budget".

I understand you don't know my specific costs, or standard of living, but my hope was that I would receive some ballpark figures based on your own broadcast experiences.

Please do not assume that I am going to get 'ripped off'. Based on the hard demands of this project, I am willing to price myself comfortably for dedicating 3 months of my life to a TV show. But the question still remains how comfortable should I consider pricing myself.

Cheers,
Tenille


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Tenille SusanRe: Price Estimate - Assistant Editor for a Television Show
by on Aug 10, 2010 at 2:37:35 am

Thanks Mark,

Along with my quote I will be "spelling out, in writing" what I'll be doing, (I.E. ANY required editing duties for 40 hours a week, for 3 months.)

I'm not asking you to suggest $20 / hour rates. I'm wondering what you would say, if someone told you to drop everything, and come to their town for three months to provide editing assistance on a broadcast television show.

My hope is, that one of the experts here, may know the type of budget that new producers have when creating a TV show, and the type of resources they can allocate to an 'extra' editor.

Based on 40 hours a week for 3 months, would $55 / hour be fair? or the $125+ / hour range more reasonable. (The sound editor has been approved at a flat rate of $1200 per episode [with a cap on hours outlined in invoice, which works out to $40/hour, but he won't be required to relocate.])

I don't see myself getting taken advantage of by charging a flat rate of $26,400+ for three months on my first broadcast series and if that's what I have to charge because the producers don't yet know exactly what they need and require a fixed rate, so be it. The question is, is $55/hour enough or am I undervaluing myself?


Thanks,
Tenille

P.S. By the way, I will be using my own equipment and licenses.


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Scott CarnegieRe: Price Estimate - Assistant Editor for a Television Show
by on Aug 10, 2010 at 2:06:22 pm

This is easy.

What is your current yearly income, or what do you WANT it to be? Let's say $100K just for fun.

3 months is 1/4 of the year. 1/4 of $100K is $25k. Specificy that anything over a certain number of hours per week is time and a half, and that you are brought on for all 13 episodes.

Add 15% for using your own gear, add in 15% for living expenses since you'll be away from home, and divide by 13 to get a "per episode" estimate if that's what they want. This comes to $32,500, or $2500 per episode, or based on a 40 hour work week $62.50/hour.

Hmm, too low, take all of the numbers and raise it by 20%.

Producers will usually do budgets and find funding for an entire season, not just per episode, unless it's a pilot.

http://www.MediaCircus.TV
Media Production Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


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grinner hesterRe: Price Estimate - Assistant Editor for a Television Show
by on Aug 10, 2010 at 7:23:01 pm

My advice is to know what you are worth before pitching. Recklessness can get ya blackballed. Be careful.



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