[Will Tsang]"- Is their a production bid process? And what kind of information is in these bids aside from hourly or flat rates?
I think the best answer to this is the fact that there are entirely different processes and procedures for different kinds and levels of businesses. Typically with a governmental or big business organization a bid comes as an "RFP" (Request For Proposal). Completing the proposal can involve answering numerous specific questions as well as submitting a detailed break-out of all costs -or- it can be as simple as a few questions and a bottom line number. Ideally the RFP will fully define the intended end product, but in my experience it's almost always necessary to meet with the decision makers either in person or by phone to clarify exactly what their expectations and requirements are.
At the low end a bid request can be as simple as "tell me how much a three minute video of our sandwich shop is going to cost." At the high end it could be submitting an entire production budget along with a written "treatment" and storyboards of key scenes or even the entire show.
It all comes down to who's asking, how much they want to know and how much effort it's worth on your part to win the business.
[Will Tsang]"- - Production Insurance (Location)? What's up with this? I have no clue, I understand this is needed, correct?"
Good for you for recognizing this up front, Will! You need insurance because things can go wrong on a production -- just like any other aspect of life. You can be the cause of an automobile accident, so you need auto insurance. Your house or apartment could burn to the ground with all of your stuff inside, so you need property or renter's insurance.
A production is no different ESPECIALLY if you are working on someone else's property. This is where most location owners / companies with any experience whatsoever will REQUIRE that you show proof of insurance in addition to any consideration (fees) you may be asked to pay. Why? One of your lights could fall over, break a window and set the drapes on fire. Or worse something you are doing could result in a person being injured. Somebody's got to be in a position to pay and that's what insurance is for.
It's also worth noting that no rental house will deal with you without insurance. If you break their $50,000 camera they want to be paid, so you have to show proof of insurance to be able to rent their camera and, in many cases even their $175 tungsten light fixture.
Hope this helps. It's complicated and that's why they call it a business.
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-British politician Sir Barnett Cocks
"Creativity always dies a quick death in rooms that have conference tables."