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Where does EPK production fit in my resume?

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Dave BrekartWhere does EPK production fit in my resume?
by on Jun 1, 2011 at 7:35:28 pm

Greetings,

I've been freelance shooting/editing in Chicago for almost a year, and have gotten a fair amount of work for starters. In the process, I've produced EPK-style videos for several bands as (best-)friendly favors. Upcoming shows, albums... that kind of thing.

*I know I'll catch flack on here for doing free work, but I needed to jumpstart a freelance portfolio from somewhere!*

As paid gigs have started stacking up, I'm turning down free favors. Musicians are hitting me up out of the blue, some of them with a budget.

2 questions:

1 - When a musician who seems to have cash asks if I'm interested in shooting/editing an EPK (ala "Dig the work you did for your friends, can you do it for us?"), where do I stick my price point as a relative beginner (also a big fan of their music)? It may be obvious to them that I worked free for my friends, but I'm climbing out of that - and that should be obvious, right?

2 - Do I continue to do EPKs? They definitely lend to my fairly amateur experience shooting musicians, but don't quite fit into a portfolio (albums releases/shows have dates on them, ages the material)...

Appreciate any feedback. Thanks.


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Craig SeemanRe: Where does EPK production fit in my resume?
by on Jun 2, 2011 at 12:55:00 am

Actually I won't bite your head off for doing video for friends and family. That an non profit organizations are about the only places one should do free work for. If they're real friends and family they shouldn't ever mention you worked for free though. As per resume they should never be identified as friends or family by you (or them). They are your references and they ever mention "free" then they are NOT your references because they well hand an albatross (or cement shows or a boat anchor) around your business.

Want to figure out your rate? Start with this
http://freelanceswitch.com/rates/
and/or this
http://www.nppa.org/professional_development/business_practices/cdb/cdbcalc...

Now you'll know what you need to charge to meet your monthly personal and business expenses.
I generally recommend a model which assumes 20-25 paid hours a week with the rest of the time spent doing all your business maintenance ranging from paperwork, education, marketing, client communications.

Keep in mind this is your BASE amount as a beginner. Beginners should never be homeless or starving as those aren't conducive working conditions. You can/should increase your rates as you improve your skills but you should always start from a position that you should meet expenses to survive.

Word of mouth is always your best, least expensive, least time consuming form of marketing. If the flapping lips of the clients you work for include cheap labor then you will forever get bottom feeder clients.

If you have enough experience that someone can like your work (not because it was free or cheap) then you have enough experience to charge a profitable wage. Just add self confidence.



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Craig SeemanRe: Where does EPK production fit in my resume?
by on Jun 2, 2011 at 1:32:04 am

[Dave Brekart] "2 - Do I continue to do EPKs? They definitely lend to my fairly amateur experience shooting musicians, but don't quite fit into a portfolio (albums releases/shows have dates on them, ages the material)... "

Sperate question so I think it warrants a separate answer. There's nothing inherently "amateur" about shooting EPKs . . . or weddings or anything else one does as paying work. There's nothing wrong with dates either but if you think it's a detriment you can do a cut sans date for your reel.

The question is what do you want to do as a business. Then you have to figure out how to target market to it. In order to hit a target you must define the target first.

This might be where doing work for a not for profit might come in.

Want to do local cable spots? Shoot a :30 spot for the organizations.

Want to do corporate marketing or training video. Offer to do something like that for your favorite not for profit. Maybe they need to train volunteers. Maybe they need to do a 3-5 minute piece showing what they do for a grant.

Want to get word of mouth going? Make sure that not for profit gives you proper credit in return for the work. If they have a donor base that views that work there's nothing getting seen by donors who obviously have money and may run business and may appreciate hiring someone who also has supported their favorite cause.

Then there's that company executive who wants to do a corporate video that looks like and EPK. I once did an actor's demo reel in which we shot an original crime drama segment (they had never acted in a crime drama). I didn't want to do actor demo reels (this was fun and I got paid and it was a chance for me to be cinematic) but I posted it on my website anyway. So I get contacted by a business and they told me all they saw on people's demos were corporate stuff. They wanted to do a piece in which an executive gets kidnaped, and the employees ,as crime fighters, hunt him down and rescue him, traveling through different parts of the company's facilities and history. They saw that actor's demo reel in addition to my corporate stuff and immediately decided I was capable of pulling off what they wanted.

Define your target. Hit your target.



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Mark SuszkoRe: Where does EPK production fit in my resume?
by on Jun 2, 2011 at 2:19:23 am

EPK, or VNR's are really a kind of documentary, if you think about it.


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Dave BrekartCraig and Mark - thanks!
by on Jun 3, 2011 at 3:39:48 pm

Huge help.


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Craig SeemanRe: Craig and Mark - thanks!
by on Jun 3, 2011 at 3:50:30 pm

You're welcome of course.
It's a real challenge to figure out marketing when just starting out.



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grinner hesterRe: Where does EPK production fit in my resume?
by on Jun 3, 2011 at 8:01:20 pm

I do a lot of EPKs for local and prominant artists. I'm doing one tonight for a local fella who had a small budget. Just a flat $1500. Sounds rediculasly cheap but more than that and he'd a bounced and honesty, I'll have less than 10 hours int he thing by the time I'm done. I base my flat bids on my hourly rate multiplied by how long it'll take me, with a few hours sprinkled on top for revisions. Simple math and, honestly, next to motorsports, music is my favorite thing to tear into. I'm gettin paid to play tonight. That's how I look at it.



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Craig SeemanRe: Where does EPK production fit in my resume?
by on Jun 3, 2011 at 8:15:25 pm

I don't doubt many of us take on fun projects for limited budgets.

I'd never describe a fee as "flat" to a client though. I tell them what I'd offer for their budget. For example, it might be a half day shoot with a one day edit. Of course one has the flexibility to change that if you're having fun but that should be your prerogative, not the client's.

If you describe a fee as "flat," clients often interpret that as "all you can eat" for the price and they try to turn the fun day or two project into a week as they try to finagle another location and some post fx work in. Again maybe you'd want to add that stuff anyway if you're having fun but you, not the client, should maintain that control when the client has a fixed budget.

Maybe it's semantical but better to describe it as "fixed budget" than a "flat fee." To me fixed budget means fixed, not open ended commitment and the fixed commitment should be expressed on your end.



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Mark SuszkoRe: Where does EPK production fit in my resume?
by on Jun 3, 2011 at 8:29:09 pm

God willing, Grinner, that's how we should look at our video jobs every day:-)


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