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I QUIT.... Working for nothing.

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Andy jackson
I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 24, 2012 at 3:03:41 pm

Anyone Else feel the same that the video industry has had its day.

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/12/857674#858248

Your input would be much appreciated.

Cheers Andy


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Scott Sheriff
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 24, 2012 at 7:08:57 pm

Over a year ago I wrote about the industry going the way of neighborhood print shops and such a couple of months before apple rolled out X and killed FCS.
http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/8/1128096#1128132
This was in response to many threads over the previous year that were pining for lower cost simpler tools (as if FCS wasn't cheap enough or easy enough to use), plus the gradual acceptance, and even justification of low production values as being the new norm.
When I started, a day in the linear online bay would run you about 4K. Now we have a literally millions of freshly minted DP's and editors that are happy to get ten bucks an hour, or a day rate comparable to working at a fast food restaurant. This is because their total invest in equipment is nothing. Their investment in seat time learning their craft is also nothing, so they charge nothing, and for the most part the customer has little in the way of expectations and receives nothing.
So now, thanks to all those that have helped, nourished and encouraged this low quality behavior, when you show up with a real camera, tripod, lights and finish your work on a system with things like proper monitoring or storage and expect a real wage for your efforts your called a snob, or a Luddite.

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/17/871478#871545
http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/17/871440#871524

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 24, 2012 at 7:58:59 pm

Hi Scott.

Thanks for your input.
Just been reading through your other threads and it seems you have come to the same conclusion as myself.

What i can`t understand is the fellow cow users who try to give a positive outlook to the doom and gloom ahead.

They are all kidding themselves.

All I hear is quality quality quality- people will pay for that.
For crying out load, anyone can get the quality now with the cheap dslrs and pc editing software.

Then you hear editing is a skill to tell the story and not everyone can do it. That sentence is RUBBISH!!!!!
People have been brainwashed from the crap we now see on cheap TV programmes, wobbly shots, bad focus, stitched shots to an irritating voiceover to focus the program.

I have see alot of changes over the last 20 years and it has never been on a positive scale.

Newbies come into this industry expecting the jewel at the end of the road.... Sorry to say its not there anymore... Was 30 years ago.

Please take my advise if you want to survive in this hard world we are now trying to survive in.

Get a job that has nothing to do with the digital era.. DIGITAL REALLY MEANS - DANGER AND DEATH.
Get a job with a guaranteed hourly wage so you have something to look forward to at the end of each month.

If you want to keep doing free labour videos just do it part time... I guarantee you will enjoy it more.

Sorry all for the doom and gloom in this post but I want you all to have a good, happy life.


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Bob Zelin
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 25, 2012 at 1:59:58 am

Maybe this will catch up with me one day, but it hasn't yet.
My first job was with Tasco Sound in Newberg, NY in 1977. I made $90 per week. My next job was with Ken Schaffer Group in NY - I worked for free. My first video job was in with EUE Screen Gems in NY in 1978. I made $346.15 per week. In 1981 I started to get fired - by everyone - and could not find a job, so in 1982, I started my own company. I perceived it as "getting part time jobs" until I could eventually find a full time job. I never found that job.

Over 2000 studios and facilities later, I am still self employed. While I am terrified by "young kids" that know more than I do about computers, I struggle every day to keep up with new technology, and struggle every day to get new clients - even when I am busy - even when I am overbooked. I live with the fear that I will be unemployed, and so I always solicit, I always look for new clients, I always answer my CEL phone, and I always say yes when someone says "can you come in to work for us" - even if I have already worked that day.

Perhaps I am very fortunate to be 56 years old, and booked every single day. I see no shortage of work. My clients that hire me also see no shortage of work, while I have seen countless companies go out of business.

While I see countless people unemployed, I look at other trades besides our business. It is very difficult to get a plumber, an electrician, a roofer, a carpenter, or an air conditioning guy to show up at your home. They are all booked, all making money, all busy - yet there is so much unemployment - how can that be, if it is so difficult to find someone willing to take your money ?

If you have unique skills that you offer, that the young kid with his Canon 5D graduation present doesn't have, then perhaps you can find clients. Of course you have to LOOK for those clients. While I am booked solid, I LOOK for clients every damn day. I keep on my daily schedule people who I have to solicit, and contact, so I can beg them for work (I would really like to work for you, I will do a real good job if you hire me) - EVEN THOUGH I am booked, and have no time to do jobs for them now. This is a mindset I have kept since 1982.

There are a lot of TV channels, who need a lot of media. There is more corporate video than ever before. There is more educational video, more training video, more web shows than ever before. Every company has an AV department, every magazine has a web magazine. Every company has a YouTube video for their products. Were they all done for free - shot, edited, web encoded ? Is it a LOT of work to solicit all these companies that you have no contacts at, to get this work - YOU BET IT IS. Am I sick and tired of soliciting strangers, only to have more than half of them hang up the phone - YOU BET IT IS. But some people call me - and this kept happening my entire career. And I stay busy. AND I have to keep learing all the new crap, that I am too old and tired to learn anymore. But I do it anyway. SCREW those young kids that will do it for free. Real companies want someone responsible. That should be you. And that is me.

Bob Zelin



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Walter Soyka
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 26, 2012 at 8:17:26 pm

Bob Zelin is one of the smartest and most practical people in this industry, and he has written the Business & Marketing forum's post of the year. This has got to be the most concise post on how to maintain relevance in this business on this board.

One of the many important lessons I see in Bob's story that is being missed in this conversation is continual re-invention.

Look at the story he wrote above again: Bob started in audio, then became a video engineer when audio didn't work out. Traditional post video engineering started to fade with the ascendance of NLEs, so Bob became Mr. Max Avid. FCP began stealing market share, so Bob learned the differences and made himself able to support either system. Eventually computers got fast enough that tuning NLEs was no longer rocket science, so there was no value and therefore no money in it. In order to stay relevant with post clients who actually have some money to spend, Bob has pioneered editorial over simple network-attached storage. This is not a straight line from audio engineering, but each jump has built on what came before.

What's Bob's next career move? I don't know if he knows, but I am sure that he will figure something out. He takes nothing for granted, he pays attention to the economics of the industry and how they relate to his current skills as well as adjacent skills he could develop, and he has been systematically working to stay ahead of his competitors for 30 years.

Bob is a case study in how to manage a long freelance career. Bob's genius is in recognizing that the industry is constantly changing. His success comes from the hard work of continually changing with it -- constantly adding new skills to his already-incredible experience. Bob has probably outlasted his own early client base in the industry, but that hasn't slowed him down. Bob is continually picking up new clients, because he's at least one step ahead of everyone else, and because he offers real, unique value.

If you are doing the same thing today that you were doing five years ago, you may well be out of business five years from today.

The only sustainable solution in times of change is adaptation. Stasis leads to failure. It's easier said than done, but I believe that the most important skill in business is continually identifying and developing valuable niches. Anyone who can do this well will always be busy.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Scott Sheriff
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 25, 2012 at 3:22:17 am

Andy,
Hey, I feel your pain.
There are defiantly those in the biz, that think the goose that lays the golden egg can never die and all the noobs are not hurting their business. I'm glad for them, and happy they have plenty of work. I just hope they don't spend every dollar they make. Because I remember the days when every big city in America had several of these huge shoot and post facilities, with lobbies filled with awards. That was in addition to the local TV stations also doing the same. And now they are as dead as the dinosaurs. Killed by the noobs that came in and undercut their rate.
And yes, there are people still doing quality work for clients that want quality, but those jobs are in the minority. Perhaps if we try, we can change that. Or not.
I think one possible approach is to shun the low quality jack-offs, and try to move in a different crowd if possible. That crowd is quality crowd.
And by low quality, I'm talking specifically about morons that do things like insist on shooting 1080 24p with the ubiquitous 5D II, to get the 'film look', even though their dog shampoo spot is playing on the web at 320x240. Then at the same time, they'll light their set with a couple of 20 dollar work lights they bought at Home Depot. That is if they bother to light at all. They'll shoot long focal lengths hand-held with the camera is set to "auto-everything". Take audio with a 60 dollar shotgun mic gaffed to the camera, and have more money tied up in Red Rock and Zucato then they do in the camera or support gear, because it looks cool. These are the same folks that are trolling the forums with all this smack talk about being an 'artist' (LOL), or brag about what great glass they have. And then in their next post, ask about "the best plugin for this effect" (posting a clip of some no-name groups new music video) or how to fix blown out shots, or hollow sounding audio because they don't have a clue. Thats because they think slathering cheesy FX plugins, and shooting 1080 is all it really takes.
Nine times out of ten, they are also the same people that are posting with a deadline tomorrow, having a hundred different problems with basic concepts like keeping their audio in sync because they can't be bothered to understand something as basic as frame rates, or how they are going to fix the jelly look from the CMOS sensor camera every time they make some huge camera move. Hey, they're artists, they can't be bothered to RTFM.
This is the world we find our self in with the 5D, and Final Cut X for $300. A world in which any trust fund baby with 2 grand is now in the video and film biz.
Any of this sound all too familiar?
What to do??? Here are a couple of thoughts.
First, don't be that guy! I know your not, but never give in. Even if other well know contributors say "it's just the way it is these days", "there's nothing you can do about it", or my favorite the proverbial "new paradigm".
Wrong.
There should be a stigma on this type of work, and we have been far too tolerant, for far too long, and it is coming back to haunt us in the form of low rates, and clients that except shite work for those low rates.
Second, let them rot. Only post help responses for other like minded individuals that deserve help, and let these johnny come lately types twist in the wind. Don't work with them or for them on gigs. Don't hang with them at meetings and UG. They are dead weight dragging the rest of us down.
Third, if you're on a gig, and the client thinks using the sticks and proper lighting is overkill, because the last guy didn't do that, fire the client and move on if you can't educate them. Let them have the 20-something artist, and find better clients. Some day they will figure out why these guys are only charging ten bucks an hour to shoot and post their stuff.
Well, just a few thoughts. I'm sure this will push some peoples buttons. Oh, well. If it does, you're probably the person I'm talking about.
Done ranting...for now.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Tim Wilson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 25, 2012 at 7:10:31 am

This kind of thing happened in the early 90s when assmunchers like me got our hands on "cheap" UVW 1800 decks and UVW 100 cameras and could deliver broadcast quality BetaSP masters...from my "cheap" NLE ($30k for the board, $8k for the computer, $20k for 30 gigs of storage) that could only do 640x480, but stations didn't care. I got a gig for American Express, where they said, "This better not be any of that 640x480 desktop crap." I sweated for a heartbeat but said, "Hey, I want to work for you again. It won't be crap." I left out that it WOULD be 640. They were delighted with the results. I should have charged more.

So that's what I did. Here I was competing against guys who spent 10x or more to get started than I did, and I charged MORE than they did. I didn't want to be the must expensive guy in town, but I never wanted to drop into third place either. I weeded out a lot of nonsense that way.

But more than one thing is true at a time. People like Bob and me were no different than these punks today. We worked for zero, and worked our way up to peanuts, and worked that way for YEARS. In a way, its kind of cool that kids are using 5D cameras to fight for their scraps. I used a $10,000 camera to compete with $100,000 cameras, and my competitors came after me with DV cameras that cost $1000. The nature of the beast, but ironically, there aren't many $1k cameras out there, any more than there are many $100K cameras out there, proving the old axiom that things are getting cheaper, unless they're not.

re: Web videos, back when people were shooting film, 5 years ago (hahaha), I knew guys shooting film for the web. The fact is that lots of web video is HD, and there's no reason NOT to shoot that way. It doesn't cost any more, and better images compress faster and smaller. Look at RED forums. Assloads of those people are shooting web video. I'm not convinced that most PhantomHD video doesn't wind up in YouTube. Again, nature of the beast.

But that's another aspect of Bob's post. Hustle up or hustle out. It may seem like its getting harder, but I swear it has always been hard. not that it's getting easier either of course...

But as much help as I got from the COW and its antecedent for my own business, and as much help as I hope it provides, I think there's something to be said for not helping anyone to cannibalize you or crater your business. They ARE gunning for you, just like Bob used to do, just like I used to do. That's just what this business IS, chewing your way past the people in front of you, trying to stay ahead of the people wanting to do exactly the same thing to you.

And trying to have fun, be creative, be collaborative, be nice, blah blah blah...but mostly trying to keep your blood out of the water. As Bob has noted in this forum many, many times, nearly any job you can think of is easier to make a living with than this one. But the field is growing, not shrinking, and every field has room for the relentless.

Tim Wilson
Vice President, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW Magazine
Twitter: timdoubleyou

The typos here are most likely because I'm, a) typing this on my phone; and b) an idiot.


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Al Bergstein
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 25, 2012 at 10:45:55 am

Well, you are all right (correct, that is). If you can't make a living, then you should get "another" line of work. If you are going to stay and compete, then find your niche and work it. This business has always been very hard and super competitive. But like all other businesses it's about professionalism, too. Showing up on time. Following through on committments, doing great work, going out and selling yourself. Same as it ever was. Think our industry has a low entry cost? Try plumbing!

It's ok to quit professionally, and sometimes it's the best thing you can do for an attitude readjustment.

Too many arts schools, even the best ones, don't teach you how to make a living with your craft. They don't want to cross that line into " trade" school. Shame on them,and on you for not demanding it. Just look at Columbia College's course list. Any classes on the business side of production? I didn't see any last time I looked. They are one of the top colleges to churn out working pros too!

If you are fed up with working for free, then don't! Raise your prices, and go out there and sell,or get a new line of work. No harm in that!

Al


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John Grote, Jr.
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 25, 2012 at 4:23:47 pm

Old guy, well not that old, but old in this business.
"
Too many arts schools, even the best ones, don't teach you how to make a living with your craft. They don't want to cross that line into " trade" school. Shame on them,and on you for not demanding it. Just look at Columbia College's course list. Any classes on the business side of production? I didn't see any last time I looked. They are one of the top colleges to churn out working pros too!"

Yes colleges and trade schools alike are not teaching the basic fundamentals at all for the video world. Not in AVID or Final Cut, not in Photoshop, and sure as hell not in After Effects. Plus on top of that our industry has all but done away with the assistant position for almost all of the jobs in on the video side.

No more E2's or even A2's. So what we have now is no structure what so ever. We have people that have no idea or act like they have no idea that someone else may and probably will have to work on the project they are working on. It may be to add, fix, recreate or revise at some point what they have worked on or are working on and their organizational skills suck!!! They think they are the only damn person on the planet and act with complete and are oblivious to their surroundings. So when you are asked to fix or change something in their project, it takes hours just to figure out what the hell they did or better yet, "Oh yeah, I forgot it is on my hard drive at home." REALLY, Well that is just great, but it doesn't do me a hell of a lot of good sitting here wasting everyone's time, because you thought you were they only damn editor on the planet!!!

Sorry for the rant there, but it is frustrating what our industry has become at this point. More flash than substance, but I do have many clients that actually do care about their projects and are willing to work within my rate range. I see some kids that have potential and talent and I try to foster and mentor them, just as the people I learned from did. But for the ones that think they know it all and think their crap doesn't stink, guess what you won't get a lick of help from me. I don't have time for that arrogance, I know how good I am at my craft, but I don't stick it under peoples noses or act like I am better. I have and continue to improve what I do because I know there are people much better than I am at what they do and would rather be humble and learn from them. This makes me a better editor and also one day I hope that I can return the favor.

In closing, lol, always wanted to say that. Our industry will always be forever in flux with new people and new technology, so make the best of it and no one would fault you for making a career change.

J. Grote, Jr.


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Al Bergstein
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 25, 2012 at 5:47:38 pm

Wish I could find someone to be an E2 or A2, but I find that many folks here in the Pacific NW don't want to work cheaply, maybe there is a lot of jobs for them up here! there is an expectation that "I'm worth more than not much" when really, they aren't. I was guilty of some of this myself as a 20 something. Many younger filmmakers have a much higher opinion of themselves than their experience dictates.

I (as the business owner), *find* the jobs. It's called sales. I sell myself, my business and my experience. They don't hire my E2 or A2. They hire me. I had one A2 working for me that actually went up and gave the customer her business card! WTF! I almost immediately threw her off the set. She has not been asked back. Go out with the crew and the client afterwards for drinks? Sure. But give them a card? That's stepping over the line.

In the *old* days, I would work for cheap to get the experience. Apprenticed for a time for free as well. I still give away some work if it seems interesting.

So to the point of the OP, yes, you are apparently not valued enough by the clients for whatever reason. You might be looking in the wrong places. There might not be enough work in your local world. Charging more might help, but might not. You likely have some issues that maybe a consultant in these things might be able to point out and help you change.

As mentioned before, if you are really fed up and don't want to try something new, we seem to be in agreement that it's likely time to move on, do something that makes money, and do video for the love of the medium. That's what I did for 25 years, after selling my company to my partner when we lost our major client to an economic downturn, and I came back after I got to the point of wanting to do it again. Worked for me!

Al


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Mark Suszko
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 25, 2012 at 4:28:16 pm

Welding.
Truck driving.
Child psychology
Nursing.
Skilled machinists.

Any of these trades make very good wages, and the demand for new practitioners is very high. And they don't require marketing or salesmanship skills.

The video business IS glutted with competitors. To stay in and prosper demands herculean marketing efforts and canny business skills, as well as talent. It's not for everyone.

So, maybe go get a welding job to live on, and make your own videos for your own reasons, on your own time and terms, without compromises, to make you happy and satisfy your own creative vision. Seems like the best of both worlds for you. And we'll all likely be lining up to pay to see the outcome in a theater some day. You don't need anybody's permission to be sucessful, but your own. That's what I get out of Tim's and the other stories.


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Scott Sheriff
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 26, 2012 at 1:17:36 am

[Tim Wilson] "People like Bob and me were no different than these punks today. We worked for zero, and worked our way up to peanuts, and worked that way for YEARS. In a way, its kind of cool that kids are using 5D cameras to fight for their scraps. I used a $10,000 camera to compete with $100,000 cameras, and my competitors came after me with DV cameras that cost $1000."

I disagree that the 3/4, UVW and used 1" based low budget post houses of the late 80's were the same as what is happening today.

In terms of the dollar at the time, that gear cost a lot more. In todays dollars, that 10K camera would be about double. There were no new 600 dollar fluid head tripods. A used set of sticks and a crap fluid head would still set you back about 4K in todays dollars. So even the cheapest gear at the time was much more expensive in comparison to the wage it earned you. So in looking at the gear of the day, wages and rates, you would have much more skin in the game then todays noobs. Probably on the order of four to ten times as much.
I worked at a big market O & O station that did commercial production. When were over booked, we farmed out the low end commercials to a couple of guys that left to do this very thing. One big difference is there would be no way we would accept from them, the kind of crap the noobs turn out today. Example, even if you were shooting with a 10K camera, I'll bet you still lit your set. I'm sure you took proper audio, used the sticks, shot cut-aways, etc. In other words, even at that level, you still had to conform to the standards of the time. Now, we have a class of workers that shun standards and try to make those that have some out to be the boogy-man. So even in the era of when the 3/4 mom and pop post houses started chipping away at the big guys, there was an expectation of what most refer to as "production values".
The last thing I would say is there wasn't a million of you, like there is now.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Richard Herd
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 4, 2012 at 11:30:26 pm

[Scott Sheriff] "I disagree"

You are correct. Since the Reagan Administration, total jobs has increased, aggregate real wages have decreased (in USA), yet household income has remained the same.

Answering this has proven to be complicated.

Two main answers:
1. Working women
2. the PC.

(1) we know that women are discriminated against on wages, so as more of them have been hired they have been low-balled; moreover, two working family members means household income stayed stagnant.

(2) simple as this: we can do more work, manage more tasks and workers with the PC than ever before. Efficiency is very high.

Are we going to strike?


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Richard Herd
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 4, 2012 at 11:25:05 pm

[Tim Wilson] "They were delighted with the results. I should have charged more."

Talk about that some more please.

If you search this forum, you'll find posts of mine where I struggled with a client, with whom I've made contact again for more work.

Does that mean I could charge more this time?

Thanks!


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Louis Mason Thomas
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jan 9, 2013 at 6:39:24 pm

And Just how talented are your salesmanship skills within reasonable range ?


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Craig Seeman
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 25, 2012 at 10:27:25 pm

Somehow I feel what I'm about to say is going to be very controversial.
Sometimes one has to asses one's business model.
This includes both what you offer and what your overhead is relative to "the competition."
I think many of us want to do our best work and with the best possible gear we can get.
If that suits your client base then there's no issue.

Obviously there's an issue though for many.
Sometimes offering a gourmet meal isn't appropriate when the client is happy with fast food.
You'd have to asses whether you can make many selling fast food. Certainly many restaurants do.
Sometimes it makes more sense to get a couple of Canon t4is and an inexpensive audio recorder than a Sony F3.
Sometimes it makes more sense to get an iMac and FCPX than a 12 core Xeon system and Avid Symphony.
Sometimes it's better to do your motion graphics with the plugin than spend the hours as a designer.
Sometimes it's OK to do the "one day wonder" as long as you're making the rate you want.

Granted this isn't always what we aspire to and sometimes we have decide between business and art.
BTW none of this is "low balling." This is all still "getting your rate."
If the client budget would only pay for you for one day on a job you'd normally take a week to do, you cut corners and get it done in one day to get your rate.

Don't cut your price, cut your costs and your services.
Ugh, I know, we want to do work that makes us proud.

Death be not proud and neither is going out of business.
Sometimes one has to take a long hard look at your business model and what works in your market for the potential clients available to you.

Fast food.



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Ned Miller
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 26, 2012 at 12:04:06 pm

The original poster is absolutely right. I can tell you from my perspective of 33 years, the rates have plummeted and if it wasn't for me having so many long time clients and being well known, I would be out of business. There is now an upper end and a gigantic lower end, little in the middle. Video Pros are going the way of America's Middle Class: disappearing. Here are some examples:

Last week a prospect called me with such a ridiculously low price that I said I would help him out and put it on Chicago's Craigslist. In 3 days I received 53 responses, 90% were highly qualified, usually with a DSLR. People are absolutely desperate, and I mean DESPERATE, to get in or stay in the biz. I could have gotten several to do it for free to build their reel.

Yesterday a media savvy doctor called me about my estimate to shoot him for a half day rate in a green screen studio and since he felt it would only take him one hour to do his delivery, he only wanted to pay for one hour. And this guy has done many videos!

I have seen many trends, a dangerous one was the Flip camera craze where clients were doing it themselves. But this DSLR movement (and iMovie/FCPX) has totally destroyed the price structure of the biz because of the flood of video "vendors". Forget quality, storytelling, etc. it is now about price. I know this as a freelance videographer and independent producer who fields many calls a week. Video is no longer respected as a highly skilled profession except among experienced clients like agencies.

I was taught that anyone can learn the gear and software but only a small few can figure out how to make a sustainable living at it, where you can afford all your expenses. I am one of the lucky few. But now with this absolute flood of people coming in, every prospect we all know, and all the ones we don't know, are well acquainted with someone who can produce them a very acceptable video dirt cheap.

I am writing this on the road from a hotel, shooting 3 days for one of the country's largest beverage companies. They pay well, they demand quality, they are afraid of kids with DSLRs. However, upon my return I will be fielding the calls that the original poster complained about, and in the last two years I have seen them steadily increase. People wanting us pros to work for about half the normal rate. If that is the majority of calls and you turn them down, you go out of business. Drop your rate to meet heir demand and you will also go out of business. I receive email notices from a board that posts crew positions for reality shows out of LA & NY mainly. I see the amount they are offering is less and less. It is all across the industry.

The posters in this thread who don't seem to be too worried about these changes probably are sitting fat and happy with some deep pocket, steady clients who they feel will stay forever. But as a survivor I am a keen observer of trends and this declining rate trend due to too many people offering pro video services is more like a total restructuring of our industry and we will not make the rates of the tradesmen listed in a post above. One's only hope is to find and keep satisfied a wide variety of deep pocket clients who demand high quality, plus mine niches. And network, network, network!

Bob Zelin wrote: "There are a lot of TV channels, who need a lot of media. There is more corporate video than ever before. There is more educational video, more training video, more web shows than ever before. Every company has an AV department, every magazine has a web magazine. Every company has a YouTube video for their products."

Yes the above is true, I made my living off them for years, and they have all gone cheap, cheap, cheap. Many have gone DIY or got a kid on staff. 90% of the producers and production companies I shoot for now have their own DSLR or prosumer camera they want me to shoot with for just my labor rate, so how can a DP make a living? I now cringe when the caller wants a web video. Have you noticed everyone now wants a $600 video because the people he called before you all quoted around $600 and he's hoping you are $500? That happens a few times a week...A few years ago it was normal to get $1500 for a two minute video...

If any of you doubt my words above, post on your local big city's Craigslist an ad for exactly what you do and post a ridiculously low rate like I had to do. When you see the responses you will be shocked and depressed but realize I have a realistic viewpoint: The biz has gone to the dogs in terms of rates. Simple Econ 101: supply and demand. We now have way too much supply.

And please don't respond to my post if you are on staff receiving a steady paycheck because this forum is about the Business & Marketing of pro video, something a staff person doesn't need to concern themselves with.

Ned Miller
Chicago Videographer
http://www.nedmiller.com
http://www.bizvideo.com


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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 26, 2012 at 3:00:20 pm

Hi Ned

Your points are shared by me and I think it is only going to get worse..if it has not already.

Funny...Just quoted on a job today. Client wanted around 4 hours filming and editing on site. Something simple and straight forward, nothing fancy.

Thought I would test the water. Quoted a very low price of £165.00 to see if they would bite.

They did bite but then wanted me to knock off £90.00 as they have had quotes for £75.00.

I politely told them to P**s off.

This proves something.
They think £75.00 is still expensive to be looking for a better quote.

I know the client is not interested in what gear you use or the cost of the gear but for me to take my cheapest sd kit would be in the region of £5000.

It is so disheartning and frustrating.


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Michael Aranyshev
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 5, 2012 at 6:56:02 pm

I wonder what's the economics of a "DSLR kid". He comes, destroys the market, then what?


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Scott Sheriff
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 26, 2012 at 4:52:48 pm

[Craig Seeman] "
Don't cut your price, cut your costs and your services."


LOL, pretty easy to just toss that out without backing it up with anything.
What corners are you going to cut when the time comes? Ride your ten-speed to gigs? Stop paying your taxes? Shoot with a used Flip-cam you bought on fleabay? I'm curious?
And how exactly does this jive with all this advice saying quality is what sells?
And at what point when you've done all that, show up to gigs like the noobs do with with nothing but a consumer camera but yet still have to compete with a million noobs that have no overhead and no investment, are you going to reduce your rates to compete? Never? Maybe a little? Maybe a lot?
Pretty much same thing goes to those they say if you can't compete, get another line of work. When your time comes, I wonder if you will take your own advice?

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 26, 2012 at 5:12:17 pm

Exactly Scott.

Their time will come.... Their clients will eventually dissapear in the mist.

As you say:

"When your time comes, I wonder if you will take your own advice?"

I wonder also!


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Mark Suszko
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 27, 2012 at 12:02:03 am

"Exactly Scott.
Their time will come.... Their clients will eventually dissapear in the mist.
As you say:
"When your time comes, I wonder if you will take your own advice?"
I wonder also!"


Well, my plan is to retire myself out of the game, then do this same work, but for love first, and money second. I'm still a little too young and pretty, but I'm planning 4 and 8 years ahead. And I have an awesome gig on the side, that is emotionally highly rewarding. On top of that, I'm branching out and doing other freelance stuff. (See "Save This Script!" elsewhere on the COW). I'm not just running out the clock without taking some initiative.

By the way, I do detect a bit of envy in the comments about cushy gigs with high security...

Every decision comes with trade-offs, comes with a cost. I had two choices 25 years ago, one pretty lucrative, taking over an existing, established high-dollar business with a full client list of rich dudes, doing forensics work and depos for law firms, and living the stylin' single life in Chicago. But it would be very unstable, feast or famine, and a LOT of drumming up business every day. The other, a civil service job, down in the state capitol, most of it very unglamorous. But very steady. And rewarding, in its own way. I got to do all the news and advertising work I dreamed of doing in college, and I was in control of much more of it, and at higher levels, than I would have been, working as a drone at J. Walter or CBS. I got stories out of it. None as good as Bob's or Tim's, but okay.

25 years ago, I made my choice of security and good benefits over higher salary. I saw people
advance their media careers and overtake me, and I wish them well. With those 25 years came highs and lows, and also there were plenty of times when I envied you independent video ronins out there, able to tell a client to "blank off" if you wanted. I got the security, but I also got to deal with a lot of compromises, limitations, restrictions... and my own kinds of pain along the way, It wasn't ever a 24-hour party as you may imagine, and I knew you guys in the private sector were averaging about 25% higher annual take-home than me. I started as the punk kid working with old timers, now the tables have turned and it is me, taking directions from young people who were just getting their driver's learning permits when I was first working for their bosses. But I chose the long game, and while I do wonder at what may have been, I have few real regrets. Indeed, If I hadn't taken this job, I'd never have met my future wife and had three amazing kids either.

You choose your own adventure, folks. Start out with two thousand dollars and a car... and spin that wheel of life. But take a lesson from the Book of Matthew and don't begrudge someone else getting a good deal if that's what they contracted for. Wishing them less success doesn't bring any more of it over to you. it just eats you up inside and keeps you hollow. Fill that emptiness with your own dreams, and I hope you get to fulfill every one of them. You will, if you have a vision and pursue it with all the tools you have.

Best of luck to you all, whether you hang in there and stay in this business, or go on to something else. Love what you do, and you'll never "work" a day in your life, they say. I''ve found that to be pretty spot-on.









'>













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Richard Herd
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 4, 2012 at 11:51:29 pm

Yeah, but Mark, you're awesome.

Back in my younger and more formidable years, I wrote coverage for a producer. I have a script to read, if you wanna exchange a few pages.


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Craig Seeman
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 26, 2012 at 5:15:35 pm

[Scott Sheriff] "What corners are you going to cut when the time comes?"

Less expensive cameras for one as I note. Less expensive DSLRs as an example. Canon T4i at $900 really keeps low budget clients who want the shallow depth of field happy.

[Scott Sheriff] " Ride your ten-speed to gigs?"

Take the subway when it's just me and the camera (no lights). Some clients really don't care. As I said, fast food.

[Scott Sheriff] "When your time comes, I wonder if you will take your own advice?"

I have and its worked. It depends on the client.

[Scott Sheriff] "are you going to reduce your rates to compete?"

Then you miss my point. The point is to get your rate. Cut overhead.



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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 26, 2012 at 5:30:32 pm

Hi Craig.

Just a matter of interest. With the info you supplied and you say its working for you what rate are you actually charging?

Curious to know as here in the UK £75.00 for a days work seems to be what some clients will only pay.

Cheers Andy


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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 26, 2012 at 5:42:15 pm

Hi Craig.

One other question.

Noticed you have been a member of the cow since 1970.

I was born in 1970 and I`m 42 years of age.

Don`t mean to sound rude but are you retired and doing this part time for extra cash or are you seriously doing it full time.


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Craig Seeman
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 26, 2012 at 8:01:03 pm

COW didn't exist in 1970. It's probably a default start date.
I'm a bit older than you (started in Post around 1980) but I can't imagine retiring.



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Craig Seeman
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 26, 2012 at 6:00:36 pm

[Andy jackson] "Curious to know as here in the UK £75.00 for a days work seems to be what some clients will only pay."

There's no way to survive with that unless you have no housing or food costs.
For me a base is $800-$1200 a day.
The way around it is not so much the rate (as I say, objective is not to lower the rate) but what the client gets for the rate.

I can also play with short shoot day rates as well. That only works if you have a lot of unsupervised work though. I have my own shoot area with lights all ready to go. If all I need is a crew of ME than I can charge them straight hourly. This means if someone wants to come in for 2 hours at $300, I can do it. No travel, virtually no setup/breakdown time. I get right back to doing unsupervised work.

Maybe another way of looking at this, is examining your business as an efficiency expert would. Also keep in mind that in jobs like these the goal is "adequacy" for the client. These is not work for the reel.

It's OK to want to do great work and charge for it . . . but lots of clients don't want to pay for that. That's at issue here (I think).
Find ways to work faster (not for less per hour/day). Find ways to give more while keeping your costs down.

I think some of what people are pointing to are low quality expectations from the client. If you can't upsale them, then the answer may be to meet those expectations (cringe, I know) and a cost that sustains/profits you. The challenge is, we've never had to think that way (or at least to that extreme that often) before.



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Scott Sheriff
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 26, 2012 at 6:16:02 pm

[Craig Seeman] "[Scott Sheriff] "What corners are you going to cut when the time comes?"

Less expensive cameras for one as I note. Less expensive DSLRs as an example. Canon T4i at $900 really keeps low budget clients who want the shallow depth of field happy.

[Scott Sheriff] " Ride your ten-speed to gigs?"

Take the subway when it's just me and the camera (no lights). Some clients really don't care. As I said, fast food."


I don't know if you're being deliberately evasive, or didn't understand the question.
The T4i, no lights and the subway is where you're at now. I'm not talking about now. I'm talking about tomorrow, when that client buys his own cheap cam, and wants you to come in and run it for ten bucks an hour. Or maybe his nephew, or the new kid in the mail room will do it for free. Now what? You have already demonstrated that you are willing to lower your standards to the level of the noobs in order to compete. How far are you willing to go? At what point can you no longer cut anything, and be forced to lower your rate? Will you go buy a C300, or maybe even a RED to keep your rate to beat that kid down the street with a 5D mkIII that will do a day for 50 bucks because he lives with his parents and has no overhead? You have already conditioned your client to accept lower quality, and appears you have boxed yourself in.
My point? It seems you're in the same boat the rest of us are in, just living in denial. Or are you not doing this full time to support yourself?

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 26, 2012 at 6:20:50 pm

Well put scott.

Craig your rates do seem extreme even to me.
Equates to £510 to £765per day in UK rates and 300 dollars equates to £190.

No clients from experiences I`m having will pay them rates.
No way will they pay £190 for two hours.

Bectu rates come in around £400.00 per day for cameraman with full kit and I know crews who are struggling to get work at them rates.

My rates have gone as low as £265 a day and I struggle even at this rate and I have 27 years experience in the business.

Its difficult and I have no overheads except living expenses.
Lucky in that respect I suppose


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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 26, 2012 at 6:28:12 pm

Scott you are so right on all accounts.

Craig would you kindly tell me if you are making a living at this full time and how many days you get to work with the rates you are charging.

I know of some companies or should i say part timers who try and charge similar rates to yours and probably work 1 day every few months.


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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 26, 2012 at 6:39:51 pm

Just like to clarify.

The low rates I`ve tried to charge is not because I wanted too.
Its due to the noobs bringing the industry down to a level that now its about survival.

I`m discutted in myself and hate to admit it.

My rates were around £500 a day which was adequate for me and I probably worked about 3 days a week guaranteed.

Not now...no more...
Thankyou to all who have made this happen!!


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Craig Seeman
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 26, 2012 at 8:31:48 pm

[Andy jackson] "Craig your rates do seem extreme even to me."

Markets are different due to cost of living. Some people think my rates are low.
I have lots of different things I do. Diversify.
Reporter demo reels (where my VNR experience comes in handy). This is actually a very good market.
Local Cable spots often one day wonders and sometimes handed to me by the cable company when the customer apparently wants something better than their freebee. Then I get the 15% agency fee for the media buy as well.
Then there's the corporate work.
I also do tech consulting where I'm either trouble shooting or otherwise doing tech setup.



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Craig Seeman
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 26, 2012 at 8:20:42 pm

[Scott Sheriff] "The T4i, no lights and the subway is where you're at now. I'm not talking about now. I'm talking about tomorrow, when that client buys his own cheap cam, and wants you to come in and run it for ten bucks an hour."

If they're coming to me, my rate doesn't change. As noted, I can offer them hourly . . . at my rate.

[Scott Sheriff] "Or maybe his nephew, or the new kid in the mail room will do it for free. Now what?"

The kid in the mailroom gets the job. I don't worry about them. When the kid misses a deadline or uploads the embarrassingly wrong take to YouTube they'll lose money. Even competency has a base rate.
BTW I've had a couple of occasions where clients just about did that and cut on iMovie and they came to me to dig them out . . . at my rate. FCPX iMovie import becomes very useful in those situations. ;-)


[Scott Sheriff] "At what point can you no longer cut anything, and be forced to lower your rate?"

My cost of living determines my base rate. Again you have to keep assessing what you're offering, your business model.

[Scott Sheriff] "You have already conditioned your client to accept lower quality, and appears you have boxed yourself in. "

Wrong approach. Fast food. Many clients don't want "quality." If it were just a matter of "conditioning" you'd be able to up sell. You, as salesperson, have to determine what you can sell them. If you have a Canon 300 and can't sell it they you're gone. Wrong business model if it's not working.

[Scott Sheriff] "My point? It seems you're in the same boat the rest of us are in, just living in denial"

I get my rate. I cut costs. I offer speed when the client wants that over "quality."
Denial is trying to sell a product or service that you aren't able to sell.



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Scott Sheriff
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 26, 2012 at 9:35:23 pm

[Craig Seeman] "I get my rate. I cut costs. I offer speed when the client wants that over "quality."
Denial is trying to sell a product or service that you aren't able to sell."


[Craig Seeman] "I have lots of different things I do. Diversify."

[Craig Seeman] "I also do tech consulting where I'm either trouble shooting or otherwise doing tech setup."

IMO denial is posting under the premise that you are able to work full time doing production, and able ward off the hordes of production noobs.
This thread was not about doing IT work, engineering support, consulting or career changes. It was about the influx of inexperienced noobs hurting the production market and rates, and how cheap gear and the toleration of crap production values that has fostered this trend.
So in other words, the noobs are taking a bite out of your income, and you do not edit or shoot full time to support yourself.
And if all is as well as you claim and the noobs are truly not effecting you, there would be no need to diversify and "do tech consulting where I'm either trouble shooting or otherwise doing tech setup", aka IT work. You would be too busy shooting and editing.
While I agree it's smart to do whatever you can to make a buck, and to suggest alternatives in related fields is also good, it is also a bit disingenuous to imply in your posts that you are somehow able to defeat current production market conditions with your efforts, when you are now admitting that you are supplementing your income with non production work. And if you want to spin the tech support as production feel free. I'm not bashing support. I just think it is clear we were talking about earning a living with hands on shooting and editing.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Craig Seeman
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 26, 2012 at 9:40:54 pm

[Scott Sheriff] "This thread was not about doing IT work, engineering support, consulting or career changes."

Read Bob Zelin's post. It's about staying in business and if you focus on an area that isn't viable for you, you won't. See Walter' Soyka's follow up.



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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 26, 2012 at 10:31:04 pm

Yes staying in business

Staying in the business we have love and work damn hard for . The video production business!

Diversify, diversify...thats all i hear. Its always the same story when no real answers are available to get around the state of our production industry.
Everyone knows the industry is now rock bottom.

Who honestly thinks that you can now make a full time career in video production. (Not part time)
Making programs only -docs, corporate, broadcast.
Not building websites or lecturing or IT .

I'm talking video production.
What were all about


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Craig Seeman
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 26, 2012 at 11:09:40 pm

[Andy jackson] "I'm talking video production."

But think about how even that has diversified.
Back when I started in 1980 you did Production OR Post Production. Big facilities did both of course but they were the only ones who could afford to.

In Post there was the Assistant Editor, The Editor, The Chyron Operator, Composting, Motion Graphics. Even the Editor may have been separate Offline and Online Editors.

Diversification accelerated with the advent of the NLE as, over time, many Editors took on all those hats. Then some began to do camera work or camera people began to do their own editing.

Then with the advent of YouTube and file based delivery The Compressionist was born as a speciality and, yet, is now being consumed into The Editor role. One just has to look at the Compression Techniques forum here at the COW to see how many people struggle with this.

Add in File based acquisition and data management and delivery (Compressionist) and one adds to one's diverse skill sets.

So if you know production, file based acquisition, post workflow and the many components I mentioned, file based delivery for both the web and broadcast, you now can jump into any number of niches. Sometimes I'm just the comrpessionist.

I gained advantages with file based cable spot delivery, for example, because I didn't need the expensive beta decks or the dub house, shipping jobs, etc. I cut costs and was able to deliver spots around state (and now other states) than competitors. With that came doing the media buy and the agency percentage. This because I knew compression.

Each skill opened another door. Allowed me to offer end to end for less as well as get work in certain specialized areas. Be the generalist one day, the specialist the next.



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Richard Herd
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 4, 2012 at 11:44:46 pm

[Craig Seeman] "The Chyron Operator"

wtf is a chyron?


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Craig Seeman
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 5, 2012 at 12:02:31 am

[Richard Herd] "wtf is a chyron?"


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chyron_Corporation

http://www.chyron.com



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Scott Sheriff
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 27, 2012 at 12:48:25 am

[Craig Seeman] "Read Bob Zelin's post. It's about staying in business and if you focus on an area that isn't viable for you, you won't. See Walter' Soyka's follow up."

Jeez, I must have somehow missed those. Life is all rainbows and unicorns now.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Walter Soyka
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 27, 2012 at 5:47:07 pm

[Scott Sheriff] "Life is all rainbows and unicorns now."

Life is all not rainbows and unicorns.

You're absolutely to point out the pressures that economics are bringing to bear on the industry: the supply of (cheap) talent is outstripping demand (even though demand has increased tremendously), and that's pushing rates down. Barriers to entry have fallen, and that's pushing rates down, too.

Scott, I agree with you 100% that "mad skillz" alone are not a good defense against economics.

I think that Bob's story is about recognizing when economic forces are changing and when they will hurt you, and moving to an adjacent space in the market -- possibly even a new space that didn't exist before -- where economic forces actually work in your favor.

Here's the Zen of the whole thing: Bob doesn't fight the market. He goes with it. He listens to the market and does what it tells him to do. He positions himself within the market such that he can stay in places where demand and barriers to entry are relatively high.

If you can't get the rate you were getting five years ago as a camera op, the market is telling you something. Supply is higher than demand. Barriers to entry are low. You can't fight that.

You can find new clients, build a new specialty, go where the demand is and seek protection behind barriers to entry. Do something -- change something -- because what you are doing now is not working, and doubling down on a failing strategy will just make you fail faster.

Then get ready to do it all again in another couple years, because change is constant. We all have to work as much (if not more) at building our businesses as we do at production itself.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 27, 2012 at 6:18:39 pm

Im in a theatre at the moment filming a show. Two cameras plus backup to two harddrives. One for each camera.

Will probably be here for four hours. Full day editing and copies produce.

Sales arnt brilliant. Orders up front about 25 and only a cast of 50.

Probably lucky if i make £200 profit. Again had to reduce prices to get this gig.

What is also worrying me is cloud services now available to the masses. Animoto. Sinage software. Even editing.

When the cost of cloud editing storage comes down in cost this will also be a big blow.

India will take over the whole industry with extremely low rates that none of us will be able to compete with especialy when broadband fibre speed increases.

Were completely screwed


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Mark Suszko
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 27, 2012 at 9:24:00 pm

Andy said:


When the cost of cloud editing storage comes down in cost this will also be a big blow.

India will take over the whole industry with extremely low rates that none of us will be able to compete with especialy when broadband fibre speed increases.

Were completely screwed


I myself had this epiphany almost ten years ago, came into the office looking like my dog had died, and nobody there really understood that we were seeing the oncoming mass extinction event of our industry. To this day, I can't really get people to accept what's coming.

Here is a little taste;

In under 12 years now, the Square Kilometer Array will be completed.
It is a network of radio telescopes that will cover the entire Southern hemisphere of the earth to make a virtual scope, the quivalent of a dish a square kilometer across. Tied together by new broadband connections, the SKA will be a bigger project than the current Big Daddy of science, the Higgs-hunting supercollider at CERN. It will see two orders of magnitude deeper into space and time than we now know.

From the day they flip the switch to get "first light" on the Square Kilometer Array, the SKA will begin to generate an exabyte of data, every day. That's a "1", with eighteen zeros after it.

Every day. Or put another way, about the daily traffic of our entire internet today, from one experiment. IBM is leading an international consortium to figure out how to record, move, store, and process this flood of data. The hardware to do it hasn't even been designed yet. But the clock is ticking down already.

In 12 years, they will have some way to deal with an exabyte a day, and that technology is going to be commercialized. We will be plankton swimming in a sea of data. Nothing ever need be erased again, ever, across the realm of human endeavor; storage will be that cheap and easy. The so-called "cloud" of today will fulfil the grandiouse promises being made today, and probably much more.

At that point, (and almost all of us here will be alive to see that day) is that it will cost no more for an edit to happen for you in Mumbai, than it does to have it happen in Milwaukee. Editors will chase the sun around the clock, editing stories and projects while we sleep.

Since the data infrastructure will have become so completely englobing and fundamental, cost for entry will be zero. With exabyte processing power, language translation will be effortless and real-time, we will all seem to speak the same language wherever we are.

So yes, you are going to have to adjust your day rate down when Rajeev there offers compositing for two rupees a day. Or you will have to quit and do something Rajeev cannot yet do. There won't be much. Or maybe, there will.

Because the first internet boom happened, when CERN worker Tim Berners Lee's little riff on hypertext markup language made web browsing of his tech documents practical, the web as WE understand it was born. With the billions of dollars' worth of companies, products, and services it generated. That's going to happen again.

The exabyte boom will also bring new industries and ways to make a living, in the same way as HTML did... and maybe some of our skills will be applicable to that new world, and thus worth a little more.

Heck, in twelve years, with exabyte tech, we might all be "living" digitally in the cloud oruselves, in what Ray Kurzweil refers to as the "Singularity". You may call it a consentual version of The Matrix.


And getting your day rate will be the smallest of your problems.

Where do you plan to be in 12 years? I will bet you won't be doing exactly what you're doing now. Do we all just quit? Or do we turn and face the strange ch-ch-ch-changes?


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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 27, 2012 at 9:43:23 pm

Well Mark. I was worried

I`m suicidal now!


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Craig Seeman
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 27, 2012 at 10:03:34 pm

Don't worry. With global climate change, India won't be livable in 12 years. Hollywood will have been submerged as well. This will open up the vast number of Bollywood and Hollywood jobs to the rest of us. The best place to setup facilities will be in the Himalayas or the Rocky Mountains. If you buy land there now while it's still cheap, you'll be in great business shape by 2024.



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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 27, 2012 at 10:15:28 pm

A sense of humour.

Just whats needed.

Trying to take our minds of the real problems and issues.


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Bob Zelin
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 27, 2012 at 6:40:50 pm

Walter writes -
Bob doesn't fight the market. He goes with it. He listens to the market and does what it tells him to do.

REPLY - this is exactly what I do. When I first saw the AVID, I thought it was the biggest piece of crap - just like all the other engineers that I knew in NY. But my film editor clients were all buying the AVID. I realized that either I learned how to work on the AVID, and set it up, or I would lose these clients. And so I learned the AVID. I was the ONLY ENGINEER IN NY that had any interest in learning the AVID at the time. And look what happened - it exploded.

As for the 75 pounds to shoot the job, I can only offer an analogy.
There are many neighborhoods where you live, and all of them have real estate agents. There are poor neighborhoods, and there are rich neighborhoods. The guys making money are working in the RICH neighborhoods. And the poor people will always complain that the real estate agent is ripping them off for their commission.

Same with plumbers. You can be a plumber in a poor neighborhood, or in a rich neighborhood, with rich clients that will pay you top dollar. It's all a matter of who you solicit. This applies (as I bring the analogy closer to our business) to a wedding photographer. There is the guy that asks his brother-in-law to hold the camera, and then there are Disney Weddings that can charge up to $25,000 for a video production. There are home theater installers
that install stereo and home video theater equipment for wealthy homes, that spend more than most post production installations.

And of course, this relates to our business. There are clients with no money, and clients with lots of money. You have to solicit the clients with the money. Let the kids with the 5D do the free jobs for the guy that crys that he has no budget. I do many church installations - there are poor churches, and there are rich churches with extensive video facilities. I try to solicit the latter.

You can do the same.

Bob Zelin



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Michael Hendrix
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 27, 2012 at 7:30:52 pm

Do you guys remember when you got into the business? Did you step on anyones toes as a noob?

We all did. As an assistant editor, didnt you do jobs that the higher paid online editor should be doing and your boss said, "why should I pay that guy twice as much to do as that guy does for the same work?"

Just sucks when you are on the wrong end of the deal.

Just sayin.....



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Scott Sheriff
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 28, 2012 at 5:16:41 pm

[Michael Hendrix] "Do you guys remember when you got into the business? Did you step on anyones toes as a noob?"

Hell no. It's rude, and wasn't tolerated or embraced as it seems to be now. Plus there was actually respect for those that had experience, not the contempt that these wannbe punks have for us "old timers". When you came back with crap and were criticized, you didn't get up in anyones face and call them names or tell them it's a new paradigm. You accepted it, and attempted to learn form those that had been there and done it.
There was never any shame in being new, as long as you knew your place. We used to have this thing called "paying your dues". It goes along with another thing we called "seat time". People that didn't pay their dues, didn't have seat time, and were shunned by all and pushed out of the industry. This was all before the invention of the word noobs. We had a word for people that were inexperienced and clueless who thought they had the same skills as the rest of us that did pay their dues. But I can't share it here.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com

http://www.affordabledolly.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Robert Fargo
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 28, 2012 at 10:07:19 pm

Maybe there are other issues with you not getting the rates you're used to?

"Go to my contact page to book you gig, or to discuss rates."


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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 28, 2012 at 11:49:01 pm

Please Enlighten Us. What are we doing wrong.


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Scott Sheriff
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 29, 2012 at 12:11:54 am

[Robert Fargo] "Maybe there are other issues with you not getting the rates you're used to?"

I guess I don't get why you posted a link to my web page, and what you mean?

Scott Sheriff
SST Digital Media
Multi-Camera Director, VFX and Post Production

The Affordable Camera Dolly is your just right solution!


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Robert Fargo
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 29, 2012 at 12:25:19 am

Sorry Scott, I should have been more specific and less snarky. If I was looking for a quote for professional video I'd be slightly turned off by such obvious grammatical errors. It seems that professional web design has fallen off as rapidly as pro video...


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Mark Suszko
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 29, 2012 at 12:33:29 am

Now you guys are just getting catty... that's not how we do it here.


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Scott Sheriff
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 29, 2012 at 12:44:42 am

[Robert Fargo] "Sorry Scott, I should have been more specific and less snarky. If I was looking for a quote for professional video I'd be slightly turned off by such obvious grammatical errors. It seems that professional web design has fallen off as rapidly as pro video..."

I don't give a rats ass about snarky, I just couldn't see it.
This is why they tell you not to proof read your own stuff. Not really grammatical, as it is a simple typo. Glad you caught that, now I can go fix it!

Scott Sheriff
SST Digital Media
Multi-Camera Director, VFX and Post Production

The Affordable Camera Dolly is your just right solution!


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Robert Fargo
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 29, 2012 at 1:01:56 am

Didn't mean to offend! It's been a long day. I made the mistake of reading the whole thread at once and as a struggling web designer, I've seen my industry rise and fall to the whims of cost and "my brother makes web sites for free" in a much smaller ark than video production.

Do you feel that web design is best left to pro's or do you handle it "internally" much like what has been lamented in this thread re: video production? And if you do handle it, is that at all contradictory to at least some of your arguments against diversification?

Again, I'm sorry if this sounds rude or trollish...


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Scott Sheriff
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 29, 2012 at 4:57:08 am

[Robert Fargo] "Didn't mean to offend!"

I wasn't offended.

[Robert Fargo] "Do you feel that web design is best left to pro's or do you handle it "internally" much like what has been lamented in this thread re: video production?"

In my case I don't feel I'm doing the same thing that I complain about. Here's why.
I'm only doing it for myself. I'm not a zero experience web design guy trying to solicit web design clients or outside web design work. Just like these (amateur) independent film makers that are all DIY. I don't care about that, they are not hurting rates. Not the same thing as noobs soliciting paid gigs when they have got no experience. They are hurting rates, and bringing standards down.
I also don't go to professional web design forums and solicit advice from working web designers, while also competing for their clients, or even when I have problems doing it DIY.
I do pay for web design, but at a heavily discounted rate. My web host, like many, have templates and limited design and trouble shooting help as part of an expanded hosting web package which I pay extra for. But I am paying someone, something. And someone at my web host is getting paid to help people like me. This in some way may be hurting your rates, but I don't see it as the same as if I were taking your web clients by doing web design for a tenth of the going rate.
In a way, this could be its own thread, as there seems to be a lot of nuance to this, and a bit gray at times.
But I'm done because F1 qualifying is on!

Scott Sheriff
SST Digital Media
Multi-Camera Director, VFX and Post Production

The Affordable Camera Dolly is your just right solution!


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Mark Suszko
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 29, 2012 at 1:08:04 am

While we're on the subject of what's on your web page, I saw that you list a lot of details about your computer and software. Are you sure that this is useful or a positive thing? Where I'm coming from is, if i am a client that's kind of ignorant, is the hardware and software plug-ins list supposed to impress me - because if I don't know what all that stuff means, it's just hash words.

OTOH if I'm a pro myself, or had experience dealing with pros, would the hardware info there really be of much value? Could I use it as a shopping list to buy my own stuff to compete with you? I suppose it is a positive for netting clients, in the cases where you have specific file formats and you're looking for someone already able to deal with those.

But my overall thinking on this, just my own, understand, is that it may scare off more business than it brings in, to be too free with listing everything you have. If you have to list the wireless keyboard for the computer as a selling feature of your post service, well... :-) And conversely, smaller potential clients might get scared off by too big a list of techno-babble.

My experience of editing clients is that they come in two main flavors. The larger majority of them are:

"Just tell me what time it is, not how to build the clock"


and

"I could cut this myself, let me move your hands for you".


I only get those kind once in a blue moon.


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Scott Sheriff
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 29, 2012 at 2:40:06 am

[Mark Suszko] "OTOH if I'm a pro myself, or had experience dealing with pros, would the hardware info there really be of much value? Could I use it as a shopping list to buy my own stuff to compete with you? I suppose it is a positive for netting clients, in the cases where you have specific file formats and you're looking for someone already able to deal with those."

It's all a guessing game.
Go ahead and use it for a shopping list. It's not like it's proprietary. It's not like we haven't told a million people on the FCP forum how to fix their broken system, even though they are the competition.
Why list the plugins? I'm not shooting for the local 'I need you to make me a video' client. I'm looking for people that are already doing video, that might be interested in trying someone new. Some of these people have specific needs like EMA, that type of thing that they might have used before. And speaking of EMA, sure anyone can buy it. But wouldn't you assume that someone that already has it on their system is fairly proficient at using it, as apposed to the person that was downloading it during a session and is learning it on their nickle?

Why list the hardware and interface sundries? Because I will let you come and use my system for self edit, and a some have come by to do some training. If you were in either position, wouldn't you want to know what the set-up was? Also have had calls from producers in the past that wanted to know if I was doing this on a laptop, or had a 'real' edit system, and what platform I used. So if this scares away some folks that are looking for a final cut X editor to sit with them in a coffee shop and cut their video, oh well.
Another thought, I filled in for a Shake guy on vacation and when I got there they didn't have a full size keyboard or a tablet on the system. Not having either is a real PIA with Shake, and I could have brought my own had I known. Having the hardware on the web page might have tipped me off. Seems like all my friends that have audio studios do very much the same thing. Maybe I learned that from them.

Scott Sheriff
SST Digital Media
Multi-Camera Director, VFX and Post Production

The Affordable Camera Dolly is your just right solution!


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 29, 2012 at 8:14:13 pm

So after reading through all the replies I have definitely come to the conclusion that the video industry is dead.

There is no way of making a full time professional career anymore.

Doing it part time or free seems the way its going.

Looking on craigslist, peopleperhour and mandys.com proves there is no money or future prospects.

The internet, cheap cameras, computers, software free labour have completely destroyed the profession.


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Mark Suszko
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 29, 2012 at 8:37:53 pm

Destroyed it as we knew it, yes.

That doesn't mean it's replaced by a complete void, though. Plenty of Graphic Artists and printing specialists experienced this ahead of us, back in the 80's. They quit, or they adapted, and some survived.

You may not want to be a part of the new paradigm, and that's okay. Its not for everybody.

I would suggest, if you can't find clients you like, why not become your OWN client? That is, instead of waiting to find people that want to pay you to execute their stuff, hire yourself and produce your own original content, go out and market that. Make something you believe in, that you're proud of, that fills a need.

This is one of my own end strategies. Whenever I retire, I have some plans to partner with my artist wife to create a series of animated children's stories, illustrating folk tales from the old country. I'll also make some animated space operas, the way I want to make them. Then I'm going to niche market the heck out of those online, and no, it won't make me a millionaire, but it should bring in a little extra to go with my pension, and perhaps attract a few pieces of work on commission.
Primarily, I'll be doing it for love first and money second. If you do stuff the other way around, it rarely achieves greatness.


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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 29, 2012 at 8:51:26 pm

Producing your own stuff when you are trying to pay your bills each month is not a viable option.

How do you suggest you pay for the marketing etc?

Its easy to say when you have a guaranteed income being a pension.

Lucky you for doing it for the love first and money second.

This is the same attitude all the newbies have got and look where its got us!


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Mark Suszko
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 29, 2012 at 9:50:15 pm

Well, Andy, not that you're really interested in an answer, but I'm probably going to crowd source the marketing expenses for my series thru something like Kickstarter, or whatever the hot method is at that point in time. I'll use samples of the finished work to gin up contributions. The Polish folk tales animations will probably sell fairly well in Chicago, which has more Polish people in it than all of Warsaw. I might also reach out to other large communities in Ohio and whatnot. And the market niche I'm exploiting is people not unlike myself; second and third-generation Americans who were casually aware of a cultural heritage but lost most of it when the grandparents died off. Now they want to pass some pieces of that heritage on to their kids, and they will look for easy ways to do this, like my videos.

The production costs will be negligible; I'm using the same cheap yet powerful hardware and software tools as anybody else can buy. The labor and creativity is the valuable part, working with my wife, who's an awesome artist, and we've both had a fascination with animation all our lives.

By the time my product is ready to go, distribution will almost certainly all be virtual, so, little or no costs there. I will probably work a deal for some underwriter to cover the expenses in exchange for advertising, then we'll sell copies at blow-out pricing so that nobody will bother trying to undercut the price thru piracy. I may also try it out on the festival circuit, more for a lark than anything.

So that's my little fantasy of what I want to do when I grow up. We'll see how it goes, but I can tell you this: the same alignment of events that you are cursing for upsetting the existing video production paradigms, is what is making my silly little animator dreams possible at the same time. To attempt what I'm going to attempt, back in the 80's or 90's, would have taken years and over a million bucks to achieve, if it could be done at all. So I can't make good money shooting weddings any more, boo-boo - other new opportunities now present themselves.

I live relatively frugally. I have investments and a pension coming. It ought to be enough, along with occasional side jobs. Lucky for me, writing is even cheaper to perform than video is, and I plan to make more money writing in my retirement. I think I will survive.

I think your trouble right now Andy is that you're not ready for change and you're having more fun wallowing in self-pity and knocking down people's suggestions than in planning your next moves. Its scary, unfamiliar territory. But consider the kids coming out of college today: experts say they can expect to change their careers - not jobs, mind you, but entire CAREERS - five times in their adult years. Five careers, each with a beginning, an arc of progression, reaching some high point, and a denouement. Only to pick themselves up and start fresh all over again in the next career. Medicine. Law enforcement. Jurisprudence. Consultant. Restauranteur, hell, I don't know what their resume's will look like.

I know they have to learn to keep learning, to be adaptable, to be a professional Human Being. That's how you survive the next wave: you learn how to surf it, or you let it smother you.


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Walter Soyka
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 30, 2012 at 4:57:36 pm

[Andy jackson] "So after reading through all the replies I have definitely come to the conclusion that the video industry is dead. There is no way of making a full time professional career anymore."

That's a strange conclusion to draw, since media consumption is higher than ever and a number of the posters here are full-time video professionals.


[Andy jackson] "Looking on craigslist, peopleperhour and mandys.com proves there is no money or future prospects."

You are looking at all the places people look for CHEAP labor, and basing your judgment of the state of the industry on that alone. Look elsewhere. Not all clients value low cost above all else. When you play the game "Who Can Be Cheapest," even the winners lose.

I'm not sure where in the UK you are, but the BBC are airing 2500 hours of Olympic coverage in the next couple weeks. Did they crew on Craig's List?


[Andy jackson] "The internet, cheap cameras, computers, software free labour have completely destroyed the profession."

What industry isn't affected by lower labor costs and faster shipping/communication? It's not just manufacturing -- you can outsource legal and medical opinions, too. The camera operator has the same protection here that a tradesman does -- you have to physically be at the shoot.

That said, the Internet need not only benefit your competition. You can use it to expand your market, too.

The industry is certainly changing, but it's not dead yet. It's not even dying.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Scott Sheriff
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 30, 2012 at 6:13:48 pm

[Walter Soyka] "The camera operator has the same protection here that a tradesman does -- you have to physically be at the shoot"

Robotics. How many studio camera ops have been replaced by the TD pushing the 'weather pre-set 2' button?
There is robotics on remotes too. Maybe not as much, but it's there and more is coming.

Scott Sheriff
SST Digital Media
Multi-Camera Director, VFX and Post Production

The Affordable Camera Dolly is your just right solution!


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Walter Soyka
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 30, 2012 at 6:50:30 pm

[Scott Sheriff] "Robotics. How many studio camera ops have been replaced by the TD pushing the 'weather pre-set 2' button? There is robotics on remotes too. Maybe not as much, but it's there and more is coming."

When I wrote that, I actually wondered if robotics would come up -- but it still illustrates my point about adaptation. If robotics kill the market for camera operators (which I think they only can in select circumstances like news studios for the foreseeable future), then a smart camera operator might consider climbing the chain of value and becoming a robotic camera-savvy TD.

And let's be honest -- if one guy who is already doing another job on the shoot can also do your job with a couple more buttons on his switcher, then you are clearly not adding a lot of value.

If you are not adding a lot of value, but if you cost a lot, it's just a matter of time until you are replaced by someone or something. That is the time to start looking around and figuring out how you might adapt.

Again, it's not rainbows and butterflies, and there's no step-by-step workflow that will guarantee results. It's reality, and anyone who wants to stay in any business -- not just in this industry -- has got to figure out for himself how to deal with it. You need to recognize when you've got it good, you need to recognize when it's going to go bad (before it actually gets bad!), and you need to re-position yourself in the market to stay in business.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Richard Herd
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 4, 2012 at 11:42:18 pm

[Scott Sheriff] "level of the noobs "

You should make t-shirts...no...start a punk band. "AND NOW, all the way from the cow:....level of the noobs!!"


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Bob O'Hearn
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 29, 2012 at 7:56:22 pm

Whew! This thread had me reaching for the xanax. I laughed, I cried...

I get it! I’m seeing it! I feel it! It’s driving me crazy. (In a good way)

Time to re-invent myself once again.

As my dear mother once told me, “ a pat on the back is a good thing, as long as it’s low enough and hard enough”

Seriously, I have been wrestling with this situation for more than a year. I do mostly pharmaceutical corporate work, which is where I got my start about 15 years ago, while holding a position in sales and marketing for a large company.

Five years later I have taken the "video production" out of my company name and now use my skill set to focus on digital media strategy. On line video strategy is what I'm offering now along with the tools I have developed over the years.

Most of the in-house folks I deal with on a daily basis do not get the impact a well produced on line video can have.

With the economy the way it is and the access issues pharmaceutical sales people are having globally, I feel the perfect storm is looming.

I feel in five years my dog will be able to edit and the perceived value of what I’m doing now will continue to diminish, sooo…. off to the races.

All the best,

Bob O'Hearn



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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 30, 2012 at 7:27:44 am

The video business as a profession is dead in the water.

FINAL!!!!


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Tom Sefton
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 30, 2012 at 11:55:07 am

Andy,

I think everyone here can feel your pain. However, I don't believe that the industry is dead or dying. It is changing, and always will change. Unfortunately there are plenty of clients out there that will look around for the cheapest producer and use them = why do you want them as your client? They will waste your time, waste your energy, ruin your business and will never appreciate what you are doing. Don't give them another thought.

Bob made a wonderful and very eloquent point. I'll try and put it another way - why chase after a lowballing clown for a job? Why waste your valuable, precious and experienced time?

I know it is easy to say, but chase the clients who pay top dollar. Don't offer to do it for less, offer to do it twice as well, faster, with less hassle, better results and more add ons. I've been saying for years that people who chase a client by offering to be vastly cheaper are shooting themselves in the foot. The client will always associate you with cheap, not good, and you will never get your prices up once you have offered to do it for £250. Go after the big clients, go after the guys who know video/motion graphics/media is worthwhile. Invest all of your energy and time in locating someone who spends FORTUNES on video and chase them until you collapse or win them over.


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Michael Hendrix
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 30, 2012 at 6:31:38 pm

Hey, one less person I have to compete with!!!!



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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 30, 2012 at 10:31:40 pm

Well you won`t be competing with anyone if there is no work to compete with!!!


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Mark Suszko
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 30, 2012 at 11:52:07 pm

'>


What have you got to lose?


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Craig Seeman
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 31, 2012 at 12:05:05 am

Ahh, I get it. Produce self help videos and make millions.

"I'm OK, You're Shooting 1080p30"

"How to Win Friends and Influence Clients"

"How to Stop Worrying and Start Slating"

"Who Moved my Record Button"

"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Line Producers"

"Men are from Mars, Woman are from Venus, Art Directors are from a small planet orbiting a Red Dwarf in Andromeda"



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Scott Sheriff
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Jul 31, 2012 at 12:11:19 am

[Craig Seeman] "Ahh, I get it. Produce self help videos and make millions.

"I'm OK, You're Shooting 1080p30"

"How to Win Friends and Influence Clients"

"How to Stop Worrying and Start Slating"

"Who Moved my Record Button"

"The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Line Producers"

"Men are from Mars, Woman are from Venus, Art Directors are from a small planet orbiting a Red Dwarf in Andromeda""


LMFAO!

Scott Sheriff
SST Digital Media
Multi-Camera Director, VFX and Post Production

The Affordable Camera Dolly is your just right solution!


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Mick Haensler
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 1, 2012 at 4:11:58 pm

A recent conversation with a client we just signed:

ME: This video is a great idea, how do you plan on using it?

CLIENT: What do you mean?

ME: I mean, when I hand over the final product, what happens then?

CLIENT(starting to look uncomfortable): Well you know, put it on Youtube...stuff like that.

ME: Tell me about "stuff like that"

CLIENT: You know, Social Media...Facebook....stuff like that...

ME: I see. Before this meeting, I took the liberty of finding out about your company by doing a comprehensive analysis of your online presence. Which brings us to a crossroads in this conversation. I can give you a price on the video you want, produce it, hand it over to you, get paid and call it a day. Or....I can tell you what I found.

CLIENT: Uuuuuhmmmm.....do we really want to know???


I then proceeded to tell the client more about their company than they knew themselves, including that they didn't even own their own website domain or have any metadata at all. They were for all intensive purposes, invisible. One week later, my new partner and I did a presentation for the Sales and Marketing Department outlining an online strategy in great detail that if they bought, would be worth 6 times the cost of producing the video to my company. We GAVE them this information freely. We SHOWED them that we weren't some company out for a quick buck, we wanted a RELATIONSHIP with them. Yesterday, I picked up the signed proposal and deposit for producing the video and we are about 95% confident that they will buy the marketing proposal. This isn't some little startup either, this is a 60 million dollar a year international company with production plants in several companies. The lead came through a Social Media contact. Furthermore, I just had a very productive conversation with the PRESIDENT of the wholesale company that distributes my clients products. He is very interested to see what we do and wants to meet in 6 months to discuss what my company can do for them. Tomorrow I am having lunch with an old friend who recently started working for a 160 million dollar non profit that needs some serious help, both media wise and marketing. If you are not adding value to what you do and are not sincere about your client's success beyond your own gains, you will not survive this new landscape.

Everyone has access to the tools now. There is no reason for a client to hire you if you are not bringing added value to the table.

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media


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Mark Suszko
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 1, 2012 at 5:20:06 pm

Awesome news, Mick. To me, what it points out is that our job isn;t just production, and never was. production is one facet of the main job which is TO SOLVE THE CLIENT'S COMMUNICATION PROBLEM.
Sometimes that means make a video, sometimes it means nixing that and goin in another direction. And sometimes it means assessing the underlying foundations and needs, and telling the client what they didn't know.

Now, Mick is taking a risk in laying out his advice for free, sure. Some low-baller could undercut him, or some guy in the company can say they can handle this. But the odds are good Mick gets the job because he's already proven he knows what's going on. When somebody works that hard for your business, you'd be smart to give them your business.

Looking forward to the follow up and the happy ending.


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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 1, 2012 at 5:21:05 pm

Mick this all sounds a bit far fetched to me!

A company who makes multi millions and you proceeded to tell the client " that you knew more about their company than they knew themselves, including that they didn't even own their own website domain or have any metadata at all"

Im sure their marketing department knows what their doing and `I`m sure they would own their domain name.

This Is Total Rubbish!!

Then you have a meating with a president of another multi million company. Your a video producer not a shareholder. You would be lucky to get past the receptionist.

After reading your profile it seems your ego and dreams seem to be getting ahead of you and slightly exaggerated.

I would not read into anything in this post!


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Mark Suszko
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 1, 2012 at 5:31:30 pm

I thought you'd had your final word and quit already... why are you still here then?


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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 1, 2012 at 5:43:43 pm

Get updates to my mobile.

Need to keep up with the cows members who are still in denial that the industry is doomed!!


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Mark Suszko
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 1, 2012 at 6:00:14 pm

Not to belabor the point, but it seems to me the consensus here, Andy, is that there are *levels* of "Doom", and what you describe as "doom", we refer to as "change". If you think you're going to convince several thousand members they should sleep in tomorrow because you're personally having trouble finding better clients, well... the fault lies not in our stars, Horatio...

I said before, you can learn to surf an incoming wave, or be smothered by it, but the wave itself has no regard at ALL for your feelings, either way.


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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 1, 2012 at 6:11:32 pm

Thanks for the advise but your words won`t change the situation with the millions of video professionals who are out of work trying to compete againt the free work newbies.


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Mark Suszko
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 1, 2012 at 6:34:17 pm

Pros don't compete against newbies in the first place. Newbs compete against other newbs, driving rates down in a race to the bottom. Pros look for pro gigs, and they demand a pro wage. Because they can prove they're worth it. I'll agree with you just this far: that the days where well-paying gigs can just fall into your lap are past. You have to go out and pursue the work. Sitting at home crying about a lack of work does nothing to employ you. Get motivated!







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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 1, 2012 at 6:40:44 pm

I think your in denial mark.

Another video I see!

Your living in fantasy land.
You do know the videos you are watching are scripted and not reality!

Hope you have not become to obsessed with fiction.


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Ronald Lindeboom
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 2, 2012 at 4:00:53 am

[Andy jackson] "Need to keep up with the cows members who are still in denial that the industry is doomed!!"


Andy,

You think so small and you are already beaten, so it comes as no surprise to me to find that you cannot make things work. Of course you can't, you have yourself convinced that there is no answer and so you cannot find one.

I ran out of money many years ago. Lost all of my clients when I had pneumonia three times in a 24 month period. Almost died and had no business left when I finally began to get better. Had no money in the bank left, no insurance and no retirement left. Everything was gone.

But I am NEVER beaten because there is ALWAYS an answer but you have to not be a mental wuss to find it.

That is your biggest problem: you start from a premise of failure and so when it doesn't work, you say "See? I told you so!" And you are RIGHT … for you.

This is too sad for words.

The conversation that you are having is one that has been going on in this industry for decades now. None of your arguments are new ones. Those of us who have been involved with the COW and the WWUG before that, have heard these arguments ad nauseum. But we have continued our fights and we win some and we lose some. YOU lose them all, it appears -- and it surprises next to none of us based on your attitude.

I have stayed out of this and hoped that you'd learn something but people have broken out the play-by-play and have even gone so far as to give you the lay of the land from all of the things they have learned. You do NOT listen and you cannot learn because you cannot receive anything that does not agree with your own negativity and predisposition for failure.

Great. You win the argument. You are right, you will lose and your inability to adapt and adjust is what happens to species who cannot make the leap when the circumstances change.

You are right, you are going to fail.

You have ignored the advice of many here who are successful in spite of all the circumstances you decry and moan and groan about. They have something to teach you but you are an unwilling student it appears.

So please go away and make room for those who can listen and learn. You are beyond help.

Best regards,

Ronald Lindeboom
CEO Emeritus, Creative COW LLC
Publisher Emeritus, Creative COW Magazine
A 2011 FOLIO: 40 honoree as one of the 40 most influential publishers in America
http://www.creativecow.net


Creativity is a process wherein the student and the teacher are located in the same individual.

"Incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm."
- Woody Allen

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those that matter, don't mind -- and those that mind, don't matter." - Dr. Seuss


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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 2, 2012 at 8:58:29 am

How Rude Ronald!!

"YOU lose them all, it appears -- and it surprises next to none of us based on your attitude"

I have been in the business 27 years and have been successfull.
Paid off my house, cars etc and no debts. SUCCESS!

My post is pointing out that yes things have changed. But for the worse.

"You have ignored the advice of many here who are successful in spite of all the circumstances you decry and moan and groan about. They have something to teach you but you are an unwilling student it appears."

So please do not be patronising!


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Ronald Lindeboom
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 2, 2012 at 11:20:15 am

I am rude because I call you on all of the haughty disrespect that you have had for one person after another in this entire exchange? I have noticed that in this entire thread, you have insulted nearly everyone who doesn't agree with your way of thinking, even calling them delusional and other derogatory labels you feel free to use.

You have refused to even consider or in any way respond to some of the most thoughtful and helpful people who have offered many ideas from their own experience as to ways and means to reinvent oneself in this industry -- people like Bob Zelin, Craig Seeman, Mark Suszko and others come to mind and there are many others.

I find you so disingenuous and condescending to anyone who isn't espousing and regurgitating your point of view that I do not really care if you find my words callous or rude. As I have followed and considered this thread, I have found you so rude that I finally just had to step in here and call you on it. I do not do that kind of thing except maybe once every year or two or three -- I think you are in one of my currently two or three year cycles. So welcome to that select small group.

And I will stand by my words: no matter what success you may have had in the past, you are 100% guaranteed to fail with your current attitude. If that offends you, I do not know what to do about that other than to remind you that I have been doing forums communities for over 17 years now and I have a pretty good idea of watching the ones on their way up -- as well as how to spot those on their way out. You, Mr. Andy Jackson, are wearing the t-shirt of the latter club.

That you have succeeded in the past, I am happy for you. Congratulations. But with your current attitude that winning streak will not continue. That is a given.

Best regards,

Ronald Lindeboom
CEO Emeritus, Creative COW LLC
Publisher Emeritus, Creative COW Magazine
A 2011 FOLIO: 40 honoree as one of the 40 most influential publishers in America
http://www.creativecow.net


Creativity is a process wherein the student and the teacher are located in the same individual.

"Incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm."
- Woody Allen

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those that matter, don't mind -- and those that mind, don't matter." - Dr. Seuss


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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 2, 2012 at 11:22:53 am

OOPS!!!


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Tom Sefton
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 2, 2012 at 5:05:46 pm

Not patronising, just honest. You've had your day Andy. If you can't make money from all of the tools available to a media producer now, you never will again. If you do own your house and car and have no debt, why the hell are you creating a business model that competes with newbie producers, undercutters and cheapo firms? You have backed yourself into a corner with your clients by undervaluing your own product. Why bother to reference a case study for a guy who is hiring red camera and 4 man crews for €600? I guarantee I'll be buying his kit from a bankruptcy auction in 6 months if that's his business. Stop insulting people, paying no respect to advice or well aimed criticism and leave. The cow is for professionals, and you aren't acting like one.


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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 2, 2012 at 7:39:30 pm

OOPS No. 2!


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Tom Sefton
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 2, 2012 at 7:51:09 pm

At least you can spell oops properly...


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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 2, 2012 at 8:06:28 pm

Well observed .....


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Ronald Lindeboom
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 5, 2012 at 9:10:49 pm

One thing that I have "well observed" (to quote you, Andy, is that you NEVER address any of the points that people make. All you want to do is complain.

You have had your say and have had your bitchfest more than a number of times now.

Our policy is one that when arguments just become noise, we warn the people doing it and ask them to stop or we will simply terminate their accounts.

You have had your say and you will not do people here the respect of responding to their advice and well meaning offers of ideas that have worked for them. You just ignore it all and only like to bitch about what you see as the lousy changes in our industry.

As I said somewhere else in this thread: life is always in a state of flux and it is those who can adapt that survive. You wish to stay right in the circumstances as they have been for you in the past and do not wish to explore other options that people have proffered to you. Your only argument is that you are going to low-ball. Good luck.

I know people here who have RAISED their prices to purposely drive off the ones who buy from low-ballers and who have fewer clients than they once had -- some even end up with more -- but they make more money with the ones they now have. There have always been those who like to buy cheap and there will always be those who know that cheap is usually an invitation to a nightmare. They are willing to pay for great work. AND they work through relationships built on trust.

Cultivating that type of business is what many here have focused on. It works. Not for everyone, as nothing ever does. But it is far better to work with the clients who work through relationships than it is to hang a shingle and wait for "Now serving number 1732" to pop in.

Best regards,

Ronald Lindeboom
CEO Emeritus, Creative COW LLC
Publisher Emeritus, Creative COW Magazine
A 2011 FOLIO: 40 honoree as one of the 40 most influential publishers in America
http://www.creativecow.net


Creativity is a process wherein the student and the teacher are located in the same individual.

"Incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm."
- Woody Allen

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those that matter, don't mind -- and those that mind, don't matter." - Dr. Seuss


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Mick Haensler
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 1, 2012 at 6:47:16 pm

This Is Total Rubbish!!

Then you have a meating with a president of another multi million company. Your a video producer not a shareholder. You would be lucky to get past the receptionist.

After reading your profile it seems your ego and dreams seem to be getting ahead of you and slightly exaggerated.

I would not read into anything in this post!


WOW!!! You make a lot of assumptions Andy without knowing the situation.

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media


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Mick Haensler
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 1, 2012 at 7:09:50 pm

Awesome news, Mick. To me, what it points out is that our job isn;t just production, and never was. production is one facet of the main job which is TO SOLVE THE CLIENT'S COMMUNICATION PROBLEM.
Sometimes that means make a video, sometimes it means nixing that and goin in another direction. And sometimes it means assessing the underlying foundations and needs, and telling the client what they didn't know.

Now, Mick is taking a risk in laying out his advice for free, sure. Some low-baller could undercut him, or some guy in the company can say they can handle this. But the odds are good Mick gets the job because he's already proven he knows what's going on. When somebody works that hard for your business, you'd be smart to give them your business.

Looking forward to the follow up and the happy ending.


Exactly Mark. While I would much prefer the old days(2007) when decent paying work just fell in my lap, the reality is those days are gone. Before I even pitch a client anymore, I've done a lot of back end work researching them, researching their competition. I get to know as much about them as I possibly can before that first meeting so when we sit down at the table, I've already brought something of value to them. More so, I've shown them I'm willing to go above and beyond just to get the CHANCE to work with them. Imagine what I'll do when they hire me!!

Being able to do work we love is a privilege not a right.

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media


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Mark Suszko
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 1, 2012 at 7:25:02 pm

You are so right, Mick. I don't know that Andy is ever going to come around to our way of thinking. Perhaps I've kept up on this thread this long because I have an 18-year-old at home who has graduated high school and is "looking" for work. He's a great kid and the search has been long and hard in a bad economy.

But he needs me to put a boot in his butt on a regular basis when the current leads don't bear any fruit, and he just wants to play x-box and complain how unfair life is. Then i start interrogating him on how hard he's tried to apply elsewhere, who he called today to network and ask around about openings, how many online applications he's filled out today... and the pity party dries up as he gets up for another day of looking and asking. I tell him, looking for a job IS his current job, and you should work at that job as hard as if it paid you a salary. Oh good Lord, I'm turning into My Old Man. :-) There's plenty worse things to be, though.


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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 1, 2012 at 7:36:33 pm

Well can I make a suggestion Mark.

If you know the video industry is still lucrative and there is plenty of work to grab, why don`t you win the jobs at the top notch price then employ your son and give him some experience within the business.

Seems a waste to have a son whos father knows so much about this business and not giving him a chance and a wage until he finds something else.

Im sure you will be able to compete with the free newbies and get the prices you demand.

You are so positive so it should not be a problem.


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Mark Suszko
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 1, 2012 at 8:18:46 pm

My son has told me numerous times he thinks my work is cool and everything, but it is not what he wants to do. I said much the same to my dad about his engineering career at that age, though it seems way cooler to me now. I told him the thing about how it's okay to be a little puzzled at what you want to do, coming out of school, what with each graduate looking forward to working in five different careers in their lifetime, compared to my one. He likes cooking, but isn't into restaurants, and I can't blame him, the margins are lower even than in video right now. He is ranked something like 20th best in the world at Battlefield on x-box, and sometimes he muses about a military career. I don't encourage him on that, I don't think he's suited for the commitment, and you need to do something like that for the right reasons besides money. That's a job that is 100 percent about commitment. He does have a good command of language (must have got it from his mother), and he can write passably well. Paralegal might work for him, as he likes to argue (again, must be from mom's side). If he doesn't find something by fall, I might enroll him in welder's school or home healthcare worker school. He will make enough to live on his own, while he figures it all out.

Andy, it's your career we still have to sort out. What else can YOU do, assuming you've quit the video business? Do you have a plan?


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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 1, 2012 at 8:24:36 pm

This is what i`ve done mark


After 27 years I have now made the move and joined the lowballer association.

Had no choice...
Sorry fellow shooters, who are now going to ridicule me.

Reason: Can`t make a full time salary anymore in the business!
Always being undercut!
Competeting with part timers who just want quick cash!

Can`t beat them so may as well join them.

I would like to congratulate Eric who has a few fish helping him keep the sharks happy.
The fish will dry up though and then the fishing will have to start again.

As Eric also said there is work out there..
I agree there is, but it does not mean you will get any descent pay for it.

Anyone can be busy working for nothing!
And this is what is happening!!

Too many people now in video production.
More competition will bring down the costs... Buyers market.

So got my myself a proper job with a guaranteed salary and now doing this on the side.

Upsetting but had no choice.

This is the reality of the business.s what ive done mark as shown on thread


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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 1, 2012 at 8:27:15 pm

This is very interesting!

http://philipbloom.net/2011/08/07/rates/


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Scott Sheriff
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 2, 2012 at 12:25:28 am

[Andy jackson] "This is very interesting!

http://philipbloom.net/2011/08/07/rates/"

It was interesting.
One of my favorites is the guy with the RED, that will go out with a crew of four for 600 (Euros, £, not sure of the exact currency) a day! It won't be long before someone just like him comes along and will do it for 500. While anecdotal, most of the stories seem to land more on the sky is falling side of the debate.

I know everyone has been beating you up about working harder, marketing and such. All of that is a pipe dream. Most don't credit the real cause of their success. Luck.
Those that think they are not subject to market forces are simply living on borrowed time, and sheer luck. The clock is ticking because the vacuum that allows some to escape the current market conditions is fragile. Eventually companies go broke, get bought, or the CEO, controller, COO or other key people that control the money are replaced. Your contact at your best client moves on or retires, a new guy comes on the staff that questions your rate, or has ten friends of his in the production biz. Or both. Client ad rates fall off, or their hits start to dwindle, budgets get cut, the job goes 'in house', priorities change, etc. That's the luck part of the equation. If you haven't had an upheaval like this at even one (or more) of your best clients, that is simply luck. You may think it's your 'mad skillz', but it's not. Because many of these factors are beyond your control, so your skills have little, if any bearing on the outcome. So, when things like this happen, you are just one search away from losing the gig to someone with a lower rate, if you refuse to lower yours, assuming there is even a job left to bid on. Sure there is the argument that instead of lowering the rate, just provide more. But at some point that will hit a financial wall and no longer work. And how does that keep a client where the new guy wants to give the work to his friend's? How do you keep a client that goes broke because he has been over-paying his vendors, or his revenue has fallen off? A most often repeated answer here has been to just get new clients, or to be constantly trolling for new clients. There are three basic problems with that. One is the above paradigm of change is at work at the prospective clients, just like it is at the existing clients. Secondly you don't bill for hours spent marketing, only hours spent shooting, or editing. There is only so much low hanging fruit. At some point the hours spent marketing, the going rate for editing (which you have no real control over) and the available hours of paid work generated by the marketing will reach a tipping point and you won't be able to earn enough to cover the marketing. Third, in addition to all the noobs competing for those same new clients (and probably your existing clients too), there are just too many long time pros out there that have the gear paid for, have less overhead, that can and will do the same job you do, or even more, for less money. Maybe it's because they have diversified, as many here have preached, and can afford to do it for cut rate because now its just extra income. Doesn't matter. There are only so many clients that have money burning a hole in their pockets and don't care about rates. And fewer of those everyday. The rest of the good clients just haven't figured out they can get the same thing, for a little, or even a lot less. But many will eventually get there. It's not a question of if, it's a question of when, because no one is immune from change. And those at the top, or are currently doing the best not only have the most to lose, but are probably the most vulnerable to upheaval and change when it occurs. Just look at the big post houses that are no more. They had the contacts, the best gear, the best people and all the marketing resources money could buy. And yet they were knocked off by a bunch of no-names with less resources who would do it for less.

Scott Sheriff
SST Digital Media
Multi-Camera Director, VFX and Post Production

The Affordable Camera Dolly is your just right solution!


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Walter Soyka
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 2, 2012 at 1:57:54 am

[Scott Sheriff] "I know everyone has been beating you up about working harder, marketing and such."

Of course marketing will come up. Running a business calls for as much effort and technical skill as running a video shoot, and this is the Business & Marketing forum.



[Scott Sheriff] "Most don't credit the real cause of their success. Luck."

Life is full of chance. You can do everything wrong and succeed. You can do everything right and fail.

The pieces of advice offered in this thread are not recipes for success, because there is no such thing. They are suggestions for improving your odds.

I think you can systematically improve your luck, and I think you can systematically worsen your luck. Why not do everything you can to put the odds in your favor?



[Scott Sheriff] "Eventually companies go broke, get bought, or the CEO, controller, COO or other key people that control the money are replaced... If you haven't had an upheaval like this at even one (or more) of your best clients, that is simply luck... A most often repeated answer here has been to just get new clients, or to be constantly trolling for new clients. "

Do you have a better suggestion? If you lose clients for any reason, you have to replace them or you are out of business. If you want to replace them, you have to develop them first. Keeping the pipeline full is part of the hard work of running a business -- and it's doubly hard when you're a freelancer who needs to produce both billable work and sales -- but it's either that or watch your pipeline dry up.



[Scott Sheriff] "One is the above paradigm of change is at work at the prospective clients, just like it is at the existing clients."

You don't want to replace your lost clients with ones just like them -- you want to replace them with better clients. Even if you believe that all clients are universally seeking lower costs (which I don't believe), unless you are already at the very top, you should encounter some new prospects that would have been previously unattainable who are working their way down the ladder as you work your way up.



[Scott Sheriff] "Secondly you don't bill for hours spent marketing, only hours spent shooting, or editing."

If you don't spend hours developing prospects into clients, who will you spend hours in production to bill for? Marketing efforts are necessary overhead.



[Scott Sheriff] "There is only so much low hanging fruit."

True, and maybe that's the fundamental problem here. All of a sudden, there are lots more people picking the low hanging fruit. If you can't figure out a way to reach higher fruit, you'll go hungry.



[Scott Sheriff] "There are only so many clients that have money burning a hole in their pockets and don't care about rates. And fewer of those everyday. The rest of the good clients just haven't figured out they can get the same thing, for a little, or even a lot less. But many will eventually get there. It's not a question of if, it's a question of when, because no one is immune from change."

Likewise, no one is immune from economics. You're suggesting that the entire industry will violate the quality-speed/scope-cost triangle. I don't think that will happen. You can't have all three -- you have to pick two. Will the relative number of good-paying jobs decrease? Probably. Will they disappear? No.

(Sidebar: will the absolute number of good-paying jobs decrease? Possibly not, since the market itself is growing.)



[Scott Sheriff] "And those at the top, or are currently doing the best not only have the most to lose, but are probably the most vulnerable to upheaval and change when it occurs. Just look at the big post houses that are no more. They had the contacts, the best gear, the best people and all the marketing resources money could buy. And yet they were knocked off by a bunch of no-names with less resources who would do it for less."

The market punishes inflexibility. Post houses were ill-positioned when a market disruption came, and they were unable to adapt quickly enough.



[Scott Sheriff] ""If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair"

Do you believe this quote? If you do, does that mean you think that the market will eventually swing back to "expensive" professionals as clients discover the hidden cost of low budgets?

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Scott Sheriff
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 2, 2012 at 7:45:57 pm

Walter,
I'm quite surprised that you would slice and dice my rant in and take it completely out of context. For example, I never said marketing was a waste. I pointed out that there is a diminishing return when based against the going rate for the service that you are marketing. And with current market conditions, it is easy to get there quick.
And of course there is my overall point, the 800 pound gorilla in the room. Good luck and fortune. It would be refreshing if those out there offering marketing (or other platitudes) as a panacea for whats wrong in this business would acknowledge that good fortune is probably a large part of their success in a dying market since there are so many variables which the fortunate have no control over. Did your marketing help? Sure. Power of positive thinking? Sure. Skills? Yes. Schmoozing? Sure. Change careers? Maybe. But so far none of the experts have offered up the magic bullet, because plenty of folks have done all that, and it still didn't work for them. At the same time, some have done none of that, and had huge success. And my take on that is simply that there is no magic bullet, and that for the most part, it's luck.
The last point I want to make is I'm quite surprised at the anger directed at guys like Andy when they post about their problems. IMO this is based on fear. The fear that they could be next. I suppose this goes along with denying the business as we know it is in a major state of decline. Whistling past the graveyard, a classic human response to fear.
It seems pointless to go on any further and discuss this.

Scott Sheriff
SST Digital Media
Multi-Camera Director, VFX and Post Production

The Affordable Camera Dolly is your just right solution!


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 2, 2012 at 8:33:38 pm

Thankyou scott for your kind words.

It seems I am getting alot of flack from various members for my opinions. Some seem to be getting very personal.

The points we have highlighted may not be taken on board at the present time as there is so much denial within the industry.

When their work hits rock bottom and they can`t compete by charging high prices for the same services and quality ..at least we can say:

"Well we told you so!"


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Scott Sheriff
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 2, 2012 at 9:37:46 pm

[Andy jackson] "Thankyou scott for your kind words.

It seems I am getting alot of flack from various members for my opinions. Some seem to be getting very personal."


No worries.
At times I'm perplexed by what goes on here.
Some Cow regulars will knock each other over in the rush to be first to help some undeserving noob that could easily self-help, by simply reading the manual. And then turn around and treat real colleagues that deserve help rather poorly. None of which is doing any of us any good, but I think it makes some them feel better. It's rather sad.

As far as your situation, I will admit I don't have an answer. Your idea about doing the low-ball jobs as extra income seems like the best short term idea until something better comes along.
What I have done is to make sure that 100% of my gear is paid for. And I was lucky enough to get a house that had an apartment in it, which I remodeled into a studio, so I don't have any of the overhead associated paying rent in a commercial space or any payments on equipment. At the same time I'm not seeing clients in a spare bedroom piled with laundry and cutting on a laptop in the corner. I have an outside entrance and everything a commercial space would have except the cost. So I can do the same work others do in a commercial space, but don't need to charge the LA rates to cover my overhead.
Part of my good luck is that this type of home business is not prohibited, regulated or even taxed where I live.

Scott Sheriff
SST Digital Media
Multi-Camera Director, VFX and Post Production

The Affordable Camera Dolly is your just right solution!


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 2, 2012 at 9:59:26 pm

Scott.

Seems I had the same idea as you.

Home studio.. Equipment all paid for.. No overheads.

Thinking about it... We will probably be the ones who come out on top in the long run.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 2, 2012 at 10:15:26 pm

[Scott Sheriff] "At times I'm perplexed by what goes on here.
Some Cow regulars will knock each other over in the rush to be first to help some undeserving noob that could easily self-help, by simply reading the manual. And then turn around and treat real colleagues that deserve help rather poorly. None of which is doing any of us any good, but I think it makes some them feel better. It's rather sad."


I feel like I read a different thread than you and Andy did. I saw a number of COW members give advice (some as straight up suggestions and others in the form of personal anecdotes) to which Andy basically replied, and I'm paraphrasing here, "You're wrong, you're delusional, we're doomed. Why can no one else understand that we are all doomed, Doomed, DOOMED!" At which point some people got snarky because it appeared that Andy just wanted to b*tch and was getting irritated that no one was jumping onto his doomed bandwagon to the abyss and when internet rants backfire they almost always do so in a spectacular fashion (case in point, this thread).

I hope my lighting of a match doesn't interfere with anyone else's cursing of the darkness. ;)




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Ronald Lindeboom
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 2, 2012 at 10:31:02 pm

[Andy jackson] "It seems I am getting alot of flack from various members for my opinions. Some seem to be getting very personal."

If you wish to avoid personal jabs, Andy, you might try actually interacting respectfully with those who have been trying to help you see more than the perspective you seem unwilling to modify.

Some people went to great length to lay out chapter and verse of the points they were presenting and in most every case that I saw, you didn't even dignify them with a response. Rather, you looked for the simple "I'm telling you it's going to hell" exchanges, so that you could jump right back into the rut and keep the bitchfest going.

Then you made quite a few personal jabs calling people delusional and other such not-quite-pats-on-the-back remarks questioning even their understanding of this industry.

It has always befuddled me how some people feel they have a God-given right to do stuff like that but when you call them on it, they hate it and get all "martyr" on you and turn the bitchfest into a sobfest. I just shake my head at it...

You are free to think what you like but that doesn't always make it so.

Some people here gave you GREAT and VALUABLE advice that you scorned like it came with herpes.

You do not really want to change your outlook, you really just want people to agree with your views and are adamant that they should. It isn't going to happen here, that much I can guarantee you.

And as for LUCK being the great arbiter of who succeeds and who doesn't: after three bouts of pneumonia, with fried lungs so bad that afterwards I'd get the flu for three to four months and I had no money and no savings and no insurance and nothing left to act on -- I'll tell you, to quote Booker T's great old blues song, "Born Under a Bad Sign," I will tell you that I felt just like that song, which laments: "If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all."

But life is hard and I don't lay down for it -- at least not for long. You have to look for an answer to find one and that is something that not everyone is open to. Some just want to complain and find those willing to agree with them. The COW has never really been that kind of place. Sorry.

Best regards,

Ronald Lindeboom
CEO Emeritus, Creative COW LLC
Publisher Emeritus, Creative COW Magazine
A 2011 FOLIO: 40 honoree as one of the 40 most influential publishers in America
http://www.creativecow.net


Creativity is a process wherein the student and the teacher are located in the same individual.

"Incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm."
- Woody Allen

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those that matter, don't mind -- and those that mind, don't matter." - Dr. Seuss


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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 2, 2012 at 10:55:16 pm

I feel the only reason there is no honest negativity here by most of the cow leaders is due to the fact they do not want to upset and lose their advertising sponsors.


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Tom Sefton
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 2, 2012 at 11:01:36 pm

I'm not a leader, I have no sponsors and I don't give two craps who I upset. I'm positive because I'm not built to be any other way. I believe in my business.


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Tom Sefton
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 2, 2012 at 11:09:25 pm

I should add....







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Mark Suszko
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 2, 2012 at 11:36:51 pm

"Oh no, you DI'N'T!!!!!"


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Mark Suszko
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 3, 2012 at 12:00:35 am

I remember that WSJ article and I remember it being kind of off-base in two areas. Pertaining to mobile home production, it didn't look at manufactured or modular homes, which are booming with some commanding "McMansion" pricing. Check any issue of "Dwell".

As far as the video post business, the WSJ writers used numbers for some large high-end, film-transfer-based post houses and applied their numbers industry-wide, ignoring the ever-growing number of smaller and one-man shops.

Call that denial if you want, but IMO , under new management, the WSJ is sloppier than it used to be.


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Ronald Lindeboom
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 3, 2012 at 12:03:16 am

[Andy jackson] "I feel the only reason there is no honest negativity here by most of the cow leaders is due to the fact they do not want to upset and lose their advertising sponsors."


Then I guess you missed it when I stood up to Apple, Autodesk and others and threw them out of the site when they tried to muscle me, eh? That was a while back so you likely were busy being so successful that you were predisposed counting your money or something.

I wrote my own rules for advertisers and did NOT follow any of the industry's "norms."

But you are free to think whatsoever you want. You should ask yourself though why you are so confident about your thoughts when you are admittedly not doing anywhere near as good as the people you are criticizing?

Just a thought...

Best regards,

Ronald Lindeboom
CEO Emeritus, Creative COW LLC
Publisher Emeritus, Creative COW Magazine
A 2011 FOLIO: 40 honoree as one of the 40 most influential publishers in America
http://www.creativecow.net


Creativity is a process wherein the student and the teacher are located in the same individual.

"Incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm."
- Woody Allen

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those that matter, don't mind -- and those that mind, don't matter." - Dr. Seuss


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Walter Soyka
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 2, 2012 at 9:23:33 pm

[Scott Sheriff] "I'm quite surprised that you would slice and dice my rant in and take it completely out of context."

I tried to respond point-by-point, so if when I broke it down that took anything out of context, I do apologize.

However, I still disagree with the whole of your point, which I interpreted to be that luck matters more than preparation. More on that in a minute.



[Scott Sheriff] "For example, I never said marketing was a waste. I pointed out that there is a diminishing return when based against the going rate for the service that you are marketing."

You're right -- looking back, I see that I did selectively quote around that -- but I stand by my point, which was that some kind of marketing is the only defense against natural client attrition. We all lose clients for any number of reasons, but if we want to keep our businesses running, we have to replace them somehow. If not marketing, then what?

Going back to a point I made earlier, if your marketing costs more than it eventually brings in, then the market is telling you something. Either you're marketing wrong, producing wrong, or both.

Andy says there is only one possible response: get a job somewhere else, lower your prices, and do production work on the side. I disagree.



[Scott Sheriff] "And of course there is my overall point, the 800 pound gorilla in the room. Good luck and fortune. It would be refreshing if those out there offering marketing (or other platitudes) as a panacea for whats wrong in this business would acknowledge that good fortune is probably a large part of their success in a dying market since there are so many variables which the fortunate have no control over. Did your marketing help? Sure. Power of positive thinking? Sure. Skills? Yes. Schmoozing? Sure. Change careers? Maybe. But so far none of the experts have offered up the magic bullet, because plenty of folks have done all that, and it still didn't work for them. At the same time, some have done none of that, and had huge success. And my take on that is simply that there is no magic bullet, and that for the most part, it's luck."

I think I was very clear that I agree with you that there is no magic bullet.

While I do agree that luck can be a factor, I disagree that luck matters more to the outcome than what we do.

Jim Collins has rigorously studied top-performing businesses and published a series of very well-respected business books (Built to Last, Good to Great, How the Mighty Fall, and Great by Choice). His most recent, Great by Choice, analyzes and discusses luck in considerable detail.

Collins argues that high-performing companies aren't actually luckier than their less successful counterparts -- but they are better prepared to maximize the results from lucky events. He calls it ROL (return on luck).

See What's Luck Got to Do with It? [link], Collin's brief article in the New York Times, for more on this.

There have been concrete examples in this thread of people working to make sure they stay aligned with economic forces and stay in the best position to maximize their results when they do have some good luck.



[Scott Sheriff] "The last point I want to make is I'm quite surprised at the anger directed at guys like Andy when they post about their problems. IMO this is based on fear. The fear that they could be next. I suppose this goes along with denying the business as we know it is in a major state of decline. Whistling past the graveyard, a classic human response to fear."

Where is there anger? I see some disagreement, and I see a number of personal attacks which arguably originate with Andy, but the bulk of this thread has been a really civil discussion about decline versus change.

What's more, nearly everyone in this thread is actually trying to help! Andy is in a really tough spot right now, and I think everyone here understands what he's going through. I agree that simply telling him "charge more" is overly simplistic, insulting, and frankly bad advice.

But there's more to it than that. I've seen friends in the industry lose their businesses and even their homes in the last couple years. Looking back, every single one of them was just trying to do business as usual, and it burned them all.

I've also seen friends doing exciting new work, attracting new clients, and growing their businesses. It's hard for me to hear that the industry is in a universal state of decline when I am seeing the opposite every day.

I object to branding success as nothing more than the result of luck, because I know too many hard-working successful people. I object to branding the view that the industry is changing instead of declining as denial, because I know too many people with growing businesses.

I'd agree that the discussions on change and adaptation here are more descriptive than prescriptive, but even though there is no magic bullet, I think there's a lot of value here and I think the discussion is worth having.

I just don't think that "business as usual" is a viable strategy in our industry today. I think that claiming the industry as a whole is dying is itself denial -- the denial that we do have some degree of control over and responsibility for our own futures.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Tom Sefton
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 2, 2012 at 9:48:10 pm

Excellent post Walter. This has been a fascinating debate, but I don't agree with Andy or scott-this industry isn't in terminal decline and attributing luck to those who succeed isnt right.


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Scott Sheriff
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 2, 2012 at 11:28:53 pm

[Tom Sefton] "but I don't agree with Andy or scott-this industry isn't in terminal decline"

Check out this WSJ article.
http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2011/03/28/top-10-dying-industries/

So if you think the video production biz is still viable, and don't think the industry is in a terminal decline, let me ask you a question.
Scenario:
Your best friend, sibling, adult child or other close person that values your opinion, came to you and said they were going to take their life savings, and get an additional business loan leveraged against the equity in their home, and use that money to start a brick and mortar video production business. Could you look them in the eye and tell them this is a good idea with a lot of future potential? And it doesn't matter if they know anything personally about how to edit, etc. Because as business owners they can hire those people. It is strictly about is getting into the production business a good idea, and you say?
Oh, and you can't dodge the question by suggesting they do support, gear sales, IT or anything like that. Because when I hear you and others say all is fine in the world of production (from your perspective), I'm not thinking IT, gear sales, selling plugins to noobs, or whatever. I'm thinking, and talking about hands on video production, as in shooting and post work for others.

Scott Sheriff
SST Digital Media
Multi-Camera Director, VFX and Post Production

The Affordable Camera Dolly is your just right solution!


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Tom Sefton
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 2, 2012 at 11:57:06 pm

Scott, that blog post has been discussed before and it is far more relevant to the big production houses around the uk and USA who have huge overheads and rely solely on post production work from film and tv. Also, that list includes some pretty established trades and is pretty subjective.

As for your analogy, I would never advise someone close to me on business. But if I had my arm forced on your question I would tell them not to be silly. Because, your scenario shows no immediate income, no guaranteed income, no experience and no skillset. If someone I loved had a good case for dumping life savings and their house on a business that had potential for growth I would offer them my money so I could make a profit. Let's not get misty eyed about video production, we are running a business that has to make profit. Let's twist that scenario back to you-if your loved one said they were going to dump all their money and house and take out loans to run a new plumbing business, but had no experience, no skills, no clients and no connections, what would you say?
Our industry has changed. You now can offer more, for less.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 3, 2012 at 12:09:15 am

[Scott Sheriff] "So if you think the video production biz is still viable, and don't think the industry is in a terminal decline, let me ask you a question."
I'm not going to pretend to answer for Tom, but I'll toss in my two cents anyway.

First off, and I'm not doing this to be pedantic, but what exactly is the "video production biz"? Weddings? Hollywood films? Reality TV? Corporate training videos? Commercials? There are so many facets that some can be fine while others are not and I think that might part of the problem w/this thread is that we have people coming from so many different places and experiences that coming to a true consensus is impossible. It's like having a global discussion about todays weather and trying to get everyone to agree if it's cloudy outside or not.

On a more philosophical note I think perspective plays a big role as well. For example, is the video store business pretty much dead? Yes. Is the video rental businesses dead? No. If Blockbuster took the perspective of being in the video rental business as opposed to the video store business they'd probably be in much better shape today. Compare that to Netflix. First it was DVDs in the mail, then it was streaming and now they are producing their own original content. If Netflix just saw themselves as a DVD-in-the-mail company they'd go down the tubes right behind Blockbuster. Netflix's core business, content delivery, hasn't changed even though their delivery method has.




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Scott Sheriff
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 2, 2012 at 9:58:59 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Where is there anger?"


I would point out something Ron wrote to Andy, "So please go away and make room for those who can listen and learn. You are beyond help." Not trying to single out Ron. There were other snarky remarks. But I would debate the necessity of this type of comment at all.
To paraphrase something I said to Andy, I can't believe the lengths that many will go through to help undeserving noobs that are too lazy to RTFM, and for guys like him, the best we can offer is platitudes and condescension. Aren't we supposed to be the professionals?
I wonder when was the last time anyone of the 'big guns' with all the work turned someone on to a client, some overflow work, or a gig they didn't have time for?

Scott Sheriff
SST Digital Media
Multi-Camera Director, VFX and Post Production

The Affordable Camera Dolly is your just right solution!


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Ronald Lindeboom
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 2, 2012 at 11:08:29 pm

[Scott Sheriff] "I would point out something Ron wrote to Andy, "So please go away and make room for those who can listen and learn. You are beyond help." Not trying to single out Ron. There were other snarky remarks. But I would debate the necessity of this type of comment at all."

I notice Scott that you didn't bother to quote ALL (or even any) of my copious lead-up and the reasons for what I said to Andy. It was hardly baseless and by the time I got to that part of my comments, I had laid out quite a breadcrumb trail of both the nasty things that Andy had said to people, as well as many of the people and the comments they made trying to help him. He wanted none of it and just insulted them as delusional (and you add the further insult in your reply to Walter Soyka by calling them "fearful and just whistling in the graveyard"). He also called many here not only delusional but "in denial" that the industry was "doomed." The industry is definitely in transition and flux but doomed is a pretty bold statement. Yes, people will get hurt without a doubt. The market will bring new people to the fore while some will fall by the wayside. It has always been like this and it looks like Andy is well on his way to becoming one of them.

Do I wish that on him? No. But after 17 years of building forums, I can spot someone on the way up and someone on the way out, pretty easily at this point. I do not believe that any of the others here wish Andy to fail either. But after many have tried to help, he just spits in their faces and kicks them in the teeth with his remarks that they are delusional and in denial. You reduced them to whistlers in the graveyard, offering platitudes. Want proof, read on...


[Scott Sheriff] "To paraphrase something I said to Andy, I can't believe the lengths that many will go through to help undeserving noobs that are too lazy to RTFM, and for guys like him, the best we can offer is platitudes and condescension."

Your chide us for what your see as undeserved remarks but you yourself cite "noobs" as "undeserving"? How do you decide who is deserving and who isn't? Just curious about your yardstick.

Then you add your own insults, Scott -- taking things that people have learned at great cost to themselves over a period of years and which some offered point-by-point for free -- yet you reduce it to platitudes? Good grief, excuse me for noticing but these two fall under the classic definition of a hypocrite. And you wish to feign that we are the ones doing the insulting? (Boomer shakes his head here in disbelief.)


[Scott Sheriff] "Aren't we supposed to be the professionals? I wonder when was the last time anyone of the 'big guns' with all the work turned someone on to a client, some overflow work, or a gig they didn't have time for?"

Do you have the slightest idea of how much great paying work that Kathlyn and I have farmed out over the years? Without even asking for or getting a single dime back in referral fees or commissions? You need to stop judging others by what you think is true and maybe learn from some of those who are being quite successful in trying times and who are trying to help others.

Are times bad? You bet. Is the industry in transition and a heavy period of flux? Without a doubt.

But you insult people with attributing it mostly to luck. Wow. Do you even know what it's like to build a magazine when you've had 20 years of ear infections and multiple bouts of pneumonia and do it all without money (if we had screwed up once, the COW wouldn't be here today), without insurance and without the aid of antibiotics because they quit working about 6 or 7 years ago. Where is luck in THAT picture? -- and since you seem to have all of the answers and don't want platitudes, I will cite one anyway: good things come to those who wait. Not most of the time. I opt for get in the ring and quit doing the same thing over and over that isn't working and yet you keep doing it expecting a different outcome. Einstein said to repeat the same thing that didn't work expecting it to suddenly start working is insanity.

Since you guys don't mind calling us fearing delusional people with no answers and just offering platitudes as we whistle our way through the graveyard in the dark, please accept my post as no more or less than exactly what you and Andy Jackson have done in this thread.

Don't like it? As I said, I stay out of this stuff and only jump in maybe once every year or two -- maybe three. This is really rare but when I read this thread and the callous disrespect that you and Andy are giving some great people here who have written in-depth answers based on their experience -- things that work which you call nothing more than platitudes -- don't be surprised that you became the recipient of this year's singular "visit" by me.

And no, I am not whistling in any graveyard because I am not fearful and I would hardly call hard lessons learned, platitudes.

Best regards,

Ronald Lindeboom
CEO Emeritus, Creative COW LLC
Publisher Emeritus, Creative COW Magazine
A 2011 FOLIO: 40 honoree as one of the 40 most influential publishers in America
http://www.creativecow.net


Creativity is a process wherein the student and the teacher are located in the same individual.

"Incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm."
- Woody Allen

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those that matter, don't mind -- and those that mind, don't matter." - Dr. Seuss


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Scott Sheriff
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 2, 2012 at 11:45:54 pm

[Ronald Lindeboom] "But you insult people with attributing it mostly to luck."

When I read posts that come off as if the person is completely immune from the current market forces, yes I call that lucky or fortunate? How many people are in that kind of position?
If you say that despite market forces causing me problems, I did xyz and we are doing OK, that is a little different. But still there is a bit of good fortune involved. I know people that don't work hard, do crummy work and still get gigs. What do you call that?
Hard working people, despite the best of efforts often fail in business, due to outside forces. Do you not consider that bad luck? And if those type of things don't happen to you, would you consider that good luck? For some, being left alone without any outside forces, good or bad, influencing your business would consider themselves fortunate.
IMO business is as much a poker game as anything, you and I don't know what the next card is. There is always an element of luck.

Scott Sheriff
SST Digital Media
Multi-Camera Director, VFX and Post Production

The Affordable Camera Dolly is your just right solution!


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Ronald Lindeboom
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 2, 2012 at 11:58:25 pm

You cannot and do not address any of the other comments I rebutted to POINTS YOU MADE and now rather just dive into the intellectual safety of the gray area of "luck," eh?

Not a very worthy debate, Scott.

I notice that you did the same "ignore the points you raised which we addressed" response to Walter Soyka, me and others here. You like to raise points but you aren't so good about staying within the lines that you yourself draw, when others respond to your points. Sigh...

As for luck, the old adage goes: "Time and chance happen to us all." It's what you do about it that separates the men from the boys.

Best regards,

Ronald Lindeboom
CEO Emeritus, Creative COW LLC
Publisher Emeritus, Creative COW Magazine
A 2011 FOLIO: 40 honoree as one of the 40 most influential publishers in America
http://www.creativecow.net


Creativity is a process wherein the student and the teacher are located in the same individual.

"Incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm."
- Woody Allen

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those that matter, don't mind -- and those that mind, don't matter." - Dr. Seuss


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Scott Sheriff
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 3, 2012 at 2:20:06 am

I remind you that the entire context of this was the production business, aka shooting and post. I have mentioned this several times in this thread, and not something new. Just to be clear. If you're in, as your primary gig in the production business, I'm letting my remarks stand, agree or disagree. If you are not in the production business primarily then I'm not talking about you.

Scott Sheriff
SST Digital Media
Multi-Camera Director, VFX and Post Production

The Affordable Camera Dolly is your just right solution!


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair


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Ronald Lindeboom
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 3, 2012 at 10:17:47 pm

I am in the COMMUNICATIONS business, I do it all: write, shoot, edit, composite and do print as well. And if you want to limit success and arguments to video only, that is a rather self-serving and arbitrary differentiation, because Scott, print is a MUCH HARDER market to succeed in. The challenges are the same but getting through them to success is MUCH trickier.

Part of the reason that you and Andy Jackson agree that the market is collapsing into doom is due to the same lesson you are ignoring here that the railroads didn't learn in their heyday. The railroads thought they were in the *railroad* business when they were really in the *transportation* business. Because of that, when automobiles came along they lost because whereas the world could have been filled with Santa Fe and Union Pacific automobiles, they watched their market erode as cars and trucks began transporting much of what they had been carrying.

You disregard my lessons because you think my expertise outside your purview. You sir, are locked into the same problem that plagued the railroads. I don't do video -- although I do and have but I survived by never limiting myself. I do *communications* -- whatever it takes to keep a client happy. If it's video, great. Writing, producing and directing your commercials? I got your back. You need print? I do it. You can't write? I can. Whatever gets me from where I am to the check in the shortest distance and least amount of time, that is where I am. I am mammalian and plan to outlive the dinosaurs who are locked into only one thing.

Only someone wishing to assure all their lessons come from the school of hard knocks ignores good advice and well considered practice that works for others. MOST of the best lessons that have helped me in my life had LITTLE to do with the direct situation at hand.

Truly creative people always look for ways to "connect the dots." Less creative people need a rote formula laid out of following the dance steps like an old Arthur Murray dance studio routine.

THAT is the point that both you and Andy Jackson are failing to see, Scott: you want to so limit and compartmentalize your considerations that you leave out much of what the rest of us have come to learn, recognize and benefit from. Much of it has been said in this thread by numerous people here but it has been swept away as anything but helpful.

Best regards,

Ronald Lindeboom
CEO Emeritus, Creative COW LLC
Publisher Emeritus, Creative COW Magazine
A 2011 FOLIO: 40 honoree as one of the 40 most influential publishers in America
http://www.creativecow.net


Creativity is a process wherein the student and the teacher are located in the same individual.

"Incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm."
- Woody Allen

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those that matter, don't mind -- and those that mind, don't matter." - Dr. Seuss


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Gav Bott
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 3, 2012 at 4:51:53 am

In sports - it's the ones that have trained, worked, practiced, and generally done more that tend to look "lucky".

The Brit in Brisbane
The Pomme in Production - Brisbane Australia.


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Michael Hendrix
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 3, 2012 at 4:03:44 pm

Gav, take off the "in sports" part and you could coin it and make some posters. Good one.....



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Ronald Lindeboom
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 3, 2012 at 9:51:19 pm

[Gav Bott] "In sports - it's the ones that have trained, worked, practiced, and generally done more that tend to look "lucky."


Succinct.

Perfect blend of sweetly balanced tartness with a near perfect after-palette.

Nice, Gav.

;o)

Best regards,

Ronald Lindeboom
CEO Emeritus, Creative COW LLC
Publisher Emeritus, Creative COW Magazine
A 2011 FOLIO: 40 honoree as one of the 40 most influential publishers in America
http://www.creativecow.net


Creativity is a process wherein the student and the teacher are located in the same individual.

"Incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm."
- Woody Allen

"Be who you are and say what you feel because those that matter, don't mind -- and those that mind, don't matter." - Dr. Seuss


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Walter Soyka
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 3, 2012 at 2:47:25 pm

[Scott Sheriff] "To paraphrase something I said to Andy, I can't believe the lengths that many will go through to help undeserving noobs that are too lazy to RTFM, and for guys like him, the best we can offer is platitudes and condescension. Aren't we supposed to be the professionals?"

Scott, I must respectfully disagree.

Noobs aren't necessarily undeserving. They are new, and sometimes they don't know what they don't know -- like how to learn from a manual, or how complex a seemingly simple task may really be.

Apprenticeships and facilities are pretty much gone. There are no safe places to screw up and learn from the process because someone else with more experience has your back. Forums like CreativeCOW are where the noobs must go to learn from the more experienced. I learned a lot from manuals and from experimentation on my own time, but I also got a lot of help from mentors, mailing lists, and forums like the COW. I can't really pay it back, but I've made the personal decision to try to pay it forward.

Further, it's the noobs who don't ask for help that are going out and doing poor work with nice gear at stupid rates. The noobs who come here, asking questions, willing to learn -- they can hear about the right way to shoot, edit, color, etc., and the right way to calculate what their rate needs to be to stay in business from folks who have done it before.

You say that we are too quick to help noobs when the answer is in the manual, and we are offering Andy only platitudes and condescension. I disagree.

Noobs generally ask easy questions. Like you say, the answers are often right in the manual. There is no manual to answer Andy's question. How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying was a real book, but it was satire.

I do agree with you that there are no easy answers to the hard questions, and there's no step-by-step formula anyone can follow for instant results. I also agree with you that the economics of the industry are different now than they were 10 or even 5 years ago, and that we all need to pay attention to that.

I disagree that Andy is getting platitudes. He is being advised here that if he wants to continue to succeed in a changing industry, he will need to change his thinking and his approach to his business. That's not some trite moral statement; that's the plain truth. It's not a specific action item, but given the nature of the problem, it's not like he can just trash his preferences and watch his rates bounce back.

Andy has chosen his path: partially ducking out of the industry and perpetuating the conditions that he struggled against. That works! He has essentially followed the advice here -- he's changed his approach to accommodate the changing environment.

The only real disagreement here is whether that is literally the only viable path or not. Andy claims it is. I argue there are other options.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
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Tom Sefton
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 1, 2012 at 10:32:29 pm

Mick, I wouldn't pay much attention to andy's post. Andy- Running a successful production company does bring you into contact with the president of a company and high ranking execs. A few calls and a creative pitch sent out last year put me directly in contact with the chief exec of one of the largest councils in the uk, a similar scenario happened recently with the creative director of one of the largest design companies in the uk.

Andy, don't snipe too hard at professionals who are making a very good living from production. The business has changed and good ideas, excellent service and solving problems a firm didn't know they had, will always be a part of it.


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Andrew Kimery
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 1, 2012 at 11:11:29 pm

I know I'm late to this party but if people can still be successful writers, singers, artists, musicians, athletes, etc., I don't see why video production is any different. A guitar, pencil & paper, paint, etc., are much easier and cheaper to come by than even the most inexpensive video gear.

Mark,
If your son really is 20th in world at Battlefield has he thought about trying to game professionally (I agree that being good at a FPS game is a far cry from being a good fit for military life)? It's obviously a sink or swim career but if he's talented and dedicated why not give it a shot?




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Mick Haensler
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 2, 2012 at 5:37:40 am

"Mick, I wouldn't pay much attetion to andy's post"

I didn't Tom. I used to be like Andy so I understand where he's coming from. I was at a crossroads just like him. For me though, getting a "real" job wasn't an option I was ready to embrace. So I reinvented myself and my company. I love what I do and get paid well to do it. When that changes, I'll reinvent again. Change is the only constant. Great post BTW.

Mick Haensler
Higher Ground Media


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shane worth
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 3, 2012 at 1:33:56 am

Hey there, I don't post a lot but I do read the posts I am a "noob" to the business. I have my point and shoot cannon hfm31, my rode mic, my tripods, my dolly, my dead cat and every time I do a small job I put that money into buying more equipment or upgrading. I am 41 myself but I am not necessarily new to the job. I worked for audio visual companies for most of my career. I would set up projectors, screens, sound systems etc for trade shows. I saw the industry change from overhead projectors to computer and powerpoint to having to network them together and now I-pads etc. I got laid off my IT job 2 years ago where I was tracing ip addresses and went back to school to learn photoshop,after effects,illustrator etc. The thing they don't teach you is what to charge and how to get clients. What I have done is hit miss and depending what people what done I charge from 15 to 25 an hour. if its just straight shooting and dumping the footage, if they need it edited etc. My lastest thing is I really enjoy after effects and motion graphics which a lot of people especially ones that have been shooting a long time don't know.I have started making more money going in and tweaking there videos buy adding in the FX. I would love to get in to a production facility but the all want 5 years of experience.

That being said this has reminded me of when the car was introduced and put the horse and buggy out of business. In this industry you have to constantly look at the trends and adapt. I don't shoot big commercial things. I shoot things as simple as someone that wants to film there kids sword fighting then turning there swords into light sabers.I don't do it because of a big pay check. I do it because I love to make videos.


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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Aug 3, 2012 at 6:09:23 pm

Well. I`m off on my holidays now for a few weeks.

I have alot to think about.

Will probably end up knocking my new full time job on the head and getting back into video which I love and enjoy.

Hard to give it up full time!

Thankyou all for your input and sorry if I offended anyone but it was not my intention. It`s just how I have been feeling over the past month or two.

I still have some negative thoughts but some positive are starting to emerge.

I probably wont end up making the money that I have been used too, but I will be making the videos I enjoy.
I should be able to compromise.

Just have to try my hardest to get in more jobs. If that means lowering my prices with the lowballers. Well thats the way I will have to go.

Hopefully it will work out for me like it has for so many other cow members.

Again. Thankyou everyone for you input.

Much appreciated.

Cheers Andy


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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Nov 4, 2012 at 6:25:40 pm

Hi all.

Just a quick update on my situation.

I tried but now......

Ive quit, quit, quit...!..!!!!!!!

Got out of the industry completely.

From my recent experiences and chats with fellow producers an ex producers etc. They all agree that the industry is on a shoestring waiting to snap and being replaced by cheap useless velcro.

No one is seriously interested in quality , just the bottom line cost.
Clients trying to lower your quotes to the bone then moving on and doing the same again to another struggling video professional.

Not worth it anymore and i need to start saving for my retirement. I cant seem to be able to do it in this industry.
No guaranteed paycheck.

:-(


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Tim Wilson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Nov 4, 2012 at 7:20:31 pm

Congratulations on doing something. An awful lot of people make an awful lot of noise without moving forward, and it sounds like you've taken good steps toward a more secure future.

I gotta know, though. What was your move? How FAR out of the industry? Because I saw a sign at Petco that they needed an assistant manager and nearly jumped at it....

Tim Wilson
Vice President, Editor-in-Chief
Creative COW



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Andy jackson
Re: I QUIT.... Working for nothing.
on Nov 4, 2012 at 8:39:38 pm

Hi Tim.

Just had to check who petco were.
Think its called pets at home here in the UK.

Seems like it might be a good move.
Nice fluffy animals to look after instead of the vicious sharks eating away at you.

I moved to a blue chip I.T. company who deal with corporate and goverment installations for various sectors.

With my knowledge of building pc systems, networks and severs, for my editing needs , it got me a foot in the door.
All straight forward stuff and it brings in a regular paycheck which I have not seen for a while.


Happy days!!


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