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Day rates for starting Editors in New Orleans

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Bryan McClurg
Day rates for starting Editors in New Orleans
on Jan 15, 2013 at 11:00:34 am

Hi all,

I've been doing some research into this, and while I know it's probably a thread reposted to death around here, I wanted some opinion from the lovely people of CreativeCow about my personal situation.

I'm an editor fresh out of college from Ohio, VERY new to the scene, and moved down to New Orleans for film work, despite the heat and the bugs - and the fact that, from what I've heard, there isn't a lot of opportunity down here for editors like there is in LA or NY. Basically, I wanted to get some professionals' feedback on their day rates for film editing (bonus points from those residing in / have lived in NOLA for specific feedback, as I'm aware day rates differ from state to state).

I edit with FCP 7, After Effects 6, and I work off an iMac 27" 2.7GHz Quad-Core with 8GB ram, and a pair of M-Audio BX5 D2 speakers. I am still [obviously] working on building my editing suite, but at the moment I'm looking for work as an editor/asst. editor on: short films, low budget features, music videos, commercials...okay, basically anything that would benefit for someone striving for Film Editor.

Currently, I've been debating if $100/day is a good rate, with a 5 day week schedule. I'd be working at 8-10 hours a day. I've heard $150 is the lowest rate for some junior editors, but I don't know how things differ, especially for work down here in NOLA.

I hope I provided enough information for this kind of question (and if not, I will fill in more). Any insight is greatly appreciated! Thanks again guys.


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Day rates for starting Editors in New Orleans
on Jan 15, 2013 at 1:10:44 pm

You are correct, rates vary by region and by experience.

There is one rate that would include your equipment.

There is an other rate when you free-lance at another post house.

$100/day is way to low for either scenario.

I would just guess that a newbe editor free-lancing at a post house could charge $25-$40 an hour.

Maybe $50/hour on your own system.

But it's all subjective and market demands or lack there of are factors.

Chris


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Emre Tufekcioglu
Re: Day rates for starting Editors in New Orleans
on Jan 15, 2013 at 2:39:49 pm

To add to what Chris said;

Being so fresh out of college I would recommend you also look to find a workplace that offers you the opportunity to be mentored by an experienced Editor that not only teaches you the technical side of the house but also how to handle the politics of dealing with customers, other employees and agencies/studios.

If you have to rough it at a low rate but work with somebody who is willing to share their knowledge with you, that is 10 times worth it in the long run. IMHO.



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Chris Tompkins
Re: Day rates for starting Editors in New Orleans
on Jan 15, 2013 at 3:07:04 pm

Absolutely, what he said. Worth gold.

Hit every video shop in a 50 mile radius, send demo, resume, phone calls.
Work the local scene, get to know who's in the business.

Where you are now or next year may very well be very different 7 years from now.

With all that being said, have you looked into X-ray technician school?

Chris


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Mark Suszko
Re: Day rates for starting Editors in New Orleans
on Jan 15, 2013 at 4:02:34 pm

Don't pick numbers out of the air. Don't blindly copy a figure someone else uses: their situation may not be relevant to yours. Know your minimum rate. You need to calculate your hourly and day rate.

Combine all your living and operating expenses, get the figure.

Contemplate how many days a year you are willing to work (weekends? Holidays?).

Divide the expenses into the days. This is the amount of money you need to make per day to just keep the lights on and a roof over your head. Now add in actual profit, investments in gear (you're going to need color grading software, some RAIDs with Thunderbolt and a disk burner at least), software and hardware upgrade/maintenance/training costs.

NOW what's the daily nut you have to make?

That's the number below which you can't afford to take on a job because it would be losing you money.

And now you know why not just copy a figure someone else uses: his expenses may be nothing like yours, then your math for figuring things out would be all wrong.

Now compare that rate to others in your market. Call up and ask the editing shops for their rate cards.
A comfy place is to be somewhere in the middle and not the very bargain basement rate in town.


You're new, so I'll also advise you: if the client asks for an up front discount rate, promising they'll make it up on volume on future work they will give you... this is NOT "langnappe": leave the room and the deal. This deal NEVER actually happens and it's a giveaway that the client is a crook trying to grind you.


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Craig Seeman
Re: Day rates for starting Editors in New Orleans
on Jan 16, 2013 at 1:00:30 am

This might help you get a clearer picture of what you'd need to charge to survive.
http://freelanceswitch.com/rates/

This might be worth a look see.
http://www.mypriceapp.com



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Bryan McClurg
Re: Day rates for starting Editors in New Orleans
on Jan 15, 2013 at 10:06:24 pm

First and foremost, thank you Mark, Chris, Emre for the incredibly helpful, solid feedback - and so fast! I really appreciate it.

Mark, I will definitely be looking into the financial side of the equation as that naturally makes sense. I just hope the numbers I come up with aren't terribly wild for potential clientele, as this will be my main source of income! Also, I will make sure to look out for said fake lagniappe.


[Chris Tompkins] "With all that being said, have you looked into X-ray technician school?"

I'm very curious as to why you ask this, Chris. I never heard this approach before, or how it might benefit me.


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Chris Tompkins
Re: Day rates for starting Editors in New Orleans
on Jan 15, 2013 at 10:10:02 pm

[Bryan McClurg] "[Chris Tompkins] "With all that being said, have you looked into X-ray technician school?""

It was a joke as a better choice for a promising career.

Chris


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