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Guaranteed yearly salary being a videographer. I don`t think it can be done.

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David Banks
Guaranteed yearly salary being a videographer. I don`t think it can be done.
on Jul 5, 2013 at 8:33:27 am

Hi everyone, I`m new to creative cow and been in the video production business now for 5 years.

I`m looking for an honest answer to my following question.

Is there anyway of making a guaranteed yearly salary from the video production business?

I don`t seem to be able to do it. Business is irratic.
Busy maybe one month then nothing next month etc etc.

I know all business is a roller coaster but when i speak to other business owners like decorators, electricians and so on they always seem to have work on every month, mostly 2 weeks guaranteed which is good.

I use to make more money in a poorly paid job at the minimum wage.

Is it just me or are you all the same?

Please don`t tell me that I should not be in this business for the money but just for the love of doing it as this does not pay my bills or give me any future prospects.

Your honest answers would be much appreciated.

Thankyou.
David


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Craig Seeman
Re: Guaranteed yearly salary being a videographer. I don`t think it can be done.
on Jul 5, 2013 at 7:24:09 pm

The video business requires a different model than short term contractors. In fact trying to use that model in video would be a serious problem.

Ideally you'd have long term repeat business clients. Cultivate enough of them and the income can steady a bit. Additionally specializing helps because word of mouth within the niche can bring in clients whose needs you fill.



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Bob Zelin
Re: Guaranteed yearly salary being a videographer. I don`t think it can be done.
on Jul 5, 2013 at 8:12:32 pm

no decorator or electrician who is on their own has a steady income. Even if you are RICH - you have good months, and bad months. This applies to Adobe, Facilis, AVID, Creative Cow, and YOU (and everyone else that owns a business).

Do you see the recent drop in prices on lots of gear ? This is because many of these established companies are not selling gear the way they used to, just a year or two ago. It is very competitive out there. The lower cost of entry into this business (cheap cameras, cheap editing gear, digital delivery that costs nothing) means that you will have LOTS of competition, because "everyone" can get into the business.

If you are an electrician or decorator (your example, not mine), you are not sitting home, waiting for the phone to ring, because Mrs. Johnson just got some new lighting fixtures, and she needs them installed. Mr. Electrician is soliciting everyone - from School systems, to new construction sites, to Mrs. Johnson with his direct marketing. And Miss Decorator, who does not have a lot of contacts, is hitting up furniture stores, to try to get them to recommend them.

THE ONLY PERSON that is getting a guaranteed yearly salary is an EMPLOYEE that is working for someone. The only exception to this is the "permalance" employee (which is technically illegal, and those employers that do this will eventually get caught). This is an employer that does not want to pay medical benefits, social security contribution, disability, etc. and hires someone full time "freelance" and you have no other clients, and pay your own taxes. Because of strict tax laws, that are aggressively enforced, this type of situation will be completely gone soon.

If you don't have the stomach for the ups and downs of business (you make a lot of money, and then you make no money), then you should be looking for a job with benefits. You can always apply to a TV station, or a school, or corporate environment that needs video people. The only reason to stay in business for yourself is to MAKE MORE MONEY, and the only way you make more money is to constantly solicit for new work. ALL CLIENTS eventually go away. You cannot stay in business with one great client. They will eventually dump you, even if you do great work for them, at great prices.

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
maxavid@cfl.rr.com


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Bob Zelin
Re: Guaranteed yearly salary being a videographer. I don`t think it can be done.
on Jul 5, 2013 at 8:18:55 pm

If this (below) is you, then you are on the right path.
If none of these are you, then you have no idea of how to even get started in running a business, and no one knows who you are, or how to find you -

http://www.davidbankstudios.com/

http://davidwalterbanks.com/

http://www.davidbanksphoto.com/

http://www.weddingreportagephotographer.com/

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
maxavid@cfl.rr.com


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Walter Soyka
Re: Guaranteed yearly salary being a videographer. I don`t think it can be done.
on Jul 6, 2013 at 3:05:19 am

[David Banks] "I know all business is a roller coaster but when i speak to other business owners like decorators, electricians and so on they always seem to have work on every month, mostly 2 weeks guaranteed which is good."

Warning -- oversimplification ahead.

I think there are two ways for an electrician to get work.

Option #1: They can chase direct work, pursuing hundreds of relationships and being hired directly by the end customer, either by advertising and hoping, by selling, or through personal referrals.

Option #2: They can make their money on indirect work by cultivating strong relationships with a dozen general contractors. Then the GCs are the ones chasing down the direct work, either by advertising and hoping, by selling, or through personal referrals.

You've referred to "video production," but that is so broad I have no idea what you mean. Where in the value chain are you? Do you want to be an electrician or a GC?

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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Bob Zelin
Re: Guaranteed yearly salary being a videographer. I don`t think it can be done.
on Jul 6, 2013 at 4:37:51 am

Hi Walter -
this is my opinion. I am sure that David will crucify me after this, and tell me that I am one hell of an SOB for stating my opinion about him, without knowing anything about him.

I have just come in (Friday night) drunk after seeing a few bands with my wife. But MY CAREER is important to me, so even though I am about to pass out, it is IMPORTANT that I check Creative Cow (and my emails) for potential work. I suggest (without knowing anything about David, who I am sure is a wonderful person) that David has a life, and perhaps children that come before work, or perhaps other family matters, or perhaps other interests that are MORE IMPORTANT that video, and clients, and leads, and advice on his struggling career. So there are no responses on Creative Cow. Perhaps none of the websites that I listed were his.

If your life is not dedicated to your career, then it is my stupid moronic opinion that you simply GET A JOB, and get your guaranteed yearly salary, with medical benefits, paid vacation, etc. etc. If however your life is your career, and you sit on the stupid computer all the time, studying new technology, learning about your competition, checking to see if even ONE client contacted you on emails, then business is for you - because that's what it takes. As we were dressed and about to go out, a client in LA called me, to ask for help with his rebuilt Mac Pro/Adobe CC/Kona 3 system. I already had my first Jack and Coke, and my wife was fully dressed, but I STOPPED EVERYTHING to help my client get his audio working, before I went out. And now, that I am home, (not in good shape) I am checking the computer to see who may want to pay me some money.
That's what it takes.

There is nothing shameful in getting a job, having a normal life, having a family, with kids, taking nice vacations, and not worrying about your next job on a Friday night. Most people don't deal with crap like this. There is a certain mindset to continue to run a successful business, and you can't let your personal life interfere with it.

While I know you are concerned about your lack of clients, and lack of current income, I bet your day to day existence may be more peaceful than mine.

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
maxavid@cfl.rr.com


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David Banks
Re: Guaranteed yearly salary being a videographer. I don`t think it can be done.
on Jul 6, 2013 at 12:04:32 pm

Thanks for all the info guys.

Yes one of those is me in a certain way.
Actually none of those sites are me.

I enjoy what I do.
Being self employed sucks.
The business and money does not seem to be there.

I will now be looking to become an employee for a nice yearly salary etc etc.

Cheers David


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Craig Seeman
Re: Guaranteed yearly salary being a videographer. I don`t think it can be done.
on Jul 6, 2013 at 4:26:44 pm

[David Banks] "I will now be looking to become an employee for a nice yearly salary etc etc."

But do remember that the photographers at the Chicago Tribune were employees too. Some with nice steady salaries. Maybe some of the people at Rhythm & Hues were well paid employees too (when they were paid).

Given the frequency of facilities going under and the staff changeover during "adjustments" I'm not so sure being employed is any more secure. In some sense it's like being dependent on a single client and losing them.

Granted it's not easy, but if you can spread yourself amongst a few regular clients, it may sometimes be more viable to pick up after one drops out.



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Jason Jenkins
Re: Guaranteed yearly salary being a videographer. I don`t think it can be done.
on Jul 9, 2013 at 5:57:28 am

[David Banks] "Yes one of those sites is me."

Those are all photography sites. I thought you were doing video production.

Jason Jenkins
Flowmotion Media
Video production... with style!

Check out my Mormon.org profile.


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Jonathan Ziegler
Re: Guaranteed yearly salary being a videographer. I don`t think it can be done.
on Jul 6, 2013 at 3:21:09 pm

Where do you live that you can't gigs doing video? What about stock? Weddings? Graduations? Business functions? Trade show videos? Professional podcasts? Legal video depositions? Training videos?

There are a TON of generally untapped or under-utilized markets in most geographic areas. I know a guy in a town of 5000 people who makes (almost) 6 figures a year doing a lot of the above.

This sounds like a cheese moving situation. In this biz, the cheese is always moving around and you either follow it or make your own. Start shooting stock video (I make $300-1000 a month just from stock video), start doing podcasts, hit up chambers of commerce (the members are all the people you will want to ping for some gigs), start partnering with the locals to shoot their short films or non-profits for commercials or whatever. It's not gonna come to you, you have to go get it. Start going to local video group meetings (most cities have some variation on the Final Cut Pro groups or Avid or video in general) and see what others are doing for $. Tucson doesn't have one so I made one: http://www.meetup.com/Tucson-Video-Group/ and the first meeting is next week.

Tucson, my town, really sucks for video. Unlike every state around us, we have no tax incentive for TV shows or films and our economy is trailing the rest of the country by leaps and bounds. There are so few opportunities here, it's pathetic, but there's still money here. There's LOTS of money here.

Post your demo reel, maybe its not hitting your potential customers the way it should. You can't change the market, but you can change what you are doing to get gigs. Maybe that's what you need to do.

Save early. Save often.

Jonathan Ziegler

http://www.electrictiger.com
520-360-8293


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Ned Miller
Re: Guaranteed yearly salary being a videographer. I don`t think it can be done.
on Jul 8, 2013 at 6:24:00 pm

Hey David,

I get your question a lot from the 20 somethings I hire. I have been freelance for 33 years and own a micro production company (me, two dogs and a large parrot), but all-in-all it is self employment. Even if you land a client that needs repeat video, it is never forever, the relationship will have a beginning, middle and end. I have seen this by observing the inner workings of many production companies including those with network clients for season series. It always ends so there is no security. But that is what I and the older survivors love: No Net.

I see the difference between personality types who like to be on their own as different than the team player staff people. Some have no stomach for the roller coaster. I happen to need and love the tremendous variation of subject matter. This is the perfect field for ADD folks: they can hyper concentrate on a project for a short burst, get bored, move on. Vacation when you want, accept the clients you want, etc.

I feel self employment is the highest form of commerce we who love doing video can achieve because the tax codes benefit those with small businesses. However, it's basically a project oriented business, meaning you:

• Look for the work
• Are awarded the work
• Do the work (the fun part)
• Finally get paid for the work (the hard part)
• Spend the money after hopefully socking some in savings.
• Repeat

What I tell all the young uns is that you can NOT make it on your own: You must be in a relationship (hopefully married so it's harder for her to escape) where your partner has a steady career that has health care coverage. And oh yes, preferably a frugal gal who is not into bling, status, loves shopping and keeping up with the Joneses. I lucked out and married a teacher, not much money but iron clad security in her district and I get cheaper health insurance. Two freelancers have a hard time surviving in my experience. Also, if you have debt such as onerous student loans then you should try to get a staff gig. As the years go by and you build up your skills, especially your networking skills, then you can leap to self employment. I think this is more important than the techie side, I hire tech gurus whereas there would be no project if I didn't sell it first.

But if you want to stay single yet love video production, hopefully you live in a big city where there's lots of Fortune 100s. They are the ones with the internal video departments and that is where I would suggest you look. LinkedIn and networking will be your best tools, especially the Advanced Search function on LI.

That's my two cents. Good luck.

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


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Andy jackson
Re: Guaranteed yearly salary being a videographer. I don`t think it can be done.
on Jul 22, 2013 at 8:56:14 pm

Hi David.

You will never get a guaranteed salary in this business.
A staff job is what you need. Not many available.

:)


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Craig Seeman
Re: Guaranteed yearly salary being a videographer. I don`t think it can be done.
on Jul 22, 2013 at 9:28:58 pm

[Andy jackson] "A staff job is what you need. Not many available."

Staff jobs may not be much better given the frequency that companies go under.



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Tim Wilson
Re: Guaranteed yearly salary being a videographer. I don`t think it can be done.
on Jul 22, 2013 at 9:55:59 pm

[Craig Seeman] "[Andy jackson] "A staff job is what you need. Not many available."

Staff jobs may not be much better given the frequency that companies go under."


Certainly true, in which case the worst that has happened is that you're back where you started.

In the meantime, you'll have had a span with an actual salary, and with a halfway ethical employer, even benefits. If one is looking for guarantees, The Man is as close as you'll get.

I think it's an idea that more people should pursue, frankly. Andy's right of course that these jobs aren't as easy to find as they used to be, but think broadly. One reason that certain kinds of freelance jobs in some markets are drying up is because of the work going in house. Not all of it is being done by hacks. More companies are hiring qualified videomakers than are getting credit for it in some quarters.

But yeah, in general, if you want a salary, go someplace that'll give you a salary.


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Andy jackson
Re: Guaranteed yearly salary being a videographer. I don`t think it can be done.
on Jul 23, 2013 at 8:19:16 am

Tim is spot on with his points.


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Jason Brand
Re: Guaranteed yearly salary being a videographer. I don`t think it can be done.
on Sep 3, 2016 at 6:44:26 pm

A good home town friend of mine graduated as a chiropractor. He was taught in school that being a chiropractor is 90% marketing. It's about putting yourself out in enough spots that you can comfortably select the projects you want and keep them in a full schedule. If you are struggling to fill spots now, doing more marketing is the answer. If you specialize in business videos, you can join sites like Biveo for free, or sign up as a contractor to video production reseller services free as well. I would be thinking about expansion too. Think about hiring contractors yourself as you build your expertise and connections in this field.


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