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Nightlife Videographer/Filmmaker...Production Rate?

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Nick Centore
Nightlife Videographer/Filmmaker...Production Rate?
on Jul 16, 2013 at 6:17:21 am

Hello everyone,

So this is my first post to Creative Cow. I've read the forums as an outsider for awhile and need some help with my current situation.

I'm a recent film graduate and produce a lot of nightlife work for a local venue that hosts famous DJs, producers, etc. Over the course of the past four months since I started we've developed a good business relationship and they have me doing all of the events every weekend. They've actually hired me to work another club in the area under the same ownership as well.

Putting together these little recap videos with a quick turnover rate has begun to take up a lot of my spare time and hindered me from going to my day job. They've recently informed me that they will be doing big things within the next year and want me to document it all. I'm in the process of constructing a general terms of agreement for my service for the next year or so.

As a recent graduate how much would you charge to continue this service? I'm using my own equipment and plan to upgrade. They're currently paying me $150 a video which isn't cutting it for the amount of time I put in to shoot, edit, grade, etc.

It's been a great opportunity to work with them and I don't want to scare them away. I know they pay their graphic designers $30 an hour and mobile app developer $$$$$$ to make their content so I know they have a budget.

Thank you!

- Nick


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Mike Smith
Re: Nightlife Videographer/Filmmaker...Production Rate?
on Jul 16, 2013 at 9:31:38 am

Maybe you should be having this conversation with your customer ...? Better to engage and discuss, showing time involved and kit needed, than come in hard with a pre-developed "this is my demand" approach ... If you can show comparable rate with graphic designer as a yardstick and approach them nicely they may be surprisingly amenable. Big risk for you to turn off a customer without a supply of others to replace the work - if you want the work - I didn't pick up what the day job is.


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Bill Dewald
Re: Nightlife Videographer/Filmmaker...Production Rate?
on Jul 16, 2013 at 2:53:22 pm

As a "recent grad" with little experience, you're worth $150 per video to them. Of course you have a "good business relationship", as you work for peanuts.

The way I see it, if you ask for anything over say a 25% bump, they'll be on to the next recent grad. They come out every year. How's $200 a video sound?

Bank this work for your reel and use it to get your next gig.


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Nick Centore
Re: Nightlife Videographer/Filmmaker...Production Rate?
on Jul 16, 2013 at 3:29:50 pm

Thank you for your responses. I guess my primary concern with this situation is the fact that I have been getting job interviews and remain speculative as to whether I should be using this time to continue applying or shoot for the stars with this gig. When it comes down to it I'm making less that $10 an hour which doesn't cut it for rent, loan payments, daily expenses, equipment, etc. They mentioned they wanted to discuss my future with them soon so that's why I'm trying to figure this out.


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Bill Dewald
Re: Nightlife Videographer/Filmmaker...Production Rate?
on Jul 16, 2013 at 3:55:48 pm

Right on. I know how that feels, working for a low pay gig, you're grinding hard for months, and this "discuss my future" bit feels like light at the end of the tunnel.

But the reality probably is that at $150 a pop they've set the expectation for video costs and it's probably not going to quadruple/sextuple into a living wage for you.

This thread is the current mode of COW thought on the matter.
http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/17/878466


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Craig Seeman
Re: Nightlife Videographer/Filmmaker...Production Rate?
on Jul 16, 2013 at 4:26:22 pm

[Nick Centore] "When it comes down to it I'm making less that $10 an hour which doesn't cut it for rent, loan payments, daily expenses, equipment, etc. "

You've hit on the fundamental for business. What you make must cover all business and living expenses... assuming you can't conduct business as a homeless or dead person. ;-)

Ideally you should have enough "profit" so you actually make something for yourself as well (savings, etc). Additionally you'll need to save money for additional business investment such as equipment and software purchases for replacement and expansion.

Keep in mind that in addition to paid time, you have to account for the fact that you will do unpaid work managing your business, training etc. This means that the paid hours of less than 40 a week (for example) will have to earn you enough to cover all your expenses. A guide might be 20-25 paid hours a week generating your revenue goals.

Granted one might not be able to start from that position but unless you are making a living wage, the client has to understand you will walk when the opportunity comes... or they like you enough to pay you a living wage to retain your services.

Often times (but not always) the best time to approach that discussion is when you have another offer that you can walk to immediately. In the mean time you should most definitely aggressively look for a living wage opportunity while you continue to learn and gain experience with the current client.



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Tom Sefton
Re: Nightlife Videographer/Filmmaker...Production Rate?
on Jul 17, 2013 at 9:11:55 am

Bill hit the nail on the head - you are worth $150 per video to them. If you want a lot more money, you will test your business relationship with them and they are likely to explore other options.

Is there any way you can build up a boilerplate template for 3 or 4 different styles to help you work more quickly?

Or, send them a timesheet for your last job. Ask them if they would be willing to pay an hourly rate. When they see how many hours you are working, and what you are effectively working for, they might be happy to pay a little more. Or not...


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