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Freelance Video Editor Business Card advice

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Chris CampbellFreelance Video Editor Business Card advice
by on Oct 21, 2014 at 5:20:41 am

Good evening creative cow,

I'm an up-and-coming video editor with a moderate amount of experience, having done a few commercials and music videos in the past. I've recently moved and figure nows a good time to modernize and reinvent myself with new business cards and a new demo reel. The reel is finished and looks amazing but the cards are giving me trouble.

Now I'm no neophyte with most industry standard programs so these questions are mainly based in promotional/distribution.

1. Logo, yes or not? I've heard conflicting accounts on this. Some say it's not necessary due to being freelance and not corporate. Others have told me it's indispensable. I wanted a professionals opinion.

2. If yes logo, what qualifies as a good logo? I have one design made that's visually interesting but I'm not sure if it's logo worthy. (I can show it on here if needed)

3. Aside from obvious pieces of information like contact info and so forth, what else should be on there? Pricing? Areas of expertise (bear in mind I'm a jack of all production trades)?

4. Is there a site or service that offers consultation on your card? Something or. Someone you can show your card to to get professional input and criticism, ideally cheap or free?

5. Once I've made the card, what's the best way to distribute them? On a as-you-meet-important-people basis or going out and dropping your card in any place that takes them?

6. Are there any other Do's and Don'ts for business cards? Other tips would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance for any help!


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Mark SuszkoRe: Freelance Video Editor Business Card advice
by on Oct 21, 2014 at 2:31:31 pm

Don't put rate card type info on your business card. The card is supposed to open a dialog with a potential customer, get you listening to their needs as they talk to you. If you put fixed rate info on the card, they will take the card at face value and not call you to find out more, and make a snap decision right there... and you'll never even know about it. And you NEED them to actually talk to you. And once you put rate info on the card, it's in stone, for all time, you have lost control over naming your own rates.

I might put a tastefully small QR code on the card's back side. And when on assignment, I might have the same QR code screen printed on the front and back of my work shirt or my camera gear. That way, even people only casually interested in you, could snap a pic and get linked to your web page. When your info changes, the biz cards stay usable.

The logo is relatively minor. If your reel/online portfolio is strong, you won't need it.


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Rich RubaschRe: Freelance Video Editor Business Card advice
by on Oct 21, 2014 at 4:26:11 pm

If you have an Econoprint nearby they have a service named Powderkeg and they design business cards and many other things. They are very good too and bundle it in with your card printing. Give them a try.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage
Founder/President/Editor/Designer/Animator
http://www.tiltmedia.com


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Todd TerryRe: Freelance Video Editor Business Card advice
by on Oct 21, 2014 at 8:41:47 pm

[Chris Campbell] "what qualifies as a good logo?"

Well, domestic harmony would require me to say "One that is thoughtfully created for your company by a graphic designer with real expertise in logos."

Really good logo design is a pretty specialized thing. Not every graphic designer (even really good ones) is a good logo designer. And there are some fantastic logo designers that aren't all that great at general graphic design (although most are).

My better half Kim is a three-decades graphic designer and has created zillions of logos. She loves great logo design, and once when she found out our neighbor actually worked years ago in Los Angeles as an assistant to Saul Bass... well, I thought she was going to have to lay down and recover.

One of her pet peeves is seeing a logo designed by someone who has no business doing it, or someone doing it themselves.... or, art by committee, where she'll create an outstanding logo and then the client wants to "pass it around the office to get everyone's feedback"... which is fine in theory, except when that feedback becomes design suggestion feedback ("Can that line be a little thicker?" or "What do you think about Comic Sans instead of the Futura you used?" or "Can you work my cat's face in there?").

When she starts with a logo design job, she has a fairly extensive meeting with a client, and then has them fill out a pretty comprehensive questionnaire about their business. Some are obvious ("Are there any colors you especially like? Or don't like?"), and others are more ethereal, in the vein of Barbara Walter's "If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?" They help her figure out not only the personality of the client and business, but the moods and personalities of the customers they want to attract, as well.

Your logo should represent you and what you do... but at the same time, it shouldn't be busy and probably shouldn't be too literal. I had to laugh out loud one day in traffic, I was stopped at a light next to a truck from the Repair and Maintenance division of our city school system. They had a logo on the side of the truck... a logo which contained a hammer, a crescent wrench, a screwdriver, a pair of pliers, a pipe wrench, a tape measure, and about a half dozen more tools... and that's not an exaggeration.

If you need a logo... at least consult with someone who really knows how to do it.

Know how you hate it when your clients think they know just as much or more about video or film production (or advertising, or marketing) as you do? We've all been there. Really good graphic artists have that same view of the logo do-it-yourselfers... with good reason.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Matt TownleyRe: Freelance Video Editor Business Card advice
by on Oct 22, 2014 at 12:03:33 am

Chris - I'll further complicate your question by adding a concern that I had to address recently on the same topic. I have been operating as a "business" for the past 6 years that had a pretty specific focus on post production, including DVD authoring and manufacturing. Over the past 2 years I have returned more to my roots of content creation, and am doing more and more production. I have picked up a lot of work that is much more in the "freelance" realm as an editor or DP, but also my company has taken on more full service production work. I found it necessary to have two difference cards to serve the needs as the "freelancer me" and the "company me."

One card is all about me as just a part of a company/brand/team. And the other is all about just me and being a part of your team. I find myself very busy juggling both roles.


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Ned MillerRe: Freelance Video Editor Business Card advice
by on Oct 22, 2014 at 2:08:40 pm
Last Edited By Ned Miller on Oct 22, 2014 at 2:23:08 pm

In response to Matt's post, as a DP & Producer who DOES NOT edit, I try my best to never bring my post to an editor who owns production gear, knows how to shoot and/or produces. I realize that many post specialists have had to migrate to producing since The Crash and the younger ones are "generalists" but...

No one spends more time with my clients than the editor. He or she will have a lot of communication back and forth with my client(s) while I have moved onto the next gig. No one starts out planning to steal their client's client but relationships do develop, almost like romances, but in the business not biblical sense, and the original guy gets elbowed out. Seen it a million times, experienced it several. Vendors and clients fall for each other, it's a chemistry.

So in sum, if your bread and butter is cutting for other folks, make the card seem like that's ALL you do, or perhaps have two cards. For many years I had a DP card and another for producing because many producers will not hire a videographer who also produces based on the reason I list above. Money comes between friends, even family, so it's not wise to introduce your potential competitor to your clients.

As to a logo, yes a nice one helps but...I have piles of biz cards on my desk/shelves held down by rocks and paper weights, I use them as we used to use Rolodexes (Google Rolodex), because total strangers are not worth the effort of inputting their data into my lists until I need them or they have proven worthy. The category I put them in is more important than the logo. Also, I think your name should be in your company title because when you deal with a prospect like me, where my memory is not my greatest attribute, I will forget the connection between a cutesy company name and the person I met. And that is why I changed back from BIZ Video to Ned Miller.

No one will turn a bc over to see what's on the other side, at least it would never occur to me.

Try not to use the word Post, that's inside baseball. If you are passing out your bc to non-industry types they understand the term Video Editing and they may not get Post. I know this from causing confusion on cost estimates, regular Joes think post is a part of a fence.

Pass out your card to everyone you come in contact with who has the term Marketing, HR, Sales, Advertising, Creative Director, PR and Corp Comm in their title. If you meet people in a local, hot company and become friendly ask them to pass your card onto the person "in charge of video" at their company, especially if they are friends with that person. I've gotten many gigs that way. No one cares about you until a hot potato video project is thrust upon them and then they scramble to find a "vendor".

Lastly DO NOT have your physical address on your card because you could be considered GU (Geographically Undesirable). When time is of the essence I need to drop off drives, etc., or have a shoulder to shoulder meeting going over footage, etc. so if I know someone lives very far away I may rule them out.

Good luck!

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


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Todd TerryRe: Freelance Video Editor Business Card advice
by on Oct 22, 2014 at 3:09:19 pm

[Ned Miller] "Lastly DO NOT have your physical address on your card because you could be considered GU (Geographically Undesirable)."

Well, two schools of thought on that... I personally differ with Ned on that regard. Not saying he's wrong or I'm right, just two different ways to look at it.

I personally feel it's a huge negative if someone doesn't give me a physical address. I want to know where they are, and it adds legitimacy to me. Otherwise, what's this guy doing?... working out of his car? The bus station? That's extreme, but it does make me wonder. In my personal past experience (Ned's may differ), those anonymously-located people tend to be your fly-by-nighters, your lower-end companies, or some guy working out of his mother's garage.

The same goes for websites... since they are completely global. I can't tell you how often I've run across a cool company's website (either by Googling, following links, or just happenstance), only to scratch my head wondering "Where the heck are these people?" You can't tell. Is it Portland Oregon or Portland Maine? Or even in the states? The worst is even when the contact pages don't tell you... no address or location at all. Sometimes there's a phone number, and I've often looked up area codes just to see where in the world people are. Even worse is when there is no phone number on the contact page, just an email link or a feedback form. Sometimes I've resorted to looking up the WHOIS info for the domain, which might or might not work. This little rant makes me want to revisit my own website, just to make sure people know where we are... I'll do that after posting this.

I just personally think knowing where someone is gives a feeling of legitimacy and solidity.

Of course, your mileage may vary. Just my two cents.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Ned MillerRe: Freelance Video Editor Business Card advice
by on Oct 22, 2014 at 3:28:01 pm

I do see your point but...young people move often, they're usually renters. I know from all my young crew members I have to constantly change the address on their checks. I bet the OP will end up with hundreds of outdated cards.

For many years I used the phrase "Chicago-based" because if I passed my bc to an out-of-stater he would have no idea where far north suburban Libertyville is. Could be in the far southern tip by Kentucky for all he knows.

When I list in professional directories I use a downtown Chicago address I choose randomly. There is a negative to being outside the hip, happening city and a negative of working out of one's home, although most freelance editors now do that.

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


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Mark SuszkoRe: Freelance Video Editor Business Card advice
by on Oct 22, 2014 at 3:35:28 pm

"When I list in professional directories I use a downtown Chicago address I choose randomly. "


Gee, Ned, I wonder where you got that trick from? :-)







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Ned MillerRe: Freelance Video Editor Business Card advice
by on Oct 22, 2014 at 3:37:48 pm

Hilarious! That will be my new address from now on.

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


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Todd TerryRe: Freelance Video Editor Business Card advice
by on Oct 22, 2014 at 3:49:01 pm

Go for it! (consider that a dare)...

Most people don't know, even veteran New Yorkers, that virtually all of the "BONG! BONG!" addresses on "Law & Order" are totally fake...



Either there's no such street, or those numbers don't exist, or if you could find the address it would be in the middle of the Hudson River.

But the Wriggly Field idea does have a lot of style.....

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Chris CampbellRe: Freelance Video Editor Business Card advice
by on Oct 25, 2014 at 7:57:39 am

Thank you everyone for your responses! They were extremely helpful and made me consider things I wouldn't have otherwise. I appreciate all the help!


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