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Business card, LLC or Just a business card?

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Brandon EastmanBusiness card, LLC or Just a business card?
by on Nov 5, 2014 at 12:50:23 am

Hi, All

I'm soon to graduate with a visual arts associate degree. I do freelance videography occasionally to practice and learn the art of film, but my main goal is to gain a job as 2nd or 1st assistant camera for a company in the film industry, or editing. As a student-freelancer, would it be wise to get an LLC for myself, or for the sake of putting my name "out there," is having business cards the more appropriate way to go when attempting to seek employment or network?

Pardon my greenhorn questions, I still have much to learn.

Thank you for your insight and help!

Sincerely,

Brandon Eastman


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Mark SuszkoRe: Business card, LLC or Just a business card?
by on Nov 5, 2014 at 4:36:02 pm

Of course you need business cards. But you need to get out there and network and bang on doors in person even more. This is a game that only rewards persistence and pro-active, aggressive marketing of yourself.

Build a reel, any way you have to. Get gigs anywhere you can.

One thing I would caution you about, that would be that you never hand out your cards on the set of another man's project.


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Richard HerdRe: Business card, LLC or Just a business card?
by on Nov 5, 2014 at 5:45:31 pm

[Mark Suszko] "the set of another man's project."

Also don't hand out cards on the set of a woman's project.

There are three basic ways to report income: a job, a sole proprietorship, corporate veils.

The main difference between having a job and the other two has to do with employment taxes. Employers pay their share of employment taxes. Sole proprietorship and corporate veils, even if you own them, means you pay those taxes.

Generally speaking folks are in business to generate a profit (and not avoid taxes).

LLCs means to limit liability. It creates a veil between the individual and the business. This is really important if you have assets to protect, like a house. Otherwise, your freelance operation is a sole proprietorship. There are many laws regarding this stuff, so you should consult an attorney and a CPA while forming an LLC. They are a pain in the a--, and maintaining all the corporate legalities is also a pain. You don't need to do that....yet. Some day you might.

Be very wary of scams looking for "freelancers" when really the freelance should be categorized as "employee." The scammers will do this to avoid paying taxes, but that is illegal.

This post is not even close to exhaustive, so be sure to research using the Department of Labor website and the IRS website. That will give you good questions to ask an attorney and or certified public accountant.


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Brandon EastmanRe: Business card, LLC or Just a business card?
by on Nov 5, 2014 at 10:02:46 pm

Thank you for the pointers, Mr. Suszko and Mr. Herd.

I think I'll stick to business cards for the time being. I think jumping to an LLC was bad thinking on my part. I do the occasional videography/photography gig on the side, so an LLC seems overkill.

Any recommended business card sites worth investigating? I'll probably only want 100 cards, for starters, because I don't have the funds to drop on a plethora of cards.

Also, when making arrangements for videography or photography gigs, I've only had, up to now, verbal agreements with the friends or family I shoot projects for. What is the best way to go about forming a general contract for others to sign? Do I need an attorney to script a contract? The contract should cover fees, and rights to the media after completion. Is this something I can legally write or does someone "official" need to make said contracts?


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Mark SuszkoRe: Business card, LLC or Just a business card?
by on Nov 5, 2014 at 10:35:13 pm

Don't get all Patrick Bateman about the biz cards: even if you just make them yourself with Staples paper packs and a template out of MS Word, that's at least something. More important is that they are easy to read and have the right contact info on them and that you put them in the hands of people that could matter. That is done by applying shoe leather.

You can mine this forum's archives for tons of details about contracts and/or "deal memos".

A deal memo need not be in rococo, hard to understand legalistic prose. Any basic contract needs offer, acceptance and consideration ( money changes hands to seal the deal). A deal memo outlines what the deliverable is, (an agreed definition of the final product) to whom it will be given, for what price and at what time. It should also say who owns what parts of the work product and for how long. Do you retain the ownership and rights to the raw materials and footage, or does the customer own them? It needs to express what happens and who gets what if the deal is broken by mutual agreement or the failure of either party to carry out their part of the deal (severability). It needs an expiration date and proof that the consideration was paid. And witnesses to sign it. Use a check or money order for the "consideration", which you can refer to as a deposit.

I'm not a lawyer. You should do additional research. But these are some of the basics. Essentially, imagine everything that could go wrong, then write up a way to deal with each item and get agreement to do that.


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Brandon EastmanRe: Business card, LLC or Just a business card?
by on Nov 5, 2014 at 11:06:07 pm

First off, I love the "American Psycho" reference, it caught me off guard until I re-read the name.

Second, would something with only my name, email, descriptor (ie videographer, editor) and phone number be too simple? I don't have anything fancy like a website, and my youtube channel is basic.

I don't think you should have said to write up every worrisome detail into a contract. As a cynic and pessimist, I'll need a 90 page contract if that's the case. Haha

On a more serious note, I be sure to keep those memo details in mind when I go to scribe a contract for my works.

And, thank you for taking the time to help my novice self out!

Sincerely,

Brandon Eastman


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Mark SuszkoRe: Business card, LLC or Just a business card?
by on Nov 5, 2014 at 11:27:37 pm

"I don't have anything fancy like a website, and my youtube channel is basic."


Fix this. You need a reel. If nobody has/will hire you, make up a client or pick a cause you believe in and make some PSA's or documentaries, etc. for that. The second question you will get is "Where can I see some of your work?"


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Richard HerdRe: Business card, LLC or Just a business card?
by on Nov 6, 2014 at 8:57:44 pm

Another topic to ponder is "How are you going to get paid?" Do you accept checks? Cash? Credit Cards? Do you have to invoice a purchasing department and wait 30 days, 60 days, 90 days. How do you make sure you get paid? Always burn timecode into a deliverable until (a) the check has cleared and/or (b) you trust the client.


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