Friday, June 24, 2011

Last-Ass Minute

I did a shoot this morning, fun work, out in the sun, good pay, very friendly client. Also shot along side another shooter friend that I brought along, so all in all, it was a good day. The client was a previous Redskins and Dolphins player, and surprisingly, my complete lack of knowledge of any kind of sports, including what the ball for each individual sport is shaped and sized like, didn't hurt the video.

Did you happen to play with Ray Finkle? He's... the only NFL player I've heard of.

I got a call while I was on the shoot and took it because I thought it might be the gig coordinator checking in. It was a "potential client" (I even end up doing air quotations when I say it out loud, because most of these people will NEVER be actual clients), and they needed someone for a feature film shoot. I told her I was a bit busy on a shoot, that didn't stop her!

"Yeah yeah, right, I get it, you're dedicated, moving on..."

She asked me a dozen questions about my background (all of which are answered in my resume) before telling me ANYTHING about the gig. She then said it started Monday, and paid $150 a day. For reference, today's shoot was somewhere around $300 for a half-day shoot, and a half-day shoot in the commercial world is a quarter-day shoot in the film world (average day on a film set being 12+ hours). I told her I wasn't so sure if I could do that for her, and asked how long the schedule was.

"It's a one month shoot, and a one month commitment."

I told her no, politely, but flat out. Who in the hell thinks they're going to get someone's entire July, a month full of hotdogs and things that you buy off the side of the road from a trailer and then set on fire, and also a freelance videographer's most productive time of the year, on three days notice for $150/day? No, thanks.

She told me they needed an editor, too, and I suggested I might still be available for that. She told me, "oh, we need someone who's going to be available all July to edit while we shoot, so it's done when we're done shooting... We have deadlines."

"I'm like the Rip Van Winkle of speedballs! Anyway, we're pretty pressed for time."

It's 9:45, and I just got another call. The "potential client" was very nice, but he wanted a HD shooter for... tomorrow morning. I told him I had rented my HD camera out for the weekend, and had an SD version available. That simply wouldn't do for him. I guess last-minute beggers CAN be choosers!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

All I Ever Wanted

I went on vacation last week. Pleasant time was had by all. I still sent out resumes when there wasn't much else to do, and it paid off. I got a good, solid shoot out of it, and I'm glad I continued to apply for stuff when I was technically supposed to be laying back and doing all of jack and shit.

A pack of wild vacationers, hunting in packs. Clever girls.

There was one potential client who I responded to a listing for, and he called me almost immediately. This was Friday, my sweet, beautiful vacation ended Sunday. It seemed like a good sign. He needed someone to shoot for a girl's volleyball game, three days of shooting total and editing. He followed this by, "how much would you charge, because I'm just not going to pay, like, $300 or something crazy for it." At this point, I knew pretty well I wasn't interested. $300 for three days of shooting, and then editing all that material and producing the number of DVDs he wanted, would be considerably less than minimum wage when dividing the hours of work into the compensation offered, and three days of travel alone would almost reduce that very low offer to half... And that's what he thought was TOO MUCH.

So I told him, plainly, I'd have to ask considerably more than that, more than twice that. Even that, for three days or work and editing, is low for a freelance videographer, but I figured that would send him hanging up quicker than Takeru Kobayashi could eat five hotdogs.

Allow me to assure you, that's fast.

That's when he said something incredibly explanatory of his intentions: "well, alright, we need someone, so whatever." His low offer was just in hopes of getting someone for insanely, mind-numbingly, nipple-chafingly cheap. Well, whatever. So I said sure. He told me, "alright, well, you'll need to be there at 10am tomorrow..."
 "Wait, wait, hold up..." - Dolf

He needed someone for THE NEXT DAY? The next three days? For that cheap? No wonder he called me so promptly.

I told him I wouldn't be available. He quickly hung up. An hour or so later, he asked me via email if I knew anyone else who was available last minute.

This prompted me to write something new. I'll take some time on it, but look for the Guide For Clients, a do and don't list of ways to approach getting freelance artists involved in your projects. This is one of the main points: Do expect things to take time, and allot it. Don't hire the day before, or the day of. You'd be astounded by how many listings I see looking for people the SAME DAY, and sometimes for several day, or week, commitments. This is a prime example.

Others include "Do have cake; Don't eat the cake you've offered me."

Speaking of cake, it's Bruce Campbell's birthday. Hail to the king.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Evil Scientists and Bloated Bellies

I shot a video a few weeks to a month ago for a plastic surgery office. Everyone in the office, from the doctors to the staff, short a few employees, had plastic surgery. It reminded me an awful lot of that scene from Escape From LA.

 LA's "surgeon general," GET IT?!

Anyway, I recently got a call from the office saying one of the doctors wanted his interview reshot because he disliked, in hindsight, that he was in a white coat in front of a white wall. This meant driving to DC for a 2-minute reshoot of an interview and driving home with those terrifying images renewed in my brain. I disliked this idea. They also were offering a compensation that basically meant I'd have made my gas money back and little else. I'd almost be doing it for free. Mind you, this isn't MY client, but a client of the company which I shoot for occasionally.

I offered to colorize the background, but they disliked that idea.

Really? Are you sure?

On the flip side, I had an excellent client yesterday who treated me entirely opposite of most of the people I've shot for through this company, by which I mean he treated me like a competent, intelligent individual rather than a meandering, drooling gruntworker. He even offered to take me to lunch for my efforts, which I can honestly say was one of the nicest things any client has ever done. In casual conversation, he mentioned the price he paid the company for the video. 

I won't name specifics, but I will say that the office does the initial contact and final revisions on the video, while I do the travel, shooting, in-person communication, editing, and submission. This takes, on average, about 10 hours per video. By my math, I make about 7% of what the company sees from each video. If I weren't so full of delicious lunch, still, I'd be agast and relentlessly angry.

The plus side to stomach distension is being full for days. Anger uses too many precious calories, so now I can't afford food OR fury.