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Setting a price floor.
Old 13th September 2012
  #1
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NReichman's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Setting a price floor.

Just turned down the mix for an hour-long documentary because the budget wasn't serious. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't worth our time.

Thought I would share this info here to get your support, but also to encourage our industry as a whole not to race to the bottom. We provide an essential service, and when we do it well, we do it with years of experience and the investment in real gear.

Cheers to the future of post-production audio!
Old 13th September 2012
  #2
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Henchman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I dont ever want to be the guy who gets hired because I'm the cheapest.
If they don't value their project enough toay for quality. Why would I care about parking on it.

I recently turned down a project where the entire audio-post budget including all deliverables was $8500 for an hour and a half movie.
Old 13th September 2012
  #3
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ggegan's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Hey, you gotta do what you gotta to do to pay the rent, but you do have to draw the line somewhere. Personally, I'd say that there are some situations where I'd rather be working in a regular job than to try to do something I really care about under circumstances that don't allow me to do a good job or are just outright abusive, and if you are losing money, then you are just a chump.
Old 13th September 2012
  #4
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Smallbudgetguru's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ggegan ➑️
Hey, you gotta do what you gotta to do to pay the rent, but you do have to draw the line somewhere. .
+1

While I always strive for a respectful budget to compensate the investments, overheads, personal and/or team wages for our experience and time. Ultimately one has to pay the rent and eat.

Feel free to shoot some of those projects my way hehe

Id rather be working than starving. :p
Old 13th September 2012 | Show parent
  #5
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Henchman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ggegan ➑️
Personally, I'd say that there are some situations where I'd rather be working in a regular job than to try to do something I really care about under circumstances that don't allow me to do a good job or are just outright abusive, and if you are losing money, then you are just a chump.
I totally agree.
Old 13th September 2012
  #6
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frans's Avatar
 
10 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
In a lot of instances the people who don't want to pay a regular bill don't realize that somebody still HAS to pay*, and that would be you. So you are effectively giving them a gift but they don't realize you give them a gift. They still think they pay you. THAT's the problem. Because then they still act like they pay you fully.

*with your hours, expertise, gear, etc.
Old 13th September 2012
  #7
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BIGBANGBUZZ's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Stick to what your worth..
Luckily I have clients who can tell the difference between a good mix.

Sent from my GT-N7000
Old 13th September 2012
  #8
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Mundox's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Turning down jobs is part of the biz. How low you go would be determined by the amount of jobs you have going at the time. It is where audio creativity meets maths.
I do this on a regular basis and forward requests to people who would be happy to accommodate.
Old 13th September 2012
  #9
Gear Guru
 
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
I still see lots of Craigs list ads for an hour long documentary post with deliverables for $200. Someone must think they can find someone to do it.

I always wanted to answer one of these ads and say "That $200.00 was per minute for a finished mix?" and see what they say
Old 13th September 2012
  #10
Deleted 2d58179
Guest
finding the specific price floor can sometimes be tricky.

A good measure is to take your entire monthly nut and divide it by the amount of billable hours you regularly fill per month. That number ends up being the minium hourly rate you'd need to break even. You can then intelligently measure profit based on the distance between that number and the number the job is offering.

Its important to be able to be flexible with rates in either direction, and its important to know what your baseline hourly costs are as a function of those rates. Makes turning down certain jobs very easy, and it makes bending rates to accommodate unique jobs more measured and realistic.
Old 14th September 2012
  #11
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
it's a tough call; often the people seeking the lowest price are the ones looking to facilitate something more of a startup operation. not really the types that in this phase of their game are gonna be shaping the industry.

a race to the bottom in serious projects is often cut off quickly, as many components (union players, various stages of mixing, etc) require careful funding. everyone's looking to save a buck, but the people trying to get you to mix their hour long documentary for $200 aren't really a part of the big picture at this point
Old 14th September 2012 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe ➑️
I still see lots of Craigs list ads for an hour long documentary post with deliverables for $200. Someone must think they can find someone to do it.

I always wanted to answer one of these ads and say "That $200.00 was per minute for a finished mix?" and see what they say
They do find someone to do it. And if the project is good enough to get into a real film fest then they pay someone to redo it. Otherwise, who cares?

phil p
Old 14th September 2012 | Show parent
  #13
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by philper ➑️
They do find someone to do it. And if the project is good enough to get into a real film fest then they pay someone to redo it. Otherwise, who cares?

phil p
basically
Old 14th September 2012
  #14
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Some of you guys would retire immediately in a small market like mine.

I agree wholeheartedly in principle, but if things are slow, I try to accommodate while educate at the same time.

But always tell them it's a budget vs. time issue. No way am I turning down full rate paying work at the expense of getting your film/doc done. Otherwise, best for me to keep at least some income coming in during slower periods.

I should add though, that there are ridiculous numbers and then there are crazy ones like $200.00 for a doc or whatever. That kinda stuff I wouldn't touch regardless. There needs to at least be a little meat on the bone..
Old 14th September 2012
  #15
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Smallbudgetguru's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by amiller ➑️
Some of you guys would retire immediately in a small market like mine.

I agree wholeheartedly in principle, but if things are slow, I try to accommodate while educate at the same time.

But always tell them it's a budget vs. time issue. No way am I turning down full rate paying work at the expense of getting your film/doc done. Otherwise, best for me to keep at least some income coming in during slower periods.

I should add though, that there are ridiculous numbers and then there are crazy ones like $200.00 for a doc or whatever. That kinda stuff I wouldn't touch regardless. There needs to at least be a little meat on the bone..
+1
Old 5th October 2012
  #16
Gear Addict
 
RecRoom's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Just turned down a job from a serious production company that was a joke. While a guy has got to eat, it feels good to stand up for yourself and not devalue your own work.
Old 6th October 2012
  #17
Gear Head
 
🎧 5 years
Though i am not exactly the best sound engineer or mixer or anything, i come from a place that knows hardly what sound can do to a film, documentary, advertisement etc.

Initially i did work on small payments, but once i got my gig at working on an animated sitcom people realized what i was worth. After that i got my first feature film project.

Although i would preferred not to do some projects cheaply, i still did some just to float it in the general market. Now people who value my work come and talk to me directly.
Old 12th October 2012 | Show parent
  #18
Gear Maniac
 
Kris75's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by philper ➑️
They do find someone to do it. And if the project is good enough to get into a real film fest then they pay someone to redo it. Otherwise, who cares?

phil p

I think that very few beginning film makers understand the value of audio, until their film is purchased by a major company and it goes through QC.

I had both of these happen to me. I did a full feature mix for some new directors with some major backing. The film company had no money for sound, but they shot the whole thing on a RED at 5k.

When it came time for QC, the English version passed, but the international version did not due to the fact that we only had 3 weeks to do the full film without even having a proper OMF. No handles nothing. We had to build the Dialogue by hand as there was no money for software.

The film went through many international attempts, but with no money put into sound the major company took the film and finished it.

The directors are now very aware of sound and have asked me to submit a PDF of what they should be covering in production as well as post. They were very involved, but I think that "most" film schools ignore audio, or they say it's really important and then spend a day or two showing the making of videos.
Old 13th October 2012
  #19
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Smallbudgetguru's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1320 P. ➑️
I think that very few beginning film makers understand the value of audio, until their film is purchased by a major company and it goes through QC.

I had both of these happen to me. I did a full feature mix for some new directors with some major backing. The film company had no money for sound, but they shot the whole thing on a RED at 5k.

When it came time for QC, the English version passed, but the international version did not due to the fact that we only had 3 weeks to do the full film without even having a proper OMF. No handles nothing. We had to build the Dialogue by hand as there was no money for software.

The film went through many international attempts, but with no money put into sound the major company took the film and finished it.

The directors are now very aware of sound and have asked me to submit a PDF of what they should be covering in production as well as post. They were very involved, but I think that "most" film schools ignore audio, or they say it's really important and then spend a day or two showing the making of videos.
I'm in a similar boat. Production spent very little on post audio, but enough for us to bite in a time of need a while ago. They hadn't provided spec sheets or requirements other than "for festivals". They shot scenes up until the last day of mix and did so without mics on set so we had to loop lines while guessing the dialogue , obviously some things never matched sync and its been kicked back from digital distribution and VOd for that reason. Now they are barking at us to fix it for free despite being warned by me and crew during the edit and mix about these moments. They will pay the day rate or the film won't get fixed bottom line. Next time around they will think twice about "fixing it in post"!

I'd love to take a look at your PDF and provide a similar sheet for productions in work with. Would you mind sharing that?
Old 14th October 2012
  #20
Lives for gear
 
Henchman's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
For some reason, inexperienced filmmakers think the rules of delivery won't apply to them. And they think the advice they are being given is BS.
Old 14th October 2012
  #21
Deleted 966f7b3
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by Henchman ➑️
For some reason, inexperienced filmmakers think the rules of delivery won't apply to them. And they think the advice they are being given is BS.
"I went to a very prestigious school and don't need to deal with this stupid crap!"

Actual quote from a film school grad. Really.
Old 14th October 2012
  #22
Gear Guru
 
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
I was looking for a new videographer. One applicant looked promising. He came to the interview with his demo reel. We looked at it. It was awful. I told him that there were lots of problems with the video and the audio and wondered why he had chosen these clips to show us. With a strait face he said this was his senior project from film school and he got an "A" on the project. He said that his professor told him that technical problems did not matter and what the student should be concerned with was the artistic principals he had incorporated into his project.

I was floored.

I have since seen many other film school "projects" since and I really wonder what these "kids" are getting educated in while they are attending film school. It seems that they get handed a camera, spend no time learning how to use it and go out and film what ever they want with no thought to scripting and post production and they get A's on their project.

If I did something like that at my college I would have flunked the course.

Oh well times change.
Old 14th October 2012 | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe ➑️
I was looking for a new videographer. One applicant looked promising. He came to the interview with his demo reel. We looked at it. It was awful. I told him that there were lots of problems with the video and the audio and wondered why he had chosen these clips to show us. With a strait face he said this was his senior project from film school and he got an "A" on the project. He said that his professor told him that technical problems did not matter and what the student should be concerned with was the artistic principals he had incorporated into his project.

I was floored.

I have since seen many other film school "projects" since and I really wonder what these "kids" are getting educated in while they are attending film school. It seems that they get handed a camera, spend no time learning how to use it and go out and film what ever they want with no thought to scripting and post production and they get A's on their project.

If I did something like that at my college I would have flunked the course.

Oh well times change.
You don't know what the objective of that class was--it could well have been that the prof was teaching from an intellectual point of view (ie criticism) and the quality of the technical aspects of the project weren't part of the deal. I too got an A for a short film that I submitted in a film criticism class instead of a paper, and my technique wasn't very good--the prof was interested in what I was trying to do story wise etc.--he wasn't teaching a technical filmmaking class. The mistake that prospective videographer made was believing that accolades gotten in the bell-jar environment of his class (full of other people as clueless as he) actually reflected the truth about what he'd done. You provided a very valuable lesson to that kid about what the diff between what can be gotten away with in a school environment and what cuts it when money is up. A real eye-opener for him, I bet.

philp
Old 14th October 2012 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Guru
 
Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by philper ➑️
You don't know what the objective of that class was--it could well have been that the prof was teaching from an intellectual point of view (ie criticism) and the quality of the technical aspects of the project weren't part of the deal. I too got an A for a short film that I submitted in a film criticism class instead of a paper, and my technique wasn't very good--the prof was interested in what I was trying to do story wise etc.--he wasn't teaching a technical filmmaking class. The mistake that prospective videographer made was believing that accolades gotten in the bell-jar environment of his class (full of other people as clueless as he) actually reflected the truth about what he'd done. You provided a very valuable lesson to that kid about what the diff between what can be gotten away with in a school environment and what cuts it when money is up. A real eye-opener for him, I bet.

philp
Well said as usual.^^^^

I told the perspective videographer that if he was going to present a demo reel he needed to rethink what it was that he was doing and if was going to apply for a job as a commercial videographer he needed to present things on his demo reel that would show off his best attributes and not just some film he did for a class.

He said exactly what you said "gee this was for a class in film and the professor said we could do what we wanted as long as we were able to convey though the film our original ideas" Nice for a class project but when a paying client is looking at what you have shot it better be the best it can be and technically perfect. IMHO too many film schools are run by intellectuals and not by people who have been in the trenches and know what is really going on in the world of film.
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