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Forums Corporate Video Low quotes in NYC- what’s going on?

  • Low quotes in NYC- what’s going on?

     Brian Thomson updated 12 years ago 9 Members · 9 Posts
  • paul strilka

    February 4, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    After ten years with an in house talent agency- I have recently been downsized.

    I own and shoot with a Sony EX1. Can edit FCP or Avid. have a pretty decent reel.
    I would like to freelance- work for myself- edit at home etc.
    I posted a few “work for hire” ads on craigslist, mandy, etc. and:
    My first offer was to shoot a ten hour day for $50. (?)
    My second offer was for a website. I would shoot a 10 minute interview segment then edit in B roll and text. And they want it “flashy”. I quoted $400 for the job ($200 to shoot. $200 to edit)
    They basically responded – telling me I was not even in the ball park of other quotes.

    Is it that bad out there?
    I can’t imagine packing up all my gear to make the trip to the location- set-up, shoot, break down, travel back, spend all night on the edit..and charge less than $400?

    Are there guys out there charging $50 a day?

  • John Grote, Jr.

    February 4, 2009 at 3:44 pm


    It’s not you, its the fact that every Tom, Dick and Sally has bought a piece of gear or taken a couple of AVID/FCP classes and pretend to be something that they’re not. Another part to the story is a lot of clients are hiring these people and its not til after the fact when they realize that they got what they paid for, which is crap.

    We as an industry have let this happen, not all of us, but a huge majority allowed this to happen. It’s great that gear has become more affordable, but it has also diluted the talent pool and also the structure in which a lot of us had come up through. There are not a lot of assistant editor positions available anymore because of non-linear. You also see a lot of places popping up offering AVID or Final Cut or Photoshop seminars, for a couple of days. People take them get a certificate and then go to some of these clients and try to pass themselves of as and editor or a graphic artist. There in lies the problem.



    J. Grote, Jr.

  • David Braswell

    February 4, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Yep, it’s that bad. I don’t entirely agree with John’s view that “we” let it happen. But simple economics have forced us here. Also, shooters/editors who sold themselves based on the price of their equipment and overhead have played a large role. Client mentality is now that 4-digit cameras should equal 3-digit productions.

    And not to be ageist, but a lot of hungry young shooters have entered the fold with the price of gear being lower. Sometimes their talent outweighs their business acumen. OK, it’s not always an age issue, but many of us who have been around for more than a decade may understand the sentiment. The hard part is that there’s no easy way back to reality other than to continue to sell your clients on whatever “value adds” you have over the lesser-priced competition.

  • Jason Jenkins

    February 4, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    [paul strilka] “My second offer was for a website. I would shoot a 10 minute interview segment then edit in B roll and text. And they want it “flashy”. I quoted $400 for the job ($200 to shoot. $200 to edit)
    They basically responded – telling me I was not even in the ball park of other quotes.”

    They were probably surprised that your quote was so low. Add another zero to that quote and you will be in the ball park.

    Jason Jenkins
    Flowmotion Media
    Video production… with style!

  • Mark Suszko

    February 5, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    We saw this same thing in the 80’s when desktop publishing arrived. After the intial surge, the inexperienced or untalented mostly fell away, but it was ugly for a couple years.

    The good news is that a lot of the bottom feeders die off relatively quickly because their proces are not sustainable, then you pick up their slightly used gear for pennies on the dollar.

    The bad news part is, the lowballers certainly hurt the industry reputation universally.

    I think the only thing you can do is hold the line, resist the urge to lower your own rates below what is reasonable. Those kids have to move out of their parent’s basement some time;, when they do, they’ll see what the real cost of living and working is, and that you can’t get tech support on a mission-critical project when you’re rocking an academic version or cracked copy of final cut and charging below subsistence rates. The first time they get sick with no insurance, thye’ll sell off their gear for health care or to make the rent.

    Hold on, work smarter, not harder, and outlast them.

  • Scott Cumbo

    February 6, 2009 at 12:57 am

    Most college kids/fresh out of school will shoot and edit for
    pretty much nothing. The clients will get what they pay for.
    I use to do it too. When i first got into editing, I would
    cut videos and DVDs for bands. Hours and hours of work
    for a couple hundred bucks or less. In hind site, I had no
    clue what i was doing. But is was more about the experience than
    the money.

    On the flip side, there is plenty of work in NYC.
    Plenty of clients willing to pay real rates, for quality work.
    You just got to find it. Wish i could point you in the right
    direction But I’m lucky enough to have a staff editing job.

    Good luck!

    Scott Cumbo
    Broadway Video, NYC

  • Shawn Miller

    February 6, 2009 at 10:56 pm

    I agree with Jason, move that decimal point a space or two to the right. 🙂

    I think companies will continue to pay for good work… but to be honest, the days of the 70k, 3 minute customer showcase video are probably over… come to think of it, the 10k CEO talking head video is probably out too… bill accordingly.

    Shawn Miller

  • Tracy Peterson

    February 9, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    As much as I hate the lowering of rates and the higher levels of competition at the moment, I can’t agree with the statement that the lowered cost of entry is a bad thing.

    Sure a lot of people are going to jump in, but it is far more important that you bill accordingly and work at a level where your skills are appreciated and you are provided value for your labor.

    If someone with a 2CCD SD camera and a copy of windows media maker wants to make a corporate video, fine, they can charge 50 dollars a day. When I run into these clients, and I do, I just tell them good luck and don’t waste any more time.

    This market will normalize when people start to understand what it really costs to do the work, but still, clients will seek out the friend with the cheap camera for cheap work they aren’t paying much for. The guy who tries to make a living earning 50 a day will quickly find other work, while the clients are going to start budgeting correctly for the work they need.

    Tracy Peterson

  • Brian Thomson

    February 20, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    Another option is to tell the client that your rates double when you are brought in to clean up somebody else’s mess. It has become too easy for a hobbyist to purchase entry level prosumer gear and then hang their shingle, but you can use it to your advantage.

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