Tuesday, June 1, 1999

Even freebies have a value

Since Mike now had a sales partner they got a bigger volume of work and started to hire freelancers locally and my workload was finally picking up with video companies and Ad Agencies in Boston and north to NH.

As in any business you need to establish yourself. If you dont have a name from a previous job or a rich family you need to start with small jobs, spec jobs, and jobs that you beg the producer to let you do.

Back in 1996 I finally got my first gig for Discovery Channel because I had bugged the producer so much and one day he was caught in a deadline and the regular Animation Studio couldn't meet the deadline so I was in. Now the Producer (Lance W) and I had done a long project for PBS together in 1994 (Yeah I was 24 and I had a 5 person crew working under me to produce 114 shots for a series called "Presence of Place" it was a big high for me) Discovery had their approved list of vendors and I was not on it. I bid on the job at $6,ooo thinking I was going to make some real cash. But I could never crack them. I found out that the company that was getting all the work was charging closer to $20,000 for the same work and the other producers didnt think I could do the work at the quality they needed. This was amazing to me that they would rather wait another month to get a job done and pay 3 or more times what I was bidding.

So make sure you dont underbid yourself, you will have to learn the art of negotiation and reading people. Sometimes they want to know your worth it, othertimes they want o see yo usweat. And it always seems no matter what you have for credits you will have to do things for free to show you can accieve a different style, or speed or technical skill, and give it away for free a lot. There is a old term among women who work on the streets on London "Close your eyes and think of the queen". I now its an odd phrase but it has alwats stuck with me. I learned it at one of my freelance editing gigs at a company that I re-edited old documentaries and training videos to remove dated references and corporate propoganda so they could be re-sold in the educational market. Now what a video about London Prostitutes is doing being sold to schools is a whole other question.

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