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Going Corporate
  • This is a topic for sharing advice, tips, tricks, stories, and feedback on how to make a living making video.

    Elements of which include:

    • Corporate
    • Event
    • Commercial
    • Educational
    • Business
    • Government
    • Advertising
    • Marketing
    • Clients
    • Networking
    • Portfolio
    • Revenue
    • Expenses
    • Margins
    • Etc.?

    And do not include:

    • Film
    • Cinema
    • Short
    • Feature
    • Genre
    • Story
    • Web Series
    • Viral
    • Music Video
    • Art
    • Contest
    • Screenplay
    • Etc.?

    The topic comes from my own selfish desire to tap the P-V collective knowledge as I pursue this goal. But I think a lot of us could benefit. We'll see.

  • 28 Replies sorted by
  • I guess I'll start it off by sharing my fledgling company's first corporate video:

    • Client sale: Word of mouth
    • Production period: 6 Weeks
    • Price: ~$3k + expenses, not including animation
    • Shooting Days: 1, Crew of 3
    • Post: 25 hours
    • Animation cost: $500
    • Approximate hourly rate for us: $20 (A bit low...)
    • Client: Happy (?) No changes requested. No payment issues.
    • Video Quality: Ok. Not happy with voiceover, color, cam stability in parts.

    What do you think of the video itself, what we charged, the process, etc? Do you have questions, similar videos, experiences to share?

  • Great job on your first video. There are a couple of things that could be improved upon but nothing major and since you've already delivered the final copy and the client is satisfied not really worth bringing up. I am also just starting commercial work so look forward to the evolution of this thread.


  • Excellent!

  • I think you'll do well!

  • Great job for first video.. Budget was ridiculously cheap, i would charge 10-15K for similar gig.. Comments: Too long for corporate, most need to be around 3 minutes, 4 minutes max for this one.. Voice over too boring no sense of excitement in his voice, sounds like he was doing a wildlife safari read.. The chain block animation idea was great however needs to be a lot faster in and out, maybe 1/2 the time you have now.. All up though the shots were great, well framed and well edited... You will learn more as you go but remember above all else, start to charge for what you are worth, i know it sounds hard but you can get easily trapped in a cycle of budget videos if you undersell yourself too often.. Remember all the gear you have purchased and how many hours you have studied your craft, they all have value...

    Look forward to see your next production.. Cheers

  • @spacewig @kavadni @peternap-- Thank you!

    @truestory-- True story indeed. Discounting is a slippery slope, and that's one of the things we're struggling with. Our portfolio's too limited to be charging what the established houses get (~2k/minute), so we're taking discount jobs like this one to build it up in the meantime. Hopefully not for long...

    The goal is to to figure out how to make video that looks and sounds like this:

    For a tenth what than these guys spent -- and NOT lowering our rates, of course ^_^

    Anybody have paid work to share? I'm interested in commercials, government, and events as well...

  • Nice - advertising has polarised in the UK - zero or silly budget - I'm sure it's the same globally - the old days of unlimited flowers and fruit have gone (good!) but there's still work out there.

  • I've been a video editor for 10 years. Its gone "well" financially but I'm on the verge of going crazy w this career. Here is my advice. Don't spend all the money you make, save up. Read books and eventually you'll be smarter than 90% of the retards that work in production. Most of these people are in it just for the money so that they can feed their children. The result is 95% of the bullshit, propaganda, and commercials to keep people consuming garbage. Im still working as an editor, but i can't stand the directors, producers, etc i work with, they are fucking ignorant. Everyone wants to produce reality shows, its entertaining when you're young and making money feels good, but then you get older, wake up, and say "i hate the media.... oh wait, I'm somewhat part of the problem... certainly not the solution."

    People in production are whores (including actors obviously), pay them, and they'll make or say what ever you tell them to.

    So make some dough, buy a house, rent it out and go live in a 3rd world country for nothing.

    Most people in production make garbage. People should read good books, not watch videos.

  • I am a film student from Germany, and I think it is not only here that cheap, low-quality productions are a big problem.

    Maybe some more of you can share how you get to your price and how you list it in your invoice (such as- fee for renting out your own camera, fee for camerawork per day, fee for cutting per day,...)

    I think many can benefit from your experience so that WE don't damage the prices on the market.

  • @fatpig Good point.

    Right now I prefer to invoice nothing but the video and whatever added options the client selects. (+graphic animation, spokesperson, aerial). It's a product, not a service, right? Hours and expenses are unnecessary information.

    But how you price that product is the hard part...

  • @jweeke:

    you do not point out to the client what the single points are, but you do have some base of calculating, dont you?

    Also: At the moment, for example, I have a client that wants an advert, but we don't yet know what we are going to shoot. Making the Concept is part of the process, of course.

    But I can not know how many actors, which actors, which location, as of yet.

    So I made an offer stating my daily rate and- that the amount of shooting/cutting days is yet to be determined.

    @all: How would you have done it? What are some daily rates for reference?

  • @fatpig Here's our current system:

    1. Meet with potential client to figure out their needs
    2. Create a concept that would satisfy the client. Price it based on your costs and time. (Talent, rental, gear depreciation, hired crew, + all your hours). Possible here to make two prices, the optimal price and the minimum you would do it for.
    3. Pitch the concept to the client, they buy it or not. Maybe they bargain you down from the optimal, just hold fast at the minimum.
    4. Get 50% upfront
    5. Produce to a presentable cut, keeping the client in the loop throughout
    6. Present to client for any changes
    7. Make final changes
    8. Deliver final cut, watermarked
    9. Get remaining 50%
    10. Deliver final cut, clean

    As far as figuring out your costs, that takes research and experience. I know that for us it can vary up to 20% off our estimations, so you've got to factor that in, too.

    Does anyone with more experience have advice on the process?

  • Useful article by Ryan Walters:

    Personally, my expenses are so low that calculating my day rate this way fucks me in the ass.

    I had been happily charging a competitive rate for one-man-style shooting, but then one day, out of curiosity, I put together an order at lens rentals for a 1 day period that included every single piece of gear I will typically use on a gig. I found that it actually exceeded my day-rate by about %25. Until that point, I had trouble asking for more, but after learning that any old schmoe could rent my entire kit, sans the know-how required to operate it, or any experience doing so for MORE than I was charging, I raised my rate without hesitation.

    When discussing pricing with a client, I think this figure provides an extremely logical and simple line of thinking, re. your reasoning in calculating your rate. I now feel extremely uncomfortable going below this dollar amount - and rightly so!

    This also means that if a client really wants to paire things down, you can simply remove pieces from your kit. No budget for a cinematic look? Just bring one standard zoom lens, no follow focus, no primes, no dolly, maybe not even a tripod! No budget for sound? Leave your recorder at home. Leave the lavs, wireless transmitters, booms, hell, leave the on-camera mic if u have to. You get paid less, but your production can be vastly simplified (easier), if need be.

  • And in the interest of everyone's educational benefit, my rate before was $800, my kit came out to $1000, and I changed my rate to $1200, which is still on the low side of standard in my area (Seattle, WA). Also, I have a BFA in photography, and have been shooting video for about 3 years now.

  • Zaz - that's an inspired idea. Thanks for sharing. Makes perfect sense that we should be factoring in the cost of equipment and that's a great way of putting a value on it. And I like that it gave you more confidence to put the rate up to a reasonable one.

    Out of interest, what impact if any did it have on the business you got after you put your rate up?

  • I work for a corporation on a small internal video team, so for the past five years, corporate video has comprised of about 80% of what I do. I might think and act differently if I were doing freelance work, but from my experience, my biggest takeaways are these:

    1. If the client provides a buzzword and bulletpoint-thick script that reads like a PowerPoint, then maybe it should just be a PowerPoint. If you can convey this, you are showing them that you are not just a button-pusher, but that you're also someone who is thinking about their bigger goals. It may cost you a job in the short run but it can also build trust with your client, help them to NOT create a bad video, and lead to more projects down the road. (Sometimes, you'll get blacklisted for doing this, and the client will go out and find someone will make them a moving PowerPoint -- but are these the people that you really want to be working with anyway?)
    2. Just because an employee is a subject matter expert in their field or is a rockstar at what they do does NOT mean that they will be a good presence on camera, especially in the capacity of an anchor or a narrator. Every once in a while you might find an exception to this, but it's rare. If you need an on-camera presence, encourage the client to consider hiring an actor and make them a part of that process.
    3. Rather than asking, "and when will you need this?", ask the client if the video is meant to be screened at a particular event. This will keep them from pulling a random date out of the air that you'll have to work late nights to meet (but that won't actually have any benefit to them). I can't tell you how many times I have killed myself to turn around a two-day edit, only so that it can sit on someone's desktop for two weeks.
    4. In addition to your own milestones, set milestones for your clients that they must meet in order for you to meet the deadline that you have agreed upon. This includes when the script will be finished, and when their feedback for each draft is due.
    5. Try to limit the number of reviewers by educating your client about the negative effects of "too many cooks in the kitchen." Sometimes clients feel that sending creative drafts out to big committees is a safeguard against being held accountable for something, especially if they are new to the world of video. Let them know that it can potentially compromise their deadline. Ask them in the beginning to think about which three key people need to see the drafts.
    6. Accept that the client may not see things your way, and you may end up creating something that is unwatchable to you and that you would never use as a portfolio piece. I don't think that this is different from the advertising, event or wedding arenas for that matter. Sometimes it is just unavoidable.
  • I think that this video sums up the corporate creative experience pretty well:

  • Go here -

    & download the excel bid file. Every line item is accounted for and you can add your mark up or whatever you need to do. Just going through the bid can remind you of costs that you don't normally take into account. After you've filled out the entire bid, pdf it and send to the client as your estimate.

  • @QuickHitRecord You are so right about the people that are put in front of cameras. A teleprompter can help the forgetful!

    I'll also add that on every job you'll get a bit of footage that you really like, but many times the client won't - their choice wins!

    I would say that we often get asked to keep including the product or company name, which can be long and adds too many seconds and wrecks the flow of the story.

    My favourite comments are:

  • @andyharris I hadn't seen this before. Hilarious!

  • @mark_the_harp my business actually increased after the rate change, but I should also ad that at that point I started taking my work more seriously and pushed the envelope a little more in terms of what I could create artistically. I think the work is what kept my business going, and the rate change kind of kicked me in the ass to get there.

    edit: ok, the above is true, but i think i should ad that I am not a regular shooter. so, while my rate of business did increase, its kind of hard to really quantify, as before i was shooting maybe 3 projects a year, and now i am shooting maybe 6.. for me it has been a big change, but for someone who works more consistently, idkkkkkkk...

  • @Zaz, that's a really good answer. I guess things are always more complicated than a simple "cause / effect" relationship, so it's really interesting what you said about it also changing what you did. Sounds like a win all round!

  • Researching non-profit promo videos, I came upon this one:

    Great, huh? Anybody got a guess on production budget?

  • lol. Max Joseph , aka Mr Lonely, aka that other poof on MTV's Catfish, aka the one that's always shoving his powershot s100 in everyones face. He so indie. He's no dumby he cashed a fat check with Mr. Lonely written all over that motherfucker.

    its pretty easy to figure out some semblance of a compelling story regarding whatever idealogically masturbatory scheme that non-profit-next-door's got going on - and those comfy liberal bo-daggers at vimeo sure love staff picking the fuck out of that shit! so doing some creative (read, low-cost) non profit work CAN payoff in terms of bunches of altruistic wiggers digging your whimsical twitter feed, which is good because white faggotry carrys all the cash in todays futurist-corporate society, and ERBODY WANNA B SHOOTIN DA CORPRATE GIG$ MON!!!!!