The Importance Of Respecting One's Craft

In the video industry it has become very easy nowadays to run out and grab a camcorder, computer, editing software and start calling yourself a video professional. It’s almost as bad as so many individuals who go from having no talent to all of a sudden telling you they have a music career. The market has gotten so saturated with overnight video companies that not only has it made it more difficult to negotiate a fair rate on a project, but it has really put a hurt on the video production image.

Without even blinking, you could run to an online forum site and start your search for someone to do a video for you. Chances are your email box will be full within minutes. Replies will range from people who are qualified to do the job for you to people who are only qualified to take your money.

We’ve been approached by several potential clients that after receiving a quote from us they say that "so and so" said they could do it for waaaaaay less. I usually say best of luck with that.

There’s the old saying that the cream rises to the top, so no matter what, SilverHook Studios has built a reputation for creative excellence, integrity, and professionalism that I’m not too concerned with having to price match, but it kind of makes our industry look bad when there are so many overnight guys out there literally working for peanuts. They help make the consumer feel as if paying for a professional’s time, effort, and experience, is only worth the money they are willing to wave in your face at the moment.

My advice to other’s in the profession, stick to your guns. You’ve developed a relationship with other clients, you’ve taken the necessary educational courses, you’ve paid your dues with experience, longevity, and integrity, and it isn’t worth grabbing a new client for a quick buck who doesn’t appreciate the worth of your craft.

A friend of mine sent me these posts from Craigslist that I thought were absolutely fabulous. I am not the original author, so please give the credit elsewhere. I guess as the last post unfolded that the video community had been "flagging" service ads where individuals were asking for extreme video work for little to no pay. Supposedly there was a post from someone in the "video community" who put out a post saying that the video community was not going to stand anymore for little to no pay for their experience, time, and equipment use. Then there was a post that exclaimed that because of this attitude from the "video community" is why companies were taking there business to other states such as Tennessee and Florida:

"To the "video community" that is flagging posts for asking for reduced or free rates, YOU are the reason I am taking my (paying) production and hiring from Florida and Tennesse. The negativity you create in the Atlanta video/film group is pathetic and harmful. The solution is "do not reply". It could not be that hard. Believe me when I say that I am not the only one doing this so you are cutting your nose to spite your face."

Then comes along this post. That once I read it was obviously from some video professional who was explaining the hostility, but informing those who may think that any warm body with a camera and a computer is of the same caliber. I definitely disagree…check out the post:

"I am happy that folks from FL and TN are willing to travel from 2 to 6 hours to work here in Atlanta for $200 a day. They can bring their HD cameras and other expensive equipment with them to come away with a few bucks in their pockets. Sounds like a deal. I don’t think that it is a case of cutting nose to spite face. I think it is a case of negotiating for a better rate and training folks who need professional work what those charges are. What do you think plumbers charge? How about electricians? Do you think this is any different?

If reasonable rates were offered I’m sure you would have a lot of takers. Offering $10 to $20 an hour isn’t much of an offer. That is basically wages for manual labor. When equipment and experience is factored in, rates need to go up. Now on the other hand if you already have the equipment and just need an operator then you are getting closer to being reasonable. What is it that you object to? That people are not willing to work for wages that don’t pay for their equipment, time, experience, mortgage, food for the table, etc.??? This is a technical and creative occupation. Respect the expertise that is needed to get you the product you want. Again I am happy for the FL, TN and don’t forget about AL or the Carolina residents who are willing to come to Atlanta. If enough come here and find out what is being offered you may need to try Kentucky, Ohio or other states further west.

Then again if all you can pay is the lower end of the scale then the quality of work you get will reflect that. This business really does equate cost with quality. Now given you can have people who charge a hell of a lot and bring back mediocre results and vice versa. But generally speaking you get what you pay for. Do you have any idea how much a good camera costs? Have you tried renting one? They start at $250 a day in the local rental houses. That should give you an idea.

I think it is somewhat healthy for a dialogue to happen between those who wish to hire and those that are for hire. I would prefer that folks who offer minimum wages to just be ignored or for high school kids to work with you. That would be my preference. Because I think all you need is a warm body to aim a camera (of any sort) at whatever you want taped. I don’t think you care about quality of audio, lighting, composition or image. If you did, you would be more interested in offering decent rates. I really don’t understand why you just don’t buy a camera and do it yourself. You initial cost would be $500. After that it would be all gravy for you.

That’s my 2 cents."

I thought this was fabulous. Video professionals take a stand.

One Comment

  1. Dan Rickabus
    Mar 14, 2010

    My name is Dan Rickabus and I am a Sound Engineer that is graduating from Grand Valley State University this spring.

    I am currently looking for the opportunity to join a dynamic team in which I could utilize my skills in audio production, music writing, and sound for film / video.

    I have a wide range of experiences from working in the industry over the last 6 years and feel that I could be a significant contributor to your creative team.

    If there are any opportunities available within your company that we could discuss, you can reach me at my cell phone listed below.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Dan Rickabus
    Sound Engineer

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