5 Tips for Freelance Producers Working w/Small Businesses

1. The Idea

As a freelance producer, you are your team. You are responsible for making the project come alive from creative directing, to final cut. Fortunately, most small businesses are coming to you with an idea in mind. From personal experiences, these businesses don’t know the logistics of producing a video, so it is your job to take their idea and turn it into something that’s manageable.

2. Pre Production

This is the most important step in production. You do not want to show up on the shoot day without everything planned out, and waste your employer’s time. Once the idea is concrete, your next step should be location scouting. Take pictures of the room or area of the shoot, so you don’t have any unexpected run ins the day of. Now it’s time to create your shot list. This is extremely helpful for a couple reasons; one, it puts the ideas that you have in your head onto paper, and two, you save your time and your employer’s time.

3. The Shoot

The planning is over and it’s time to make the idea come to life. It is important that you have troubleshot your equipment, charged all batteries, and made sure memory cards are clear. Showing up early is encouraged by everyone, including talent, so you can quickly go over your shot list and give everyone an idea of what to expect. When shooting, it’s a good idea to do 2-4 takes per “shot”, depending on how confident you are as a videographer. Another tip, don’t be afraid to venture from the shot list and get creative angles in the moment, then go back to it. When the shoot is over, give a ballpark time frame for how long you think it will take to edit. You usually can base this off how smoothly the shoot went.

4. Editing

Editing can be the most tedious part of production, but you’re almost there. I would recommend reviewing all your footage the day of the shoot, so you have a good idea of what to use and what to toss. Getting started on editing as early as the next day, while everything is fresh in your head will make production more efficient. Most of the time there will be a shot or a scene that just does not work due to various reason, audio, lighting, or even something in the background. This is when your creativity and editing skills are put to the test. There is always a way around things in post production, if you can’t think of a solution, walk away from it for a while then come back. Once production is finished, it is important to go over changes and creative liberties with the employer.

5. Payment

When it comes to payment, a lot of factors are involved. What you charge depends on your skill level, time worked, length of video, and how much money the business has. First thing you need to know is your worth, be confident in the quality of your production, but don’t expect to be given a lot of money if you haven’t worked much in the past. Next you want to find out about the business, where they are at as far as growth and revenue. There is no shame in doing a video for $100 if the company is a Non-Profit, this looks great on a resume. Once you figure out those two, you want to factor in the length of the final edit. A video that is one to two minutes can be worth a few hundred dollars depending on the first two factors. A video over four or five minutes can be in the thousands. Self evaluation and having confidence in what you charge is key, just make sure it’s fair.

Author: Joey Marchini

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