|Flickr photo by tj.blackwell|
The rate you charge should fall within a range. That range depends on a number of factors including experience, skill-level, speed and familiarity with the tools. For those of you just entering the job market, obviously you'll have a rate at the low end of that range.
Keep in mind that it's important both to you and the existing market, not to price yourself too far below the market range. Doing so sets an expectation that lowers the value of the editing craft. I think a good rule of thumb in determining the low end of freelance rate is to consider the cost of renting the tool. In the Boston market, the rental of an Avid® Media Composer® nonlinear editing system will run you about $450 for the day - that's $45 per hour for a 10 hour day.
It may not seem like a big deal now, but fresh and hungry new editors may consider undercutting the going rates just to get a foot in the door. A lot of times it's on the promise of abundant paying work to follow. A good article about the kind of clients that promise future work instead of appropriate pay can be found on Creative Cow (http://magazine.creativecow.net), it's called "Clients or Grinders: The Choice Is Yours - Understanding the Three Market Types". Although the article was written 6 years ago, it still holds true.
It's true that it's important to build a reel and doing so requires that you work on real projects. Rather than working for nothing on a video that is making money for a production house, consider building your chops on personal or independent projects that are being produced on no budgets. Check out New England Film (http://newenglandfilm.com) - there are always productions in need of help there. You'll be lending your talents to someone who needs it without undercutting the established rates.
The music video below was produced without any budget for a friend.
Editors that are just getting started as freelancers should also know how to conduct themselves when doing business. The editor I hired was given a reasonable time frame, claimed to have completed the edit and "emailed" it to me, but I never rec'd it. He said he would resend it. That was several weeks ago and I still have not seen the edit. Keeping your client posted, informing him of your progress, and delivering what you promised even if its a rough cut would be expected and appreciated. I will not hire him for future projects nor will I recommend him to anyone. You've learned your skills as an editor. Now learn how to conduct your business with potential clients. You might get more jobs that way.ReplyDelete
What do you need edited I have nearly three years of experience and have made 2 short films, one of them having been accepted into Fright Night Film Fest 2012 and am currently finishing up my third short using AVID...Feel free to check some of my trailers out I posted them on youtube.com-Channel: Matinee of the MacabreDelete
Hiring an editor with little or no experience can be a risk - much like working for an unknown client. In the case where I'm hiring or working for an unknown, I always set up a payment schedule. The full payment is only given when the final project is delivered. Not only does creative ability grow with experience, but an editor learns the correct way to do business as well.Delete
This is excellent insight. I recently cut a job for a client and I ran into some issues with my software which delayed the delivery date by two weeks. During that process, I continually stayed in contact with the client until I was able to give them the finished product. We will face issues in this industry but how you conduct yourself will be the determining factor in future work!Delete
Maintaining open communication with your client is very important. It sounds like you were fortunate enough to have a very patient client as well.Delete
I wish I would have read this 18 months ago. Thank you very much. My business model has just changed. Happy ProspectingReplyDelete
I'm a little disappointed that there wasn't much in the way of concrete and helpful numbers here. How does one determine the range they should charge in their market? What do editors make per day on average nationwide?ReplyDelete
Sorry Jesse. Rates vary greatly depending upon experience level, type of editing and geographic location. A good way to determine your going rate is to check around and see what NLE systems in your area are rented for.Delete
Unfortunately, in Brazil, the people always seek for a cheap/good video editor. Some clients don't respect Video Editors as humans, and will wish change the entire project few days before the deadline, the editor will need to do a lot of reworking :'( without extra budget. All of this, always under value of a real professional.ReplyDelete
So my tip is, look for the market, and study a lot, to be a great professional and put a real price for you job.
Of course, you'll learn how to choose a project and keep living with time.