|If a video doesn't have a budget, it's usually not worth doing.|
Over the years, I have been approached and asked to do productions for free. In some of those situations I have agreed to do the production. I'm of the feeling that if it's for a good cause or will help a friend, I'm all in.
When a for-profit company asks for a freebie, that's totally different. I find it very inappropriate for a project manager, who is not donating his or her time, to ask a video professional to donate theirs. I have done portfolio work (non-paid) for friends, but I will no longer do so in a business relationship. Corporate clients usually lose a little respect for those who are willing to do freebies, not to mention it sets an expectation of low value in the craft. We as video professionals, have a responsibility to maintain the respect in our profession.
In any case when performing the duties of a video professional, you should never do a project if you feel that you are getting absolutely nothing out of it. When doing charity work, there is a feeling of using your skills to help the greater good. Generally when a company asks you to do work "on spec" with a promise of future work, always assume that future work will never come. Is the job still worth doing? The best jobs to do as freebies are the ones that you feel good about working on.
If you're looking for that next video project, the one that you're asked to do for free, will probably not be one you'll be proud enough of to include on your reel. Steer clear of those profit-making companies that ask for a valuable service without any offer of compensation.
This article amplifies the old adage, "You get what you paid for." Personally, I don't even work with clients asking for a discount with the possibility of future work. Those clients are only one step above the freebie-ers.ReplyDelete
Eagle Video Productions
I always find the promise of 'future work' to be an empty promise. I'll bet the people asking for the freebie (or deferred payment) would never accept it themselves.Delete
I agree - in my over thirty years of experience I have NEVER ever worked for free - this is business not a hobby.ReplyDelete
That's exactly it, work in the creative sector is sometimes viewed as a hobby.Delete
Especially when the client can't spend the time to work on a script with you, They want something for nothing. On the other hand, I've had very low budget clients who work hard with me and they are the ones I like. Their videos are usually better.ReplyDelete
A word of caution. I have found that the amount of hassle I usually have to take from a client is directly proportional, but in reverse order, to the amount of money I am being paid. In short, the less I am making the more hassle the client is. And I have never had more hassle then dealing with a free client.ReplyDelete
Stick to your guns folks, charge a fair rate for your skills. And I would add, pay a fare rate when hiring freelancers.
I've had the same experience with clients being more of a hassle when they pay less for the services. It probably has to do with lowering the expectation of the value of the craft. As result, they believe they have to push harder to get good value.Delete
When you do work on spec, you become known as the guy who does stuff on spec, establishing a very unhelpful precedent.ReplyDelete
In these cases, they will bring someone else in to do the work when they finally get a budget.
Unfortunately, we work in an environment where skill (and experience) is not always appreciated. Sometimes, mere ownership of a camera gets someone the job. Those are clients to steer clear of.
If I walked into a hospital with a stethoscope around my neck, would I get hired?
I agree, because video production industry is a creative career, it's sometimes assumed by people in the corporate world, that anyone with access to the tools can do it.
I find that the clients that are paying little to nothing are the hardest to work with. The paying clients help in the process to make sure they are getting the best finished product. The ones that have little to no money invested also have little to no interest in the project. I did some free work when I was first breaking out on my own to get some work for a reel and get my name out there, but not anymore.ReplyDelete
I couldn't agree more - the clients who aren't willing to pay fairly are generally the hardest to work with. Creative COW had a great article about this a few years back called "Clients or Grinders: The Choice Is Yours": http://magazine.creativecow.net/article/clients-or-grinders-understanding-the-three-market-typesDelete
It's a strange world isn't it? People think free or "Exposure" is going to pay the bills. Very frustrating indeed!ReplyDelete
Leon, unfortunately I think there are a lot of people out there who have no understanding of the video production industry (or pretend to have no understanding).Delete