Monday, October 7, 2013

Video Freelancers Should Stick to Their Rates

It's important to the video industry to stick by your freelance rates.
It's important for the industry to stick by your rates.
Last week's blog featured a list of Professional Video Editor Job Resources. It wasn't exactly an exhaustive list, but it included most of the websites that I visit when looking for that next video editing gig. Looking at some of the job listings can be insulting to a video professional.

Recently, a discussion about these types of ads was started on The Avid Editors of Facebook page. It got me to thinking, more and more companies are looking for quality work, but they are not willing to pay for what that work is worth. Sometimes the reimbursement isn't much more than what a high school kid is making at McDonalds.

Keep in mind though, legitimate companies and producers know the value of the work and are willing to pay for it. The trick is to weed though all of the crap to find the legitimate companies. Doing so can lead to much more long-term and satisfying relationships.

As I wrote in Freelance Video Editing: Determining Your Rate, it's very important not only to the individual editor, but to the entire freelance video editing market, to pass on these low/no pay positions. When an editor accepts a job at ridiculously low rates, they affect the market rate for everyone.

There may be editors who believe that charging a lower rate will mean that there is a lower expectation of speed and quality. On the contrary, clients who are unwilling to pay what something is worth, tend to be the worst types of clients - clients referred to as "grinders". In the end, grinders want to pay less, but they want much more than those clients who appreciate the value of the craft.

Reading some of these job listings from companies makes me wonder sometimes If Being Just a Video Editor is Enough. The bottom line, stick to your rates and stay away from grinders. Grinders are easy to identify on the video job boards - they're the ones who want it all but offer very little reimbursement. It may not be easy to turn down work, but it will be advantageous in the long run.


  1. Ironically, I just saw the following ad after reading your blog:

    "looking for MSc or PhD scientists who either know video editing or are interested in learning it. The ideal candidate should have a multidisciplinary background in the life sciences and some experience with professional video-editing software like Final Cut Pro. As individuals with these sorts of qualifications are quite rare, we consider applicants with minimal experience with video editing. This is a part time contract position with hours that can range from 15-34 hrs/wk, which could lead to full time opportunities"

    The pay? $20-25/hr

    So, if I have a PhD, why am I looking at video jobs on Craigslist and why would I take such low pay?

    1. Postings on Craigslist are notorious for low paying positions. I saw a similar posting in the Boston area.

  2. The same argument holds true for all aspects of production. I work for an organization that hires freelancers. Some will offer service discounts, something I always refuse. Skilled professionals should be paid accordingly, regardless of the profession. I would be doing my organization a disservice if I always bought services below market rates. Like any addiction, services bought at a discount only creates a craving for more and more – a cycle that cannot go on indefinitely. It’s bad for the organization, bad for the freelancer, and bad for the profession.