A message to creative professionals everywhere.
You are not a commodity. You are unique. Price like it. Act like it.
Understand this. Use it. But don’t abuse it.
Understand you create magic.
You take peoples ideas and bring them to life.
You marry logic and emotion to propel a message across a room or across the planet like a Judoka tosses a human body.
Understand that you should be charging on the value you bring to the table.
The value you create for others.
The value they create for others.
You should not charge by how LONG something takes.
Because then they would be paying for your time and they can’t afford your time.
Time is one of the most precious assets. It is the only one you can’t replenish. You can make more money.
You can go broke and make it all back again. But time when it’s gone, it’s gone.
Instead you charge on the value it brings customers.
It doesn’t matter how long something takes you.
Most people don’t take into consideration the years, time, cost, and blood sweat and tears it took for you to make it take, 10 minutes, 1 hour, 20 days, or a year.
Not to mention the sheer cost of the equipment you use. Cameras, computers, drives, software. It adds up.
Sometimes the people who hire you are unsure exactly what you do. That is your job to educate them.
You must select people who want to be educated and value that education.
The time it takes you to do something does not matter.
There are a few things I have learned being in creative business for 15 years.
One is you must outline exactly what is to be delivered.
You must outline contingencies of something if it takes longer and how to handle the added work and cost.
Understand your value.
If a customer wants more than what was initially agreed upon and / or wants to take the project down another direction, and / or add things initially not discussed, and / or continue to create more work in the project you happily oblige and serve them well.
You charge for it.
Pick the right customers and clients.
A customer can’t live in a bubble and expect you to do more work, outside of what was originally laid out and not pay for it.
I had a conversation with an old client not too long ago.
They told me they didn’t think it was fair that the price kept increasing.
Of course they didn’t understand that they kept increasing the price. By asking for more work.
By changing things on the fly. By adding more days of shooting. Adding more titling. Adding more and more.
Worse off because he was not prepared. Or rather unprepared for what needed to get done to make a smooth shoot happen. Just having notes is not enough.
If you aren’t practicing in the off season you aren’t practicing at all.
If you know you struggle with presentation and you know you are paying for a job well done, then it is your duty as a client to prepare yourself and practice so come game time you aren’t creating more footage.
So on set we had to do 20 takes and sort through 20 takes times 4 cameras to piece together the best ones…
Why should I and my family have to suffer for their incompetence? We shouldn’t.
No one should feel they are entitled to be “special”.
The really special ones never do and they get the SPECIAL treatment.
I will always go above and beyond for certain clients who prove to me they value what we do.
They get the world.
I will go over budget and into overtime on my own dime to make them happy.
So that the project is the best it could be so they are not just happy but elated.
But not all clients are created equal.
Some think you are an indentured servant. Worse off they will do shady nasty things, and reneg on deals that were already created in writing because they feel “special”.
If you want a successful business in the creative arts, steer way clear of these people.
Learn to see the signs before you get into a contract. Remember they aren’t just buying your service they are buying essentially a portion of your life.
They aren’t just interviewing you you are also interviewing them so you can give them the best of you and you know you guys are a good fit.
If you don’t believe what I wrote above.
Goto a restaurant order everything, change your mind 3 times and then decide you only want to pay for one meal.
See how that goes down.