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Updated: May 5, 2021



For a growing company, video coverage is essential. Whether it's video advertising, employee training videos or product demonstration videos, a well placed video by the right production crew can accelerate your company ten-fold. In this article, not only will I be covering the average cost of a production company but I will also be breaking down why how production companies come up with there prices.




The Harsh Truth


The truth is, no matter how much you want an easy answer to this question, there simply isn't one. It varies per individual project and depending on the production company. Some film crews have a crew of 3 and some 8 or more and they all need to get paid there individual rates. It varies from state to state as well. You wouldn't pay as much in Atlanta Georgia as you would in California or New York. This is why most TV networks are located in Atlanta. Because the rates are so low. The rates are high in LA because of inflation, cost of living and Hollywood boosting the market for movie production (which isn't the same as tv production). Your best bet for a proper quote is to ask yourself what you need realistically for your project, then learn what each individual position cost on average and add them up for a grand total.




The Break Down


So now you know that the price varies. If a production company gives you a flat rate with out asking questions for a quote, you should run for the hills, because that company is either going to charge hidden fees along the way or they simply aren't experienced. Lets start by finding out the average rates for the main positions per hour. Keep in mind that the salary varies depending on experience location and education level.


- Camera man A and B

According to Salary.com, a cameraman's salary varies from 13 - 30 dollars an hour with the median being 20 an hour.


- Hair/Makeup artist

According to Salary.com, a Makeup Artist salary varies from 8 - 13 dollars an hour with the median being 10 an hour.


- Sound Mixer/Boom Operator

According to talent.com, a Boom Operator salary varies from 15 - 34 dollars an hour with the median being 23 an hour.


- Script Writer

According to Salary.com, a Script Writer salary varies from 27 - 35 dollars an hour with the median being 30 an hour.


- Film Editor

According to careerexplorer.com, a Film Editor salary varies from 13 - 50 dollars an hour with the median being 25 an hour.


- Film/Creative Director

According to careerexplorer.com, a Director's salary varies from 17 - 75 dollars an hour with the median being 36 an hour. Of course there's the extreme cases that Hollywood provides that go over 75 an hour.


Talking Prices


Just to give you a ball park estimate, lets say you want a commercial for your company and you want to hire a full crew. If you take the average of each position from above and add them up, you get 164 dollars an hour. It takes a minimum of two days to make a average commercial, 16 hour between the two days. That's roughly 2,600. The company is probably going to add on 20 percent so that it can profit from the project. Some companies may charge more some less, but for this exercise lets just say 20 percent. 20 percent of 2600 is 520. Add that up and you get 3120. So on average you're looking at around 3,100 for a two day commercial. Of course it could be a lot more expensive than that when you consider how many positions can be filled for optimizing a film crew. They're still the other positions to consider. Positions like: cinematographers, Various different Producers and Assistant Producers along with the Pre production and set up crew that I did not mention. As you could image, the price very well could jump tremendously depending on your budget and how high quality you want your commercial to be.



Summary Conclusion


In conclusion, each production company varies depending on the location, the difficultly of the project and how experienced the crew members in the production company are. Also, keep in mind that there could be other variables at play, like referral fees from an agency (if the production company is connected to one). If the production company allows it, pick and choose crew members that'll benefit your project the most. Perhaps you don't need a make-up artist or a sound guy. Or perhaps you need them both but only need one cameraman instead of two. Each project is it's own unique project with different needs. A silent film may not need a sound mixer. An interview style video probably will need a sound guy but not so much two camera men. It all varies.



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Updated: Apr 30, 2021

Disclaimer: Before you chew my head off, by no means am I saying creating a website is a bad idea or a waste of time. It's actual one of the quickest and effective ways to impress a potential client and land that big budget project that we all dream of having. However, maybe for what ever reason creating a website isn't accessible to you. If that's you then stick around and continue reading because I'll be going over the ten ways to land continuous work without needing a website.







Reasons why you shouldn't or can't


I know you should never say "never" or "can't" but sometimes you might not have access to creating your own website. Maybe you're just starting out and you don't have enough content for a website. Maybe you don't have the budget to keep up with we website. Websites can get very expensive if you don't have marketing strategy to keep it self sufficient. So no ones blaming you if you don't have one.


- Not enough content for a website

- Not enough money hire a web designer or maintain a website

- Over whelming and don't know where to start


The Seven Alternatives


So we've established that you might not have access to creating a website and that's ok. So now what? Well no worries, it's not the end of the world because we there are other ways to establish work in the film industry. Let go over them.

1. Get Proactive

Go to them. The big budget consistent clients are not going to go looking for you. You have to find them. You most be persistent and call them until they answer. Do the research and find out who's in charge of the creative department and email them multiple times until you get a response (respectfully of course). Even if you have a website, you still are going to have to do this, so you might as well get in the practice.


2. Do It For Free

Free is always a good marketing tool. If you're just starting of clients are going to want to know if they can trust you to do a good job and if you don't have any work to show them its hard for them to trust. Even if you have a lot of work and a website, clients want to know that they are getting there moneys worth. It's a catch 22 because how do you get experience when no one will hire you because you don't have experience. The best way to get around all of these issues, is to do the first one for free. by doing the first one for free, you are creating trust between you and the client while also building up your content, experience and portfolio.


3. Spec Work

Let's say you want to work for a client that sells food. You've done your research and know that they need a food commercial. Good job. But here's the problem. If you've never done a food commercial before, how do they know that you are going to do a good job for their food commercial. A good way to remedy this problem is to make a really high quality food commercial of your own and show them what it would look like if you where to make theirs. This is known as Spec work in the industry and it's very effective because give the illusion that you have experience in their personal needs.


4. Word-of-mouth And Referrals

If you've read the first 3 tips, then now you know how to approach potential clients and land the job. Now it's time to do a stellar job and impress the client. If you do a well enough job, the client will be impressed and will refer you to another person who wants similar work. That person will also refer you to someone if you do good with them. And so on and so on. Before you know it, you'll have a clientele. You'll be know in that community as the film guy who does good work. A good pro tip is to incentivize referrals through giving percentages for referrals. Give a big enough percentage and clients will practically be working for you as booking agents. The leverage is that effective.


5. Get Your face On Other Peoples Website

Even if you have a website of your own, you can do this. We've talked about referrals in tip number four. Some clients will want to put you on there website when do consistent good work for them. They'll parade as their personal videographer and this is a good thing because it's free advertising. Here's a pro tip. Incentivize them putting you on there website by trading them. Free work for them putting you on the website.


6. Social Media

I was thinking not adding this in the list because it's so obvious. Social media is your friend when you're a business. Use Instagram as your portfolio. Make it look very professional and eye popping. Advertise on Facebook and create a YouTube account. It's free so why not. Another pro tip for you. Paid advertising on social media will jumpstart your business and can be more effect then even website if done properly.


7. Join Forces

Collaborate with other film people. You don't have to do this alone. Your chances raise when you work with multiple people and they are looking for work on your behave. Hire a talent agent. Let them find you work and give them a percentage. Go to networking events. Maybe your a cinematographer only. Find a director or a film editor and team up with them



Summary

There are hundreds of marking tips to consider when looking for film work. These are the most effective in my experience. I have ten years of experience in the film industry and this year is my first year having a website. The website is a great tool to have but it most certainly isn't the end all be all of marketing tool in the film industry. Hopefully you've read this article and found some useful tip to getting clients of your own



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Yes, I said it! The G85 Panasonic beats the Black Magic Design Cameras, out-performs the Red Cinema cameras and beats all of the Nikon and Cannon cameras. If you're in the film industry, this probably sounds absurd to you, but hear me out because in this article I will explain to you the 10 reasons that that G85 Panasonic Lumix is the way to go for beginners to even most professionals.


Of course there are upgraded versions of the G85 that has since been released, like the G9, the Gh5 and the Gh5s. However I might even argue that the G85 is even better than the newer models for entry-level and those who are starting off. Lets go over what make the G85 such a good choice.




#1 Waterproof


This 1st one is self explanatory. The G85, unlike a lot of older cameras is weather sealed. I wouldn't go deep sea diving with this camera but the weather protection from rain and snow is a good addition and is a matter of convenience.




#2 Very Light And Compact


When your holding a camera for smooth panning or doing a run-and-gun style shooting, size and weight means every thing. A big bulky camera might have trouble fit in tight spaces. Being able to get fit in tight space gives the G85 an edge up when shooting creatively with cinematic angles. A heavy camera is harder to control and can be exhausting to carry around when filming long events. The G85 is practical weightless and that give options to add accessories without the camera getting heavy. light and swiftness of the G85 allows more room for creativity and efficiency.




#3 Stabilization

So you've bought your 100,000 Red Cinema camera. Now what? How are you going to stabilize the footage. Believe it or not, some videographers spend more money on ways to move the camera around smoothly, then the actual camera itself. That's how important stabilization can be. Because no one wants shaky footage and most cinematic shots are in motion. The G85 uses a fairly new system called IBIS. IBIS is a built-in, dual stabilization which not only has stabilization in the body of the camera, but also the lens of the camera as well, making panning, holding, and walking with the camera, smooth and seamless. This allows for Hollywood style panning with very little effort. Something that would usually cost thousands of dollars plus years of training to acquire.




#4 It's has 4k!

4k is fairly new so a lot of the older cinematic cameras can't film in that quality. And that's a shame because all of the newer tv's and technology are starting to switch over to 4k. This means that those older model cameras are actually obsolete. The G85 not only has 4k, but also options to switch between 30 fps for slow motion and 24fps for a more cinematic look. This feature alone gives the G85 a clear edge over it's competition.




#5 Price

Considering the built in stabilization and the 4k quality, you would think this camera would be I the thousands. After all, people pay thousands of dollar just for the stabilization alone and the 4k make it one of the only mirrorless dslr style cameras on the market right now. Despite it feeling like 5 thousand dollar camera, it only run at 700 dollars. 500 if you can find it used. That is an amazing price considering what you're getting. Yes, you can buy the upgraded version of this camera (the GH5) for 2000 dollars. But the upgrade is miniscule. Only a slightly better color bitrate for better color grading and a 6k option. Yes it's technology better but the untrained human eye wouldn't be able to tell the difference. And at that price difference it would be more beneficial to buy something else the G85 and accessories or even two G85's and still have enough money for accessories.



Summary Conclusion

Yes, there are better quality cameras out there like the red cinemas, but the money you would have to spend in order to make that type of modular camera work, is in the hundred thousands. You could start a whole production company with that type of money. You could buy a house with that type of money. Most companies aren't expecting you to have that type of equipment, so it would be a waste of resources to buy those type of cameras at any level other than block buster movie levels of film production. If your making a box office movie or a Netflix exclusive, then by all means, buy a 10,000 to 100,000 dollar camera. However, if you're creating commercials, filming events or literally anything else, then it would be more cost efficient to buy the G85 and work your way up to the GH5. The G85 is plenty. With the right lens and accessories You can run with the G85 for years to come.


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