Room Tone Recap

On August 25, 2022 Real Video hosted a networking event for videographers and photographers. This event had a little bit of a twist to it because we decided to include a guided discussion throughout the evening. The overarching topic for this event was VALUE. 

The first thing we want to say about the first Room Tone event was that we were blown away by the talent in the room. People whose work we admire kept flooding through the door. I was also impressed with how many brave, new people came out ready to network and engage in the conversation with complete strangers. It was our hope that this event would be applicable for videographers and photographers, no matter how far along they are in their professional journey. There is just some sort of magic that happens when passionate, talented, creative people get in a room together. 

We felt it. 

We also felt overwhelmed with gratitude. All the guests jumped right into it with positive energy. We feared it would be “clicky” and introverts would hide in the shadows. But when the discussions started, it was like a rocket went off. Everyone seemed really engaged and excited to be there. Even our sponsors, Kessler and Rusthead, were genuinely glad to be asked to participate and walked away excited by the connections they made throughout the evening. 

We know people’s time is valuable and we are thankful for everyone who came out to this event and spent their time sharing their experiences, being open and building into this community. 

Thank you.

If you were unable to attend the event, or need a reminder, here is a little recap of what was talked about: 

How do you value yourself?

We thought of this in terms of creating an hourly rate for your services. To do so, we took four factors into consideration.

  • Experience. How long have you been doing what you do professionally?
  • Education. Have you invested in further education that applies to your field?
  • Location. Where do you do a majority of your work?
  • Specialty skills. What can you offer that makes you unique in the industry?

After we pondered these four questions we broke off into small groups. Each person told the others where they were at with these four areas. With that information, the others in the group said what they thought that person’s hourly rate should be. 

We asked the room if they felt suggested rates were high, low or on point. A majority of the room responded that they were on point. 

It was also stated that a quick, generic Google search was done on what the average yearly salary for a videographer in the USA. ZipRecruiter said $44k, Payscale was $47k and Glassdoor was $48k. There are many sites where you can dial in your details to get a more accurate estimate but thought this was a good baseline to compare where individuals may fall on the scale. 

We also discussed the importance of doing a post mortem project review to see how you actually did on a job. Remembering that minimum wage in Indiana is $7.25. If you’re walking away from a project close to that, you may have an issue. 

The next segment that was up for discussion was how to value a project. Here are six things that you should consider when working up an estimate for a project:

  • Your hourly rate
    • Translate this into a day rate. (8-10hr day)
  • Estimated time to do the project
    • The more projects you have under your belt, the easier it gets to do this
  • The gear it takes to pull the project off
    • Take into account ALL the gear needed (camera, lights, grip…)
  • Any additional outgoing costs
    • Meetings, Pre-production, Location, Crew, Wardrobe, Food, Travel Expenses, Talent, Music licenses, Stock footage / graphics, Props, Vehicle rentals, Lodging…
  • Your overhead
    • Rent, Vehicle, Internet, Software, Hardware, Licenses (drone), Loans, Marketing Efforts, Website, Phone, Staff (payroll), Taxes, Insurance…

We asked where a majority of people felt like they were losing money. Travel and pre-production meeting time rose to the top.

Once our brains were spinning with everything it actually takes to make an amazing video, we broke out into new small groups and talked about where we thought we lost out on the most money when pricing a job and what steps we should take to make up for it.

Once we came back together as a large group, we asked where a majority of people felt like they were losing money. Travel and pre-production meeting time rose to the top.

After that, as a large group, we started talking about the third section on the topic of value. How can you educate your client on the value of what you are offering? Here were six points to consider:

  • Don’t be afraid to talk about the budget in the first meeting.
    • If the client doesn’t have a budget for the project, ask if $X amount scares them. (Make sure $X is a little higher than what you think you need for the project because it’s easier to go down then up.) Your client’s reaction to this question will give you a lot of information on where you need to be.
  • Think about the clients R.O.I.
    • We used an example of a hotel that charges $500 dollars a night having an issue with paying $1,500 for a video. Putting that into perspective by saying the video pays for itself if 3 people make a decision to stay at the hotel because of the video. 
  • Be honest with your estimates and be able to defend every line item.
    • Clients may not know the cost of things that are out of your control like music licensing, actors, hair & makeup…seeing it as a line item and the cost that goes with those services can be enlightening.
  • Have the client put skin in the game.
    • If they cut something out of the proposal to save money. Make that their responsibility to cover. Your job should not be harder because they want to save them money.
  • Hold them accountable.
    • Again, if your client is taking on responsibility to cut costs, they need to meet expected deadlines. Their lack of organization should not be your problem. 
  • Don’t be soft.
    • Remember, they asked you into the room because you have something they want.

When we got back together as a large group we asked what are the dream clients? The room responded with: Clients that are trustworthy, that show up on time and that pay.

After this large group discussion we broke off into new small groups one last time. In those we described our dream client and what steps could be taken to work with them. 

When we got back together as a large group we asked what are the dream clients? The room responded with: Clients that are trustworthy, that show up on time and that pay. 

In closing, it is our hope that this community continues to grow and the idea that everyone in this tribe makes a point to make the people around them successful. 

“A rising tide lifts all boats” – John F. Kennedy