A realtor emailed me; she wanted to make a short ad with naked actors to advertise a house for sale. After a few paragraphs of description, she noted, “So I need a 2 minute video and you will know how to direct it for me.”
I thought - okay, I can direct it. Does that mean you’re doing everything else?
So I met with a Director of Photography (D.P.), and after discussing rates and equipment costs - and naked actors, I responded to the realtor:
For a commercial shoot of this caliber, this would cost around $8,000. This includes pre-production costs such as gathering crew and actors, releases and contracts, reviewing the location, setting up a shot list with the D.P. (director of photography), creating a schedule – and also includes production costs; the actual shoot. Finally, this covers the cost of the post-production and distribution. Not only will this pay the crew members and actors, but it will pay me for my work, as I would have my hand in every area of the piece with multiple jobs.
I have access to professional equipment and crew members who work on Hollywood sets – so, they know what they’re doing, haha. It may come out to be just a two-minute video, but a lot has to go into it!’
So I received this response:
‘Yikes! That’s out of the question. The payoff to me doesn’t justify it. Oh well! Thank you.’
I've learned that it's hard for people to justify paying for film and video work when they aren't knowledgeable about film production. Rental costs, production costs - crew and actors - plus locations, food and anything else you can think of: it all costs time, and time costs money.
And hey, if you're offered a job you're not thrilled about, ask high and if you get it - great! Do the job you're less-than-thrilled about; you're getting paid well! If the client declines your asking price, that's okay - you didn't want to do the project in the first place.
I’m pretty sure the realtor thought this project would be a few hundred bucks, and that it would magically come together – complete with naked actors.