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    My rant: Am I being underpaid or am I in the right here?
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    So, I do contract work as an editor in Vancouver. Without giving away the company, I will keep the details pretty sealed. As for the work though, I edit local segments and car reviews. The local segments are put together to make a weekly show that times out at 27 minutes. The editing I do is not just straight cuts. I add in flashy transitions and make custom motion graphics for just about every piece. It takes me about 10 hours to do a 20 minute segment and another few hours to fill up the rest of the time with a few smaller segments or reviews (again, flashy transitions and custom motion graphics). In the end, the 27 minute segment takes me about 14 hours in total. At the end of all of this, they pay me a grand total of $100 for each of these weekly pieces. As they've seen all of the cool effects/bells and whistles I add to videos, they seem to always expect it now. They used to delegate the work across a few editors but as soon as I started editing for them, I get a majority of the work but as soon as I can incorporate something cool, it's a standard they want to see in each video. This obviously increases the amount of time to do each piece and a lot of my hard work doesn't seem to be worth $100 for each of these segments.

    Now, is it just me, or is $100 a pathetic amount? I talked to them about this and on average, I probably average about $9/hour and I brought this up to them. They told me, "you can't think of it that way. If you do all of these segments plus a few of the other videos, you can make $2400/month." To me, that's a very skewed way of looking at this. Sure, I can make $2400/month, but at how many hours? So essentially, they think the pay is fair and I think it's total crap. I can easily walk away from this but I do like having side cash. I need a perspective on this. What are your thoughts? I need an unbiased opinion. My girlfriend totally thinks they take advantage of me. I should also note that the footage they give me is generally passable at best. The framing is always off, shots are exposed incorrectly, subjects not focused properly, and my biggest issue: not enough b-roll. I just received a 17 minute interview and was given 12 photos to add as b-roll. There's a 100% chance they will get back to me and tell me to use "more b-roll" but the problem is that they never give me enough. So, the solution? I have to find dozens of stock images, crop them correctly, animate them, and all because they don't give me enough material to work with and I think it's absurd I have to dig for the material.


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    Didn't read the whole thing, stopped after "you can't think of it that way." These people are jerks. I generally charge $35/hour, and I consider THAT pretty low, but I am not a super fast or super experienced editor. If quoting by a project fee and not hourly (I have client that I can do hourly with, as in, this is how many hours it took; this is the final bill, most folks think that's a license to screw them royally), you estimate the hours it would take and that becomes the fee/estimate. Up to you whether to honor that estimate if it ends up taking twice as long for instance, vs billing them the real amount. I'm, I think, too nice and will honor a bad estimate on my part and take it as a lesson for next time I quote. Yes, this is bad bad pay if you are at all any good at what you do. What we do is a skilled profession and should not be compensated like we work at a checkout counter or in fast food.


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    Where do you work out of to be able to charge that much? I think a big problem in Vancouver is that it's over saturated which drives down our rates considerably. I have a hard time finding anyone that pays more than $25/hour. Also, check your PM's.


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    Looking for a woman ugafan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morox View Post
    Now, is it just me, or is $100 a pathetic amount? I talked to them about this and on average, I probably average about $9/hour and I brought this up to them. They told me, "you can't think of it that way. If you do all of these segments plus a few of the other videos, you can make $2400/month."
    $2400 / $9 per hour = 266.67 hours
    266.67 hours / 4 weeks = 66.67 hours per week
    you have to work 66.67 hours to make $600 per week.

    minimum wage in america = $7.25 per hour. after 40 hours you are typically paid time and a half ($10.875)
    $7.25 x 40 hours = $290
    $10.875 x 26.67 hours = $290
    $580 per week

    essentially, you are being paid as if you work at mcdonalds.


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    Does the company start with a N? If you can do it - pass, and instead spend the time actively looking for clients that value your work. If its the company I think you're talking about, I've seen their footage, and it is horrid.... I doubt anything you cut together with that will impress anyone. If it helps with the bills I understand, otherwise I see no other upside/potential.... and you're helping to screw the market by letting companies like that know they can get away with what they do.


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    Quote Originally Posted by ericsanpablo View Post
    and you're helping to screw the market by letting companies like that know they can get away with what they do.
    Whoa Eric, this is not a fair statement. The "market" is the market. No one person is ever responsible for its movement. If you need work, take it...or someone else will. There is no honor in sitting at home because some guy on the internet said not to accept a certain level of pay.

    Sadly, this is the current state of our industry People (clients) are spoiled and often expect an awesome project for little money. It is almost to the point of deciding if you even want to be a part of it all at times.

    Keep your head up, establish rates you can live with and go find the clients. Maybe try to lower your hours in the current job? You might be over producing for the customer's expectations. If they cry then tell them it will cost more to put more time in. (the amount you are doing now).
    Last edited by Bassman2003; 08-14-2014 at 09:02 AM.


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    Senior Member hscully's Avatar
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    $100 for 27 minutes is really low. It's nice to make money in a field you enjoy. The only way to increase that rate is to turn down work that is too low and seek clients who will pay your rate. Additionally this client is monopolizing all your time so the opportunity costs are staggering. You wouldn't have time to take more lucrative work if it came available. Run away!


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    Senior Member FrameFarmMedia's Avatar
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    I would never work for that little money. Like it was said earlier that is McJob territory.

    When I take on a small project I usually charge $40 an hour or so and on bigger series I negotiate a weekly salary or a lump sum per delivered episode.


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    You put yourself into this situation and now you have no negotiating room to get out of it. While you were being the helpful editor by adding features to the segments, you did not charge additional fees. You threw them in. So of course, they will demand them and expect them for free. As Josh said, when you run into someone that makes statements like "you can't think of it that way." , you're dealing people that don't care about you. There's no way I would work that hard for that little money.

    What to do? That's up to you. You're not making a living doing that kind of work. This is a dead end job.

    I agree that "you're helping to screw the market by letting companies like that know they can get away with what they do.". If you worked 14 hour days, 5 days a week, no vacations, no holidays, you would bring in $26,000.


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    Senior Member LyleGorch's Avatar
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    First of all, if Vancouver is anything like it was when I left town (and I have no reason to believe its changed) its a tough market, there are about 20,000 underemployed 'editors' in the lower mainland and the film programs at UBC, SFU, VCC, BCIT, EC etc. are merrily injecting a few hundred more every year, so yeah lots of talent. However, $100 is pretty squalid, I think they know it too. Almost all business relationships come to an end at some point and usually its about money which is after-all what business is all about. Tell them your rates went up and see what happens.
    Last edited by LyleGorch; 08-14-2014 at 06:07 PM. Reason: forgot one


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