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    #11
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    Iím very glad for you, Paul. For those who didnít get paid job directly following a freebie Ė good actions, like kind words, are never lost, even if one doesnít see a direct monetary benefit (at least to my view).


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    #12
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    Free to fee can be a good strategy in select circumstances...

    - when your work is seen and directly credited to you by a large group of people, especially those likely to own businesses
    - when your work is impressive or stands out in some way (ie being much better than what people were prior accustom to, or just generally being impressive or moving)

    I donít think itís a great strategy if you work for free on something where you sort of blend into a crew and only a few people will recognize your work (doesnít mean it wonít turn out well, if itís the right people - just less of a sure thing), or if you are doing free work that simply meets the status quo and wonít stand out in someway.

    Stand out, be seen. Thatís when it tends to be worth it.

    As well, I always try and define free as ďat costĒ and still charge something. This way I can get a written record of working with the person in the system, along with an invoice and rate card showing the generous discount provided, and still get some minimal compensation. Itís just easier to work off of next steps after having it be ďalmost freeĒ with expectations defined - rather than going from free handshake to then invoices, contracts, and rates.

    Glad it worked out for ya! Itís also essentially how my business was initially built. Nowadays I tend to just offer tiny snippets of free stuff here and there as a hook, if I think it will be beneficial.


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    #13
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    I’ll also add to the above, I tend to do these only when I’m the one offering it - not vice versa.

    I get red flags when someone approaches for payment in “exposure”.


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    #14
    Senior Member puredrifting's Avatar
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    I don't ever do freebies. If it's for a commercial project, "free" is insulting. I don't ever ask people to do freebies. Unless I get together with a group of friends to make a short film or something fun. Even on my documentary films, which are self-financed with essentially no budget, we did an IndieGoGo and raised $12k so we could pay crew.
    It's a business first and a creative outlet second.
    G.A.S. destroys lives. Stop buying gear that doesn't make you money.


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    #15
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    Built my career on freebies. You just have to be smart and opportunistic enough to turn the good ones into career advancement and forget the bad ones.

    Agreed that not all of them will pay off financially. You always get better with experience though. Always.
    "I dream for a living" - Steven Spielberg

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    www.kegansant.com


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    #16
    Senior Member paulears's Avatar
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    Thanks folks - interesting viewpoints on this one. This was for me tricky as these people all know me in the main. However the South African Opera singer is a useful contact and she's put another job my way in the past couple of days. In the past three weeks I've now been in four churches recording all kinds of things, so worried I'm being christianised.


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    #17
    Senior Member thekreative's Avatar
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    I get the people that say no reason for freebies , but how much money do you donate a year? I see my freebies as a donation. I'll help any person or group that is doing good work with free services and I see it as a donation from my side. A day of filming and editing for a good cause is worth a lot to a non-profit and I'm happy to do it. I don't work full time, I don't know any camera person that film 5 days a week 52 weeks out of the year.
    Have I got paying gigs from it? Tonnes over the years but that not why I do it and the free gigs have been some of my best days in my career.


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    #18
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    There can be charity work for sure, and I used to do a bunch of crew work on PSAs for women’s shelters, LGBTQ+ Groups and other organizations that I considered worthwhile. But that’s a different activity than giving your time to help someone build their career. Far too often a lot of free work would just be a form of exploitation as someone who didn’t have much money just wanted to make a movie. In cases like that, I consider whether I’m interested in building the relationship. Is this someone I would like to work with for artistic/craft purposes or is this someone I would like to work with to possibly build a business relationship with in the future. Either one is valid, but if I can’t see one of those two clear benefits then I’m hard pressed to work for free. I used to do a ton of student films but that was the equation of me learning my craft, building up a Rolodex and amassing a list of IOUs when my turn to ask came around. And I always was on the lookout for someone with some real talent onto whom I could grab a coattail to take me into a bigger project. It helped me build my career.
    Mitch Gross
    Cinema Product Manager
    Panasonic System Solutions Company


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    #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mitch Gross View Post
    Far too often a lot of free work would just be a form of exploitation as someone who didn’t have much money just wanted to make a movie. .
    Still happens by companies that know they need to spend money on crew and materials, but still try to pull the wool over on us stupid hicks on the far coast from movieland. We are constantly getting requests from one company asking for "interns" and free artwork printing to decorate sets, etc. They know better and bought a building because it would be a cheap way to get a studio set up. Can't go into more details, they probably already know I'm talking about them, or will after reading this (if they read this).


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    #20
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    In fact to be asked to provide services for free is an insult. It's like walking in a store and ask to get free products.


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