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    Contemplation over 2019
    #1
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    So as 2019 getting near to closure I think it's time to summarize it.

    At times it felt slow but looking to the financial part I managed to increase income and still got about three months free time without work. Which is in line with what I have planned.
    I said to my self last year I didn't need to purchase much this year but it ended up in a different direction:

    Sachtler Flowtech tripod system (Sold my Sachtler ENG2 which felt overkill for FS7)
    Aladdin RGB lights
    SmallHD Bolt monitors
    Mavic Air
    Shootools slider
    Ronin SC
    Osmo Pocket & Action
    Fujifilm X-T3
    Sony 28-135/4
    Sony 35/1.8
    Sony 50/1.8

    And a bunch of audio and grip gear plus bits and pieces. Most purchases have been solid ones.

    I used my two main cameras FS7/FS5 where I found them to work best and I've shoot a lot with C200. Not to much drone flying this year but Mavic Air was a nice drone to bring on vacation and fly for fun.

    I've met a lot of interesting people and worked in equally interesting places which to me is the best part of being a videographer. A camera opens so many closed doors and I find it difficult to find a better job.

    Looking at 2020 it's like always a blank slate. I have very few items on my to buy list but as exciting things keeps on coming I doubt I will stay away getting yet a little bit to many things.


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    #2
    Senior Member Run&Gun's Avatar
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    2019 can be summed up pretty easily for me: Bought too much gear and didn’t work nearly enough. This has been one of the slowest years in the 22 I’ve been doing this. The “upper middle” continues to shrink with the clientele continuing to find ways to do it spending less or just plain out foregoing coverage. Sports is a big part of what I do and unfortunately, as the teams go, so does the coverage. One sport I’ve covered for decades is in its death-throws, so unless something miraculous happens, it’s no longer the cash cow it once was. Our local professional teams are horrible this season and there has been a lot of cut-backs on college coverage, as well. August through February is usually very busy, averaging probably at least two days a week. Oh how I long for those days. Just quickly looking at November over the last three years(17-19), each year has had 1/3rd less shoot days than the previous. Thank goodness 2020 is an election year and the RNC is here. I’m too old to go stock shelves at Wal-mart and not old enough to be a greeter...


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    #3
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    I continued with my plan to ease back on working so many hours and have pretty much stopped taking on any new clients or working for anyone I don't already have a relationship with. I am definitely on the down-slope towards retirement and I do not have the necessary fire and drive to chase new work even if I wanted to. When someone contacts me now I want to know WHAT the shoot is before I tell them if I'm busy or not. If it is not somethign I want to do, then I am busy that day already. Not relying so much on being available 24/7 to service regular clients has also allowed me more flexibility to work on bigger productions that require a commitment of several weeks. They don't pay as well, but they sure are a lot more interesing. I used to turn down that kind of work because of the lower pay and harm it would cause with regular clients. Not a concern anymore. I'm also putting more of my effort into stock footage and my earnings are up about 25% over 2018. I find shooting for stock more fulfilling and the income has already replaced what I would have earned from 2-4 days of regular shooting per month. I used to say this would be a great business if it wasn't for clients, and now I have found a great way to take clients out of the equation. I see myself continuing down this road even further in 2020.

    No significant new gear purchases in 2019 except for a Mavic 2 Pro and a Hero8. Happy to still be getting great ROI out of my cameras, lenses, and lights.


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    #4
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    Stock shooting is fulfilling and something I would like to do more but time and interest when the calendar is full makes it a bit difficult to squeeze in. I'm also saying no to work which doesn't suit me with the praise "I'm already booked" or suggesting the client needs something else than what they think they want.

    In a way I'm tired of getting new tools. I'm very happy with my FS7/FS5 combo and have no desire to go for a new one for now.


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    #5
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    Grossed more than I ever have this year... and I'm more tired than I've ever been. This was weird, considering this seemed like the year of the postponed project... 24 multi-day projects postponed or cancelled at various times. In June, I'd counted that I'd made something like $750 in late cancellation fees. As to the jobs that did happen... Can't say I'm thrilled with all the results, whether that's just self-effacing perfectionism or self-awareness of the rushed, tight-budget nature of just about everything that happened this year. Can't say for certain. What I do know is that I'm changing my approach... raising my bottom rate and instituting standard contracts to regain some creative control, and finally putting effort into creating passive income... my intial thought is to schedule a "stock footage" shoot day every time I turn down a low-rate job. We'll see how hungry it makes us.

    Some gear was bought, some gear was put off (thankfully, almost dove into a FS7M2 this year exactly a week before the FX9 was announced), some gear was thoroughly and completely worn the f out and retired (bye, GH4). Overall I'm in less debt than last year at this time, so that's a positive.

    I woke up from frankly cruising on autopilot (or lack thereof) for the past ~3 years, not really making any major steps to improve my skills, marketing, or... well, much of anything. My freaking demo reel is five years old. The income I was making from simple, low-budget jobs was "good enough," but not really enriching and not challenging in the least. I'd become that old jaded crotchety video guy that just kind of phones things in with the primary motivation of getting paid and getting home, because, hell, nobody was paying me to be anything but that. As a result, I'm at least 3 years behind where I should've been at this point in my career, and I'm not exactly a spring chicken. It's not a satisfying way to live or work... so I'm taking control again. That realization alone brought back loads of enthusiasm... I'm starting to shoot more like "me," and less like the cookie-cutter styles I was attempting to ape for various producers. I've tossed half my gear loadout and am rolling lighter into every job. I'm being up-front with cheap producers that ask for too much on what I can actually deliver in their given time and budget. It's not an instant turn-around... I have a big pit of inaction to dig out of, but at least the shovel's moving again.
    Last edited by mcbob; 12-04-2019 at 07:31 PM.
    Pudgy bearded camera guy
    http://mcbob.tv


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    #6
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    I know that auto pilot feeling. Jobs keep coming without to much effort. To me the key is to try to learn something from every day of shooting. Be it how to solve a new problem or to improve on people skills.


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    #7
    Senior Member chris f's Avatar
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    this is a great thread, thanks for sharing everyone. over the holidays I plan on diving deep into my books and plotting out my financials for the year to help me make informed decisions on the quantity and types of projects I'll take on next year and gear purchase decisions. will report back.


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    #8
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    After spending more in 2018 than I ever have on gear, I scaled back a lot in 2019 with main year end purchases aimed toward expanding my 3D animation software and a small render farm since I am going to push harder in that direction.
    Previous year black friday season got geared up for photography, live switching and photo booth.

    Thankfully I have nearly all the gear I need and it's nice finally not to have to research, chase and buy more and more.
    Cameras seem to all still be lacking this or that but I just have an assortment of them and use whichever ones work best for a given situation.

    Plan for 2020 is to land more clients in the areas of work I want to do more and finish production van and save for studio.


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