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Topic: Professional Advice Needed Please!! Bruce, Sharmy, anyone ?

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  1. #1

    Professional Advice Needed Please!! Bruce, Sharmy, anyone ?

    Hello

    I\'m an in-house composer/audio engineer at a video-post facility. Lately i\'ve had terrible problems with staff treating original composition as an after thought. For instance, i was only budgeted $600 !!!! of a $30,000 production for a 7 minutes industrial video!! All original music. Meaning, i was only booked 4 hours! to create this!! NOT TO MENTION, they wanted the music made prior to shooting and editing, so the video could be cut to the music. And i received little to no communication from a producer, just the video guys.

    Please what kind of parameters do i need to establish? Can i give them an average of time per minute of music? Granted, alot is budget based, but they treat my creative process as it is me dragging a file from a CD. I have no problem with tight turn-arounds on :30\'s or :60\'s, but this long play stuff is killing me!! Not to mention the last :30 i did i was only booked 4 hours! The video guys had 3 days!!!

    Can anyone please offer some suggestions, past experiences, etc. Life was much easier as a freelance, now since im on the clock and at the mercy of several people, i\'m falling apart.

    Thank You!
    SWL

    Am i wrong or are these insane expectations ?????

  2. #2

    Re: Professional Advice Needed Please!! Bruce, Sharmy, anyone ?

    Perhaps you need to start using GarageBand for those types of gigs! [img]graemlins/tounge_images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  3. #3

    Re: Professional Advice Needed Please!! Bruce, Sharmy, anyone ?

    Lee,

    Thanks for the advise!! I guess what the account execs/producers want is some general time frames, per minute of music, they need everything quantified. And i have a hard time quantifying what necessarily can\'t be. Granted, it could be anything from full orchestration to a 3 piece rock band sound, they still need concrete absolutes when it comes to money per project per time.

    How do you go about shooting a bid? May I ask.

    Again, thanks alot! I hope this post can be helpful to many of us!

    SWL

  4. #4

    Re: Professional Advice Needed Please!! Bruce, Sharmy, anyone ?

    Originally posted by midphase:
    Perhaps you need to start using GarageBand for those types of gigs! [img]graemlins/tounge_images/icons/smile.gif[/img]
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">LOL! Still, i could accomplish the same with reason, but when all is said and done, it still consumes alot of time assembling loops, especially if they want alot of stinger to make cuts, etc.

    I\'m almost ready to suggest they sell all my composition gear and get more needle-drop libraries, i\'d rather do that than have this unrealistic gun to my head, project after project. Then i can go home and be an artist.

    [img]images/icons/frown.gif[/img]

  5. #5

    Re: Professional Advice Needed Please!! Bruce, Sharmy, anyone ?

    I came across this earlier post:
    http://www.northernsounds.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=27;t=000337;p=2

    which might help give you an indicator as to what should be budgeted.

    If I remember correctly, other posts that were similar even mentioned in the neighbourhood of $500-$800 per minute.

    Rob

  6. #6

    Re: Professional Advice Needed Please!! Bruce, Sharmy, anyone ?

    I feel your pain, SWL. I\'ve had to write 1 minute cues in 2 hours for pocket change. It\'s really not the business, it\'s just the people you\'re working with. Some of them have no respect for what you do. In the end you gotta have confidence in yourself and your work.
    There are a couple of business tricks that work pretty well. If you are given unrealistic time frames, do your BEST - build a library of music in all kinds of genres and use snippets from them to provide them with high quality and original music. Amaze them. Deliver an amazing sounding product. They\'ll keep coming back for more. Only the next time they ask tell them they\'re going to have to pay for your services. They will possibly refuse to pay you as much as you\'d like. Tell them you won\'t be able to do it, in a subtle way. They\'ll find someone else. He\'ll deliver a less than stellar product (hey, who can make a :30 spot sound great in less than a couple of hours for $2-300? Not many... I can tell you that much. Chances are they wont be happy with the result and realize they need to increase the budget spendings for the music.
    2) Most producers aren\'t aware of the impact that music can have on visuals. Bad music can drag the whole thing down in the mud, whereas great music can elevate everything to greater heights. Let them experience this first hand by giving them a draft vs. final product comparison. In the draft you \"lie\" a bit by putting together something that sounds pretty bad. Tell them that\'s the sort of thing they can expect for the given payment. Then show them the polished final product and tell them that this is the golden version of the same musical idea. Explain that the process involved in creating the music is a creative and artistic one. That you can\'t substitute time and creatitivty with electronic aiding tools. Spend time convincing them that your music is worth much more and that you will always provide them with the highest possible quality production you can manage within the given time frame. Eventually they\'ll understand you. You must remember that most of these people don\'t know the process involved in the production of music, and the less they know, the more ignorant they are. Let them know how thorough your process is. How much experience and skill is required to pull it off, and how much invaluable talent is needed. Finally, a tough one.. make them understand that music is 50% of the final production in almost every case.
    With orchestral music the golden trick is to make them understand that you\'re doing the work of a 100 people, playing every instrument yourself. Most people are in awe of orchestras. Take advantage of that! Make them feel like they\'re buying something special from you, but don\'t make them feel like they\'re getting something special for free, coz if you do you\'re basically sending the message that your work is cheap.

    Good luck!


    Thomas

  7. #7

    Re: Professional Advice Needed Please!! Bruce, Sharmy, anyone ?

    I wonder if it would make sense to make a rate card that follows the format of the rate card for the post house: so many $$$ per track-minute of music with GarageBand, so many $$$ with ACID, so many $$$ with Giga/VSL/EWQL/whatever.

    Make sure that you print the card in a really professional way. I read long ago that spoken rules and prices are seen as flexible, while written stuff is treated as gospel.

    If the sign says \"please stay off the grass\", you walk around. If some bozo says \"get off the grass\", and there\'s no sign, you get into an argument.

  8. #8

    Re: Professional Advice Needed Please!! Bruce, Sharmy, anyone ?

    I\'m almost ready to suggest they sell all my composition gear and get more needle-drop libraries, i\'d rather do that than have this unrealistic gun to my head, project after project. Then i can go home and be an artist.

    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">Be careful what you wish for!

    Seriously, there is some great advice above! I would say that as difficult as it might sound, you have to be able to quantify your work in term that your co-workers and clients can understand. The more options you give them, the better. Also, if it\'s in writing, you will have something to stand on when you argue against unreasonable deadlines. Start by splitting the music by style (orchestral, pop/rock, specialty, acoustic, etc), give a per minute rate as well as time frame (ie, 2-hours per 10 seconds of finished music). At the end of the process, you should be able to distrinute your producers a chart that they can refer to and determine how long and how much they should charge.

    Lastly, I fully agree with Sharmy\'s post, the big problem with the current state of the industry is that we are all undercutting each other and delivering really good stuff. We really need to stop and stand together against the current trend for smaller music budgets. I know that it takes a lot of balls to pass up on a gig, but sometime you have to look at life in a full perpective. Would you rather slave away your week-end for $200, or enjoy it at the beach with your girlfriend? Think about it, money ain\'t everything and turning down some crappy work will add years to your life and send a strong message to the cheapos that try to take advantage of good talent.

  9. #9

    Re: Professional Advice Needed Please!! Bruce, Sharmy, anyone ?

    SWL,

    It sounds as though the producer\'s budget is barely enough to license 7 minutes of prerecorded music. I think you should pull out 7 minutes of some of the best music you\'ve done and offer to let them use it for $600. You\'ve got to let them know their budget isn\'t even in the ballpark for original music but that you\'ve got something else that will work 90% as well.

    If you give them original music for that price your respect level (in their eyes) will drop through the floor.

  10. #10

    Re: Professional Advice Needed Please!! Bruce, Sharmy, anyone ?

    Originally posted by SWL:
    Hello

    I\'m an in-house composer/audio engineer at a video-post facility. Lately i\'ve had terrible problems with staff treating original composition as an after thought. For instance, i was only budgeted $600 !!!! of a $30,000 production for a 7 minutes industrial video!! All original music. Meaning, i was only booked 4 hours! to create this!! NOT TO MENTION, they wanted the music made prior to shooting and editing, so the video could be cut to the music. And i received little to no communication from a producer, just the video guys.

    Please what kind of parameters do i need to establish? Can i give them an average of time per minute of music? Granted, alot is budget based, but they treat my creative process as it is me dragging a file from a CD. I have no problem with tight turn-arounds on :30\'s or :60\'s, but this long play stuff is killing me!! Not to mention the last :30 i did i was only booked 4 hours! The video guys had 3 days!!!

    Can anyone please offer some suggestions, past experiences, etc. Life was much easier as a freelance, now since im on the clock and at the mercy of several people, i\'m falling apart.

    Thank You!
    SWL

    Am i wrong or are these insane expectations ?????
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">$1000 per finished minute is a typical planning number. You might consider going to www.filmmusicmagazine.com and looking for the wage guide they published a while back.

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