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  1. #1

    cameronryan's Avatar
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    Question Starting your own business
    I had so many requests for my brothers wedding video, - a 15 minute no nonsense film which focused more on the people and the day rather than the formalities and ceremonies - that many have suggested I start a business as a freelance film maker, also doing promo movies for real estate companies, hotels, resorts and perhaps even corporate events or simply offering to capture and imortalise on DVD somebody's special day, be it their kids birthday or a holiday trip.

    I believe I have what it takes to do this, however, I would need to take time out to study Final Cut Pro which I have yet to use. At 32 yrs of age I need to plan my future, and working for myself would be an ideal option.

    A job in television would be nice but I would need to go back to college/uni and study film making/media and learn how to use a proffessional editing suite, all of which would not be nescessary if I could start a business either out here in Hong Kong or on more familiar territory in Bangkok, or even back home in England.

    Has anyone else done such a thing, what are the options, and most of all - if you were not a film maker and wanted to hire the services of a freelance to promote your business or capture, for example, your graduation party, where would you look, and what would you look under?

    The answer may seem obvious but type in 'Freelance film maker' and a location into Google and the chances are you will get a list of companies or directors of low budget art films - not quite the same thing.

    Yellow Pages? No idea what I'd look under.

    Input appreciated and welcome.

  2. #2


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    I'm also very intersted in this, mostly for weddings and parties. The difference being I'm only 16 and I am looking for a bit of extra cash. Meaning you are going to need a lot more money and effort to start out.
    What you are doing now is exactly what you need to get started. Do a couple for really cheap or free and pass around your name. Make sure you have all the equipment to look professional and produce a professional project.
    Once you get a name for yourself, you could make around $1000 per event.

    As far as a real buisness strategy, I can't really help you, since I dont really have any experience. Just make sure this is what you want, I hear frelance filmmakers and videographers don't make much.

  3. #3

    cameronryan's Avatar
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    Videographers! That's the word I was looking for.

    I think those who limit themselves to just weddings don't make much, but I agree that one should start free or cheap, it was my wedding gift for my brother. As for equipment, I have two camcorders, a Panasonic and a Sony, two hard drives and a MacBook Pro. Other than blank DVD's and the usual acessories, that's all I need.... Well perhaps a tripod but they don't cost much.

    Then of course there's business cards, a web address but that will have to wait until I am established and that can only happen by word of mouth I believe.

  4. #4


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    Yeah, get a tripod for sure (and a stabalization rig even). You can't do this with out a good tripod (with fluid head). If you are going into buisness with your equipment, you don't want to comprimise because your customer will notice.
    This is why I rent a large and better camera than I own for film projects, mostly because the client doesnt want to see you with what looks to them as consumer equipment.
    Make sure you get good in DVD authoring (DVD studio pro is best) and image editing for creating the final product.

    Your best case scenario would to find a partner, especially one who has some skills you dont, and go into buisness with them.

  5. #5

    cameronryan's Avatar
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    I have used semi pro cameras but prefer my little Panasonic handheld as I can get a much smoother shot with it and am generally more flexible, however you do have a point. The other day I saw a pro looking camera not much bigger than a consumer handycam - I'll make a note of the specs next time I see it.

    DVD Studio Pro sounds interesting... If it is to iDVD what Final Cut Pro is to iMovies then I want it, I'll look it up - cheers again Blue.

  6. #6

    xstep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cameronryan View Post
    where would you look, and what would you look under?

    The answer may seem obvious but type in 'Freelance film maker' and a location into Google and the chances are you will get a list of companies or directors of low budget art films - not quite the same thing.
    You can help search engines with your web pages by hinting to them keywords they should pay attention to. You do this by placing a special tag into the header section of you web page. Something like this;

    <meta name="Keywords" lang="en" content="Wedding, Videographer, Bangkok, Hong Kong">

    That en stands for english, so I suspect you'll want to lookup how to use an alternate language.

    Some of or most of the words should appear on the web page as viewable to the people looking at it in a browser.

  7. #7

    mraya's Avatar
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    Here is a link to an article from That's my monkey, made by a pro photographer. It is not about video, but it gives good advices to start as freelancer in a similar field.

    http://www.thatsmymonkey.com/Media/0200article003a.pdf

    To do something like this is always risky, the best to do is to study your prospective market, get advice from people who did that but in your current city/town/area. I have been trying to do something similar but with photography, most of the problem comes grom having the time to do the job and the post-production, without giving up your current economic support. Anyway, good luck!
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  8. #8


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    While talking to my dad awhile ago, he had brought up one good point that has kept him from doing wedding videos: They are usually being planned several months in advance, and as such people would be looking at a lot of different people (They would have the time), and would be expecting a lot more out of you, due to your (supposedly) having more time to prepare. Sure, you can make a lot of money in this, but keep in mind that for weddings, people are wanting a lot more out of you.

    But, no matter what you decide to get into, it is a good idea to have good examples of your work for show. (As has been said). But, keep in mind for this, that you will need the permission of whoever's event it was to use it as advertising, and to sing some sort of an agreement with them about it. If you don't, and you use it without their explicit permission, they could easily sue you. Usually a good idea to suggest a drop in price, or a free event in the agreement. Remember: This can later be used as a tax write-off for advertising purposes (Especially if it was free)
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  9. #9

    PowerBookG4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bluesmudge View Post
    Once you get a name for yourself, you could make around $1000 per event.

    As far as a real buisness strategy, I can't really help you, since I dont really have any experience. Just make sure this is what you want, I hear frelance filmmakers and videographers don't make much.
    $1000 is on the extreme low end, or atleast when I work.. here $3000+ for weddings or Bar/Bat Mitzvahs. Videographers make alot of money, not as much as photographers do, but if you are really good you could make more then a photographer. Practice before your events. Get shots of random things and people and just practice.
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  10. #10

    EDIT-XTREEM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PowerBookG4 View Post
    $1000 is on the extreme low end, or atleast when I work.. here $3000+ for weddings or Bar/Bat Mitzvahs. Videographers make alot of money, not as much as photographers do, but if you are really good you could make more then a photographer. Practice before your events. Get shots of random things and people and just practice.
    you have to hook me up.. $3000 for one movie... how much time are you spending?
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  11. #11

    surfwax95's Avatar
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    I have my own videography business as well.

    If you're going to be doing weddings, get some nice fluid-head tripods, a good set of (2) wireless mics, and a decent pair of cameras.

    The money you're going to make per wedding/event varies heavily on your competition. PowerbookG4 works in a much more densely populated area than me, therefore he can charge that much ($3000). I live in a sub-urban area of Little Rock, Arkansas where the average videography price is around $800. I'm currently charging around $1500 for a nice well-rounded video, but my prices can go higher. Just get a feel for your area.

    Anywho, good luck!
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  12. #12

    EDIT-XTREEM's Avatar
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    I currently have a panisonic pvgs500 and a rode video mic.... i edit on my imac with final cut pro and i have an external 500gb hd...
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  13. #13

    disciple's Avatar
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    You don't need to offer discounts to promote yourself using your previous work, at least not here in the UK. Just write it into the agreement, that you will retain all rights for perpetuity, including the rights to the images of your clients, for any use including promoting and advertising yourself.

    This is a standard clause over here, without any need for incentive. The bottom line is, it's your work, and if they want a video that will be exclusively their property, then they will need to pay a lot more than a few thousand dollars.

    On the marketing front, get a great, simple, informative website with clear pricing, an enquiry form, and a BlackBerry. As soon as someone emails you with an enquiry, reply immediately and enthusiastically and arrange to meet them as soon as you can. You could store a pre-written reply in your BlackBerry and just fill in the names etc. so that you can even reply when you are busy. This will give you an edge over 60-90% of the competition, before you have even discussed price. Clients love to feel that they have your attention from the word 'go'.

    All the best with your new venture.

  14. #14

    mraya's Avatar
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    Another article/book you may find interesting (the book is free!)

    http://www.creativetechs.com/iq/read...ers_bible.html
    [is pointless to click here]

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