Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The big gig that never was

by Nathan Stout

In 2007 I bought the Jedi Cannon (and Chris likes to call it). It's a Canon XL2 Mini DV camera. It is super customizable and shoots some great video.

I had been putting feelers out at work to do some video for the hospital. The Bariatrics department was needing stuff as well as marketing and various other departments. I early 2008 I did a short video for Bariatric Education. I made $300.00 off it. This was a great start.

People were slow and dragging their feet, and nothing else got done in 2008.

Marketing looked like they wanted to do some stuff and I got a call to film an interview for them. All I had to do was film the interview, no editing needed. A quick $150.00. Then all the sudden in early 2009 marketing hired a 'web and video' guy. Suddenly my prospects went to near zero.

Video were getting made left and right, but not by me. I kept getting talk from Bariatrics about doing stuff but nothing ever came through.

The Bariatric program took off. They were starting to do business hand over fist and they hired an outside marketing consultant. This guy didn't have ANY marketing experience. Basically it was a friend of a friend of someone high up in the hospital. They set him up with a bunch of money to start this business up (which was really independent of the hospital). What a sweet deal. It's not what you know but who you know.

This guy starts blowing smoke up my skirt (so to speak) about doing all sorts of videos for the web as well as television commercials. This could be some big money. He asked me for several quotes. My quotes for those initial 12 projects were somewhere around $15,000 total. It was a steal when you compare them to real-time video production companies.

I heard nothing.

A few months later he calls again telling me how we need to get together and do some videos. He needs some videos for this and that. He asks for some quotes again. I send him a couple more. I increased my price this time since by then I am getting better and better with AfterEffects.

I hear nothing.

Several more months pass and he calls again. He needs to get some videos up for a doctor he is working on a website for. He needs them quick. He asks me what equipment we need ASAP for lighting etc and the quote for the work.

At this point I am tired and weary of this guy. I quote him basically three times what I used to in the past.

I finally figured out his game. He had been taking my quotes to the guys he had been using all along and basically telling them 'look, I can get this made for X amount of dollars from this other guy so you need to come down on your price'. He was using me to talk down his real-time video production people.

Wha' a bastard!

I think I came to that realization before the last quote and that's one of the reasons it's so high. I am very glad to say that he was basically fired from the hospital's Bariatric marketing for failure to deliver. I was very happy about that.

During all this I made a video free of charge for the foundation (the fund-raising arm of the hospital). I was planning to make the video and claim it as a deduction. I had also shot video for a county wide disaster drill that the hospital was involved in (not edited). I had the bright idea to just do this sort of thing alot and basically get back everything Uncle Sam took during the year.

Uh, no, not gonna happen.

I talked to the account guy and he told me 'time' (what my contribution is considered) is not deductible as charitable gift. Arg.


That was basically it. I am hoping that one day I will get more work because I have raised my rates for it to be worth my time and give me some more experience. It's a great money making field and I hope to make enough to at least recoup the cost of the Jedi Cannon.

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