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                   Sunday, July 19, 2009 - 11:12PM

An inside look at being in business for yourself

By DAN ROBINSON
Editor/Photographer
25 Years of Storm Observing
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This video was posted on a forum I frequent. This is what life would be like if everything in the 'real world' went like a freelancer-potential client negotiation. Incredibly, about 80% of my potential client calls go something like this!

I deal in 'extreme weather' stock footage and photography, most of which has a very high acquisition cost. I travel across the country, sleep in my vehicle for days and spend serious money to get just one shot, sometimes I have to make several repeat attempts. After all that, I'm frequently expected to sell the material for the same rates as footage of people walking in a park or flowers in a garden (IE, the 'filet' for the 'taco stand' price). If I gave in to the discount requests I was being asked of all the time, I'd end up operating in the red every year, subsidizing someone else's end product out of my own pockets and effort. It would be nice if videos like the one above make the rounds and give more producers and business owners a better perspective of what they're asking when they make calls like this! I'm not trying to get rich off of anyone, but I have to cover my costs and pay my bills.

/end of rant

It's just as fun when selling custom art or portraiture. Imagine investing upwards of 25-75 labor intensive hours (or more dependent upon size and detail) into a one of a kind creation. Factor in supplies, finishing materials and in many cases shipping as well as insurance and what is fair compensation (or at the very least equal to minimum wage) leaves many gasping for air. Suffice to say, few artists IMO are paid what they are worth. It's a sad irony too in that people will invest the same amount of money (or more) without hesitation into overpriced mass produced items that lose value over time and cost a fraction to manufacture. It is a significant reason I have fallen away from commercial art because there too, the game one has to play and the time wasted in haggling is barely worth it.
- Posted by Paul from Decatur, IL
You know, the hurricane video, it is just rain footage, just like the taco stand is beef...
- Posted by DougK

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