Freelancing Advice? (Video Editing)


#1

Hi Guys! My name is Bryan and I really enjoy video editing. It’s something I feel comes natural for me. Of course there’s always room to learn more, I don’t mean to sound like a ‘know-it-all’. I have a desire to help support myself and my family by taking on odd, video editing jobs but I don’t have any formal education in editing. Everything I’ve learned, I learned from the internet and from my own experiences. (Aside from one video editing class in High School) I feel this is a major disadvantage because I have nothing relevant to put in my resume in regards to video editing education. How could I prove to a potential client that I am ‘experienced’ or a ‘professional’ without a formal education in video editing?


#2

The best way to prove your experience is to showcase your work. Do a bunch of editing jobs and put together a reel or provide links to those projects with your resume/proposal.

I don’t think anyone will care if you’ve had no formal training if you can show them how good you are!


#3

Thanks for the feedback Jay! I’ll try to get something together.


#4

Jay, or anyone really, I should have added this question in the header but…
How would you go about determining a value for the work that you do? How can you assure your client that your costs are justified? This is kind of a general working man question. That just goes to show that I am currently not a working ‘man’. :disappointed_relieved:


#5

Agree with the above; film in general is not an industry where people will be impressed and hire you based on your education - while credits may count for something once they’re significant (i.e., the client already is familiar with the work and goes, “oh, this person worked on it!”), a lot of it just rides on your ability to professionally produce good results - this means not just the base creative work, but having good communication and self-management skills.

Broadly speaking, your above question about value is sort of the core eternal struggle of the freelancer. I don’t have a concise, singular answer, but here’s a few things to keep in mind:

  • I generally think it’s okay to ask other freelancers in similar or comparable positions what they’re asking, if you make clear that you’re trying to find an appropriate way to value your work. This can depend on experience, but also your local work area, so I personally am not offended when other people ask me this question for this reason.
  • I often will ask prospective clients what their available budget is - this is nice because they get to make you an offer, and you get the opportunity to think it over and decide if the work is “worth it” to you at that available rate. If not, this can always lead to negotiating the deal, and if it falls apart, you can at least know that you genuinely weren’t favoring the terms.
  • When I have to make the first offer, I’ll gauge my phrasing based on how badly I want (or need) the work. If it’s a job I’m really excited about, I’ll give an honest quote but make clear that it’s a “ballpark estimate” and that I’m flexible and “willing to discuss it.” If it’s a job I’m not particularly into (or don’t especially need the money), I may be more direct with a rate, and will not be as flexible - if I can afford to skip a poor-paying job (financially and creatively), then I like to give myself that option, too!
  • You can sometimes “itemize” your costs: while I’m not sure this carries quite as frequently to editorial, production freelancers will often include “kit fees” to cover the overall maintenance and purchase of the gear they use to do their jobs. Similarly, if you ever run into a job that requires an additional purchase to complete the work, you could consider either invoicing for it, or potentially charging some kind of fee (though overall, making sure you try to negotiate an acceptable base rate that covers periodic expenses is ideal).

This topic is a bit wider-ranged than your question, but might be worth a quick skim:


#6

Thank you Kevin for taking the time to give a fleshed out answer! I’ll check out this discussion. Budgeting/pricing is a hard discussion. I once asked a photographer I was a huge fan of how he decided his photos were worth 500-700 dollars. I was honestly curious because I wanted to maybe start selling my photos. But he took it offensively, then offered me a discount. Not exactly the response I intended to get out of him :unamused:


#7

Self-valuation (especially for something that’s strictly a product and not a service, like selling a pre-existing photograph) can be tricky. If you haven’t tackled it this way, it can help to think about how often you expect to work or how frequently you expect to make a sale, and weigh that against the amount of money you’d hopefully make to at least get by on. While this is still pretty speculative, I find it can sometimes be a useful angle on top of thinking about it in other ways.

The following numbers are totally just made-up and this is over-simplified, but to illustrate that a little bit, say you want to make $50,000 a year. You expect to sell two pictures a week, every week of the year. You’d want to charge $500 a picture (technically $520.83) to hit your goal. (That’d be $520.83 x 2 for $1041.66 per week, x 4 would be $4166.66 per month, x 12 would be $50,000 per year.)

You still obviously have to consider the realities that your income can be unpredictable, and that you obviously can’t just reverse-engineer numbers and charge accordingly to “make what you want.” But a little quick math can help you get a grasp on how much you’re currently on-course to potentially make at current sales/day rates, and that can help inform your decisions on when and how to adjust your rates as you move forward! Don’t worry, it’s always a little tricky, but it’s the kind of thing that tends to sort itself out over time. Plenty of folk get by (or do great) freelancing.