When I first started shooting video (circa 2005) just about everyone who picked up a video camera came from the indie film world. It was downright offensive to refer to us as anything other than “filmmakers”. But because the tools of our trade were prosumer cameras like the Cannon XL1 and the Panasonic DVX100, which more resembled the tools of a traditional videographer (you know the old guys that shot weddings) as opposed to traditional “filmmakers,” (you know the cool guys that smoked cigarettes and labored over their art) outsiders would often refer to us as “videographers”. This was especially true in the corporate environment where they were used to hiring “videographers” to shoot events, lectures, etc. They were not sensitive to the fact that I didn’t want to be lumped into the same category as the older traditional guys they hired before.
At some point I gave up correcting people and learned to embrace it. In hindsight I am glad I did. The distinction between what we do, and what filmmakers do is worth noting. In my eyes the filmmaker is a part of the establishment, seeking entry into the Hollywood or Indie-film circuit. They go to film school and write scripts. The videographer on the other hand is looking to tell a story (most likely a documentary) with any tool at their disposal, with as little fuss and with a general disregard for any acknowldegment beyond maybe a shout on the vimeo staff picks page. We are not so evolved as to seek monetary compensation for anything more than a means to shoot more video. Yes, I am a videographer! And having a term that I can reclaim, embrace, and redefine is empowering.
Big thanks to our friends over at Contour Magazine for the write up on The Videographers Guide. Check it out and share here.
Big thanks to Alt Citizen Magazine for this really cool article on The Videographers Guide. You can read the full article here.
Not since 2001 when I use to pitch my web services to retailers have I done any store to store cold selling. I have always been a determined sales person, but it was never easy. Knowing that I would have to put on the salesman hat again especially after being away for over a decade was tough to get up for, but at some point you have to just put one foot in front of the other and hope for the best.
So today I set off on my travels and once I got started the adrenaline kicked in and it felt even better than I remembered. Maybe life’s journey has blessed me with some new tricks that I didn’t posses 10 years ago, who knows. The end result is that now you can find The Videographers Guide Collectors Edition Handbook at the following independent retail stores. Go pick em up, so that these retailers would buy more books! I hope to get them in more stores before Christmas. You can also have them shipped by ordering online at our website. If you know any independent bookstores whom I can pay a visit to please email me at info at thenewpop dot com.
Thanks and enjoy the book!
Spoonbill & Sugartown Booksellers
218 Bedford Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11211
172 Allen Street between Stanton and Rivington
New York, NY 10002
540 Metropolitan Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Almost 100K video views later, our critically acclaimed video series THE VIDEOGRAPHERS GUIDE now has a printed component. Purchase our collectors edition handbook at our new website.
The inspiration for this series came from a 19 part weekly on this blog titled The Videographers Guide to Not Falling on your New Media Face. Very early in the process I entertained the idea of turning the blog entries into a video series.
In January of this year I put the video production wheels in motion. I had to take what was a highly personal blog series, and turn it into a more practical video tutorial without losing that personal and artistic element. So I decided to take my voice and replace it with the voice of industry experts, and to put a human face on my target audience by having a young “protege” represent them. In episode 1 it wasn’t hard to find my protege. Her name is Nasa Hadizadeh, a young artist/entrepreneur who I was meeting with regularly at a local Coffee shop to talk new media.
Nasa is the embodiment of today’s filmmaker. A Queens NY native, daughter of Middle Eastern parents, Nasa studied law in college, but right before taking the LSAT’s she decided to follow her childhood dream of becoming a filmmaker instead. One day she picked up a camera and went to work. She had that All-American drive that makes this country the entrepreneurial capitol of the world. That is the embodiment of the American dream, and if nothing else this is what The Videographers Guide is about.
What I am hoping to accomplish with this series is to tell dozens of stories like Nasa’s through the eyes of young filmmakers chasing the American dream, while simultaneously providing a roadmap for them to follow. I want to pull back the veil that shrouds New Media by providing valuable information from other filmmakers who are on the front lines. The goal is to present this information in a compelling, stylistic way that is as informative as it is entertaining.
I recently had a debate with one of my twitter followers who stated that the budget for my Kickstarter campaign is too high, and I quote…
“I’m having a hard time swallowing $60 grand is required – What kind of budgetary message does that send to new [film]makers?”
Fair enough… however just about every independent filmmaker I know is either complaining that they can’t make a living doing this or that they are broke. And what strikes me as even more peculiar is that many seem in some not so subtle way to prefer living with “the starving artist” tag. It has become (specifically in my native Brooklyn or as the French say – tres Brooklyn (Whatever)) some sort of badge of honor to struggle while doing your art. I think it’s all crap. My goal as a filmmaker was never to struggle as I do my art. There are more than enough inherent obstacles in the film industry, you don’t need to add artificial ones in order to fit into a cool stereotype. The truth is there are few things worse (as an artist) than not being able to pay your rent while simoultaneously trying to be creative.
So to answer the question of my skeptical tweeter… my message to new filmmakers would be that you don’t have to be a starving artist to be a good artist. I make a good living doing corporate videos, and I don’t see any reason why that shouldn’t also be the case with my creative personal projects granted they utilize the same resources. Filmmaking is not something you can fund yourself and do well. The equipment costs the same, my crews rates are the same, my time is the same, I still have to carry film insurance, so I choose to maintain the same budget on my creative projects as I have on my commercial work. If I wanted a cheap hobby I would have taken up a paint brush.
When I first started as a videographer I would do a project that I would charge 5 – 6K for today for $750 or less. I did this by cutting corners, wearing many hats, and rushing work. Some corporate project managers don’t care enough about quality to pay any kind of a premium, so I did what I had to do to get my foot in the door. Once you establish that you will work for cheap It is tough to break through that perception and get a fair rate. Especially when corporate clients will leverage other struggling videographers against each other to keep your rates down. It’s only after fighting through that ceiling that I was eventually able to get for myself on a regular basis what I consider a fair rate.
So ask for what you are worth, push past the initial resistance from your peers to maintain some hipster struggling artist cliche, and eventually when your work is good enough you will get what you are worth.
Here is a link to the Kickstarter page that sparked this debate.