Internet Video Network Companies are Bad for our Industry.

I joined the “Turnhere” and “Studio Now” networks several years ago because I was starting out making money at what I love: shooting and editing videos. I was getting paid around $200 for a 1-2 hour shoot and another 2 hours of editing. Now many people can live with that, but after awhile I began to do more productions and talked to alot of local professionals and found out that the going rate for these types of videos I was making by local production companies are anywhere from $1000 to $3000. These are companies that own the same equipment I do, went to the same type of broadcasting/filmmaking schools, and are making a ton more money than me. Why is that?

Because I didn’t know any better. That’s the case with thousands across the country who provide video productions for these types of businesses. You’re making $200 while they’re billing at a higher rate. Turnhere charges their customers aroind 800-1000. Now I’m not saying there is anything wrong with acting as an “agency” because agencies get us work.  But agencies typically charge 15%. Turnhere would rather pay the production company the 15% and keep the rest. But they’re good at not letting people know that. I met many others who have worked for these types of companies – and all because they didn’t know any better. I’ve taken another hard look at companies like Turnhere, and realized that they are most likely looking for people who don’t know any better, because they know that true experienced pros that have been providing video production services for years would never do such jobs for that amount of money.

Needless to say I canceled my membership to Turnhere. I am also making it my company’s policy to inform and educate any up and coming video professional about companies such as this. The reason I feel education is important, is that these companies lower the standard rates overall for everyone in the industry. The more companies like this that open up….the more people needing video services will pass up the pros who are charging today’s standard rates for services provided by the guy charging the least.

It’s similar to what hotels call “rate integrity.” When I worked for a large hotel chain, they would never give out a room for half the standard rate, even if the hotel was at 1% occupancy. That’s because the more you start making exceptions the more people will come to expect those exceptions. When the hotels around you find out about your lowered rates, they will need to start making exceptions to compete for guests. Pretty soon everyone needing a hotel room will expect these lower rates as the new standard. Then when it’s time to go back to the standard rate, people won’t want to stay in your hotel because by then every other hotel in the city is charging less. Now if you’ve ever stayed in a name-brand hotel, you’ll notice they are pretty damn nice and well kept. Take it from someone who has been there…you DO NOT want to stay in a hotel that can’t afford the proper staffing and amenities to service the guests. Well, that’s what happens when you don’t maintain rate integrity.

Well, it looks like the founder of Turnhere is at it again…this time a new website that includes videos as accompaniment to classic stories. The website states: “A vook is a new innovation in reading that blends a well-written book, high-quality video and the power of the Internet into a single, complete story.” So they charge you money to listen to a classic story told in an innovative way using video. Pretty good idea. But unfortunately for the up and coming video professional who doesn’t know any better, they will again work for this company by providing this outstanding product for nothing more that $30 to $50 a video. That’s right, they will get paid $30 to $50 to use their years of training, eye for art, creative juices, and thousands of dollars worth of equipment to make compelling videos for a company that will profit heavily from such work.

Here’s the website: http://vook.com/

Here’s the invitation email I received from VOOK:

TurnHere Filmmakers,

Want to partner with Vook? We are an exciting new start-up company started by TurnHere founder Brad Inman – and we are looking for creative filmmakers who want to join the VOOK REVOLUTION and help create our exciting new product. Vook (www.vook.com) publishes enhanced digital books – mashing up the work of great authors with your incredible videos. Vook is on the cutting edge of digital book technology and we are growing rapidly. We are adding HUNDREDS of new Vooks this year. That means MANY HUNDREDS of creative videos for you to produce. We work exclusively through the TurnHere network and we are inviting filmmakers to create vook videos for one of their favorite old classic books as we turn public domain titles into Vooks.

You choose the title you want to work on, we’ll pay you $500 to produce 10-15 short videos for the vook PLUS a 10% royalty on the net sales of the vook you produce. That’s $500 up front, an additional 10% on every vook we sell after we cover the cost of production – AND you get full creative control. You are free to shoot original video, use existing video, images, photos, archival material, original music, graphics, animation – whatever you want – nothing is off limits.

Each Vook includes 10-15 videos that are integrated throughout the original book text in a way that enhances the reading experience. Take a look at our list of book titles below. Check out our web site at www.vook.com — and let us know when you want to get started.

Email stacy@vook.com and put Vook Classic in the subject line. Include a short proposal on ideas you have for creating videos for your Vook Classic.

I look forward to hearing from you!

JOIN THE VOOK REVOLUTION!

We can’t wait to hear from you!!

Check out www.vook.com

Stacy Waters
VP of Content Development
(415) 290-2960
stacy@vook.com

If you notice, they are saying they are paying $500 up front for 10-15 videos, translating into $30 to $50 per video, and you can make 10% of the profit from those videos.  (Which is not guaranteed).

The bottom line is, DO NOT undercut yourself for these types of companies.  Find out what others are charging for videos, set your rates, make them fluid to an extent so you can negotiate, and NEVER DEVIATE FROM THEM.  Just like the hotels, we video producers/filmmakers must maintain our integrity.  It’s okay to say no to offers for work that you know are not paying enough.  Just get out there and sell your services with confidence, and they WILL come….and companies such as Turnhere and Vook will be forced to pay what’s morally right.

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