04-05-2004, 03:12 PM
On top of my film school question in the general forum, I also shoot and edit wedding videos here in Perth. I just wanted to get some opinions on if i'm getting paid right. I work for a company on a casual basis so obviously i don't have any company expenses. To shoot i use all of the company's equipment and get paid $25 p/h. To edit i use my own equipment but that is by personal choice because i have my own suite, i could edit on their gear if i wanted, I get either $200 or $250 depending on the package. Usually the edit is between 8 and 15 hours, again depending on the package but roughly translates to around $20 p/h. They also pay me super. Any comments are welcome.
05-05-2004, 04:43 PM
Matt - I suggest that as a marker for where you stand in so far as your pay is concerned, you take a look at the MEAA rates card for MINIMUM WAGES. I believe it is posted on their website. Then, keeping in mind that this is for CONTRACT EMPLOYMENT rather than casual, you have to enter into the equation that if you are casual or freelance that is worth more than reliable employment, if they want you to be at their beck and call it's got to be worth your while. Also your age and experience can be a factor here, a lot of younger editors work at lower wages to get a foot in the door - but it doesn't always mean they're going to go upwards in so far as pay and quality of work - in the long run you have to decide how to best manage your portfolio of clients, to maximise your return on your business. Because you are a business. An editor is a highly skilled individual with both technical and creative abilities that deserve to be paid for.
Now, as for hourly rates, it seems to me you are going really low. I've not heard of anyone working for so little money, but I'm coming from a different area of the industry and use my high rates to protect myself from getting lower-end clients. My charity rate for non-profit orgs is $45.00 per hr. Everything else is upward of that, and thats just for me, no equipment, and only for basic editing. I also add on charges for extras such as graphic design, logo design, special effects, compositing, scripting, etc. If you are multi-talented, as far as I am concerned, rather than take 3 peoples jobs for a third of one salary, clients should pay extra for the fact that they are only employing one person. So they pay my editing wage and an extra hourly fee on top dependent on the nature of the additional work's value.
Of course, the big factor here is how often you are prepared to not go to work...or turn down jobs because they can get someone else to do it cheaper. You have to decide for yourself whether you WANT the job, the money, etc. Are you living hand to mouth in a way that makes you feel like a starving artist? I do at times. But if I'm going to work for twenty an hour I'm going to a job which is worth twenty an hour. I won't go down on my rates as an editor because it sabotages wages and conditions in our industry.
Having said that, you should charge what you are comfortable with, and consider what kind of work opportunities are available in your local editing community, as well as the type of product you are delivering. You may want to keep your current relationship with that client but search out other opportunities at different rates - but set your benchmark and stick by it, and enjoy your work.
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