Business model: Artist or Technician?


Bamboopictures

Senior Member
Do you ever wish you could operate a production company like an art studio?
That is, the client commissions a work of art, in which case is a short film by you.
You will have control over all artistic decisions as long as you stay within budget.
The final output is final, no re-edits unless you decide to.
Is this possible? Will I go bankrupt in a year? haha!
 

DXNMedia

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Dec 7, 2006
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It take years & years to find that client who can give you their money and yet trust you to that extend with your creative works.
When you can find that client....make sure u keep them and value them.

From client's perspective, when they start to find such service providers that they can trust, it actually takes away a lot of their time & work because the regular service providers already know what to expect, what to do, and what to deliver in that flick of the finger. No need to brief & re-brief, etc.... Only smart clients will value such services from their vendors... They treat their service providers as partners, not some company that they pay and kick around.

For years, I have built that level of trust with my clients, and most of the work I output, I'd say I have at least 90% final say. Sadly in the current situation, it's hard to find new companies who can give your services that level of trust because everyone else these days think they're a lot better, smarter & more creative than you just because they're the paymaster.

Two cents worth of observation... :)
 

Agetan

Senior Member
Dec 31, 2004
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Do you ever wish you could operate a production company like an art studio?
That is, the client commissions a work of art, in which case is a short film by you.
You will have control over all artistic decisions as long as you stay within budget.
The final output is final, no re-edits unless you decide to.
Is this possible? Will I go bankrupt in a year? haha!
It is possible. You need to produce something that is very niche.

Many dream of this, but how many people actually work towards it is small.

In photography business, you can design the business to suit you if you can create a niche.

In my business, I shoot what I want, clients buy what they like from what I shoot. Also, I don't put contact number on website because I prefer to deal with people who is informed and love what I do to be in contact. I like to think I am doing ok.

The question is always how to do it? Rather then if it is possible.

So change your business mindset if you want to get paid the rates you want and doing work that you are interested.

Regards,

Hart
 

Deunamist

Senior Member
Aug 6, 2005
645
3
18
Bedok, Singapore
www.twitter.com
Do you ever wish you could operate a production company like an art studio?
That is, the client commissions a work of art, in which case is a short film by you.
You will have control over all artistic decisions as long as you stay within budget.
The final output is final, no re-edits unless you decide to.
Is this possible? Will I go bankrupt in a year? haha!
I think it is possible. Creating quality, original content and learning how to monetise it is the key to push yourself out of the 'corporate video maker' zone and onto the path of a 'filmmaker'. forging a personality through your work is also important in gaining 'street cred'.

once you are known for your work, then I believe there will be clients approaching you for more similar work.

what Agetan said is right, a lot of people talk only but never do.
 

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Bamboopictures

Senior Member
Dixon >> You're an inspiration! I wlll endeavor to be more selective of the projects I take. Often times, it's hard to tell with new clients. I give every client the benefit of the doubt and if the work process turns out be soul-destroying, no second chance. As for long tern clients, some accounts that I've serviced for more than 10 years can still take on different dynamics when people in organisations move around. For larger organisations, with multiple departments using my services, I don't know how to explain why I will service one department but not another. (How to politely say, I don't like your face?)

Hart>> So ENVIOUS of you!!! Make me want switch to photography. Sounds like a much more rewarding career where you can really carve out a niche. Alas, I can't make several videos and let the client pick the ones they like to buy.
Instead, my nightmare is trying to read the mind of a head honcho/final arbiter person whom I have never met.
Receive his brainwaves through middle management trying second guess what's on their boss's mind.
Then deliver my best work. Save a copy and wait for the vandalism to begin.
One committee after another, they are expected leave their 'imprint' on my 'baby'
Often, the BOSS never gets to see the first cut. Instead he is the final gatekeeper before the abomination unleashed to the public.
After the 10th iteration, I feel Victor Frankenstein, trying to the kill the monster bride I was forced to create.
Even after 15 years of doing this, it still bothers the artist in me, but the businessman says "TMAR"
(Take the Money & Run)
 

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pettypoh

Deregistered
Oct 10, 2010
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singapore
i think it's possible but likely to fail (many times), before can reach "super-stardom"

sometimes, it's funny how life works - the more you don't "desire" (the customer), the more the customer may want to choose you

i also believe that skill, professionalism and knowledge will get you clients but originality is probably the key factor that can offer you the creative freedom you are looking for

then again, in a practical business environment, as the saying goes ... "easier said than done"

but not impossible =)
 

Deunamist

Senior Member
Aug 6, 2005
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Thanks for your valuable insight. On self-reflection, I probably have been making bland, boring corporate videos that appeal to clients of a certain mold. Will take heed and gravitate towards more meaningful projects.
no prob bro.. Just sharing what I learnt from listening to the guys at Bananamana Films and their content creation story. I guess it's easy to fall into that comfort zone where you feel you're making enough and you don't need to do more. but for those who are artists at heart, there will always be those frustrated and unsatisfied voices in your head asking for more.

I haven't been in this as long as some of you guys but I do feel sometimes that it can be quite depressing when while working on those 'soul-destroying projects' as you have mentioned, you start wondering if this is what you initially signed up for. I guess corporate work really does pay the bills... For now. but never stop working on your own content, and never let self-doubt/inner critic cloud your judgement.
 

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daniyal

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Feb 23, 2012
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www.orangefill.com
Just want to chip in and share.

So far, " I like your work. That's why I engage you. I believe you can craft out something nice for me. "

That's usually I get when clients (not wedding) engage my video services. BUT, 99% of the time, they want to change this, change that. I felt devalued.

Someone told me before " Treat your customers how you want to be treated as a customer. Treat your customers nicer. "
 

Bamboopictures

Senior Member
Someone told me before " Treat your customers how you want to be treated as a customer. Treat your customers nicer. "
Actually, I'm not quite sure how I wanted to be treated as a customer. Sometimes I just want it my way. Sometimes, I want the seller to recommend the best product for my needs. But when a client is not interested in the efficacy of the product and is concerned only about process, protocol and politics. Should I even bother to explain the finer points of the product?
Over the years, I've heard it all. eg sequencing interviews by seniority or alphabetically order instead of by flow of the narrative. Objecting to talents wardrobe because it's not 'our corporate color." Putting the logo n every shot...
I don't know what is the right attitude to take. Is consumer education part of good service or is it unwanted service?
 

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Deunamist

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Aug 6, 2005
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Yeah man, I get it totally. when you take on a project, you'd want it to become part of your portfolio, and you put a lot of time and effort into it, only to see your design get smashed by some stone age bureaucracy. frustrating man.
 

DXNMedia

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Dec 7, 2006
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Dixon >> You're an inspiration! I wlll endeavor to be more selective of the projects I take. Often times, it's hard to tell with new clients. I give every client the benefit of the doubt and if the work process turns out be soul-destroying, no second chance. As for long tern clients, some accounts that I've serviced for more than 10 years can still take on different dynamics when people in organisations move around. For larger organisations, with multiple departments using my services, I don't know how to explain why I will service one department but not another. (How to politely say, I don't like your face?)
Hehehhe, glad that you're inspired, but behind the scenes, sometimes it's not as easy as we'd like it to be. :)
I totally understand how painful it can be when a regular client's marketing manager moves on to another company and someone new takes over that position. It's almost as painful as dealing with a new company.

Being selective with our work is definitely important because ultimately, our services are quite manpower/time intensive.
We can only do so much in a day/week/month. Most of the time, we can't just hire someone else to take over our work. Clients choose to work with u because they like your style/attitude/skills, and they'd definitely not be happy if you simply outsource for another cam op/editor to do the job for you.

After working in the industry for so many years, I have long threw any artistic ego aside. I can always adapt to the 'artist' or 'technician' mode easily. If clients value my creative call, then good, I will give my best input....otherwise, I'd be happy to be your friendly button pusher who will make sure that all technical quality is maintained.

As an independent, self-employed, or freelance, i guess the key is to be able to do what you like and make money out of it.. You're the boss, you're in control.
If you're doing something that you dislike or hate, or feel that you're underpaid for your time, then i think that takes away the purpose of being self-employed. :)
Keep your overheads low, be more selective and free up more time for better work.
I understand that there are some 'bread & butter' jobs to take, but once u fill up all your time and make yourself busy with those, then you tend to push away some that may potentially be more rewarding.

Two cents again... :)
 

Bamboopictures

Senior Member
I understand that there are some 'bread & butter' jobs to take, but once u fill up all your time and make yourself busy with those, then you tend to push away some that may potentially be more rewarding.
Totally, agree with you. I'm at a stage where I'm just doing virtually the same projects every year and even every quarter. After four or five years of the same event, it can get a little repetitive. How do you keep things fresh?
 

JacePhoto

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Oct 1, 2007
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Rodney, time to get a hobby?

Others, face the same problem with the clients and bosses, as an architect, accountant etc. They take up photography and videography for their creative expression. Hence you may need to move out of this area for your creative avenue?

Alternatively is to do personal projects where u call the shots?
 

DXNMedia

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Dec 7, 2006
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Totally, agree with you. I'm at a stage where I'm just doing virtually the same projects every year and even every quarter. After four or five years of the same event, it can get a little repetitive. How do you keep things fresh?
Just learn to push away some jobs that you don't feel good about taking.
Sometimes it may be better to earn lesser, but free up more time and clear your mind. Not good to be burnt out also.
I realised that I can be super grouchy and black face to my clients when I am burnt out. Not a good thing.

Once you find a job to be getting dreadful & repetitive, time to move on again. :)
If you commit to a job and always start to curse yourself for taking it when u have to drop other jobs, that's the sign. :p
 

Bamboopictures

Senior Member
Rodney, time to get a hobby?

Others, face the same problem with the clients and bosses, as an architect, accountant etc. They take up photography and videography for their creative expression. Hence you may need to move out of this area for your creative avenue?

Alternatively is to do personal projects where u call the shots?
I'm still crazy obsessed with the craft but finding it difficult to to be too experimental given the deadlines and budget constraints. Hence, my initial idea of shifting the paradigm from a video service provider to a art studio.
 

Deunamist

Senior Member
Aug 6, 2005
645
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Time to rediscover your love for the craft... Hehe.. Personal projects work for me. Leave all the experimentation to your personal projects while at the same time keep yourself alive with the money from corporate work.
 

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hamanoshun

Senior Member
Aug 17, 2008
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I'm still crazy obsessed with the craft but finding it difficult to to be too experimental given the deadlines and budget constraints. Hence, my initial idea of shifting the paradigm from a video service provider to a art studio.
Experiment on your own time, not with the client's.
 

Bamboopictures

Senior Member
Someone once said art is the opposite of insanity.
Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again hoping to achieve a different outcome.
Art: Trying a million different ways to illicit the same outcome /feel/response.

All work and no play makes Jack (Nicholson) a dull boy...
 

Agetan

Senior Member
Dec 31, 2004
4,670
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38
www.tomato.sg
Dixon >> You're an inspiration! I wlll endeavor to be more selective of the projects I take. Often times, it's hard to tell with new clients. I give every client the benefit of the doubt and if the work process turns out be soul-destroying, no second chance. As for long tern clients, some accounts that I've serviced for more than 10 years can still take on different dynamics when people in organisations move around. For larger organisations, with multiple departments using my services, I don't know how to explain why I will service one department but not another. (How to politely say, I don't like your face?)

Hart>> So ENVIOUS of you!!! Make me want switch to photography. Sounds like a much more rewarding career where you can really carve out a niche. Alas, I can't make several videos and let the client pick the ones they like to buy.
Instead, my nightmare is trying to read the mind of a head honcho/final arbiter person whom I have never met.
Receive his brainwaves through middle management trying second guess what's on their boss's mind.
Then deliver my best work. Save a copy and wait for the vandalism to begin.
One committee after another, they are expected leave their 'imprint' on my 'baby'
Often, the BOSS never gets to see the first cut. Instead he is the final gatekeeper before the abomination unleashed to the public.
After the 10th iteration, I feel Victor Frankenstein, trying to the kill the monster bride I was forced to create.
Even after 15 years of doing this, it still bothers the artist in me, but the businessman says "TMAR"
(Take the Money & Run)

Don't envy me... it takes a lot of hard work and gut feeling and taking risk to get to where I am. There is no short cut nor easier way.

Always think about HOW to achieve what you want... change bit by bit, create video that others CAN'T or DON'T do... work hard finding the right clients and years to come, it should makes your life easier...

Talking about it and wondering about it won't change anything.

Regards,

Hart
 

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