We like to support our community and young people looking to get into the video production business. Several years ago we spent time on the Board of Directors of the local Art Institute where we helped design curriculum and provided internships for students. The Art Institute has programs teaching students the basic skills of video production but often what the students don’t get is a description of the business aspects of how to be successful in the video business by someone who actually is in the business. Part of our role was to help students understand these business aspects.
We aren’t on the board anymore but we still feel it is important to explain to students what they need to know to be successful in the business and from time to time we are asked to give lectures.
People just starting out think that they shouldn’t charge much because they don’t have the experience and part of what I explain is that this just gives the public the perception that give-away pricing is what they should have to pay thus damaging the industry and the capability of professionals to make a living. I explain all the costs that have to be covered including insurance, licensing, equipment costs, motor vehicle costs, advertising and even their household expenses such as rent and utilities that need to be paid out of what they earn. The fallacy that they see is only the accounts receivable side and not the accounts payable. They believe they are making a lot of money when in fact they won’t be able to survive and make a living. I explain to them that they shouldn’t try to compete on price but on value they provide their customer. If everyone tries to undercut everyone else, pretty soon everyone will be working for practically nothing.
An example I go back to is when in 1987 I first started my video business part time and started to work doing weddings because I was only available on the weekends. At that time there were many people charging around $500 for a wedding video and working all the time. I decided that I would differentiate myself by providing better quality and having the bride and groom come in after the wedding to look through the footage and provide input on how they wanted it put together. I charged around $3000 and didn’t have to work as much or as hard as the $500 people. They had to shoot for 6 days when I was only shooting one for the same amount of money. The public perceived my videos as more valuable and I was able to grow the business until by 1995 I was making enough money to cover my expenses and I could retire from my full time job.
I spoke about much more including basic equipment choices, video technique, technical aspects of how to create quality video and advertising. The lecture was supposed to be only 1/2 hour but the students wanted more and it ended up being close to a 2 hour chat. Below is the feedback I got from the instructor:
Dear Richard DePaso:
Wow! You were awesome. The students were listening to every word and I am so grateful to have you spend time with them.
I love to bring the real world into the classroom as often as possible and you really had their ear. It is often difficult since most companies are so very busy. You can be sure you made a difference.
I could have listened to you for hours. Everything you talked about was exactly what they needed to hear. You have touched the future and I know you made a difference.
I want to thank you so much for taking the time to be involved, to inspire, and mostly to bring them the truth. By the way I love your website and show it off in many of my classes
I admire you for giving your time to them and I can assure you this is exactly what they need. I hope we can keep in touch often and look forward to future visits.
The Art Institute of Las Vegas