How do we price the range for calls for pitches? Do we pay extra from the idea?
The price for the production is a pretty easy calculation. Think of the person’s day rate for the shoot, and then any extras (drone, lighting etc) and how many days you’d want them to shoot or edit. But then the tricky question comes up: what is the price of an idea? Priceless, right? Well, this probably has to do with the marketplace and how you will attract the best video creators to give you their best idea. If you pay lower or the same as your competitors, you won’t be their first place to give their best idea. It probably makes sense to talk to your account manager about this. Another good way of looking at it is to include in the flat rate the amount of days the Storyhunter may have spent on research and pre-production for the story.
What if the freelancer has a great idea, but we don’t know if he/she can execute on it?
Bring up this concern immediately before asking for more information on the pitch. You don’t want a freelancer to feel like they’ve invested more time and effort in pre production if they never had a chance. You can politely bring up the concern and ask the freelancer to include any clips of videos (or referenced) that could show that they can execute on the type of production you are looking for. If you still have a concern, you can try to ask them if they’d be open to playing another role, perhaps a field producer roll, on the story. This often doesn’t work but it has for some freelancers.
How do we assess the intangible ability to construct a story with a freelancer we’ve never worked with?
This is a tough question. It’s much easier assessing someone’s shooting skills by watching the video, or have confidence hiring a PA/fixer from a great Storyhunter review, than to rate someone on their storytelling ability. It may be helpful to ask your account manager about any other Storyhunter clients who create similar content and in a similar workflow. That way you know the reviews are more applicable to you. There’s no easy answer. To lower risk, make sure to do a lot of pre production, ask a lot of questions of the freelancer before they pick up the camera and build out a shot list and/or story treatment.
Do we really want to put our important stories in the hands of a freelancer we don’t know?
A great freelancer who is passionate about a story can bring new energy and creativity to the content you produce, so you can actually benefit from the styles and skills of a freelancer on the ground. Using a distributed production network can help you develop your own style, tapping into their creativity. Look at the media company Netflix, built while hiring mostly independent production companies and filmmakers. That said, a good strategy is building out a network of great freelancers and start working with them closely. If you select the freelancers more carefully in the beginning, there will be less hiccups later on.
Should I let the freelancer handle editing?
It depends. Some great filmmakers are great editors, others not so much. If the skills of the freelancer is not the issue, you want to make sure their style fits with your brand and that you have enough time to send revisions (since it can be faster to give revisions to someone in-house). Sometimes it’s beneficial to work with a freelancer with just shooting first to build the confidence. Or give the freelancer the option to editing a rough cut or beginning, and if you like it, you’d hire them to finish. Also, make sure to note any particular assessments like video editing in the Storyhunter profile so editors on your team can build on your assessment.
How do we assess their ability to edit to decide if we want them to edit or if we should edit?
You may want to explicitly ask the freelancer to send clips that show their editing skills, and ask them to verify their work samples for video editing explicitly.
If we decide they should edit, how many revisions will be included in the flat fee?
Typically no more than 2 or 3 revisions is pretty standard in news/docs, but in commercial work many more revisions is common. The most important thing is to make sure to specify the number of revisions and you kill fee policy before you make any offers.
Do we have to pay a fee if we need more revisions?
Yes, typically clients offer an extra payment for additional edits beyond the originally scope of work. In the original offer, it’s important to specify the day rate you pay for any additional editing days.
What if the freelancers editing is not up to par and we just want to finish the edit after the first draft?
That fine. Just ask for the footage and you can do the edit. Remember to add this freelancer into your “Only producing/shooting” group so you know not to let the freelancer edit in the future. You can negotiate any adjustment in pay, but the freelancer has the right to get paid the full amount if this was not specified previously.
What if the freelancer sends unusable footage?
This should be handled how you normally handle this at your company. See our legal FAQ here that covers kill fees.
What if the freelancer sends a story that followed the style guide but just doesn’t have that intangible sense of story/flair that I need and I don’t want to use it at all?
Then you should work out an appropriate Kill Fee directly with the freelancer. Please take into consideration the time they spent working for you in pre-production and production, as well as the opportunity cost lost for them while working with you on this project.
At what point do I need to decide that I “kill” a story? Before production, after first cut? After we try to work through revisions and realize it’s going nowhere?
It is best practice to force your management team to make a decision on killing a story after receiving the first edit. You should decide either to ask for the footage so you can try to rework the story yourself, or kill the story before asking the freelancer to do any more revisions. After a few revisions, you may decide not to publish the story and you can kill the story so the freelancer maintains the rights to the footage but you probably should pay almost all the budget you originally promised.
Should I just post a call for pitches for a pilot?
No, for the pilot it’s best to talk with your account manager about the series so she/he can connect you with a few of our top Storyhunters for the style of video you’re looking to producer. Calls for pitches are a tool made to produce multiple videos on a more consistent basis, or for one video at a very specific location (for example, stories on Climate Change in New Orleans).
How have B2C brands used calls for pitches in the past?
Our network is completely global, so our Storyhunters can help you find interesting user customer testimonials around the world. For example, camera manufacturer GoPro produced several films from calls for pitches and asked the filmmakers to use up to a dozen GoPro cameras to shoot the videos. Check out examples of the various types of videos produced through Storyhunter on our Youtube page.