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Dave Pullmer

Reading a client

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I wanted to start a discussion on "reading your clients". This may not be as important in sectors with relatively set rates such as union/commercial in my market, but surely applies to any negotiation we have.

Working as a omb on anything from doc/commercial/epk/corpo I've been constantly refining my questions to get the info I need so I can provide an educated quote for the job. Every little bit helps, and after each negotiation I try to think of items I may have missed or how I can improve.

Here are a few notes I try to keep on hand when gauging a potential job. Sometimes its all laid out clean and clear I find, but others require a bit more detective work... How do you approach this? Anything you would add?

- how many talking heads on camera?

- what/how many cameras are we shooting with?

- description of shoot/storyboards

- crew size? script/DIT/VTR/agency? camera dept size - 1st/2nd AC?

- how many comteks required?

- is this an in house production?
 or are you servicing for another co. ?

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Hay Dave that's about it


Ask for a script and storyboard too.


Crew list yes depending how you judge the client but it will show in the call sheet


Slowly slowly then you need to judge what you can charge







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What you have already covers it for me...if I'm getting any sense that my rate will be too high (and might not get the job), the answers to these other questions may allow me to shave my rate a bit:


# of shooting days, and are they sequential or spread out

indoor, outdoor, or both (in Canada in January, this is definitely a thing)

any all-night shoots?


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I like to ask what camera they use for a couple of reasons:

1) to check if it needs a TC cable I might still be missing in my kit so I need to sort that out beforehand, and if it is a camera I haven't worked with in a while I might brush up on the manual for the audio menus so I don't need to rely upon the AC knowing how to do it

2) can instantly give a good feel for the kind of job it is if they say "Arri Alexa" or "RED Dragon" vs if the answer is "Sony FS7" or "C300" vs or even if they say "Canon 7D" or "Panasonic GH4"! Just to give a few examples. 

Bonus reason:
3) they might in the process be telling you if they're shooting with multiple cameras or not, otherwise that is an extra question to ask as well

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