I always ask for two things. I want to see the job first. I want to see the quality of
the audio and the condition it’s in. Then I ask a second question, which is technical
– what do I have to deliver? Is it a stereo mix minus the narrator or is the narrator
mix dipped or undipped meaning the level is going up or down. Am I just delivering a
music and effects track? I ask them the technical specifications for all the levels.
Then I look in my mind to see how long the job is going to take me 10 hours and I
want 225 an hour. So I say to them the whole thing will be a flat number and my
price is going to be 2250. Sometimes it takes me twelve and sometimes it takes
me eight hours. It usually works out in the aggregate or average around $225 an
hour on my system.
All the participants have a bottom line idea in their head about what is acceptable or not.
As Kate Farrell, an executive producer, comments:
I find that my work comes from people I’ve worked with before who understand
what I do and who have respect for me and I have respect for them. The other
factor in taking a job is how much does it pay. I’m really not going to take a job that
pays less than a day rate that I’m comfortable with.
Kate is very clear about what is her comfort zone and says:
You can get anywhere from $700 - $1,500 a day depending on the show and what
the budget is. I wouldn’t work for less than that really, I would rather work at Home
Depot than work for $300 a day – because I put everything – my 25+ years of
experience into the job. So I want to be paid.
The conversation with Kate continues about negotiations, “You can’t always get them to
give you a number first. It’s a big game. Especially when you’re dealing with your friends
because now your friends are hiring you” and adds:
Being a freelancer for so many years, I always had a number in my head and then I
always added more to it, in case I had to speak first. I always said the number, which
was at least a couple hundred dollars, more than I really wanted. I’ve been fortunate
that most time, I’m not desperate for work.
Kate is in an enviable position because she worked nonstop on network sports for ten
years and has significant savings. There is no doubt that having a cushion allows her to
negotiate from a position of feeling confident about asking for what she’s worth: