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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Rides To The Prom

In his blog Ask A Ninja Co-Creator Kent Nichols talks about what goes into the Ask A Ninja videos that he and his creative Ninja partner Douglas Sarine create and own. Kent explains why when the costs are averaged out each episode of Ask A Ninja costs about $6000 per video. Kent does a great job of explaining what has gone into building their business and their brand that will continue to grow but what Kent doesn't talk about are all the videos by Independent producers that are made for $6000 or less for large corporations.

Large companies are calling online video producers that have had viral videos and they are offering money to create new online videos for their major corporations and that's great. When I first started producing I would have loved to received a call from a large corporation who wanted me to produce something for them. Are you kidding? I would have done it for FREE. But times are different now. I'd still take the work but I want something more than money.

Today if you are creative and can produce a viral video that builds and audience you don't need a Fortune 500 company to pay you money. Just look at what Kent and Douglas and other online video producers that have come before them have done as well as what people like Greg Goodfried and Miles Beckett are doing with LG15 and Kate Modern.

What you need to watch out for are the "Rides to the Prom" as I like to call them. "If you give us a ride we will show you a good time later on." What I mean by this is that when a big company says, "Hey, we want you to do this video for us cause we think you are the most creative and wonderful person out there and here's $6000." be very careful.

There are some TV Networks that have been doing this tactic in cable television for years. They get talented kids to work for cheap and instead of giving the kids a raise when they do a good job they just find new talented kids. That's a little bit different. As the kid you are getting experience and you have that TV Network name you can put on your resume and go find work at a network that pays more money for experience. Now you can create your own videos and get experience doing it.

The thing to remember is that now the rules have changed. You don't need a TV Network to get the experience to create something that is watched by millions and you don't need to work for a TV Network to make money. Don't get me wrong it's great if you can get work from a big company and it can be great money but you are not going to be able to build a business on $6000 videos that you don't own. Sure there are wedding video guys that make this kind of money and can shoot four videos in a weekend but that's not what I'm talking about.

I'm talking about pursuing your passion and taking your wacky ideas and turning them into something that you own that pays you a check every month for years to come.

Now if you do get an email from a large company asking you to create a video for $6000 see if you can negotiate ownership. Could you imagine if you used someone else's $6000 to create the first episode of something like Ask A Ninja?

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