Welcome to the March issue!
This month, I mount my soap box to say a few words about the costs related to travel. I was also busy this month spreading the word about preserving life stories on video as both a guest and host of podcasts. You’ll find links to those recordings in this issue.
I hope you enjoy this issue of the Family Legacy Video® Producer’s e-Newsletter. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone toll-free (888.662.1294) with any questions or comments you have.
Cheers! – – Steve Pender
Some traveling music, please!
A week ago, the phone in Family Legacy Video’s Tucson office chimed, announcing an incoming call. I slid on my earpiece, pressed “talk,” and said hello.
The voice on the other end of the line belonged to a lady in Florida. She wanted to capture her mother’s stories on video, she said, and was calling to inquire about pricing and process. Knowing that I was in Tucson, Arizona, she asked how I work with long-distance clients.
“I work with clients outside of Tucson all the time,” I said. “We can do all our preliminary preparation via phone and e-mail. Then, I’ll travel to your location to record the interview.”
“And do I need to pay for travel?”
“Yes,” I answered. “But I travel as inexpensively as possible and I simply pass the cost along to you, without marking it up.”
“Well,” she huffed a bit. “I’m not paying for someone to stay in a hotel.”
And that pretty much signaled the end of our conversation. I don’t know why she objected so strongly; perhaps she thought I’d book a penthouse suite in a tony, ocean-front resort and drain the mini bar at her expense. Whatever her reasons, she was not going to foot the bill for me or anyone else to travel to Florida.
She’s not the first potential client to object to paying travel expenses, and she won’t be the last. Some folks just don’t want to part with the cash needed to fly in a professional personal historian and video biographer like myself, not to mention the crew and gear so vital to recording a high-quality video biography interview. Others may think they’re paying me to take a vacation. Here are some of my thoughts on the subject:
IT AIN’T A VACATION
Traveling for business is, well, work. There’s time and expense spent booking airfare, hotels, rental cars, rental gear, and crew. Then there’s packing and uprooting myself for however many days it takes to travel to a location and direct a legacy video shoot. That’s time spent away from the office as well as the comforts of home and family. I’m not complaining, mind you – travel is part and parcel of the service Family Legacy Video® provides. But hitting the road presents costs in term of time and expense and, like all the other aspects of a legacy video project, it needs to be factored into the price. It’s only fair.
IT DOESN’T NEED TO COST AN ARM AND A LEG
Travel expenses are typically fairly small when compared to the total price of video biography project. My crew and I fly coach (and sometimes we even drive) and we don’t hunker down in swanky hotels. Do we want clean and comfortable? Yes. And because we often have equipment, we want a place that’s secure. So the Bates Motel is probably out. But I am mindful of the fact that the client is footing the bill and I keep our costs as low as possible. In fact, I often ask clients to recommend economical hotels/motels in their areas. I also need to compensate crew members for some of the time they spend traveling, since they could be spending that time working on other jobs.
By the way, it often isn’t necessary for me to fly an entire crew to a location outside of Tucson. If I can find qualified camera operators, sound technicians, and make-up artists who are local to where I need to shoot, I’ll hire them and save on travel. Sometimes I’ll bring my camera operator and then hire the rest of the crew locally. So there are ways to economize.
ON THE TOP OR HIDDEN INSIDE
I prefer to charge for travel separately, after the shoot. So I typically add these costs on top of the production budget. It’s just easy and transparent to do it this way. I simply tally up the costs and send a copy of the receipts to the client along with the travel invoice. That way, my customers see exactly what I spent – and I can put the full budget into the production. So if the production budget is $20,000 and I spend $1,500 on travel, that full $20,000 still goes toward the production work. If, however, I need to take travel from inside the budget, I’m left with $18,500 to put into the production. I’m happy to do it this way if a client insists; we just need to have a clear understanding about how much of the budjet is actually going towards the work, and how much to travel.
In the end, my crews and I are only too happy to travel wherever we need to in order to help you and your family preserve, celebrate and share your life stories. But if travel is involved, the cost for that, like every other part of the production, needs to be borne by the client.
– Steve Pender
“A Savory Spotlight” shines on Family Legacy Video®.
On February 13, 2016, “A Savory Spotlight” podcast hosts and genealogists Sheri Savory and Tina Sansone engaged Family Legacy Video’s Steve Pender in a fun and spirited conversation about the importance of preserving life stories on video. They also touched on genealogy and home movies.
You can listen to the conversation here.
“The Legacy Video Lounge” podcast update.
In February, The Legacy Video Lounge podcast host Steve Pender entertained, informed, and delighted listeners with his thoughts on the rising awareness of the importance of preserving family history on video. He also answered the question: “What’s a video biography?”
In March, the podcast temporarily leaves video for the print side of personal history, featuring a two-part interview with Kristin Delaplane, author of “Storytelling: How to Write an Inspiring Memoir, Oral History, or Family Genealogy,” and “First to Die: The Tragic Loss of the SS Vestris.”
You’ll find the podcasts here. Be sure to subscribe!