Quote for an indie flash site
June 20, 2007 5:40 PM   Subscribe

Film Website $ Question: What's the ballpark figure for having a slick flashy website made for an indie flick?

To all the designers out there, what would the quote be for making something like the Eagle vs. Shark site or the Evan Almighty site - including the design, flash, backend. Ballpark, approximate, in region of... Thanks! Recommendations for companies that can accommodate an indie budget would be appreciated as well.
posted by andrewyakovlev to Work & Money (16 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: no that evan almighty is indy...
posted by andrewyakovlev at 6:45 PM on June 20, 2007

$5000 US for a hot pro kit.
posted by humannaire at 6:51 PM on June 20, 2007

The sites you're using as examples (at least Evan Almighty) certainly wouldn't cost $5,000, they'd be maybe an order of magnitude higher, because a big firm would be doing them and including all the bells and whistles of their process. Now if you could get a group of freelancers to do it, or a really small firm, you might be able to get it done for $10,000-$15,000.

Think about hourly rate--if you had even one person at a pro hourly rate, you're talking maybe $4,000 for one week. This is more like a three or four week process and a couple of people, more if they have to convert video and all that jazz.

Of course if you have a friend in the business who wants to help you out, that changes things.
posted by lackutrol at 8:53 PM on June 20, 2007

lackutrol, where are web designers paid $4000 a week these days for anything except the top guys?
To semi-answer the question, I see jobs on elance and guru.com to "clone" existing web sites. You could post such a question asking to clone one of your examples with your own content/video/logos etc.
posted by bystander at 9:01 PM on June 20, 2007

Based on the sites you are citing I think you're setting your sights a bit high. (that was awesome!)

Take a look at indy-esque sites like Goodbye Lenin for a better reference point.

Like anything else, if you want it done well you're going to have to pay for it. At the very least, building any kind of immersive flash site will require:
- creating a concept that syncs well with the movie
- storyboarding interactivity and motion
- collecting and building assets (graphics and text) to be used in the site
- integrating streaming audio/video (and doing it the right)
- testing, debugging, etc.

Think of it this way. A web site build has to go through the same steps as making a movie - everything from pre to post production. This comes with a price tag based on the scope of the project. Without being more specific regarding your scope it's difficult to ballpark.

That said, I work for a firm that does this kind of work. Or, I could potentially do the project as a side gig if needs to fit a tight budget. But now we've wandered into jobs territory so you can shoot me an email if you'd like.
posted by quadog at 12:17 AM on June 21, 2007

There are still people who cant handle flash correctly on their computer... do you really wanted to exclude them from your possible site audience?
posted by crewshell at 12:31 AM on June 21, 2007

Flash is present on 98.7% of Internet-enabled desktops in mature markets, so I think it's an acceptable technology to use for a movie site.

I agree with Bystander that your best bet to get it done on the cheap would be at one of the many freelance sites.
posted by JonB at 12:38 AM on June 21, 2007

I've done sites for indy films for between $2,500 and $15,000, depending on scope, time, etc. The lower end gets you a "plain-jane" HTML site of a few pages (most designers will have a few "off the shelf" gee-gaws they can add without trouble, as well). My weekly rate is a bit higher than that low-end fee, so you (almost) get a full week of my time. You'll get one comp, minor revisions, and a build-out--this works best with someone with a clear idea of what they want OR someone (preferably) familiar with my style and comfortable with trusting me to come up with something cool. So my advice is find someone whose work you admire, be frank about the budget, woo them with your great film, and then trust them to do a good job if they think they can work within it. Listen carefully when they tell you what they can do within the budget, too--when they say a huge Flash app isn't possible for $2,500, they mean it. A quote from Malaysia for $350 isn't going to sway them--I always say "enjoy" and wish folks luck when presented with same.

I have also been paid those same fees after the director/producer choked on the quote and instead used their best friend's kid's buddy to "do a wicked cool site"--which ended up a mess. Don't be that guy. Also don't be the guy who wants someone to totally rip off an existing site. No one with any ethics will do it, and someone will notice that you've done so.

(Incidentally, I've had some of the best experiences as a designer--and some of the absolute worst--working with filmmakers. Be up front with how much creative control you want, how fussy you're going to be, and then stick to your word. Also be very clear on what your expectations are--no one likes getting to the end of a project and discovering that the buyer thinks the price included site maintenance while the contractor thinks everything is done.)

Note, I'm not lobbying for this job (busy summer ahead), just providing info.

posted by maxwelton at 1:20 AM on June 21, 2007

"lackutrol, where are web designers paid $4000 a week these days for anything except the top guys?"

That's not an outlandish figure, given that over here in the UK experienced individuals often charge around £1500 per week and smallish agencies double that.

I think lackutrol and maxwelton have it about right, you'd be looking at $10-15,000 to get something with the kind of production values you're after, unless someone's willing to do it cheaper for their portfolio or you want to take a risk on dirt-cheap outsourcing.

Whoever you go for, make sure you organise and prepare as much design material and content as possible for them to work with, otherwise they'll be billing you for chasing copy, cleaning up bad photography, editing video, etc. (most clients don't realise how expensive their own lack of organisation can be).
posted by malevolent at 1:39 AM on June 21, 2007

You may want to consider just having a regular HTML-based website, possibly with a little bit of javascript and flash to spice things up.

As far as I can tell, the only people who like "slick flashy sites" like the ones you linked to are the companies that pay for them and the overzealous designers who create them.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:09 AM on June 21, 2007

I see jobs on elance and guru.com to "clone" existing web sites.

If you hire the kind of people who do those jobs, evil winged monkeys will come to your house at night, hollow out your bones while you sleep, move into your body and live out a horrible puppet version of the rest of your life. They'll also do a terrible job on the site. Monkeys are lousy typists.

At the bottom of the barrel -- and sites like elance and guru are very much the sticky scrapings -- you get exactly what you pay for. And no more.

The more specific you can be about what you need, the lower the price will be. Seriously. When someone comes to me with a design brief that consists of "Make it slick! And use flash!" my price immediately triples, because it's clear that they have no idea what they really need, and I'm going to have to spend more time coaching and guiding them and accommodating random change requests after the fact than actually designing.

If, on the other hand, they know their target market, can be specific about what content will be included in the site (and more importantly why) and how long it will stay online and what the maintenance and content update strategy will be -- if, in short, they've done their homework, then I know I won't need to charge them for the time it would take to do it for them.

All that said: $15-25K is not at all unrealistic for sites at that level of production value. All that animation and graphics and sound effects and so on takes time. But (as you can see above) many people react poorly to anything that includes the phrase "Loading..." or (especially) "Skip Intro". All that extra expensive goop might be counterproductive, depending on what kind of movie you're marketing and who you're marketing it to.

Finding good designers is hard; the freelancer sites tend to race to the bottom pretty quickly (people start competing on price instead of quality). Word of mouth, ask around locally; have a clear answer to "what will draw people to this site?" and "how will it make them want to watch the movie?" and judge your candidates by their portfolio as much as by their price. Or post on ask.me and see who emails you; there seem to be more than a handful of designers around here :) (Not me, I'm booked solid. And too expensive. And kind of a jerk, anyway.)
posted by ook at 8:56 AM on June 21, 2007

Well. I pay $5k for the hot shit. But I use an entire team in India that does it all for that price.

So, like I said, $5000 for the the superstar big hero Flash site, including google optimization and SEO.
posted by humannaire at 8:22 PM on June 21, 2007

Well, humannaire, God bless, but I don't deal with outsourcing to India, I deal with people I know whose work I know, and all those people are in my metropolitan area, New York. And I encourage people to do the same in order to support their local communities, but whatever.

I am not a huge fan of Flash where it's unnecessary, but we may be dealing with that small subset of sites where Flash's advatanges outweigh its disadvantages.

I agree wholeheartedly with ook and I'm afraid that for whatever reason India and other outsourcing places are usually not up to snuff in terms of design and general creative strategy.

Of course humannaire says that the "superstar big hero Flash site" "hot shit" is to be gotten from India, maybe he's right. It'll certainly save you money.
posted by lackutrol at 10:01 PM on June 21, 2007

What lackutrol says has merit. I too know the people I work with. They just happen to be in India, and I happen to be...where ever I happen to be. My own creativity and design skills are "up to snuff." I depend on other's to implement vision not come up with it.

Flash supplements proper website implentation. It does not replace intelligence or taste or content or style. But that is not the topic at hand.

The question is how much to pay for a good site that gets attention for a credibility-relevant (contemporary) product.

Regardless of what people think you SHOULD pay for what you described, andrewyakovlev, the answer to the posed query here in the future where I am my peers live is $5000.
posted by humannaire at 2:46 PM on June 23, 2007

I'm sure there are talented designers (and coders, and everything else) in India, just as there are talented designers everywhere. And if you've managed to dig through the vast amounts of chaff to find some good ones, and if you're able to deal with the timezone differences and the cultural and communication barriers and all the other hassles that go along with outsourcing, well, congratulations. That's great.

If you really want to be helpful, perhaps you could give some specifics so andrewyakovlev can hire them too. Here in the future where you and your peers live, instead of, um, whatever it is you're implying about the rest of us.

My own creativity and design skills are "up to snuff." I depend on other's to implement vision not come up with it.

That's great too. We're all very impressed. I'd note, though, that since you're doing the design work yourself and only hiring implementors, your $5000 doesn't actually cover what the questioner was asking about.
posted by ook at 12:59 PM on June 24, 2007

Good suggestion, ook. So andrewyakovlev if you'd like the name of the two reputable houses I use in India, email me, and I'll shoot them to you.

And if you need a good design firm in Mass, the one I work with is Alphabet Arm Design.

AAD owner Aaron Belyea's business is cool.
posted by humannaire at 2:36 PM on June 24, 2007

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