Sound pricing for freelance audio work
August 14, 2008 8:05 AM   Subscribe

Calling all freelance audio engineers, what is the going rate of post-production cleanup in the indie short scene?

I got a call the other day (my phone was dead, person left message) inquiring about my audio engineering services. The person found me through and was interested in having me do some post work, mostly evening sound levels and cleaning up the dialogue. I haven't called back yet, so I don't know if she has moved on to another engineer, but when I call back I want to be prepared to quote her a price.

I have only done audio work for friends & family and have yet to charge (needless to say, it's not my full-time job), so I haven't had any experience actually selling myself. She needs the work done by September 5 (she wants to submit to Sundance), and says she has about a $600 budget for the audio work. The film runs 20 minutes long.

What's fair? What do I need to ask, and what can she ask of me?
posted by self to Work & Money (2 answers total)
Since you've no professional experience I'd keep it on the cheap. Look at this as a way to get professional experience rather than a job. Look at the gig and estimate the number of hours it would take someone more experienced to do it, then multiply that by $20-25. Don't charge for YOUR hours, charge for someone better's hours so you can get the experience, and then just charge a flat fee for the work.

That's what I did when starting out anyway...
posted by arniec at 8:14 AM on August 14, 2008

If you want the job, work to the budget.

Your hourly rate is immaterial. You don't have a rate card, prior clients, an established track record, or competing projects that you must choose from. You'd be doing this for the experience and to have something for your demo reel.

I charge a lot. Unless I'm helping a friend, or a group. Then it's pro bono, or working to the available budget.
posted by lothar at 10:30 AM on August 14, 2008

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