Next Level Filmmaker - Why a Commercial Retainer Client is the Most Awesome Thing in the World

Hey, guys. Clarke Scott from Next Level Filmmaking. In this video, I want to talk about the phenomenon of kind of being overwhelmed with one-off projects and trying to get clients. I've got a student of Next Level Filmmaking, a guy by the name of Julian, who, and there's a video that I did. It's on YouTube. You may have come across it at some point, that's an interview with him, and he talks about this, as well, is that when you are doing one-off projects, you are almost constantly in this grind of looking for clients. It's like a merry-go-round. You can become a slave to it, and there's two parts to it. One is the grind, and one is the hustle.

The grind is you get the job, you're trying to get it done as quickly as possible, and then you pay some bills, and then the job ends, and you gotta then hustle to find the next one. So it's grind, grind, grind, pay some bills, hustle, hustle, hustle. Grind, grind, grind, pay some bills, hustle, hustle, hustle. And it is literally a merry-go-round, like a bad dream, and it can be overwhelming, because part of the problem with it is that when you are in this hustle mode, you don't know exactly when the next job's coming, and so what happens is that you take that anxiety into any kind of pitching meetings that you do.

So, when I was pitching on kind of standard, traditional advertising jobs, you get a call from an ad agency. Let's say it's in a freelancing kind of model, and they would basically ask you either what's your day rate, or they'd ask you to pitch on a job, and you'd have to create a treatment on someone else's creative, and then you get on a conference call to pitch for the job. So let's say you do work and you get paid a lot of money. In the commercial film world, you can get paid a lot of money, so, but what happens is that starts to get eaten away over the months when you're trying to find work. And you don't know how long it's going to last, so you get another chance to pitch on a job, and you don't know whether you're going to win it or not, so you take a certain level of anxiety into the pitch with you. And so it can feel very overwhelming after a while. 

The way to get out of that is with retainer clients under the Next Level Filmmaker methodology. As you can imagine, imagine that you've got three or four clients all just kind of bringing in $2,000 or $5,000 a month, so that there's always a certain level of income that you can rely on. You know that every month there's going to be a certain amount, and of course there's churn right? So clients will leave, and then you've gotta create another little thing and get this to work, and then put it over there, so you got one working here, one working here, one working here. They're all paying you, say, 10K a month. That's $30,000 a month, or that could be 2K a month. It really depends on the client, so that would be $6,000 a month. But that's coming in every single month, just money coming in. So the next time a client comes in and says, "We would like a video. Would you like to pitch on it?" There's no anxiety as to you really need this work.

So I don't know about you, but I have certainly been in the position in my career over the time where someone has called, and they've said, "What's your day rate?" I've told them my day rate, and they said, "Can you halve that, because we don't have the budget for it?" Or "We don't have the budget for it. Could you potentially do us a solid on this one, and we'll get you on the backend? We'll get you more work sometime in the future." Which, by the way, never comes. So you bring that kind of that level of anxiety. It can feel very overwhelming, the single job projects. So retainers fixes that, traditional retainers fixes that. But traditional retainers, you're still coupling yourself to time for money swap. That's the major flaw in that particular model.

Now, you may be okay with that, and by all means, then the Next Level Filmmaker methodology's not really for you. Just go and get a client, and effectively you're then just an employee for them minus health benefits and so forth. But that's a swap of time for money. This model is not like that. So, it's better in many, many ways, and so that feeling of being overwhelmed with the non-retainer model can be fixed by having the retainer model. The retainer model then means that you're probably working for less, a lower hourly rate, because the only reason they'll pay for a retainer from a filmmaker is they're going to get it cheaper if they did it as a one-off. They're buying in bulk. That's what they're doing. And the only reason people buy in bulk is because they can get it for cheaper. So that's one way to fix the anxiety of always looking for work, except now you're having to work harder for the same amount of money.

You can fix both of those two things with the Next Level Filmmaker methodology. You can do that. So, yeah, that's all I wanted to say in this video, that the one-off projects is a flawed model. It's a bad model. It really weakens the filmmaker. It puts us in a weak position. Once I fell into this and realised that it didn't have to be that way, that I could actually do this other thing, I've not looked back. So that's all I wanted to say for this video. Yeah, nice and short.


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