I’ve been following Leigh Ashton for a while, she’s great at increasing sales for business. At first glance the posts she writes won’t resonate with your average member of crew, but her advice can really help you increase your TV Freelancer rate. Here’s a recent post that really struck a cord to me:

How to answer “It’s all about price – and you’re too expensive”

In it, Leigh talks about how to challenge your employer when they try and negotiate on price. Following her advice, in the case of a camera person, for example, if you’re told your rate is too expensive, you should say “Yeah, I know there’s pressure to bring shoots in under tight budgets. But what else is important, beyond the cost of the shoot day?” If they don’t come up with any answers, then try prompting them:

– swift set up time

– great footage

– relaxed atmosphere on the shoot

– creative shots

– fewer problems in post

How to respond

Be sure not to respond to each as they come up with them, that simply sounds defensive (One freelancer I used to hire was like that, any time I was creatively critical of their work, they spluttered with excuses about how it should have been,  why it didn’t work etc, etc, when really I understood what the challenges were, I just wanted to offer my opinion, and look for ways not to repeat the same mistakes next time).

Once you’ve got the list, respond with something like:

“Well, I’ve got a lot of experience, so you know I’ll light something well. I’ve also lit so many shots that I can be swift when needs be. I’m also great working with contributors and putting them at ease. All this means I might be a little more expensive than you wanted to spend, but overall you’ll get better footage, so you’ll have an easier time in post. Would that sound good to you?”

It would persuade me as a producer. Someone who knows my challenges is always good to have on my team, and I’ll pay full fare for it.

More tips to increase your TV Freelancer rate

Leigh has a great book on selling called iSell. Again, it might seem too business orientated to be relevant to you. However, it goes through a lot of sales techniques which you would find useful, especially on cold calling production companies to look for work. It’s definitely worth the cover price plus an hour or two of reading, it will improve your sales technique, which in turn might win you work with a new production company.


Gavin Ricketts is a Producer/Director with over twenty year's experience. His courses on finding work in the creative industries has helped hundreds of Film and TV Crew win more work.

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