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Film director: What I do and how much I make

Video transcript

my name is Olivia taki I'm 30 years old I'm a film director and I make approximately $80,000 a year I currently work at a video production company here in Colorado called mightier they make videos specifically for the internet so they specialize in web style videos I do a range of things sometimes I'm directing sometimes I'm editing other times I'm creating storyboards or scripts or just coming up with concepts for clients and then a lot of it is just meeting with clients talking to them making sure everything's on track and that we're getting their vision right yeah I think when you're in a small business you kind of have to wear a ton of hats it's not one of those jobs where everything is very siloed and you have just one job and that's what you have to focus on I think I'm lucky in that I get to touch a lot of things at work because if I can set up the storyboard for success that way when I'm on set later I you know I'm so grateful to the Olivia of two months ago where I set myself up for success and then you know going into post-production as well making sure I'm slating and properly so that whoever's editing it even if it's me I'm not cursing you know whoever was on set not doing their job properly so just being thorough at every stage because there's a very good chance I'll have to deal with it later before I came to my tier I was a freelance film director so I still kept on some of my clients when I transitioned to a full-time job so that means a lot of early mornings a lot of late nights a lot of weekends and what's great is that my dear is really supportive of the freelance work that I do because a lot of it is cause based and for organizations I really care about so my dears got this thing called flex time where I have to work 40 hours a week so if we're on you know an 18 hour a day production god forbid that happens you know a lot though if there's an extra day at the tail end of the week I can take that time off to focus on my freelance work as well I think the skills that make any director successful is the ability to think on the fly and be nimble and to visualize what you're going for in your head before it actually plays out in front of you because I guarantee the commercial that you're planning or is not the commercial that you will shoot and you have to be able to improvise put up with fires that you have to put out all the time but at the same time it is being diligent it is you know putting in the groundwork for setting yourself up for success on the shoot making sure that you have your interview prompts ready to go that you create your storyboards that you've kind of created an assembly in your head of the points you want to hit is there a beginning middle and end to the story you're making because you need to figure that out before you ever even hit record a lot of times you're also a producer and usually these jobs are siloed for a reason it's really tough when I am directing and I'm interviewing somebody to be worrying about okay what time are we wrapping when are we getting lunch is all it's gonna be cold by the time it gets there okay but the PA hasn't run out and gotten lunch and then I'm literally thinking of these things while I'm talking to somebody which isn't fair to my subject and I should be giving them my undivided attention and I think my goal eventually is to just have a producer to deal with that and I hope I get to that point in my career or I have that luxury but I do think right now at the level that I'm at it's it's tough to do both jobs at once this is my very first salaried film position after working in the film industry for ten years now when I graduate it was during the economic recession and I kind of just had to make it rain on my own and hustle as many jobs as possible so in a sense being able to pay my mortgage is a huge accomplishment I never thought that would be possible with film but in terms of being a film director I would say my salary is on the low to average side most film directors are with broadcast production companies they're not specializing in web and what a film director in that situation would do as they would be signed to a production company label so it's not a nine-to-five job but they will go up for bids for on behalf of their production company where they make a deck and they send it to an ad agency that's requesting their reel and saying you know hey we're interested and you may be doing this spot for our next commercial you know show us what you're thinking and if the director wins that bid then they make a percentage of total production costs and that's usually a base of 10,000 per job I would say the range of salary would be anywhere between 60,000 if you're maybe just starting out or you're freelance and you're kind of just making three or four thousand each job - you know as high as three hundred thousand a year because you are winning so many bids and requesting higher and higher amounts per bid working in Denver Colorado it is definitely not as big a film community as traditional film communities here in the US like New York City and Los Angeles so working in Denver it's kind of nice because you're you know maybe a bigger fish in a smaller pond and what's great about that is that it's for someone like me who's just starting out as a director I can you know show off a little bit more of my expertise I'm not coming from the bottom end of the talent pool and so I really recommend if you're just starting out maybe don't focus on these big cities where you'll get lost in the shuffle going to these smaller towns where there's smaller businesses that are willing to take a chance on you is just as powerful
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