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5 Questions to Ask Before Accepting a Freelance Assignment

Before accepting a freelance video assignment, make sure you have hashed out all the details with your client. Leaving anything up to…
5 Questions to Ask Before Accepting a Freelance Assignment

Before accepting a freelance video assignment, make sure you have hashed out all the details with your client. Leaving anything up to chance can cause problems on both ends. We asked some of our most experienced Storyhunter freelancers for the questions they always ask before taking on a new project:

1. How many edits will I be required to do?

It’s important to make sure you understand how many edits you will be responsible for. If you are not clear during your negotiation, you open yourself up to be taken advantage of. Your time is valuable and you need to make it clear to your client that more edits will mean more working hours.

How many sets of changes are included if you are editing? This can get ugly and has for many people. Be firm! My contracts state clearly how many drafts are included and what the per hour cost will be for “client-ordered changes” after that. — Rob Lindsay, Storyhunter filmmaker

The video blog, Premium Beat, recommends that you have a conversation with your client to explain the process of editing a video. Your client may not know that the changes they want you to make can potentially take hours or even days.

Credit: cyotheking

2. Could you send me some example videos of your style?

When you are working for a client, make sure you understand how their videos are usually shot so you don’t have to waste your time with reshoots. For example, videos produced by Great Big Story are all shot with the same cinematic style. If you’re hired to do videos for a brand like this, you wouldn’t want to send them footage that is completely different.

[I say] It would be great to see pieces you really like and a style reference for this video. I also always ask for examples of interview framing. I think sometimes seeing videos that the commissioning editor really likes can help inform the tone and style for your shoot. It’s also sometimes more informative to see a piece that was received well, then have the publisher explain it to you.— Jessica Sherry, Storyhunter filmmaker
Storyhunter filmmaker Naotomo Umewaka produced this video of Angkor Wat for Great Big Story. He uses the slow and smooth cinematic shots that they have become known for.

3. What deliverables do you need?

Find out ahead of time what the scope of the project will be. If you are not clear with the client, you won’t have much leverage when asked to do unexpected tasks. It’s better to ask questions and request that the client lay everything out for you rather than waiting to see how it goes.

Here’s a list of common deliverables you can ask your client about:

  • What codec do you want the audio/video in?
  • Should it be raw or edited footage?
  • How would you like the files to be delivered to you?
  • What specific shots are you looking for? (Closeups, interviews, etc.)

4. What is the best way to reach you on the day of the shoot?

This is a simple but important tip. Depending on your project, you might not have a second chance to get the footage you need. If something goes wrong, you need to be able to reach your client quickly. Make sure you discuss a strategy with them ahead of time to ensure that someone will be available to take your call.

How can I reach you on the shoot day, if anything unexpected comes up? It’s always good to be able to check in with the publisher if you’re out in the field and things change. — Jessica Sherry

5. Have you secured a location for the shoot? Do you have the proper releases?

This tip comes directly from the Storyhunter team. One of the worst things that can happen on the day of a shoot is to find out that you don’t have permission to film or access to the location. Ask your client whether you’ll be expected to secure access and make sure that you have any necessary releases for the locations and characters.

Do you have any tips you think we missed? Let us know in the comments below!

By Josh Futtersak, Writer at Storyhunter