File puptcrit/puptcrit.0707, message 119

Date: Fri, 13 Jul 2007 10:36:56 -0700
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] PRICING Fairly

> I'm wondering what a "fair price" for a puppet  should be nowadays.

For stage or  video? Stage work you'll never make money as every
production's budget for puppets comes out to $200 (US) and there will always
be 10 puppets to be made.

-Can you share what prices you offer for each type of puppet?

I look at the project and my interest in the project and if I'm going to be
hired to work in said project as something other than a builder.

-Do you stick to your mathematical formula?

When pricing the formula is: (Approximate cost of materials + Approximation
of my time) x 10%. An additional 10 to 30% for rush jobs on top.

I may give discounts for my time or reduce the 10%.

-Do you adapt to (or try to beat) the prices of your collegues around the
> world?

Hell no. I don't live in an inexpensive part of the universe. I have lattes
to drink.....

-Do you accept to work in exchange for supplies or services (such as free
> advertisement)?

Free advertisement, no. I am done with, "getting exposure". As we all know,
one can die of exposure. Exchange for supplies and services, it depends on
if I want either. It worked with my dentist. My tax guy- no.

-Do you stick to your level of complexity and price, or do you offer a
> choice, to allow the customer to pay less?

Simple puppets equal less time to build equals cheaper. I tell people the
more you want it to do the more it will cost and that 'doing more' is not
equivalent to 'more gimmicks'.

-Do you believe it is a "treason to the whole Discipline" to offer lesser
> prices than most?

However you want to starve to death is your business.

> So when it comes to buying a one-of-a-kind, they don't understand the time
> and work that went into it.

It is the job of the Maker to make them understand the importance of
producing an unique item.

People will pay 1000$ for a small painting on canvas

They do? Please give me a list of these people so that I can pass it along
to my starving artist friends.

(cliché landcape you see by the thousands), and find it acceptable "It's
> ART, of course it's expensive!",

But you don't perform with a landscape painting.
So, a puppet is not art? Is it a tool then? Shouldn't the use of the object
be considered when pricing? I usually consider puppets to be tools. I've
toyed with the idea that they're art

Half that price for a performance-worthy puppet seems to be unreasonable for
> them: "how can you ask so much for a simple doll???"
> Believe me, I get that kind of argument even from people in the Theatre
> business.

Jeeze, don't we all. I don't see why you would be surprised by the theater
people, they don't do puppets, they think that puppets are a prop and not a

You should find how much a custom made doll costs in your area.

Some makers greatly undersell their talents, and end up working for well
> under minimum wage, when time and all expenses are considered. I've been
> guilty of that, and am getting better at avoiding it. I admit to
> compromising when the project is fascinating and can lead to other
> contracts, but I try to avoid that now, as bills need to be paid after all.

(( Sigh )). Money. If only experience and level of interest were capital.

So, what would a reasonable price be for a custom-made puppet?
> I think at the very least 200$ for a very simple puppet, and up as the
> details and steps increase in complexity.

Seems fair-ish.

And even higher depending on the use of the puppet.


A TV puppet can often be worth twice (at least) as the same puppet for
> theatre.

If you designed the puppet I would say, $1500 (US) plus a percentage of any

That strange Market again...

It's the economy of scale. Theater is very local. Television is, at the very
least, state or provence broad. More viewers, more money.

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