File puptcrit/puptcrit.0810, message 286

Date: Sat, 18 Oct 2008 21:25:33 -0400
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Music Video Puppetry


   Good points. Wondering about your formula though. You basically add 
20% (... x 1.2) fudge factor. Isn't that a little low? Seems to me 
that, especially when they always want to fudge with the look of what 
you build, it often takes longer than expected even without them 
fudging, materials often run more than expected and/or you pull from 
stock which you don't account for cost wise. I typically add 50% (...x 
1.5) to what is too often a low estimate when asked to build a puppet 
for something.
   But there was no design time figured into this. How about a formula 
for that? Or have you incorporated the initial design into your hours 
worked x hourly rate? How do you say, nicely, "this is how much it 
costs including one change to the design. Additional alterations to the 
design are X dollars per hour."? Do you tell them, say at the outset, 
that the initial consultation is free but design time begins clock 

   I agree with the "low/no budget" thing. Too often that actually means 
"We have already allocated all of out budget to other things/people we 
thought were of higher priority according to union rates and/or how 
difficult we know their jobs to be. We want you to work for nothing 
because, well, frankly we know nothing about what it takes to do your 
job but it looks easy, so a couple of hundred should be more than 
enough." It's a struggle to get them to understand that decent rates 
for puppetry (all aspects) are justifiable and that they are hiring an 

   I actually avoid most of this when I can because design and 
sculpting/modeling are still weak points for me. I don't have a problem 
with the building, writing, and performing, but I burn a lot of hours 
that should not be necessary during that initial stage. Because of that 
it is the least pleasurable part of the process for me. It's too much 
like real work. :o)


On Oct 18, 2008, at 10:17 AM, Andrew wrote:

> It really depends on the design; a good formula is:
> (Number of hours you work) x (hourly rate) + (cost of materials) x 1.2 
> > Your quote
> For a music video, $1000-2000 minimum is reasonable. If they do the 
> whole
> "low/no budget" song and dance find out what their budget is (total). 
> I got
> approached about an indie film earlier this year and they were spending
> $250,000 but objected to paying more than $1000 for three puppets, even
> though the puppets were supposed to be the stars of film. They were an
> afterthought to the producers, which made no sense to me.
> Crazy!
> - Andrew

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