File puptcrit/puptcrit.0810, message 305

Date: Sun, 19 Oct 2008 20:20:13 -0400
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Music Video Puppetry

Actually the 20% would be your profit margin (the money you charge for
labour is not actually profit) and could be 10, 15 or even 30% depending on
the project. Any "fudge factor" should already be built in to your materials
& labour estimates. I find a lot of artists who do estimates wrongly treat
what they are paid for labour as their profit when you should treat it as an
expense you have to pay (yourself).

Years ago when I wrote proposals for this sort of thing design was a
separate line item in an estimate (unless they provided designs, in which
case patterning and such would just be built in to the construction costs)
and an optional buy out was separate as well (if they don't pay for a buy
out, they don't own the likeness rights to the character).

Does that make sense?

- Andrew

On Sun, Oct 19, 2008 at 12:00 PM, <> wrote:

> Message: 8
> Date: Sat, 18 Oct 2008 21:25:33 -0400
> From: Christopher Hudert <>
> Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Music Video Puppetry
> To:
> Message-ID: <>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII; format=flowed
> Andrew,
>   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
> hours?
>   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
> artist.
>   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)
> Christopher
> 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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