File puptcrit/puptcrit.0904, message 168

Date: Mon, 13 Apr 2009 11:51:31 -0700
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Pricing BOLDLY

Once, after performing at a client's party -- which also featured a  
train, princesses, etc. -- the client asked to be reminded of the  
puppet show price. The response was, "Wow! that's CHEAP!"

I think the reason she said that is because we bring something very  

On Apr 13, 2009, at 11:30 AM, wrote:

> So much about pricing is ATTITUDE!
> Some time back, a very highly paid job wanted the copyright as well,  
> but I did not sell it. Nevertheless, with each discussion about it,  
> they raised my fee.  They STILL felt they had received a bargain --  
> though I didn't budge on the copyright issue.
> I believe that since I stood my ground about copyright, they assumed  
> a certain professionalism...augmenting their respect for me.  
> Respect=value.
> On the other hand, if a client does not have respect for you (or the  
> work) -- or they assume that it's something anybody can do -- well,  
> why should they pay much?
> Rolande
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mathieu René <>
> To:
> Sent: Mon, 13 Apr 2009 4:49 am
> Subject: [Puptcrit] Pricing BOLDLY
> Just thinking aloud about pricing.
> Thought maybe this old favorite topic could be re-visited, so we can  
> see
> what else we can come up with as a group.
> What do you think about pricing? Could/should we ask for higher, and  
> why,
> and how?
> Grab a snack, this one's gonna be a while...
> If you don't feel like tackling this topic, at least scroll all the  
> way down
> for a link to see a marvelous artist's website. It will blow your  
> mind. And
> make you time travel!
> Most of us seem to have a tendency to reduce prices instead of  
> losing a
> contract.
> I'm guilty as charged, many times over.
> My rea
> sonning was: it's better to pay half a bill now (with the money I get
> from this ridiculously chopped price tag) than not pay at all, and not
> knowing when the next paycheck is coming in.
> Well, I'm trying to change that mentality. Mind over matter, right?
> If the customers we have been getting can't afford our services, or  
> don't
> respect what they are worth, then let's find customers who will.  
> Change
> market! Change product if you must!
> There's more than one way of making what we love.
> Life is about change. The sooner we undersand that, the happier we  
> can get,
> faster.
> By thew way,. I'm preaching to myself now. If you want to eavesdrop,  
> I don't
> mind.
> ;  )
> Once, I was told I was one of the highest charging glove puppet  
> makers in
> the world.
> The customer knows his business, and gave me hyperlinks to check  
> what he
> said.
> His links and mine confirmed it: he was right. I know of only one  
> other
> person who charged more than I did for the last two custom glove  
> puppets I
> made. Counting all the time and effort I gave to make these puppets  
> the best
> I could make them, the price was right, even though today I know it  
> could
> have been higher. It's just that I believe one cannot charge for the  
> extra
> time he requires to do some work another more experienced or more  
> equipped
> (tools) craftsman could do faster.
> It's just that the market right now is filled with cheaper puppets  
> that are
> made in series, by very fast craftsmen. I suspect
> some of them use 3d
> printers (those can carve wood now) to speed up their process,  
> making the
> general shapes with them and finishing the small details by hand, to  
> give it
> that classic touch. I've nothing against that, I salute their
> entrepreneurship! And would love to be able to have access to the same
> technology!  It's just that those who work it all by hand should not  
> be
> expected to match the prices of machine-made items. We should  
> emphasize the
> extra effort required (without pointing to those other methods, for  
> fear the
> customer would go to them).
> I can now see fully clothed Punch and Judy puppets carved in wood,  
> for less
> than a hundred dollars each! In the czech republic, they can be  
> around $70!
> I congratulate the business artists that are able to work this fast.
> Yet, most of those "affordable" models we see online and in stores are
> reproductions, or series.
> Punch is Punch. Even without a machine, we can carve him loosely and  
> get a
> hundred different version of him, he still looks like Punch. So that  
> gives
> the carver a lot of leeway.
> The magic word here is: custom. Custom does (or should) cost more!
> If I were to make the same model over and over again, I'd be able to  
> cut
> down my design time, and even construction time. I could hire help.  
> When I
> custom make a puppet, whatever the type, everything has to be  
> adjusted, even
> the costume, so that it fits. There's a price for that extra time,  
> that
> extra proble
> m solving.
> Some people charge insane prices, in either end of the scale.
> So there must be a middle ground, where buyer and seller are happy and
> paying and receiving fairly.
> One extreme...
> which may not be so extreme after all:
> The famous illustrator who does the best movie posters EVER, Drew  
> Struzan,
> charges without fear; on average, his original artwork for a movie  
> poster is
> priced between 70 thousand and 100 thousand dollars!  My first  
> reaction upon
> seeing this yesterday was: that's INSANE! No matter how cool, how  
> great, how
> realistic and how much of a pop culture icon maker you are, how can  
> you
> justify the price of a brand new luxury car, for a single artwork?   
> Well,
> after thinking about it, maybe he can. I just don't know.  I don't  
> know how
> long it takes him to make a single poster. How much is involved in  
> research
> and process. How crazy the deadlines might make him and his family  
> if he has
> one.
> How long it took him to get to the mastery of his tools.
> And of course, he makes the first and foremost promotion tool for a  
> multi
> million dollar production. Even if he gets a very small percentage  
> of the
> total budget in his salary, that small percentage can amount to a  
> lot of
> money.  Why not? For once, an artist gets paid much more than a  
> pittance!
> And if he makes an extra 80 thousand, once in a while,  from the  
> sale of the
> finished artwork, then good bonus to him!
> So what I guess I'm trying to say20here is that I'm torn from the  
> extremes.
> The mundane (regular joe, from a poor background, still struggling)  
> part of
> me is still outraged at anyone earning such high salary when the  
> rest of us
> are struggling to perhaps never see that amount of money at one  
> time, in
> their lifetime.
> The Artistic, daring part of me is GLAD to see a great artist earn  
> what he
> deserves.
> He's a technical hero, master of everything that makes great  
> illutration and
> design into Art.
> He sure does produce marvels with the humble materials he uses  
> (acrylic and
> colored pencils on gessoed board).
> If you want to judge for yourselves, check out his wonderful  
> website. If you
> have lived in society, even if part time with half-closed eyelids,  
> you've
> seen his work. There is no way you could have avoided it.  Prepare  
> to be
> dazzled anyways.
> * Thank Sean Johnson, of, who shared this link on  
> Facebook *
> Each picture is a cropped detail, which can be clicked again to see  
> the
> whole poster.
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Best regards,
Michael Dowell
Moodoo Puppets
phone: 626-296-6956

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