File puptcrit/puptcrit.0904, message 172

Date: Mon, 13 Apr 2009 15:26:55 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Pricing BOLDLY

True, True,  I would not touch it either.  Jim Gamble

----- Original Message ----
From: "" <>
Sent: Monday, April 13, 2009 11:56:47 AM
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Pricing BOLDLY

You also have to be willing to walk away from the deal. I had a small record producer last week contact me about a music video for which they wanted 5 custom made marionettes of the singers as well as a marionette of the president as well as at least six backround figures. They also wanted to shoot"the sooner the better" I quoted them $1000.00 per custom made puppet $600 per backround puppet. Plus I retain ownership of all marionettes and manipulation in the actual shoot is extra. If I hear from them great if I don't big deal. $10,800 and  cheap at that price. I could tell from the sound of the guys voice on the phone he thought it was too much. He is probably getting bids from others right now. He might find out I'm reasonable, he might go with something cheaper. However I am not willing to negotiate down. These things are always more work than they are worth. Especially when the producer doesn't know squat about marionettes.

Dave H.

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Mon, 13 Apr 2009 1:30 pm
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Pricing BOLDLY

So much about pricing is ATTITUDE!
ome time back, a very highly paid job wanted the copyright as well, but I did 
ot 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 
opyright issue.          

believe that since I stood my ground about copyright, they assumed a ce
rofessionalism...augmenting their respect for me. Respect=value.  
On the other hand, if a client does not have respect for you (or the work) -- or 
hey assume that it's something anybody can do -- well, why should they pay 

-----Original Message-----
rom: Mathieu René <>
ent: Mon, 13 Apr 2009 4:49 am
ubject: [Puptcrit] Pricing BOLDLY

ust thinking aloud about pricing.
hought maybe this old favorite topic could be re-visited, so we can see 
hat else we can come up with as a group.
hat do you think about pricing? Could/should we ask for higher, and why, 
nd how?
Grab a snack, this one's gonna be a while...
f you don't feel like tackling this topic, at least scroll all the way down 
or a link to see a marvelous artist's website. It will blow your mind. And 
ake you time travel!

ost of us seem to have a tendency to reduce prices instead of losing a 
I'm guilty as charged, many times over.
y rea
onning was: it's better to pay half a bill now (with the money I get 
rom this ridiculously chopped price tag) than not pay at all, and not 
nowing when the next paycheck is coming in.
Well, I'm trying to change that mentality. Mind over matter, right?
f the customers we have been getting can't afford our services, or don't 
espect what they are worth, then let's find customers who will. Change 
arket! Change product if you must
here's more than one way of making what we love.
ife is about change. The sooner we undersand that, the happier we can get, 
y thew way,. I'm preaching to myself now. If you want to eavesdrop, I don't 
nce, I was told I was one of the highest charging glove puppet makers in 
he world.
he customer knows his business, and gave me hyperlinks to check what he 
is links and mine confirmed it: he was right. I know of only one other 
erson who charged more than I did for the last two custom glove puppets I 
ade. Counting all the time and effort I gave to make these puppets the best 
could make them, the price was right, even though today I know it could 
ave been higher. It's just that I believe one cannot charge for the extra 
ime 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 
ade in series, by very fast craftsmen. I suspect
some of them use 3d 
rinters (those can carve wood now) to speed up their process, making the 
eneral shapes with them and finishing the small details by hand, to give it 
hat classic touch. I've nothing against that, I salute their 
ntrepreneurship! And would love to be able to have access to the same 
echnology!  It's just that those who work it all by hand should not be 
xpected to match the prices of machine-made items. We should emphasize th
xtra effort required (without pointing to those other methods, for fear the 
ustomer would go to them).
I can now see fully clothed Punch and Judy puppets carved in wood, for less 
han a hundred dollars each! In the czech republic, they can be around $70!
congratulate the business artists that are able to work this fast.
et, most of those "affordable" models we see online and in stores are 
eproductions, or series.
unch is Punch. Even without a machine, we can carve him loosely and get a 
undred different version of him, he still looks like Punch. So that gives 
he carver a lot of leeway.

he magic word here is: custom. Custom does (or should) cost more!
f I were to make the same model over and over again, I'd be able to cut 
own my design time, and even construction time. I could hire help. When I 
ustom make a puppet, whatever the type, everything has to be adjusted, even 
he costume, so that it fits. There's a price for that extra time, that 
xtra proble

ome people charge insane prices, in either end of the scale.
o there must be a middle ground, where buyer and seller are happy and 
aying and receiving fairly.
One extreme...
hich may not be so extreme after all:
he famous illustrator who does the best movie posters EVER, Drew Struzan, 
harges without fear; on average, his original artwork for a movie poster is 
riced between 70 thousand and 100 thousand dollars!  My first reaction upon 
eeing th
is yesterday was: that's INSANE! No matter how cool, how great, how 
ealistic and how much of a pop culture icon maker you are, how can you 
ustify the price of a brand new luxury car, for a single artwork?  Well, 
fter thinking about it, maybe he can. I just don't know.  I don't know how 
ong it takes him to make a single poster. How much is involved in research 
nd process. How crazy the deadlines might make him and his family if he has 
ow 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 
illion dollar production. Even if he gets a very small percentage of the 
otal budget in his salary, that small percentage can amount to a lot of 
oney.  Why not? For once, an artist gets paid much more than a pittance!
nd if he makes an extra 80 thousand, once in a while,  from the sale of the 
inished artwork, then good bonus to him!
o what I guess I'm trying to say20here is that I'm torn from the extremes.
he mundane (regular joe, from a poor background, still struggling) part of 
e is still outraged at anyone earning such high salary when the rest of us 
re struggling to perhaps never see that amount of money at one time, in 
heir lifetime.
The Artistic, daring part of me is GLAD to see a great artist earn what he 
e's a technical hero, master of everything that makes great illutration and 
esign into Art.
e sure does produce marvels with the 
humble materials he uses (acrylic and 
olored pencils on gessoed board).
If you want to judge for yourselves, check out his wonderful website. If you 
ave lived in society, even if part time with half-closed eyelids, you've 
een his work. There is no way you could have avoided it.  Prepare to be 
azzled 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 
hole poster.

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