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  • Writer's pictureSCREEN GOAT

The Business Side of Making Videos

Most people start out making videos for fun, one day you find that you have gotten pretty good at it, and someone asks you for a favor. Most of the time a “favor” is unpaid. BUT, at a certain point you realize you are providing a valuable service and YOU NEED TO GET PAID!

You might be making: music videos, commercials, weddings, birthday parties, short films, social media videos...whatever it might be.

How do you get paid for your work?

After working in the business for over 25 years, here is how it’s done.

1. Get an understanding of the “Scope of Work”.

That is a fancy way of saying, what are the ideas and details that go into producing a final project for the client. After you get a full understanding of details: how many hours/days, cameras, music, voice-over, drone work, graphics, duration of the edit, final length, location, props, how big or small of a crew, and what the client wants the project to look and feel like.

2. Ask the question: Do you have a budget?

They may not answer you with an exact amount but you should know if they are talking about $100 vs $500 vs $5,000.

3. How much should you get paid?

You will have to determine a few things as you work through drafting the Scope of Work.

Ask yourself:

What is your time worth?

How many hours will the client need you to be on location shooting?

How many hours will you have to put in on the edit?

What are your hard costs vs your profits?

I always make sure we have the hard costs covered in the 1st payment.

Make sure you make money!

Remember - You can always pass on a project.

4. With these details, put together your proposal which will have a Scope of Work and an Agreement.

This means you are going to write out the details of the project, figure out your pricing, and write up an Agreement with a Signature Page. When the client signs the agreement you are officially in business.


Make sure you check your details, i.e., spell the client’s name correctly.

Make sure your money adds up properly.

Know that the client may have issues with the proposal and want to negotiate.

I always add a cover page with dates and logos.

If you have to hire talent or use actors you will need a Model Release Form.

When you get started most people just start out using their name to get paid, but when you decide to become more serious you will want need to create an LLC, or a Corporation. There are many resources out there to get you started.


The Big Pizza Video Proposal

Scope of Work

Big Pizza would like to create a 30 second commercial and a 3-minute short documentary/marketing piece about Big Pizza and their pizza making process.

This documentary would highlight the:

  • history of Big Pizza with Hx photos and VO

  • owner, Big Pizza with an interview

  • creation process with pizza makers

  • assembly of ingredients

  • cooking of pizzas

  • customers of Big Pizza and interviews

  • what makes each pizza special

  • gluten free menu

  • commercial Script

  • graphics

  • music and VO


Big Pizza logo, slogan and branding information.

Talent Releases for anyone appearing on camera


2 Videos Delivered via Digital Link


The Big Pizza Video Proposal

Service Agreement and Payment Terms

Upon signing this agreement Big Pizza agrees to the aforementioned Scope of Work.

The payment schedule is as follows:

$2,425 upon signing the agreement,

$2,425* the remaining balance upon project completion.

This is a work-for-hire granting Big Pizza all rights to the footage produced.

The final product will be the property of Big Pizza.

Big Pizza has the right to cancel production at any point within the production process prior to final approval. Big Pizza will be charged for any outstanding expenses and/or production costs to date. Unspent money will be refunded.

Approved by:______________________________ Date:____________________

Payments can be made via:

Wire Transfer: XXXXXXXXX

Zelle Transfer: Email Address


Check: Address

Example Big Pizza Proposal
Download PDF • 5.16MB


Creating an Invoice



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