[Tig] Colorist Salary

Jack James jack at surrealroad.com
Tue May 7 12:42:10 BST 2013

I've been freelance (but not a colorist) for a long time. My advice is not
to look at what others are charging.

How much do you need to do the job? What are your overheads? How much work
are you likely to get (in other words, do you need to charge more for the
times when you won't be working)? How reliable is this company? How likely
are you to get paid on time? How likely are they to change the goalposts in
the middle of the job? Do you need to use your own equipment (and thus make
sure you have enough to cover any repairs etc). What other work will you be
turning down for the duration of the job?
Ask yourself those questions. Come up with a price. You'll definitatly get
it wrong the first time. That's ok, that comes with experience. Never try
to charge based on what others are charging, you have no idea of their
circumstances. I've personally charged a lot less than some other people on
some projects and been told I did a much better job. I've been told that I
charge too much in other cases, and as a result turned the job down flat.
I've worked for nothing/little on other jobs because I felt that they were
worth doing. I've been paid far too much money to do other jobs that, to be
perfectly frank, required me to do very little, but got me out of a
financial jam.
I don't think I'd ever go back to full-time employment though.


On Tue, May 7, 2013 at 12:24 PM, David Lindberg <david.hj.lindberg at gmail.com
> wrote:

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> =====
> Hey,
> I don't know if this is something you find appropriate to discuss in here
> but since it's Tuesday I feel it's worth a shot at least. Feel free to
> ignore if you think this is wrong of me to ask.
> I just went to a meeting with a big production company here in Sweden that
> were interesting in hiring me as a freelancing colorist in most of their
> coming productions. But when they asked me what I charge per hour I said I
> didn't want to mention a solid price this early but instead that could be
> something we should discuss when the info about the projects were more
> accurate.
> I'm only 20 and not very experienced at all, although I've graded a lot of
> music videos, some commercials and spent 3 years learning color theories,
> several grading apps (mostly DaVinci) etc. With that said I mean I'm not a
> beginner but still not a multi-years-experienced master in color grading.
> With THAT said, I mean I absolutely don't think I'm as good as probably any
> of you but I still think I'm good at this and it's truly my main passion
> which I want to do for living.
> But what I'm wondering is if any of you can tell me a somewhat average
> price for freelancing colorists. I know it varies depending on the project,
> the company you work for, the experience level, the quality of your work as
> well as the quality of how you handle clients (I've spent 6 months as a
> Smoke operator so I'm not completely new to having troublesome and
> pain-in-the-ass clients either). But is there some examples or prices you
> can tell me? I have never discussed with another freelancing colorist about
> what the salary should be so I've actually no clue. On the stuff I've done
> this far I think I've worked way too cheap though my price has been like 80
> dollar/h.
> One thing to consider is that I won't be offer a grading suite with
> expensive monitors and that kind of stuff which would be included in the
> price, since they wanted me to be working in their own grading suite.
> Another thing worth mentioning is they mostly work with TV commercials.
> Don't know if it helps but if you want to get a hint of my knowledge you
> can watch a basic breakdown I made on my latest commercial work:
> https://vimeo.com/64989025. I know it doesn't say much but it still shows
> that I know what looks are and can create one, and not just that I think
> grading is changing the contrast. (Although that can be the case sometimes
> as well of course.)
> Hope you didn't think any of this sounded cocky or anything, I just wanted
> to give you an as clear picture as possible about my situation and
> knowledge.
> Thank you very much,
> David
> _______________________________________________
> http://reels.colorist.org
> http://tig.colorist.org/wiki3

Jack James <http://about.me/jackjames>, Surreal Road

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