NEVER SEND ANYONE YOUR RAW FILES! Here's why!


Jon Vulpine is an award-winning director and editor with over 10 years of experience creating content all over the world. He has sharpened his skills in the music video industry over the last 7 years with a passion for striking visual content, coffee and loud cars. Jon and I have a lot in common. His friend asked if he could film a music video for his friend's band and Jon, who didn't have a clue what he was doing, took it on, which is what I did as well, for my own band.

He grew up in a small town, where he began filming his friends do dumb shit, but when he was asked to film a music video he decided to give it a shot. From there another band approached him to film their video as well, which then led to him shooting a few festivals, more bands, and eventually moved to New York. He chose to turn his back on his plan to become a doctor, and hit the streets of NYC, where he walked to sixty different agencies to show off his...two video show reel. He didn't get a single reply from any of the sixty businesses he approached. In order to afford to continue to live in New York Jon got a job at a pharmacy, which lasted for a few months, until he told his manager to "f himself." He decided to collect his $125/week of unemployment while living like shit, making free videos for a year in New York, and once bigger artists began to take notice he reached out to reps and finally something broke. I asked Jon how to navigate it, and what to keep an eye out for. He collected $125/week on unemployment, busted his ass to make as many music videos as possible.

For Jon, social media has played a massive impact on his career. He was lucky enough to hop on the Youtube bandwagon before everyone decided that social media should be used for personal advertisement. When Jon started making videos he posted them onto Youtube, but now he is struggling to find a platform that can not only host his work, but actually cares about its creators.

One thing about this industry is that now our world is all digital and there is so much content. Nowadays everyone is an advertisement, because unfortunately we are all trying to make a living while making the same recycled bullshit. Jon taught himself how to write treatments, and even took lessons on how to create a treatment that is both aesthetically pleasing and easy to understand.

There are great services out there like Vimeo, but most of them cost money. Youtube used to be an incredible platform for creators, but now it's hard to get any views or subscribers, which is why we are desperately trying to find either a new platform or take the loss and pay for a service like Vimeo.

One of the most important things that we talk about in this episode has to do with sending RAW files to clients. You see, sending a RAW image or RAW video clips takes the mystery and magic out of filmmaking. As creators we don't want you to see what happens on the cutting room floor. We don't want you to see that shot where we tripped over a cable and therefore made three seconds of the clip look like a Cloverfield themed music video. However, it's about more than the editing process. You see, your RAW footage is YOURS! You own it.

For example, let's use something you might be more familiar with, like your car! So, you have the title to your car, right? That means that you own that car. BUT, should someone get ahold of the title, which is literally a tiny piece of paper, by the way, they can take that title into the DMV and LEGALLY change the name on the title, which effectively transfers your ownership to them.

So! Your RAW files are the title to your film/photo. If you give someone your RAW footage they can do whatever they want with it; edit it, claim it as theirs, sell it, etc. You wouldn't want someone to take the title to your car, so why would you let them take your footage? Just because a video isn't tangible doesn't mean you don't have ownership over it.

Here's the biggest issue I face as a freelancer is that when a client doesn't like what they hear they tend to get defensive, which leads to frustration and anger. Sometimes they will even threaten you, but at the end of the day you must remember that there is a lot of power in saying "no." I have burnt bridges with "friends" because I refused to send the RAW footage, but that brings the legitimacy of our friendship into question. I believe this is why "don't work with your friends" exists. When money or services aren't valued and you are trying to stand up for yourself it tends to be detrimental to relationships.

The entire industry is a guessing game. When you create content for a wide array of clients who all ask for different file types, deadlines, project management, logging, etc. etc. etc. Plus, none of them ACTUALLY know what they want until you send the first draft and they then proceed to tell you how they hate it and want something completely different. It's pretty tight.

Podcast Mentions:

Videostatic

Vimeo

Youtube

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