What Your Name Is Worth

What do you do when what your client thinks is fantastic doesn’t meet your personal standards? o_O

Bill Cammack

If you work in The Arts, such as being a video editor linkedin.com/in/BillCammack, or a music mixer, your professional reputation is going to depend not only on your efficiency, but also on the content & quality of the final product, and how much your client enjoyed working with you.

It’s different from being, say, an accountant, where you can either count or you can’t, and you either count QUICKLY or you don’t. πŸ˜€

Since you’re always working for someone else (video production company, record producer), you don’t have final say over the finished quality because someone else is paying you to make THEIR VISION come to life.

So what do you do when what your client thinks is FANTASTIC doesn’t meet your personal standards? o_O

Reputation

When you first start out in The Arts, you may as well be an accountant because your name is creatively worthless because you haven’t done anything.

You can either edit video or you can’t, and you’re quick about it or you aren’t.

Assuming for the sake of argument that you’re actually GOOD at editing, people are going to pass your name to other people in the field and you will become known for certain things.

I’ve never missed a deadline when I worked with Bill.

I’ve finished projects with Bill in 3 days that usually took me 5 working with previous editors I’ve hired.

One day, Bill edited 12-16 hours in a row with me so we could meet our deadline.

The hour-long show that it took the other editor a week to screw up was fixed by Bill in one day.

Bill never rough edits. When we get to the end of the timeline, the video is ready to print.

Bill got my video done overnight and the link to the final product was in my email when I arrived at work in the morning.

So your progress in your field actually has less to do with whether you can push buttons like everyone else can, and has more to do with your personality and your personal taste.

Your name *now* has creative value and stands for what you’re bringing to the table over and above the experience of working with someone else.

My Name Is…

Let’s say you’re a music mixer (Not a DJ. Someone who takes the drums, bass, guitars, vocals, etc. and makes a cohesive song from them like you might hear on the radio or in a film.), and you’ve built your career in a similar fashion.

People are going to decide whether they want to hire you based on your discography (the list of records you’re credited with having mixed).

Your discography doesn’t indicate how much say you had in the creative aspects of the final product.

It’s in your best interests to make sure that *all* of the records that you allow to represent you showcase your best skill level at that particular time in your career.

However, music mixing, like video editing, is still a career. People are going to hear about you and want to hire you whose content you disagree with and whose quality isn’t up to your personal standards.

In those cases, you can turn down the work and not make that money.

You could also accept the work, make the money, and disallow them from using your name.

o_O

Right. Your name is not automatically available for *anybody* to utilize.

If that were the case, people could say they worked with you who didn’t work with you and your discography would be useless.

People are paying to for the work, not to use your name.

If they want to use your name, they need to meet YOUR standards. This is in direct opposition to the nature of the business, where you are working towards THEIR vision.

Don’t Be That Guy

Let’s say for the sake of argument that someone *KNEW* they were making a TRASH record and they deliberately wanted to hire YOU to mix it so they could put your name on it and make it look like you had no musical taste.

How much would you charge them to trash your name like that?

…. I’ll wait ….

Unless you’re Starvin’ Marvin, you’re not going to accept that money in exchange for your professional reputation, so why would you allow a client to utilize your name when they made decisions that you disagree with AND that are going to cause *fewer* people to hire you in the future?

Some people have stage names specifically for this purpose. You will see a particular name get credit for something and then find out that person doesn’t actually exist. It’s someone else who you know of who does side projects under a different name.

Another thing you can do is let the artist, one of the band members, the producer, or ANYBODY ELSE BUT YOU take the “credit” for having mixed the song(s). You get paid and your career remains intact.

Also, it might not be quality. It might be content.

Similar to actors, people who work in The Arts can get pigeonholed due to the content their name is attached to.

Remember that guy who played a robber in that movie 10 years ago?… There’s a reason why he’s still playing a robber now.

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typecasting_(acting)

In television, film, and theatre, typecasting is the process by which a particular actor becomes strongly identified with a specific character; one or more particular roles; or, characters having the same traits or coming from the same social or ethnic groups. There have been instances in which an actor has been so strongly identified with a role as to make it difficult for him or her to find work playing other characters.

So you don’t necessarily want to become THAT GUY / THAT GAL that’s specifically known for this specific project or only working in this particular genre.

On top of that, if the material you’re working on is considered offensive to somebody, ANYBODY, you don’t necessarily want that entire group of people to shun you professionally because you’re part of the problem and not the solution.

So there are several reasons why allowing or disallowing the use of your name is an important consideration, and is DEFINITELY NOT automatically a part of any money you accept to work on a project unless it’s written in a contract you signed.

If it’s in a contract that they GET to use your name, πŸ˜€ You’d better be damned certain that you’re willing to ride this one out.

The Back-Channel

Another element of your name and reputation, personal or professional, is what your word means.

If your word means nothing, you’re essentially useless.

If people know you as a FRAUD, and the entire back-channel is buzzing about how fake and skill-free you are, not to mention that you’re a JERK, your name hinders your career more than it helps it.

On the other hand, if you’re cool, knowledgeable, and helpful to your friends, word gets around because this industry, thanks to the internet, is way smaller than you think it is.

I’m in NYC right now and it’s 7pm. I can call someone in Los Angeles right now, where it’s 4pm. I can call someone in London right now, where it’s midnight. In fact, I can call several somebodies in either location.

I can call people in Chicago, VΓ©senaz, Omaha, Brisbane, Portland, Cologne, Rome-ish (haha :D), Helsinki, Athens, Austin, Glasgow, literally all the way around the world right now.

A lot of the people that I know, even the ones that live in NYC, you wouldn’t have a clue that we’re friends, that we’ve spent time together, that we’ve broken bread together, that we’ve been to each other’s houses, that we’ve done business together, or anything else.

A lot of the things I say aren’t my own ideas, but things I’ve learned directly from people way more accomplished than I am. I give credit where it’s due, of course, but a lot of the time, I don’t bother crediting my sources because it’s none of your business that we know each other.

A lot of the things I do are based on more information than you think I have.

This is because I’m a real person and my friends are too and we recognized that about each other and enjoy each other’s company and enjoy helping each other progress in life.

The FRAUDS are allowed to keep lying to people because it isn’t our job to tell you who’s fake. It’s *your* job to check out their websites linkedin.com/in/BillCammack and discographies and ask people you know and trust if they vouch for this person’s quality.

That doesn’t mean the back-channel isn’t disseminating the real information.

Remember that time that you screwed up that song for that famous artist and they decided they were never going to hire you again? πŸ˜€ haha They told someone who told someone who told me, and I told my friends… Assuming you came up in conversation at all.

Remember that time you labeled yourself a world-class mixer with no evidence? πŸ˜€ Well, the *actual* world-class mixers don’t even know who you are and can’t point to a single record you’ve worked on that a) they respect, or b) has sold a significant number of units.

Remember those articles you wrote pertaining to a specific aspect of your field? πŸ˜€ .. Nobody knows anyone significant that’s ever hired you to actually perform that service for them.

I don’t bring this stuff up to be haughty. I bring it up because when you attempt to claim accolades that outweigh your actual accomplishments in life, you can fool people who don’t know anything, but you’re simultaneously ruining your name with the people who do it for real because we all know you’re lying.

You’re better off staying off of the internet and spending your time doing actual work and building a respectable discography instead of attempting to talk your way into prominence.

It’s better for you to be known as a so-so mixer who’s a decent person than as a so-so mixer who lies and tries to convince people that he’s better than he actually is.

This is because the only way you’re going to move forward is via your REPUTATION.

The only way people doing better work than you are going to bring you into their circle is if they feel you deserve it. The only people you can fool by stunting on the internet are doing the same work you are or worse. You don’t want to become THAT GUY that’s known for mediocre work or else you might still be playing a robber 10 years from now.

Attachment

Thinking about this in another way.. If you’ve built a reputation for excellent quality and making deadlines, your name is valuable to SOMEONE ELSE if they can attach you to their project.

This is why actors get $20 million USD to be in a film. It’s because without them being in it, a lot of people wouldn’t bother to go see the movie and it won’t recoup. The goal is to spend the money on the actor to entice more people to come to the theater so you can make more money than you spent.

The same thing goes for technical staff like cinematographers, directors, and editors.

Without a trusted editor, your film could take FOREVER to make, causing you to spend more money than you intended to and make less profit than you intended to.

That would ruin YOUR name as a movie producer, and people would be way less interested in investing in your next project.

So it’s in your best interests to assemble a dream team.

Even though they’re going to cost more, you’re going to receive way more Value for Money.

When the script has been put together properly by the production company, I’ve edited hour-long television shows in one day.

A feature film is 90 minutes or more. An hour-long television show is 44 minutes plus commercials.

44 minutes is approximately half of 90 minutes.

Movies are normally filmed over several days. At the end of the day, they have “dailies”, which is the amount they filmed on that day.

If the editor’s fast enough and good enough, and the producers provided the proper script or supervised the edit, everything that was filmed in a particular day could be cut together before filming starts the next day, allowing the director to change directions or film filler sections he or she didn’t know they needed until they saw the script edited into video form.

The other option is to edit after all the filming has been done, in which case you can’t go back and get any more footage at all, and you have to make the movie from what you have.

So in this case, your client being able to use your name IS valuable to them AND to you because you know they can get more money for their project because you’re attached to it and you’ve built your reputation as a quality team member.

Show Me The Moneyyyyy

So what is your name worth? o_O

What does it mean to people when they hear your name?

Do they think of Quality? Speed? Coolness? Competence? Value for Money?

Whatever reputation you build, you have to select projects that keep you moving forward, not backward.

If you just feel like getting money, fine. πŸ˜€ I’ve definitely done it. Unless you’re a personal friend of mine and I decided to tell you about it, you’ll never know that I did it because I made sure my name isn’t on it.

You don’t have to tell people that you think their content is garbage or lacks quality.

The question is whether they want you to do the work or not.

The question IS NOT whether they want to associate their projects with your name.

If they want you to do the work, what difference does it make if your name isn’t on it? o_O

I’ve edited tons of videos where the editor isn’t even credited, even if I wanted my name on it, such as daily news.

When was the last time you saw the name of an editor who worked on a particular news segment? Never.

So it’s no big deal. πŸ˜€

If someone’s DYING for your name to be on their video (or song), you suddenly become the Executive Producer. The project isn’t released until *YOU* sign off on it.

If they don’t want to agree to that, good. πŸ™‚ They don’t have to use your name other than when they sign your check.

4 thoughts on “What Your Name Is Worth”

  1. Great article and well written! I’m very proud of you for your continued progress and accomplishments! Keep up the good work!

  2. Btw, I forgot to add that I love the way that you incorporate your neighborhood experiences and life lessons, so smoothly into your writing! It really makes it stand out among the countless blogs and articles out there! It gives it an “authentic, from the heart” type of style that really entices you to read more!

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