The Biz: Production
Lynn Del Mastro has been our studio manager. That description falls way short of actually who she is, you know, in our lives and in my life. But, yeah, we can let it go with studio manager. The number of hats that Lin wears during an average day on behalf of the studio is many and varied. She does the bids, the estimates she handles, the phone calls. She does paperwork. She creates mood boards. We'll talk about that. She, uh, you know, on the phone. She's the underpinnings of a certain level of client relationship, you know, because if there's a production question that comes on of the phone during a conference call, I'll bounce that over to her. So, in a nutshell, though, Linn's job. I've described in non poetic terms as being a studio manager, but it's in an in a nutshell. It's in this phrase that she uttered to be many years ago. You're a racehorse. My job is to keep beyond the track. She is responding a great deal to the equation, which I've already mentioned to you. The unromantic...
part of photography is that every morning I wake up and think about how to turn my time and pictures into money. Now, some folks, you know, could say that's decidedly unpolitical. Okay, Guilty as charged. This is not fun and games for me. This is not a hobby. And I respect all of that. I mean, enthusiast photographers who just love to shoot pictures. You know, I'm also one enthusiast photographer. I love to shoot pictures, but I do have this corollary responsibility or nature of my duties. Which calls me too shoot hard core for money. Um, big differences. When, uh, was a simple world years ago, Okay. In the age of digital for, for instance, did it. That was That was my smartphone back then. That was my I used the Nikon Professional Services yearly calendar. That was my bible on God. Oh, mighty If I ever lost that Oh, my goodness. You know, just horrible had everything in it. All my contacts, and you can see how organized that was about your average a couple of weeks, you know? So we had boxes of research. Linwood, fill these boxes. True enough, right? You know, my handwriting on their you know, So clip tests, film logs, you know, all of that was the grist of our business. Okay, for many, many years. Okay, Um, National Geographic caption book. You know, it would be ah, duplicate book. He would tear the top of it, often send it in with your film, and you had your carbon copy here. And it was a little spiral notebook that you would keep with you. And you would ship the top copy in with your rolls of Kodachrome, and all those rolls of Kodachrome would be numbered corresponding to the numbers here from camera, your your cameras would be numbered. Okay, your roles, everything. All of this metadata stuff, you know, at big events, like conventions. I used to take a file, and I would not My my my gate, my 35 millimeter gate. I would put notches with a file, okay, that the shutter transport and that way. And when you had black and white negatives come out at the edge of the black point, negative, there would be your notches. And so if anybody said, you know, I was standing right next to the guy from The Associated Press. When you know a politician would *** and then someone to say, Well, ask my picture. No, that's my picture. That's my picture. No, I I had notches again to be unromantic about it. And to quote her longtime accountant, building is our most important product. That's from his perspective for me, good pictures of the most important product. But the linkage between producing those good pictures and actually getting paid for it is very, very necessary and very, very strong. So and that is a voluminous bill on this is again where Lin will come in. And just everything that we delivered to a client is organized to the degree. Yeah, it depends on the clients. Um, request. Sometimes I have to substantiate every single expenditure. Ah, with the receipts and copies of backup and everything that could possibly need to prove that that bottom line is what we actually spent. So as far as Fred the accountant goes, he'll be like, all right, so I know it was like a big job, and you, you know, took in a lot of money for But how much did you actually earn? You know how much of it was expenses? How much of it was he? And, um, it's all spelled out for the client purposes. How we do that? We have some clients who give us a lump sum and say This is what it is and you need to accomplish the these end result types of pictures. It's so in the end of it all this is this is the budget you have to work with. So you have to figure out how much of that to allocate towards your expenses. How much of it you will actually determine is your feet. Typically, in a case like that with Joan, I will do is we'll sit down and based on the licensing package, because that's if someone says to me, What's Joe's day rate? I'm like, Well, what kind of licensing do you want? It's not a day rate de facto. This is what it is. Some photographers, I realize have that business model where you know everything starts out at $1200 then they build based on usage. On top of that, ours is more of the licensing, and that's where we start our basic business pricing that would be determined to be his feet and then, based on the the ideas that are needed for that shoot to execute that, then we determine the expense portion, and that could be a variety of things. Be models casting hair, makeup, wardrobe, location, scouting. Um, so many factors props many, many things. So, um, for us, it really varies. Then we will have other clients who will say, Here's a shoot that we want to get done. Um, we don't have a particular budget in mind. We'd like to. That's why we're coming to you to tell us. What do we dio? How much you know this is a licensing. How much do you want for your fee? How much with the expenses be my preferred type of client toe work with other than those who would? A lump sum is great, but it also gives you not a whole lot of structure because you have to figure it out than yourself. So a preferred way if I had a choice, is to deal with art buyers or our producers an ad agencies because they get it. Lin refers to those jobs where we get a lump sum is a It's a bucket of money job, and what's left in the bucket is your feet and what she does for me at that point is keep me realistic because, you know, we get, like, this lump sum call. Okay, Cool. We could do a lot with that. And she's like, Okay. And that actually leads to our next slide. Where are longtime accountant Fred, who is one of the sweetest, most decent human beings on the face of the planet? He has been my accountant for 30 plus years, you know, And the which leads me to before even pop this up leads me to this premise or this notion that I would talk to you about and that is, develop a set of support around you. You trust we have the same insurance broker for 30 years. We have the same account. Okay, um, Lin has been with me for 25 years. OK, so, um, that kind of, uh, groundswell of support you need is a photographer. Find people you trust, find people are good at what they do and be good to them. Be fair to them, and they will stick with you. And there's a familiarity there. But Fred has occasional looked at me and said, Joe, this is really more of a hobby, isn't it? At the end of a tough year, you know? Um, yeah. Yeah. As Lin indicated, There's good years and and there's lean years. It is the nature of the business.