It’s one thing if a good friend or business associate comes to you and says, “Look. I’d like some photo or video coverage of my two-hour event on Saturday. Can you help me out?” So you give your friend a good price.
It’s quite another for a volunteer dracu-vendor to show up and suck the job away from you and every other well-meaning media company.
Here’s what dracu-vendoring looks like.
You speak with your PNC (potential new client) and not only offer a fair price, you also offer education and, through conversation, a way to save money. Say, you realize that the second cam on the job can be locked down … in other words, doesn’t need a second operator to go with it. Brava! You feel like the video producer you were born to be — someone who knows how to spend money wisely.
Your PNC (potential new client) calls around to get competing bids. He or she calls a vendor who volunteers to do the job for virtually nothing, or for very little. The PNC doesn’t even know enough to ask whether the second camera (however the dracu-vendor is handling it) will be slaved to the first camera, so that you get accurate time code on each camera — kind of a no-brainer for those of us trained up in a big city, but not at all familiar to your PNC.
So what’s the problem?
You’ve just had your job hijacked by someone who clearly needs the work more than you.
And you’ve lost the job because your PNC doesn’t know any better. Doesn’t know how a job is done and how much it’s worth. A two-camera job, with audio and lighting, for $200? $500? I’ll never know. Certainly not the $1500 it was worth in the real world.
If that dracu-vendor was a state entity, it could be prosecuted for interfering with the marketplace, whether it was charging more OR less than you.
But because dracu-vendors are licensed (let’s hope) entities, they can do whatever they want. And there’s nothing to stop them.
And, because the dracu-vendors of this world’s small towns are probably not actually capturing any kind of agreement on paper or electronics, when the PNCs of this world don’t get what they want, they have little resort. “What? You only paid them $300? Well, what did you expect?”
There should be a moral to this story, but I’m afraid there’s not.
If there is, it’s for me: Stop expecting a small town to do anything else than act like a small town, without enough planning and resources to pay for a service.
So, how to be a dracu-vendor?
- Offer mediocre services for next to nothing.
- Don’t educate the client.
- Take the money and run.