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Thread: $50/hr for work AND .fla???

  1. #1
    Senior Member Computer Dork's Avatar
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    $50/hr for work AND .fla???

    Hi - I have a job offer for designing a flash template for a website that will read .asp variables. Its going to take approximately 10-15 hours, but they just informed me that they will be needing the .fla as well, which I am leery of giving them. But the problem is that they seem stuck on $50 an hour, with the fla, or they will look elsewhere. What is the going rate for something like this? I know that $50 is chump change for flash work, but I need work...

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    Moderator enpstudios's Avatar
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    Moved from General Help !!

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    FK's Geezer Mod Ask The Geezer's Avatar
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    >> I know that $50 is chump change for flash work

    It is? Man have I been getting screwed!!!!

    If your working for someone else, say your digging a ditch. Do you keep the shovel when your done, do you take the dirt home with you? No, all you take home is the aches and pains and the sweaty socks. And the money you 'earned'. I've seen this complaint before, and I just don't understand it. I guess it never occured to anyone that if you give them a great job for a decent amount, they will come back for more?

    The bottom line is:

    but I need work...

  4. #4
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    Traditionally when you are working freelance it is called "work for hire" where you are hired to complete a task by someone. Think of it this way. You get a big job that's more than you can handle alone. So you have to bring in someone, friend or not, to help. Will you expect the FLA files? You can stipulate in your contract that source files are extra. But in a work for hire situation this is usually frowned upon. They do this to cover their butts. If they pay you to make something and then you disappear, join the Peace Corp or whatever, they are sunk. Make them happy and they will continue to use you. If they had someone that could do anything with the FLAs they woldn't need you.

    The only difference is if you are selling a pre-developed package. Say a content system or graphing app or discussion board. Then that would be a different situation.

  5. #5
    $50 an hour plus giving them the *.fla file sounds good to me, just stipulate that once you get the $$$, then you'll send the *.fla.

  6. #6
    One day older, one day wiser rafiki55's Avatar
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    I say always charge extra for the .fla file. If it helps, use the baker analogy.

    When you buy at loaf of bread at the bakery, you're paying for just the bread. If you wanted the recipe, then you'd have to pay extra. If you had the recipe, you could bypass the baker and make your own bread, or go to antoher baker to make your bread. The fla is kinda like the recipe....when they pay you per hour, it should be for the final product only and not the fla. The fla should be extra.

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    Senior Member Computer Dork's Avatar
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    thanks for the insight guys

  8. #8
    Banned vampstko's Avatar
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    sounds fair to me..

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    I would still be carefull about not including the FLAs if the client ask for it.

    This was done for quite some time in the design/publishing world where you would charge extra to give them the orginal artwork files. Many clients started to see that this was like holding them hostage and as such rewrote most of their contracts to stipulate that original artwork be included.

    The bakers analogy I can kind of understand but the only flaw is that the CLIENT is telling you what they want in the recipe and you are just putting it together. If it was your own orginal recipe then yes I would agree.

    For some time clients in the web world were still learning the difference between FLA and SWF files and many other web file types. Yu will start to see this request more and more. Again it comes down to trust. Trust is a key element of a relationship with your client and if you think they want to FLA files just to stab you in the back then you should be looking for another client anyway. If a client really wants that actionscript code in your SWF they will get it.

    So aside from a propeitary solution you should always do "work for hire"

    Be careful about feeling elitest about your work. There are many good Flash developers all over the world. What makes you great is not always your skill set but moreso the ability to work with your client at a comfortable level and adapt to your clients needs.

    We have to remember that when it comes to Flash development many time 50% of your job is education. It is likely that your CLIENT is not fluent in the terminology/technology associated with Flash. Also your Client usually has a boss and if something happens to you or the project it's their job not yours.

    Just some thoughts.

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    FK M.D. pheck's Avatar
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    dcullipher, i find your opinions as of late quite interesting. thanks for sharing. i wonder what you think of the analogy to the photographer and the flasher? this is an analogy we all hear about quite a bit. the photographer doesn't give up his negatives for usually 10 years. he keeps them for himself and the clients must come to him if they want prints. he can set his own reasonable price, which is usually determined beforehand (like a flasher does for his contracts). of course the analogy here being the negatives with the flas. should we come up with our own version of the 10-year policy as flash designers? is our practice too different from a photographer's to compare? what is the meaning of life? (threw that last one in there in case you get on a roll with right on answers.)

  11. #11
    Senior Member Computer Dork's Avatar
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    That sounds like a great idea - because I finally decided to take the job because I need the work, but I still don't feel great about giving up the .fla's. We should come up with a standard practice that is regarded as commonplace, so that confusion like this doesn't occur in the future. I am working with an asp/vb programmer on this project that just doesn't understand why I can't hand them over, since I guess the common practice in his field is that the code comes with the finished product, no questions asked.

  12. #12
    Senior Member dlowe93's Avatar
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    Originally posted by pheck
    dcullipher, i find your opinions as of late quite interesting. thanks for sharing. i wonder what you think of the analogy to the photographer and the flasher? this is an analogy we all hear about quite a bit. the photographer doesn't give up his negatives for usually 10 years.
    Pheck (and others),

    Where did this "10 year" standard come from? My understanding is that anything under copyright passes into public domain after 50 years, unless the owner(s) take steps to extend that copywright, or it passes into public domain under other circumstances.

    One of my few skills is photography, in fact i got started in this biz as a photographer and still do some commercial work.

    I don't know of any circumstance where i could go back to a photographer who shot something for me ten years ago, and demand they turn the negs over to me so that i can make my own prints.

    Having said that, photographers do not automatically own the copywright on contract work. The terms are usually specified in the contract, and in fact, most commercial photographers do turn over their negs (actually, they are transparencies in most cases) and the client does own the copyrights to the materials. Think about it, i do a shoot for a fashion label (say Levi's). Do you think they would be ok with me turning around and selling the photographs to another client for their ads? I don't think so.

    I think using the photographer and his/her materials analogy with regards to Flash files is not entirely accurate.

    And for the record, i hand off all my Fla files, with documentation, on final payment of each job.

    d.
    dlowe93

  13. #13
    FK's Geezer Mod Ask The Geezer's Avatar
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    I think it'll be years before any sort of standard for pricing would work on something as open as the internet. With a whole world of potential flash gurus on line, it just isn't fiesable. The way it works on the web is, if your good, you can make a living. If your exceptional, everyone knows it and there are people beating a path to your door to do their work. In which case, you can set the price and the rules.

    The www has turned into the worlds biggest Flea Market. Had you noticed? You can get for free now, design templates for webs that a few years ago would have sold for thousands. Any fla made today, will be obsolete in 6 months and probably can't be used for anything else anyway, if the work is for hire. I think you made the right choice Computer Dork, and you still have a copy of the fla.

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    I'll have to back up dlowe here. I am not a photographer myself but I work with some of the best in Los Angeles many of whom are my friends.

    The only case I know of so far where a photographer does not provide negatives is if either:

    A) The photographer is very well known in the industry. In which case the clients usually pay hime for complete rights to the negatives if they so choose.

    B) The photo is from the photographers library of personal photos.

    Even large studios usually provide the client with negatives when they are hired by that client to shoot a particular item. the client pays for everything in that case. The film the negatives the developing and sometimes the camera.

    It is true that from 1980 to about 1994 or so , during the desktop publishing revolution, it was common place to not allow the clients access to files and/or negatives. In fact some designers licensed their work. So the client pays for the logo and then has to pay for every use of it. Some still try to use this method, but in the end you risk your client relationship. Which will hurt you much more.

    Also remember that with photography it is VERY difficult to copy another photographers style, though some may try. With Web Dev it's different. Most everything we do can be copied in some way. Maybe the coding is crap or someother item is different by the copier, but to the client this does not matter. It's an intangable item to them.

    What you do have besides the quality of your work is the relationship you have with your client. Keep the happy, informed, make them look good to their bosses and they will use you more and more and even refer you.

    Most clients do not know how to use negatives let alone FLAs the again just want them for security more than anything. If you happen upon unfortunate circumstances (i.e. death) then what can they do if they don't have they FLA files. That is the mentality of most companies today and the prime reason to want the FLA files. You should however put in your contract that they cannot resell your code/project unless otherwise stated. That should protect you for the most part from getting ripped off.

    Just some more thoughts.

  15. #15
    FK M.D. pheck's Avatar
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    well some very good thoughts.

    i admit, i've been hedging on this issue for a long time. there have only been a few cases where i didn't release my source files, but i've always tried to be upfront about it in those cases. for my best clients, the source files are part of the contract. they are handed over. for me, it's not about feeling that my code is unreproducable or elite. i think where you have to be careful is in who you hand them over to. if it is some shady client who you are pretty sure will turn around and take your sources over to a kid who thinks $10 is a lot of money, then i'm a lot more careful and hesitant than i am with a major corp who i'm trying to foster a long-term relationship with. a good point was made earlier about how one should be looking for a new client if you are worried about them abusing you, which is true. but unfortunately, there are not a lot of ideal clients out there, which we can all attest to, and sometimes we all just need a little cash flow to get the budget balanced for the month. so we take these "sketchy" jobs. it is important to size up your client and protect yourself. and just like any relationship, a lot of it is based on trust, and you have to build on it to establish the trust.

    to answer the Q about where the 10 year thing came from with photographers, it came from my personal experience. it goes back to my bar mizvah at 13! long time ago. my parents hired this photographer who a lot of their friends used. he was known to be good but expensive. when it came time for my wife and i to get married, we went back to him. looking back now tho this was a mistake. not only were his established fees higher than anyone else's for actually taking the shots at the event, but also his print fees are astronomical relative to others' in his field. my wife and i don't have a real wedding album as a result. we haven't confronted him about this b/c he is a 'nice guy' (kindof), but honestly i don't like his practices. this only reaffirms my feeling that if you want to foster a long-term relationship with a client, treat them well and give them the sourcies. somewhere along the line it was communicated to me either directly or indirectly, i'm not sure, that there was this 10 year policy that many photographers adhere to, after which time they release their exclusive rights to print your photos. from my understanding, this was common practice. i'm sure it's different for corp events like levis shoots who have the know-how and power to delineate certain things like this in the contract. oh, and just so you guys aren't crying too hard for me, my mom emptied the vault for a wedding album that we will probably inherit sometime soon, or we'll ask for the negatives in 2010 or later

    btw, computer dork, asp/vb programmers can't understand this at all because their product is code. they have no way of protecting their code because it all goes up on the server for any admin to look at.

    bottom line, my feeling is as i said earlier... if you want to keep the client, hand over the source files.
    Last edited by pheck; 02-12-2003 at 02:47 AM.

  16. #16
    Senior Member dlowe93's Avatar
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    Originally posted by iaskwhy
    I think it'll be years before any sort of standard for pricing would work on something as open as the internet. With a whole world of potential flash gurus on line, it just isn't fiesable. The way it works on the web is, if your good, you can make a living. If your exceptional, everyone knows it and there are people beating a path to your door to do their work. In which case, you can set the price and the rules.
    You could say the same thing about advertising. Figure that modern advertising has been around since the invention of the printing press, and there is still no such thing as a "standard rate" for advertising.

    I could go to my local cable provider and get a tv spot done for under $1,000. If i went down the street and told the good folks at Weiden + Kennedy that they should be able to do a spot for the same price, they would say "that's nice. Don't let the door hit your behind on the way out."

    There's such a huge range of prices, but for the most part, you get what you pay for.

    d.
    dlowe93

  17. #17
    Senior Member dlowe93's Avatar
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    Originally posted by pheck
    well some very good thoughts.
    somewhere along the line it was communicated to me either directly or indirectly, i'm not sure, that there was this 10 year policy that many photographers adhere to, after which time they release their exclusive rights to print your photos. from my understanding, this was common practice. i'm sure it's different for corp events like levis shoots who have the know-how and power to delineate certain things like this in the contract. oh, and just so you guys aren't crying too hard for me, my mom emptied the vault for a wedding album that we will probably inherit sometime soon, or we'll ask for the negatives in 2010 or later
    Funny, our wedding photographer has something like that as well, but it's that she guarantees that she will keep the negs for 10 years. After that, she get's rid of them. She does sell the negs as part of her standard contract.

    I would contact your photographer and clarify. I doubt that he will just hand them over to you. In fact, i'd try to buy them from him sooner than later, just so that you have control over them. Besides, with med school, i'm sure you have plenty of extra cash laying around.

    bottom line, my feeling is as i said earlier... if you want to keep the client, hand over the source files.
    I agree 100%. I'd also add if you want to get rid of a client, hand over the source files. My attitiude is that if they are bottom feeders who will go to a cheapo source to make edits, i'd rather not deal with them. Fortunately, i have a decent set of regular clients who i have solid relationships with, so it's less of an issue for me.

    I had one client who i really gritted my teeth over giving the source files to, because i knew that they were going to hand them to their "regular" agency to work on a much bigger project, using my files as a basis. I sucked it up and didn't say a word. Two months later they called me up and asked if i could do the job in full because, in their words, "the other guys f***ed up your files and couldn't do anything the way we aske them to."

    I know for sure that if i had been a jerk about releasing the Fla's they would have never come back. Sometimes the high road pays off.

    d.
    dlowe93

  18. #18
    FK's Geezer Mod Ask The Geezer's Avatar
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    If you can't get the negatives at a reasonable price, you can always have new ones made from the positives. For that matter, you could scan them and keep them as digital. From digital any K-Mar can make prints.

  19. #19
    Nyuk! Nyuk! Nyuk! Hey Moe... serpent star's Avatar
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    Originally posted by iaskwhy
    If you can't get the negatives at a reasonable price, you can always have new ones made from the positives. For that matter, you could scan them and keep them as digital. From digital any K-Mar can make prints.

    you could always get one of those swf decoders... whatever their called. The things that turn swiffs into flas.


    I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you were using sarcasm in your statement.



  20. #20
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    Originally posted by dcullipher
    Traditionally when you are working freelance it is called "work for hire" where you are hired to complete a task by someone. Think of it this way. You get a big job that's more than you can handle alone. So you have to bring in someone, friend or not, to help. Will you expect the FLA files? You can stipulate in your contract that source files are extra. But in a work for hire situation this is usually frowned upon.
    Just jumped onto this discussion here.

    Freelance design and development is not work for hire. Work for hire is just a subset of freelance work. The only time where you should ever give source files to a project is if you are a freelancer or consultant and you are working for a interactive or advertising agency. At no time would a client have need for source files unless they were an agency. If they do, source files are at an extra cost.

    Work for hire implicitly means, "we get the source to all of your work". If source files aren't expected, then the job is not work for hire.

    At the same token, agencies are charging much much more for their work due to the fact that many clients are expecting source files from a project. A typical $5000.00 interactive Flash job could easily go for double that cost if source files are included. This is one of the many reasons why agencies get paid triple they pay to get the work done.

    If the agency you are working for normally requests source files for all work you do for them, negotiate your hourly rate accordingly. If you normally bill at $50/hr, bill at $60/hr. I got out of the hourly game a long long time ago for that specific reason. Flat-rate charging for jobs is the way to go, once you've amassed enough business sense to know the worth of the work you do in comparison to the majority of those who do the same work in your industry.

    Example: 100 hour job at 50/hr comes to 5 grand. Boost that number by a chosen percentage and you've got a flat rate where source files are distributed as part of the final delivery. The percentage is the tricky part. That's where a lot of the pricing 'secrecy' comes in from many agencies. The numbers can easily range from 10 - 40%. Remember, if you charge 50/hr, the agency you are working for is probably charging at least 90-100 /hr on your work.

    Find a comfortable medium and be happy.

    cheers.
    Last edited by bustback; 02-14-2003 at 12:10 PM.

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