View Full Version : VJ-ing - what's the value proposition?
12th December 2003, 06:44 AM
Having read the majority of posts in this forum I am left with the general impression that it is virtually impossible to achieve a reasonable standard of living as a professional VJ, let alone earn mega bucks.
Another clear message is that "customers" of our VJ services ie. Promoters, Club Managers do not value the service, as they are not convinced that a VJ brings incremental dosh, I would suggest they see it as a differentiator to there competition but not a fundamental must have to get people through the door.
This also suggests that our customers, customer ie. the entrance paying or beer drinking punter isn't compelled by what the VJ does.
So what is the VJ value proposition?
I'd be interested in hearing your answer, if a potential customer said to you, "so if I book you as a VJ what will it do to help my profit"?
Apologies to anyone who thinks profit is a dirty word, but how else do you fund the technology, travel to gigs, junk food and RedBull.
12th December 2003, 09:24 AM
I'd tell someone about to hire me this: if you've got a good party going already, I make it look great!
as far as profit goes, yeah, you're not gonna strike it rich financially. I've never been happier (this broke) my whole life. I've been doing this for 2 yrs and have completely paid off my entire $8k rig, travelled mostly free during festival season, met great/interesting people, become an alcoholic & a pedestrian. definitely not the job for someone seeking stability. couldn't ask for more. :)
12th December 2003, 10:43 AM
Cool, your achieving your objectives, you're doing what you wanna do. For many talented others there is a need to try and work for luddites who just don't get what a VJ brings to the party. I don't know how to explain it to them so they go, yeah right, I'll have some of that.
12th December 2003, 11:00 AM
when we try to explain what it is we do, we end up sounding one of two ways (or both)
A) like uber-geeks
B) like hippies gone mad
THE BEST way to get new work, get your name out, be able to charge more, get a rep, etc, etc... is get out there and do shows! no one is gonna make any money or raise the social consciousness re: VJing if "active VJs" are performing once a month... get out there and hit the bars/pubs/clubs/theaters and do your thing! that way, you don't have to explain it, you say "come to this party and see what I do" <gently forces flyer on unsuspecting victi... er punter>
PS. I'm not sure "Become an Alcoholic" was on my to-do list, but....
12th December 2003, 04:16 PM
Very touchy subject this one; if you think it is bad(ish) now just spare a though for those of us that were doing this (vj'ing) in the late 80's and early 90's.
I personally had to continue persuing lighting just to pay the rent.
It seems like maybe their needs to be;
a) 'the hand book of vj'ing' so that knuckle head promoters (and others) can be educated to this highly skilled art form.
b) maybe a code of conduct - like Jedi's have.
c) maybe shoot me for this one but maybe union-isation that would create standards for rates etc. :o
Anyways, my two bobs worth, i do have a few more bob to offer if need be :alien:
12th December 2003, 06:50 PM
there has been talk of a union, but I think that might be a bit too formal for most people concerned... not that I'm opposed to it tho... :)
12th December 2003, 07:16 PM
I've been doing it for 3 years and since the begining of the season I've never been happier (richer): got a residence in a bombay night club -Rock Bottom- where visuals are placed very high on the list of priorities: projectors on each side of the d.j. console, plasma abose the bar and in the chill area, another projector in the v.i.p. and even little l.c.d. screens above each "pissers" in the mens room. that gig pays 2 people (indian standard salaries but still....):1 resident v.j. and 1 part time 3d artist, other gigs pay me a descent income and more "corporate" gigs are coming next year such as Bacardi. (we might even have the honour of having an international v.j. joining us next year ;] )
India's night club/bar scene being so new most places are already equiped with screens and projectors and for private parties/rave there is an understanding that the promoters hires screen and projector the same way they hire sound system for d.j.s.
Of course this didn't come to me overnight and I've worked a long time without making much money at all from v.j.ing but i stuck to it trying to produced "multi million dollars" work even if i was paid peanuts for it.
I don't think that it is possible to have a standard rate across the board simply because everyones work is different and budjets and work conditions vary from place to place, not 2 d.j.s in the world get the same fees for example.
One thing I think is neccesary to keep getting gigs is permanent updating of content and do everygig with the same quality standard.
Q:"so if I book you as a VJ what will it do to help my profit"?
A:"You'll sell more drinks, just like people munch on pop corn at the movie, visuals in a club become a point of focus for the non-dancers (the drinkers), and while they're mesmerised by the trippy visuals they'll drink almost unconsiously"(mime someone starring and drinking)"
It's more or less what they want to hear, night club run on drink sells mostly, The club we're resident at had to admit that visuals did boost their drink sells.
And I shamelessly have to admit that all is fine in wonderland this side......
12th December 2003, 08:12 PM
I agree with you I've had promotors tell me that Visuals were less important than one extra local DJ. Eg it would bring more punters to have one extra "local" (A DJ that Sydney people see playing every week) then to spend the same amount more on the visuals budget.
Visuals need to become ubiquitious. As projectors get cheaper and more powerful we'll soon get to the point where you can blanket every surface in a room with visuals. When that happens it becomes a more integral part of the experience.
I've seen it recently at a multiarena 20,000 person party they spend $20,000 on an intelligent lighting rig then cut costs on the visuals and only use 2000 lumens projectors wich get totally washed out by the lighting?
Why do they spend so much more on lighting? It's everywhere and washes over the whole crowd like the sound does, when visuals can do the same then hopefully it will get pushed up the ladder in importance.
Or hook up with a live act or DJ to become an AV act or do both yourself and become a DVJ, then you can insist on the visuals budget as part of your performance fee.
Mabe it's better in London, New York, Tokyo, Berlin but I couldn't make a living as a VJ in Sydney (but yes a few do) and I'm very lucky to have a day job in post production that lets me sink thousands into an expensive hobby.
13th December 2003, 05:05 PM
i agree with the rates thing, its a hard one, it possibly comes down to your rep, the bigger it is the bigger the pay check (with music industry anyways). Some promoters respect and adhere to that, others would rather rent a vhs player :P
I think the day that visuals become as important (and powerfull) as laser and lighting (which it kinda is for a cost) then vj's may cross over a little more and be in more demand. But maybe then we would be cutting into the lighting industry bread and butter (ooh, thats a touchy subject of its own).
30th November 2005, 02:58 PM
well i must admitt, ive been vjing for over 8 years, for large and small events. we treat every gig professionally (more than some promoters do)i work in production anyway, so it would be hard not to. after 8 years we have kit paid for and maintained, insurance (which is up for renewal) and a smile on our faces. now that we are self sufficiant we can gig for whoever we want for what ever amount of money. if it was my soul business, i wouldnt have as much fun. its also good to say no to a promoter thats p;#sed you about in the past. working for smaller outfits is a lot more rewarding for me, you get more appreciation for your work and its a lot friendlier all round. ballance this out with a couple of larger corporate (just play this advert for me will you) events and its the best (paid ) hobby i have.
2nd December 2005, 04:18 PM
wow, i'm glad reading this post AFTER getting my first paid job as a VJ - in going into negotiate i just assumed that veejay work is high tech and thus "expensive", so i priced myself that way (high) and made enough to pay for my rig (mixer + computer) as well as three amazing software packages... i think if i would have thought that vj's don't make much i would've sold myself short, and it goes to show that presentation is everything (well, almost)
however maybe i just got lucky... anyway, i look at veejaying as another extension of what i do, which is to work professionally as a producer of visuals and other media including media for the web. today i just finished producing 2 videos for a theatre company that would've been impossible without grid pro and arkaos hw.
so i don't need to rely on vj-ing to make money. these days it helps if you have several skill sets that you can reach for to get work. mostly i just don't want to have to get a "real" job. so far it's worked...
volcano digital (http://vaporizer.org/reviews/volcano)
8th January 2006, 11:05 AM
The value add is simple. Its atmosphere. Without DJ's, lighting and eh hemmm perhaps visuals they've got nothing to lure the punter into thier ALCOHOL TILLS.
The promoter is a bizarre species. They are generally not actuall businessmen. More likely a bar manager whos worked his/her way up from from a glassy. Or they're clicky nightclubin personalities who have enough connections to bring the dj's, the venue and the people together.
The problem with this mix is that they don't think like 'entrepenuers' and instead are trying to keep up with what other bars are doing and thats about it.
Always worried about getting enough people in the door for the next gig (so at least they cover costs) and not investing in the future. Any other business that ever opened its doors know s that its going to have to 'invest' money to make it - and inevitably it will make a loss in its first few months at least of operation (hence the term startup capital)
Generally the people who will stitch you up with a gig aren't doing so because they see outside the square. They're doing it because they think they should be doing it because someone else was doing it.
Not because they've sat down and thought - I need to do something different and really add value to the customers experience at my show. That way they'll be queing up for hours to get tickets to my shows after I've done a dozen or so of them. hmmm this vj thing would totally alter the atmosphere at our shows and give that real value add to the punter.
Promoters are not thinking in terms of how can I wow my audience that little bit more and build my own Castle. They prefer to do what they've always done, and that is what others have always done.
8th January 2006, 12:46 PM
[QUOTE=grahamk]Having read the majority of posts in this forum I am left with the general impression that it is virtually impossible to achieve a reasonable standard of living as a professional VJ, let alone earn mega bucks.
well, it's about in the same proportions as with pro-sport.
how many people play football in the park
how many people are part of a country's national team
8th January 2006, 12:51 PM
wheres your sports car then oli?
if we accept that your at the top (which i will ;)) then we can say that really nobody is making a great living from VJing - some people get by ok but really there are not many people who have it as a sole income without having to do other stuff too (teaching workshops or writing magasine articals for example)
8th January 2006, 01:44 PM
wheres your sports car then oli?
Doesn't Oli have a Hippotizer as a sports car ? ;)
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