As a director, you may be unsure of the best and most efficient way to bill clients for your services. However, when it comes to services related to the art of directing, which freelancers devote significant time and resources to improving over time, it's especially important to maintain an accurate and clear invoice workflow for all parties involved.
If a structured payment process is not in place, clients may be discouraged from using a freelancer's services in the future, and freelancers will have a more difficult time obtaining payment from clients.
Contracted directors use a freelance directing invoice to request payment from their clients for the service of controlling the artistic, aesthetic, and/or dramatic direction of a film or movie, which includes all services associated with controlling the elements of filming, staging, and acting for a motion picture product. A directing invoice may vary from one freelancer to the next depending on the format of a specific freelance directing operation, but most include several key components.
A standard director invoice should include a number of components that are common to the majority of invoicing scenarios for directors and other film professionals involved in controlling the dramatic elements of a film. On their director invoices, freelancers should include the following elements for the majority of payment scenarios, including all services offered; service rates; detailed and accurate service descriptions; and all relevant payment information, such as accepted payment methods, deadlines, and associated fees.
By using an effective, clear, and descriptive director invoice, freelancers can bill their clients more accurately while also ensuring a communicative, thoughtful, and overall pleasant payment process for clients.
Payments are made more quickly and the risk of late or missed payments is significantly reduced when clients have a better user experience, particularly when it comes to completing payments for products or—in the case of directors—services rendered. Remember that the user experience is everything to customers, so before sending director invoices to the client for payment, they should be as clear and complete as possible.
We understand how hard freelance directing and other cinematic professionals work to improve the quality of their craft over time—from learning new directing techniques to expanding their understanding of directing theory—freelancers go to great lengths to ensure their clients have access to capable and creative directing for all of their film, multimedia, or other directing needs. As a result, your vocation-specific invoice should accurately reflect your efforts.
By including all relevant transactional information on your director invoice, you ensure that your clients have everything they need to pay you correctly and on time, every time. You also show consideration for your client relationships by being open and honest about the billing and payment processes.
If your client is fully informed about your freelance directing business's unique invoicing methods, he or she will be better prepared to complete the payment process. By including all relevant transaction information, there should be no room for confusion, reducing the likelihood of late or missed payments. Clients are more likely to return to you for future directing services if you provide them with a clear and professional looking vocation-specific invoice.
The benefit of freelance work is that you have complete control over how your business is run and how you bill for your services. Understanding how to bill for your directing work effectively and accurately is critical to ensuring prompt payment from your clients as a director or film professional.
Your freelance company as a contracted director will most likely operate on a service-based business model, regardless of how you charge your clients for your directing work.
You must establish pricing criteria as you work to establish your invoicing process for your directing services in order to begin formally billing clients for your services. Many freelance directors find it difficult to put a monetary value on the services they provide, but it is a necessary step in ensuring they are properly compensated for their efforts on stage during rehearsals and behind the scenes during performances. Consider the cost of any additional resources required to complete the project, including any payments associated with costume design or the acquisition of props, when deciding how to bill for your director's services.
You will most likely use a service-based business model for your invoices if you run a freelance directing operation. As a result, you must establish a billable hour for each of your directing services, based on the complexity and amount of time associated with a particular service, technique, method, or venue. To calculate your billable hour for directing visual work, you must first track the time you spend on each project's service.
By utilizing professional invoicing software by Indy, freelancers can streamline the time-consuming process of establishing an hourly rate for each service. To start tracking the hours spent on a specific service—for example, hours spent directing a short film versus hours spent directing a feature film—use time-tracking technology or a simple timer to determine how much time you spend working on various client projects. Because directors frequently work on a set schedule, determining an hourly rate should be a simpler process than in other professions.
An invoice may take on a slightly different form depending on the structure of a given freelancing operation and whether the company provides products or services.
Your business as a freelance director will most likely be based on a service-based model. By choosing to work with professional invoicing software by Indy, freelancers can benefit from powerful vocation-specific invoicing tools to streamline the payment process—both internally and for clients.
You can then begin the formal process of creating your director invoice. Simply select a document development platform that works for you, such as a word processor like Google Docs or Microsoft Word, or spreadsheet software like Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel, to create your director invoice. Include any and all relevant information about your transaction from there. Before you begin billing clients, you can use the customization tools provided by each of these platforms to personalize your director invoice.
Keep in mind important factors such as the effort required to perform directing services as you work to determine your hourly rate for your director invoice. Consider how much time and resources will be required from your business operations to complete this task.
To bill for hourly work, determine an hourly pay rate per each directing session and then write detailed and accurate service description. Indy invoicing software enables freelancers to track their hours directly within the platform, ensuring accurate billing hours are communicated to the client throughout the project's duration. If you have a set work schedule, this should be a fairly simple process.
Following that, ensure that all other pertinent transaction details, such as contact information and payment terms, are prominently displayed on the document to avoid any misinterpretation or confusion about payment details on the part of your client.
As you work to establish rates for your services as a freelance director, keep in mind the importance of valuing your own work and maintaining effective payment processes to ensure payment for the hard work you put in as a director.
Putting a monetary value on the services you provide can be especially difficult if you are a new director who has yet to establish an hourly rate for your director invoices—or if you are simply new to freelance work. Your hourly rate, on the other hand, is a required component of any director invoice—and it is critical to ensuring that you are paid on time and in full for services that are often incredibly draining and involved.
There are a number of important factors to consider as you work to establish your hourly rate, each of which is intricately linked to your freelance business operations plan, your unique payment process, and the type of work that you do as a freelance director. Consider the following factors when determining how much your time and services are worth billing your clients:
When researching your competition, keep in mind how much other directors in your area charge for services similar to yours, whether short- or long-form. To avoid undercharging or overcharging your clients, learn as much as you can about job market competition and adjust your hourly rate based on the nature of your freelance directing business and, if applicable, specific specialties. Price yourself in relation to your competition to improve your financial and professional position in the market.
As the first step in determining how much to charge for your directing services, determine your hourly pay rate per day, week, or month. The frequency with which you choose to bill for directing services may differ slightly from that of your competitors. Your hourly rate may also vary depending on whether you specialize in short-form directing (advertising or short films) or long-form directing (documentaries, full-length movies, or features).
Keep your bottom line and return on investment in mind at all times as you work to determine your hourly rate. To arrive at this figure, add together the time and money you spend on directing services, such as traveling to a location and directing a session. When determining your hourly rate, consider the complexity of a given project, as well as director availability and/or demand for a specific location or set.
Consider the effort required to direct a short film versus a feature-length film as you work to establish an hourly rate—the former would most likely take a few weeks to a few months to complete, whereas the latter could take several months or even years. Your hourly rate per service should reflect the complexity of your directing services and directing style, as well as your reputation.
You will need to establish your billable hour for more complex, longer-form projects that require more time to complete, such as directing longer movies or visual packages that incorporate avant-garde or otherwise complex directing techniques. To do this, freelancers can utilize invoicing software with time tracking functionality to establish a billable hour for each directing product or service. If you have a set schedule, charge for directing services by the hour.
Explore our blog for more info on closing deals.