About a month ago, I stumbled across a website called Fiverr (pronounced 5’er). Fiverr is a platform where people offer to perform all kinds of tasks for the tiny fee of five dollars. Need a logo designed? A jingle? Five hundred likes on Facebook? These are all services offered by sellers on Fiverr. And yes, they have editors too. For only $5 you can have your project edited on this platform.
At EditStock, we like Fiverr. We even hired a seller to create an In a World style movie trailer voice-over narration for one of our products, the Mixed Fighting Trailer, which you can listen to below.
You're probably asking yourself, who in their right mind would offer to edit a video for five bucks? However, when we searched the term “video editing” we turned up 557 results! That’s 557 people competing to edit your video for that price. Some of those editors will even provide graphics work, color correction, and sound mixing. But why?
Fiverr offers its sellers two important things: experience, and work lead generation. Similarly, Fiverr’s buyers get a risk-free opportunity to try out a new service which they might not be familiar at all.
I’d like to introduce you to RhinoEdits (AKA Ryan). He is a 19 year old college student at the University of Tennessee. He also sells his editing and graphics design services on Fiverr.
“I’m a sports-minded graphic designer that loves improving my skills and creativity everyday.” Pure and simple. His goal on Fiverr is to earn a little extra money while gaining experience in the craft he loves most.
When I was in college, I earned a little extra money working at Georgia College and State University’s TV station, so I understand where Ryan is coming from. There, I edited dozens of videos (including wedding videos) and, shot university sporting events, campus news, and other events around the community. I cut these videos because they were the projects that were available to me. I was happy for both the extra money and the experience.
Despite the website’s name, sellers can actually earn more than $5 for every service they offer on Fiverr. If a seller gets enough positive feedback from the community, he is raised to level 2 status, which means he is allowed to sell “add ons.” Ryan is a level 2 seller. His add ons include graphics work and sound design.
As Ryan previously explained to me: “When working with videos the price usually goes up because of how time consuming … that is. Depending on the length of the video, I usually get around $15-25 for each gig.”
For some of the more involved projects, Ryan has to charge a little bit more:
“I can’t take 8 hours out of my day to complete a project for 5 bucks. With the Creative Suite package I will make an awesome video that you will absolutely love!”
The Creative Suite package is a higher level of service which includes graphics work. Ryan is asking $40 for that. Fiverr keeps a cool 20% of each service as their finders fee.
New editors often have a difficult time assessing how long projects should take to complete. As a result, they are too quick to offer extra services and their time for free.
I probably edited close to one hundred videos between high school and college. Through each experience, I learned how to gauge the amount of time it would take to complete various tasks and projects. I learned how to determine when a project was done, and how to gauge output times, rendering (in those days we had to do that) and graphics work. Because I knew how long each of those steps took I stopped throwing them in for free. There is no shortcut to gaining this experience. You just need to edit a lot of projects and interact with a lot of customers. Time management skills are essential to an editor’s success.
At one point, Ryan said: “I look at Fiverr as a way to get myself out there and showcase my skills. It’s a way to gain exposure and work with a variety of clients to gain relationships.”
When a person is an unpaid intern, he or she is often perceived as not having marketable skills. However, when a person is paid for their services, even if it’s only $5, professional expectations are established. The client will judge a Fiverr provider’s work no differently than they would any other vendor, which gives Fiverr providers an opportunity to hone their expertise, while also being paid for their work. At the same time, clients bear little financial risk, which broadens their ability to test out new services. For example, EditStock purchased the voiceover for the trailer because we wanted to try out this new service. Because it was $5 there was almost no risk of failure.
Ryan provides his services to many different types of clients, which allows him broad access to a variety of creative market segments. He explained to me:
“I get a wide variety of both companies looking for someone to edit a video or give them a new design for their webpage and also home videos that need retouching… “I’ve also been hired on projects to complete music videos, (sports) highlight tapes, web banners, logo design, commercials, ads, etc.”
Ryan also enjoys the unique way in which Fiverr allows him to nurture his creative impulses. He told me: “many times people will just send me a photo or video and ask me to put a creative touch on it. These are my favorite types of projects. I have room for my creativity to play a role in the finished product, and the results are usually very pleasing to the customer!”
At EditStock we put Ryan to the test and hired him to cut a scene from our edit shop. We give him three clips and five business days. Here’s what he made!
You know what? It’s not bad. Does it satisfy Walter Murch’s rule of 6? I don’t know, but it certainly was worth our rule of 5 … dollars.
When we compare Ryan’s approach to getting his career started with that of other more traditional avenues like internships, we can see that Fiverr has some real benefits.
At EditStock, we remind people that professional editors cut 60-300 minutes of footage per day. A lot of an editor’s skills are attributable to the experience they’ve gained from a consistent workload and years of practice. Fiverr offers Ryan valuable real world experience that will effectively prepare him for a career in the editing field. In addition, Ryan’s experiences on Fiverr have provided inspiration and clarity to him about his future career goals. He told me:
“I want to pursue a career… in graphic design and sports editing. Sports are my life, and when I combine my love for sports and skills in design and editing, it pretty much led me to my goal of having a career in that area.”
Misha Tenenbaum is an Assistant Editor living in Los Angeles, California. His recent work includes JOBS, American Horror Story, and Chris Carter's THE AFTER. He is the founder of EditStock.com, a place for people to download professionally shot film footage to practice editing with.