Bidding vfx and post for features and tv shows

Up until now, when freelancing, clients have contacted me with jobs and have done a quick estimate and given them a price. Adjusted if what they delivered was different from what was previously discussed.
Has mainly been for ads and small parts of features or tv shows.

Now I find my self in a position where I am ask to bid on entire features and tv shows (not in the US, so budgets are comparatively tiny).

I am looking for any resources to help me do realistic bids. Any website, blog, book, software recommendations will be greatly appreciated.

All I have now is my common sense and experience. I am NOT a producer and i have very little spreadsheet experience.

I work in features mainly and some TV. We always get given documents by the assistant editor, one with opticals and one with more VFX or online type of shots. A spotting session is highly recommended to divide them all up as some ‘simple’ fixes they flag are far more complex than they realise.

The conform is usually 8 hours, this is a pretty standard time i think, so anything above that needs to be discussed… We then bid all the individual shots for VFX and Online. Round 1 of this usually freaks the PPS and producers out and we try to adjust, omit and find solutions to meet their budget.

Not sure if that was much help much as im in a post house it may be different but you can only hope for a really good edit assistant otherwise things get messy and complicated very quickly.

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Thanks Ben. So the vfx shots you do are mostly unplanned fixes?
I was more looking for resource as how to do bidding and planning for vfx in pre production, but all the things you mention will of course also be necessary on any type of longform project.
You are quite right that a good assistant editor is key to a good handoff from offline to vfx and grade.

Most of the time, for the projects I will be working on, I will need to do a breakdown of the script(although some productions have a breakdown ready to hand out with the scripts) and then I will go through and plan how to solve the shots on set, how many hours it will take to complete and what resources will be needed to complete each shot.

If I were in your shoes I’d hire a bidding producer

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Believe me, I would love to. There are 2 things preventing me from doing that.

  1. I’m in Denmark and here they are hard to find and mostly work for the production companies.
  2. Budget. “Blockbuster” budgets here are hardly considered indie budgets in the US.
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Got it. I see this as a 2 part solution. First, find a bidding producer anywhere in the world. VFX is glorified image manufacturing so hours are hours no matter where you are. Or at least close enough. Or, at least better than bidding blind. Then, you gotta find a local Dane that understands the rates and boom. You know the hours it takes and the local pricing.



Yeah this is a good idea. Would require adding a translator to the budget, as scripts are usually written in Danish, not English. Will think about doing this. Thanks.