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Free your ride!

**Please help** Start-up mountain business needs your views!!

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
So, a dream 10 years in the making, has almost come into being...

I'm planning on starting a business in the Alps this Winter - making movies of all you intrepid riders as you carve fresh morning lines through pristine powder. Creating a movie of those perfect moments and allowing you to relive that dream ride forever more...

But, first, I need your help. If you could spare a few minutes to fill in a real quick survey about what you think of the service I'd appreciate it massively. You'd by my heroes infact.

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/V6YBVL6


Andy - www.freeridercrew.com
(website under development, watch this space!)

Here's a free video as a thank you:
GLUE from Christian Haller
https://vimeo.com/190544188
ski holidays     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Posting in one forum is enough http://snowheads.com/ski-forum/viewtopic.php?p=3077659#3077659
snow report     
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Sorry, got a little over excited (and desperate)...my bad
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Struggling to understand where I'd spend money over travel accom liftpass food (assume inc drinkies)? Kit isn't part is a holiday. Where else would I spend money?
snow conditions     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Was thinking of extra services on top of the holiday cost, so things like off-piste guiding, skidoo rides, massages, visiting spas etc. Does that make sense?
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Is the 400 inclusive of the guide?
ski holidays     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
yes, although not as an official mountain guide - was just making the point that the cameraman will be local to the resort so will know all the best runs in different weather conditions...
ski holidays     
 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Filled out the survey. I personally love the idea as I have an action cam but never use it and hate all of the 1000's of poor head mounted vids on youtube.

As I have said on the survey, 400 feels a bit steep, but if it was a family video then I could stretch to that, but not sure if you are aiming at that market.

If it was me and a group of guys on the mountain, I think id struggle to get them to stump up more than 50-60 each.

Im not saying your product isn't great, I love it, but ultimately if you are aiming at a group of guys or girls, all are going to have to chip in and your going to need to make it cheap enough for them to all agree.
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Hey Paul, really appreciate the message mate and for helping with the survey. I completely see your point, that's valuable feedback that I'll take on board (so to speak Smile). As it's still in inception phase, I guess the market is yet to be defined...I'd envisaged families making up a big proportion of the base, but I'm really keen that nobody is excluded by the price so I'll rethink where to pitch the right level to balance out affordability with crazy resort living costs! Very Happy

Thanks again for your advice,
Andy
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
There's no viable full time business here - a couple of minutes with a calculator is all it takes to realise that - may be as a side line/beer paying hobby but that's all.

Plus this is a problem:
FreeRiderCrew wrote:
yes, although not as an official mountain guide - was just making the point that the cameraman will be local to the resort so will know all the best runs in different weather conditions...


If your clients want some off-piste footage & you're not insisting that your clients also employ a fully qualified guide you're basically putting yourself in to an area of huge potential liability.
snow conditions     
 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
I think you may find it's logistically challenging too, if you're using resort lifts to access the un-tracked.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Fair point, you're entitled to your opinion of course...I guess you have to try these things or you never know for sure right? Smile

Just to be clear - I wasn't suggesting that this should be pitched as an off-piste service; I fully appreciate the importance of mountain safety and would never take such a risk. Was asking in the survey because if this aspect of service is deemed to be important by clients then I can always look at adding on a guide hire option.

Cheers,
Andy
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@FreeRiderCrew, Take yourself off to Arinsal for a week. Join ski school. Some guy on blades will follow each group around for a week and then sell you nicely edited family highlights for a tenner. I'm not sure of the business model but it sounds a fair bit more attractive than 400 quid. Shocked
snow report     
 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Haha Smile I like the suggestion, maybe there's something in that...

Anyway, for sure the price point needs to come down - that's clear feedback at least!
snow report     
 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
FreeRiderCrew wrote:
....I fully appreciate the importance of mountain safety and would never take such a risk......

I've just watched your Glue movie. Loads of off-piste footage with non of the riders carrying avi gear!
snow conditions     
 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Dude, that's not my movie - if it was I wouldn't have to try and set up this kind of venture! Smile I posted as a thank you for people taking the time to complete the survey. I believe it was Monster Energy and Burton who sponsored it in case you want to start up a litigation case...
ski holidays     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
FreeRiderCrew wrote:
Dude, that's not my movie - if it was I wouldn't have to try and set up this kind of venture! Smile ...

My bad.

Don't want to pi$$ on your parade but if you're wanting to start a business this season & you've not yet done any of the basic ground work & produced a properly costed business plan then you need a reality check.
snow report     
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Good luck...you will need it. Hard to make money from making ski movies of any kind...I know someone who is probably in a better position to do so (an instructor) and has some sponsored content online. I don't think he could stop instructing to just do that. I've not done your survey as I just wouldn't use you. Sorry!
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Don't spam multiple forums. Secondly your business is doomed to failure. Anyone who has any interest in filming themselves has a go pro and everyone has an hd movie cam in their pocket.

Nice idea if you have a time machine and can take yourself back to the 80s.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I work for a small company that does ski filming. I seldom go myself, but obviously I see the edits and I talk to the guys. We do charge about 250/day per cameraman, with kit, and we charge about 400 a day for editing. So if you were doing a half day editing for this, your price would be cheaper than ours...

Here's some observations I'd offer you:

- We are a bit established and we get 2-4 weeks work a year. (And they're booked a week at a time. Or more. So, <5 clients).
- Our clients are mostly sponsors, manufacturers or creative clients - not the skiers themselves.
- We mostly work with pro or semi-pro skiers.
- We work with people who are skiing all the time. If we don't get the shots this week, they'll hire us to go back next week or the week after. Getting the shot on the day is not essential.
- It takes us a week of filming to make a half hour ski video.
- Most of the work we get, the trip is being arranged just for filming. So we have a director, we go back and forth and shoot things a few times. Nobody is wanting to 'just get out and ski' (as you'll get with holiday skiers). They all get many many weeks a year anyway. We can be deliberate with everything.

So one thing I would say is... are you sure that what you're proposing is achievable? As I said above - we'll do a full week to get half an hour tops. Probably only 20 minutes. And some that will be drone footage that we got early morning whilst the skiers were still in bed, and some will be gopro footage. So... if we're struggling to get half an hour out of a week's filming in a pro environment, can you get 15 minutes of good footage out of a day spent with amateur skiers and no director?
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@FreeRiderCrew, when I did a season in Paradiski in 2012/3 there was company called Bluebird with a very similar business idea. I saw a couple of their films, and thought they were actually quite good. I can't remember exactly what they charged but I think it was around the 200 mark. The guys running it had other jobs in addition to running the business. I just Googled them and they seem to be no more. One of them I believe now has a successful transfer business... make of that what you will.
snow conditions     
 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@FreeRiderCrew, it's not a new idea. Many have tried and failed. BMW sponsor filmed race course in many resorts with free footage of your run.

I think you need something rather innovative to succeed.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
As said, think it'll be tough as a full time business. But as we don't know your situation it could be viable as a sideline on a season.

I'd get in a resort, find some "crews" who have headed out for the season, offer to head out with them for a heavily discounted price (25 each, group of 4), knock out a few films...if your good word of mouth will get you around the resort.

Seasonairres are low on cash but if you can get a few bar workers, hotel staff they will tell their customers who you can charge a more "premium" fee!
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
Sounds a bit like these guys: http://www.stantonamarlberg.com/en/archiv/events-archive/mountain-media-center-in-st-anton-am-arlberg

I'm as sceptical as everyone else about the viability of this - both in getting enough people willing to pay those prices and the ability to get enough decent footage (of likely poor skiers) in one day to make a half-decent edit - but the above company has been going for at least 3 seasons IIRC so I assume there must be a way to make it work.

--------

As an aside there definitely is money in making ski videos for the big players, but we're talking freelancers (mostly) who are prepared to drop 50k of their own money for the camera/computer kit, not someone with a GoPro, DSLR+tripod and drone.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
Morning guys,

Thanks for all your messages, really appreciate your views and feedback. I fully understand that it's not an innovative business in itself, however I do feel that - given the right operating model - it could be viable. Anyway, I just want to try something out as a proof of concept, if it doesn't work out then I guess that's just the way the snow falls... I can die knowing I tried Smile

Appreciate the challenges with getting enough business to become profitable, however I'm hoping that with a more commoditized level of service (i.e. amateur groups as opposed to seasoned pros) then, if the price point drops to a more accessible level it should be affordable for small groups / families.

On the amount of footage per day, I was actually getting around 10-15mins per day when I edited for my friends last year (of course not claiming it would be anywhere near the standard of you guys as pro filmers!! but it was good quality, good soundtrack and very entertaining). They loved it and I loved doing it so I figured that can't be a bad foundation for a business plan: to do what you love, filming people doing what they love, and to put love into something they can keep as a memento...and have fun doing it!! It's a far cry from my experience of working in the corporate world anyway Smile

Thanks again for your views guys, means a lot to me.

Andy
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
FreeRiderCrew wrote:
It's a far cry from my experience of working in the corporate world anyway Smile



Problem is for all its challenges the corporate world has some major differences - in particular when someone wants something they aren't paying out of their own pocket. If you are asking people to drop their own coin on it then it has to be value for money in the main part - I'm just not sure how the ski hol vid qualifies -people spend a fortune on wedding videos that get watched once and that has more of an air of compulsion about it.

I think you are better targetting a niche, which probably needs to be the price insensitive (think Russians in Courchevel) and then offer a seriously high end product. That means high quality kit and edit and the "movie" experience. If it looks and feels like a ski bum shadowing you for the day people will expect it to priced like a takeout pizza.
snow conditions     
 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I think you could have a business that could work, just that Snowheads aren't really your target market.

What you are looking for are a few people who think that how they look on Facebook and Instagram is worth 400. I can confirm there are plenty of people in that bracket, and quite a few of them can actually afford it on top of the cost of a ski trip if you can make an early intermediate learning to carve look like Warren Smith.

Most Snowheads aren't at all bothered how they look. Most of us don't bother filming anything, because even if we edited it we know that the potential number of interested parties is probably less than 50 people. Those on here that can produce quality videos of skiiers and boarders looking good and charging for it are far too busy getting out and doing it, but as we've seen from someone doing similar professionally the demand isn't that huge.

What you need is to build a network with the increasing number of seriously rich people who have got videos online of them skydiving above some perfectly groomed sandy beach, sitting in a hot tub on the back of a yacht drinking awful champagne, and with more money than sense. Then convince them they want to look like a badass in a ski video where you can somehow edit their very average pootle down a blue run into something epic with a load of music hiding the scraping noise as they sideslip down a slightly icy bit. If you can create some good content then there are these people in ski resorts, but those resorts tend to be expensive places to ski and live, and as a result your operating costs are going to increase quite significantly.

I've seen someone try to do similar with diving, offering a bespoke service including editing and everything to give people a video of their experience that they can share with friends and families, the upper limit on what he could charge for effectively an entire day of work was 100. That meant that he couldn't do it full time, and while it seemed like lots of fun getting paid to go and do it in reality he soon got bored of editing hours and hours of footage down to a reasonable video, and his business disappeared once everybody could buy a Gopro and convince themselves they'll actually do the editing when they get home.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Quote:

I've seen someone try to do similar with diving, offering a bespoke service including editing and everything to give people a video of their experience that they can share with friends and families, the upper limit on what he could charge for effectively an entire day of work was 100.

The trouble with diving is that you have to be seriously good at it to look good.

http://youtube.com/v/0DepKWU6h7s
Even the ITV couldn't get much better than this.

http://youtube.com/v/dK494K3OfOI
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
As an aside to @Digger the dinosaur's point about high end diving trips, there is definitely a market and it could be worth getting in touch with agencies that arrange those sorts of trips.

This is from a company I used to work for, video was made 4 years ago or so when my then boss and a video/photographer tagged along on a Maldives surf trip arranged for a well known 'social entrepreneur' and his friends. I guess they were happy with it as they booked a number of other 6 figure trips in following years... Rather easier to get cool footage on a remote atoll than a crowded piste though!


Surf the Maldives by Seaplane | Gurahali and LUEX.com from LUEX LineUpEXplorers
https://vimeo.com/107168477
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
johnE wrote:
The trouble with diving is that you have to be seriously good at it to look good.

I presumed that diving meant "underwater swimming" not "jumping in".
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
manicpb wrote:

I'd get in a resort, find some "crews" who have headed out for the season, offer to head out with them for a heavily discounted price (25 each, group of 4), knock out a few films...if your good word of mouth will get you around the resort.


I disagree. Work for full price or for free. (When it's free, it's promo).

Why?

If you charge full price, and the client has you running round doing silly things, you can bite your tongue safe in the knowledge you're getting paid right.
If you work for free, on a promo deal, and the client has you running round doing silly things, you can say no, on the basis that you're not being paid so it's your time not theirs.
If you work for cheap... you've gotta deal with the client's crap because you're working on their time, but you're not earning enough to make it worth it.

Easiest way to do that is just insist your day doesn't cost anything. Just say you'll work for free if your day doesn't cost anything... lunch in a mountain restaurant, a few beers after, whatever.
snow conditions     
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Lots of great advice from the snowHeads massive - remember us when you're a big shot ski movie producer! snowHead

Lots of comments about specific models not providing enough business to be sustainable.
So perhaps what you need is not to be looking for 'the model' but defining 'a range of products'.

As alluded to above, 90% of the Teletubby generation has a camera sticking out of the top of their heads these days and who hasn't got an HD cam in their pocket? So, the most common issue now isn't getting the raw footage but someone getting around to trawling through it and making something worth the time spent watching it.
So there's a product in the solution to this: - contract to meet people in the 2nd half of their week, collect all their various footage (stills too) and knock up a 6-8 minute clip (really that's usually enough) before they leave. Potentially work in a half day skiing with them so you can be sure to get a little footage of every person in the group (no-one like to be left out!) and maybe a few stock shots and angles that the punters might not think to get for themselves.

Then there's @Digger the dinosaur's angle on the looking-good-on-insta posse, which could score you a few projects. These have the potential to be better earners but a little harder to get - at least until you have a few decent ones in your portfolio that will prove your talents.

So - open yourself up: don't exclude anything.
Work that's easy to get doesn't pay so well and may not keep things sustainable long-term but it slows down the burn rate compared to doing nothing and every project delivered has the potential to score you another.
The idea is to stay solvent long enough to pick up more of the rarer work, the higher end stuff that would be sustainable... were there enough of it.

And finally - if you're planning to be in France, while you might get away with 'following' people around, any hint of 'leading' by anyone other than a qualified instructor or high mountain guide, is likely to get you yanked off the mountain by the gendarmes before too long.
ski holidays     
 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
To respond in points.

And to begin with... I can already see a flaw in your plan. You're changing your plan as people give you feedback. That means you DON'T (categorically) have a solid business plan. If you had a solid business plan, you'd be getting criticism and you'd be fighting fire with fire. You'd be saying... yes I foresaw this problem, here's my solution. All you're doing here is proving that you don't actually have a solid plan you just have a dream. Dreams and business plans are different. Business plans are about how you're going to make money and dreams are usually about how you're going to spend it.

Anyway:

FreeRiderCrew wrote:

Thanks for all your messages, really appreciate your views and feedback. I fully understand that it's not an innovative business in itself, however I do feel that - given the right operating model - it could be viable. Anyway, I just want to try something out as a proof of concept, if it doesn't work out then I guess that's just the way the snow falls... I can die knowing I tried Smile


So what is the right operating model? Tell us. This is your role as the MD. Don't say it 'could be viable'... if you've done your research, it either is viable or it isn't.

Quote:
Appreciate the challenges with getting enough business to become profitable, however I'm hoping that with a more commoditized level of service (i.e. amateur groups as opposed to seasoned pros) then, if the price point drops to a more accessible level it should be affordable for small groups / families.


The question is though, do amateurs and family holidays want 400 videos? We're talking about skiing some pistes, having some lunch, skiing some pistes. We're not talking about thrashing it through the woods getting covered in snow. How many families and amateur skiers have you spoken to? How many said they would buy your service?

If Snowheads-type people are not your target market, why are you surveying us?

Also... don't adjust your price thinking it'll get you more work. You price is what you think you are worth. It's represents you. If you price yourself cheap, people will think you are cheap. I would rather pay 400 for a pro video than 200 for a cheap video. Do you think Rolex would be what they are if they'd done their research on an internet forum and said "well, er, nobody seems to want to drop ten grand on a watch so we best lower our prices". If you think you're only worth a cheap price, your clients will think that too. In my opinion, the key is to make yourself value for money, not cheap. If you're seriously good, you can charge top rate. If not, focus on being seriously good, rather than focussing on being cheap.

Quote:

On the amount of footage per day, I was actually getting around 10-15mins per day when I edited for my friends last year (of course not claiming it would be anywhere near the standard of you guys as pro filmers!! but it was good quality, good soundtrack and very entertaining). They loved it and I loved doing it so I figured that can't be a bad foundation for a business plan: to do what you love, filming people doing what they love, and to put love into something they can keep as a memento...and have fun doing it!! It's a far cry from my experience of working in the corporate world anyway Smile


Yeah that's all very well, it all sounds like happy families don't it. But there's business and there's fun. If you want fun, get yourself out to resort, cover the costs yourself and have a wicked season. Film people when you get the chance, film some pros for a free lunch to bulk up your portfolio, and if you can make any money back at the same time then it'll be a welcome discount to your season. But if that's basically the plan, don't dress it up as a serious business model because it isn't.
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dp wrote:
I can already see a flaw in your plan. You're changing your plan as people give you feedback. That means you DON'T (categorically) have a solid business plan. If you had a solid business plan, you'd be getting criticism and you'd be fighting fire with fire. You'd be saying... yes I foresaw this problem, here's my solution. All you're doing here is proving that you don't actually have a solid plan you just have a dream. Dreams and business plans are different. Business plans are about how you're going to make money and dreams are usually about how you're going to spend it.
Harsh @dp! The guy's asked for advice and is showing he's listening/responding to it - don't slag him off for that.
Lot's of what you've written above is really informative and useful - many helpful insights - but let's not be down on the guy for doing a bit of research and trying to develop a bit of perspective.

As someone who has spent most of his adult life making a living from a couple of 'life style businesses' I can assure you: "follow the dream, focus on the practicalities" is not un-viable as an outline plan Wink
snow conditions     
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@admin I had a feeling you'd pipe up because of your brilliant advice on opening the studio. Maybe you should share it with this guy? But I think the point remains. When presenting your business plan, you can't just take feedback and immediately say "yes you're right I'll change". You need to go away, re-think, see what the knock-on effects of that are, re-think, then come back with a new, whole, plan.

Chopping and changing depending on what one forum of skiers says, to me demonstrates that you are not firm or confident in your business plan.

I'm sorry if I sounded harsh. I just think that there are two ways to do this right:
1. Approach this as a business venture. See it as a business, that makes more money than it spends. You can run a business in an area you enjoy for sure, but the business has to still be a business. Not a hobby that pays your rent. You can then produce a business plan out of a wide range of feedback from different demographics that is well-rounded and you have complete confidence in; and go forward with a plan that you are well-versed in, confident in, and when people offer criticism, you can respond with facts and figures and actual reasons why or why not.
2. Approach this as something you want to do because you enjoy it (which is fine). See it as something you can do on the side of your hobby and maybe earn a few quid to help fund your hobby.

"I love what I do and it makes people happy too" is great. But it was never the summary of a good solid business plan, was it?
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Well snowHeads seems fairly solid and I love what I do so...
Are you saying I haven't been making U happy? Crying or Very sad


Wink
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
To be fair dealing with dp's challenges will be a diddle compared with a stressed alpha dad going postal over his 400 vid where young Orlando's mad skillz don't seem to have been captured properly.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Laughing Too right @Dave of the Marmottes!
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 You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
dp wrote:
manicpb wrote:

I'd get in a resort, find some "crews" who have headed out for the season, offer to head out with them for a heavily discounted price (25 each, group of 4), knock out a few films...if your good word of mouth will get you around the resort.


I disagree. Work for full price or for free. (When it's free, it's promo).


You make some valid points but still stand by working at a reduced price.

I only work for free for very good mates. Ask any self employed tradesman what he does if work is slow and the answer will 9/10 be the same...do a couple of jobs at a cheap rate, be that build a wall, block pave a drive, retile a roof, and hope the neighbours see what a good job you've done and ask you round for a quote.

Back to the OP, you posted someone else's video...can we see your work? What resort(s) are you planning on working in? There could be some groups on here that would be willing to be your test dummies at the right price!?!
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
So impressed with the thoughtful and detailed replies on here. SnowHeads rocks! Sorry I can't contribute - even taking a snap on my phone taxes my limited photographic capabilities Embarassed Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
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