Economics on Four Wheels
At our core, we are storytellers envious of anyone who is living a "Vanlife" or nomadic lifestyle. We have a dropbox folder dedicated for aspirational adventures, and gravitate toward stories that bring us out of our comfort zone physically and mentally. We’ve built a company that can have teams dispatched in less than 48 hours to cover an un-repeatable breaking story, and are able to maintain flexibility without losing quality on screen when a last minute location change comes up.
We can do this with the tool that we have built - the sprinter van.
We believe in the sprinter model for three reasons.
- It is often more economical for client
- We meet people and discover stories that we would have otherwise flown over
- We scratch the itch of being on the road in a van.
You may be a client or a future collaborator, so lets go into reasons 1 & 2 for this blog post, starting with a case study based on a recent production in Iowa. Below you will find a cost and time comparison of one way travel from Boston --> Iowa. Note: Airfare may be more expensive because time between job confirmation and production was 3 days, and we are assuming flights were available. Want a summary? Scroll down.
Time & Cost Comparison
Alright so the napkin math shows the sprinter being more economical, but a large portion of that is paying accumulated time for a DP to pack / unpack when departing, returning, and over the course of the shoot. That is part of the joy of the sprinter! Everything has a home, is charging while on location or in transit, and is an arms-length away, especially if you're Harvey.
You might be saying to yourself, "OK I can totally get on board with that, but driving to the Midwest is time consuming!"
You would be correct. But on the flip side, flying from Boston --> Burlington, IA would have taken about 10 hours, 4 of which I would estimate to be useful working time. Because the Sprinter is fully powered and is one giant hotspot, clients would never know we're on the road unless we tell them. Plus, our wifi is a hell of a lot more reliable than it is 35,000 feet up!
On average, we are able to save clients about 25% - 50% by taking the sprinter on location with us. Though we spend more time on the road for any given job, we are able to see the country and get B-roll along our travels to incorporate into the story or build our own content library for future projects. We are able to meet people who we wouldn't otherwise connect with and become aware of the ideals and values of people living in the Midwest and West.
Keep in mind we have only compared immediate, foreseeable expenditures in time and money. We haven't accounted for lost luggage, dead batteries, damaged equipment, and time spent dealing with these things. We hope this post has been helpful for you, and if you would like to learn more about the sprinter, or want to do some traveling yourself please email us!