An alphabet of ideas on how to make money with video.
Parents, grandparents or those nice neighbors next door getting ready for an anniversary celebration? Combine their wedding photos and family snapshots with interviews to make an anniversary video to show at the party. A modest fee is certainly appropriate to ask for producing a real family treasure.
Baseball Teams (and other sporting events)
Team sports are a natural for the video entrepreneur. The larger the team, the more parents in the pool of potential buyers. Follow a team that goes 'all the way' and you'll see your sales climb as the participants look for a permanent reminder of that winning season.
In every community there are serious collectors. Convince local enthusiasts to commission a modest video that documents their world-class collections of dolls, plates or whatever. It's much easier to transport and show a VHS tape than a large collection, and a video is an excellent record for insurance purposes.
In large cities, professional videographers make a living videotaping depositions. But legal disputes also take place in smaller communities where the services of a more modestly equipped local videographer might be just as appropriate.
Live in a community with an environmental challenge? Put the problem on video in order to gather community support for a solution. Environmental support groups and local businesses negatively affected by the situation, may be willing to sponsor your efforts.
What better gift for any grandparent than a video that artistically combines interviews with old Super8 family films and snapshots to create a stroll down memory lane. Have family members pool their resources to underwrite a gift that everyone can enjoy watching again and again.
Elementary and High School graduation ceremonies are naturals for videos that can be sold to proud parents and families. But don't stop there. How about trade schools, training academies and technical schools? Wherever people celebrate human accomplishment, a video marking the special occasion can find a ready market.
Every community has buildings and landmarks of historical significance. Dig back into the records and use photos and live video to bring history to life. Possible sponsors: civic groups, town counsels and local businesses.
Anyone who's ever been the victim of a fire or a burglary knows that having an up-to-date inventory of valuable possessions is critical. Video is the perfect solution. Remind your clients to store the tape in a place that will survive any future catastrophe.
Junk Car Restorations
Car enthusiasts spend fortunes customizing their classics or bringing vintage vehicles back to their original condition. A video documenting the metamorphosis from junker to gem, or from heap to hot rod, will be treasured for a lifetime.
Karate and other martial arts classes are full of boys and girls learning self-defense skills. Contact the instructors and make arrangements to videotape big demonstrations and competitions. Offer the resulting videos to the proud parents.
Letters from Home
Know a neighbor, friend or acquaintance with kids away at college, family members in the service or relatives living in another country? A video letter is a real treat. And getting one made is probably worth a few bucks to someone without access to a camcorder, especially during the holiday season.
Memorials and Tributes
What more fitting tribute is there than a lovingly crafted video celebrating a well-lived life? Memorial videos are also valuable for group gatherings, such as high school reunions, as a way of honoring members who have passed on since the previous gatherings. Make contact with mortuaries that offer or would like to offer this service.
Video is a powerful way to explain and inform local residents about issues that affect them. Search for groups that share your point of view and offer your services to produce an advocacy video that can potentially make your local community a better place to live.
Local real estate can be a good market for the budding videographer. One benefit of working with such a high-ticket market is that diverting even a tiny fraction of the sales price into the production of a marketing video can mean a nice payday for you.
Plays, Recitals and Musical Performances
After weddings, these kinds of public events, particularly when they involve kids are probably the most videotaped events in our society. Even if many proud parents are carrying their own camcorders, there's always a market for a better quality video made by a skilled videographer.
Quilting and Crafts Classes
Quilting and other folk arts and crafts such as knitting, spinning and needlepoint have clubs all over the country. Document your local group's best techniques and make them available to others who want to learn the craft.
Recruiters and employment specialists get a vast stream of resumes whenever they post a job notice. A growing number of job seekers are turning to video to break through the paper clutter and catch the eye of the decision-maker.
If you've flown on an airliner recently, you may have noticed that they now use video to convey safety information to passengers. Schools, retirement homes and businesses all need to instruct people for safety. A simple safety video can make you a few bucks and maybe even save a life.
At the top end of the training video pyramid are professionals who produce high-dollar training tapes. But there's still plenty of room out there for video hobbyists to work with smaller firms producing videos that help employees learn a skill or do a better job.
Live near a college or University? Videotape a tour of the campus that can be made available to prospective students and their parents.
Vacation and Travel
Do you enjoy travel? Record your trips to popular, exotic locales and offer them to local travel agents as video brochures. If you establish a reputation for good work, you can even supplement your fees by having your clients underwrite your adventures in exchange for your services.
What? You thought we were going to say Weddings? Come on. How obvious is that?
Xeriscaping is the use of plants with very low-water requirements in exterior landscaping. In desert communities where water use is critical, a video localized to the specific plants that thrive in the area could be a strong seller to garden clubs as well as some local nurseries.
High schools, elementary and middle schools have long produced print yearbooks. Often schools are receptive to bringing this tradition into the modern era. This is particularly sensible if your kids attend the school and you'll be videotaping at most of the important events anyway.
Zoo and Museum Tours
If your community has a local zoo or museum, talk to the organization about creating a video tour that can be distributed to shut-ins. A video tour of the park or museum can also be used for promotional purposes. Shoot the zebras, shoot the elephants, just don't shoot the gnus. Why? Because, as you know, no gnus is good gnus.
There you have it: 26 ideas to help you make money with your camcorder. But don't stop there. With a little creativity you can find countless ways to make marketable videos. While these ideas may not propel you into a higher tax bracket, they can help supplement your hobby while you hone your shooting and editing skills.