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March 23, 2009 at 1:49 PM #43008AnonymousInactive
How did you get your business started? Did you have formal training or did youaccumulate enough experience to give it a go? I want to start a videography business that would record weddings, special events, possibly local sports, etc… My biggest fear is not appearing credible enough. I’ve looked for local classes on videography, but it seems pretty scarce around here, so I’ve been trying to practice and learn all that I can in the meantime. What does it take to get a business license (I know this varies from state to state)? How did you KNOW when you were ready to make the leap into starting your own business?
Thanks for any info!
March 23, 2009 at 4:47 PM #180134composite1Member
You are starting from ‘negative square one’. If you are not already an experienced shooter, I’d hold off on the business for a bit. Starting any business is not for the faint hearted. In fact, it’s like jumping into a shark tank. The better you can ‘swim and fight underwater’ the better your chances of survival. Not having any training or experience shooting video falls under the ‘not swimming’ part. Not knowing how to start / sustain a biz falls under the ‘can’t fight underwater’ part.
All that said, if you’re still game to go down this path first thing is to get training. You’re options are from best to worst: apprentice with an established videographer, pay for training (i.e. production seminars, tradeschool, college) or go it on your own. Apprenticing shouldn’t cost any more than your time and effort (you might possibly get paid to do it.) Paying for training is actually a good option though the bad news is you have to do a lot of research to get the best value for your money and how much time you’ll have to spend. Going it on your own is an awful option (though it has been done) and it too will be expensive in both time, money and effort (trial and error is expensive!)
Once you get training, you’ll need experience and that will come from either attaching yourself to an experienced videographer or getting a gig with an outfit that shoots video commercially. When you’ve got some shoots under your belt and you’ve built a reasonable showreel, then you can start turning your eye towards freelancing and eventually starting your own biz. What happens next is another heap of info that you are obviously not ready for yet.
March 23, 2009 at 5:38 PM #180135AspyriderParticipant
I agree, partner with a shooter in your area and offer to be a cameraman or help. Get some experience under your belt, then go for it. 😉
March 23, 2009 at 6:17 PM #180136Jennifer O’RourkeInactive
I got my start volunteering to man the cameras during the live pledge drives for the local PBS station in my hometown. If you have no experience shooting at all, doing volunteer work here allows you to learn basic shooting, lighting and miking techniques from professional television directors. From there, you can take that training to other areas of video production work. Some PBS stations also have a budget to make documentaries on local landmarks and historical events. Most of the work might be volunteer, but the experience is well-worth the time.
Also your local cable company might have an access channel that you can do some work for. You can check out equipment or work on shows already in progress. Again, i f you’ve never done any shooting at all, either of these two arenas can get you started with learning the basic techniques you’d need before you start trying to take money for work you might now be able to deliver.
If you have a junior college in your area, look into what they offer. Many junior colleges actually have better production facilities and more informed instructors than traditional 4-year colleges. Why? State budgets supply the tools, and the instructors are usually farmed from real working environments. Colleges of “higher learnings” often require the instructors to have many years of higher education, so that the instructors might have been career students for years, and then stepped from being in a class one semester to teaching a class the next, but have never had any real-world experience. I got my degree in video production at a 4-year college and many of my instructors never had a day in the field. In fact, I was one of those rare students who was already working in the video business and was often called upon to assist the teachers with learning the newer technological purchases the school made from time to time.
After you have some learning under your belt, then be sure you are aware of the feast-or-famine lifestyle of a video producer. A $2,000 bid for a a gig this month might not pay off for 6 months, and the next gig might render $300 or less. Money management is just as important as media management when you are a video producer.
March 24, 2009 at 10:25 AM #180137
Your approach to starting a “business” as an independent professional video services provider has a LOT to do with your needs and expectations. Do you HAVE to, or NEED to make a living from this? Do you have funding, or access to financial resources that will ensure you continue conducting business for 3 years or longer without making a profit? Do You have a lifestyle that will allow you to “study” or work as an apprentice, or simply do a boatload of public access work for an area public access station – live at home, supported by someone else, filthy rich 🙂
The answer to those questions is the one that will affirm a decision to enter video production as a business, if not a hobby.
While Aspy, Comp and VideoChick are all fundamentally correct, it doesn’t HAVE to be as bleak, as time consuming, or challenging or daunting, or detrimental to your health as some might paint it – current economic conditions or no. While specific training, education, a background, or long-time hobby approach, or simply watching a LOT of movies, purchasing “how to” special interest videos, reading and putting all you learn to practice, and such can certainly get you the understanding, techniques, know-how and general umpah to get started, and find success, whatever means of interpretation you use to believe you ARE a success – ALL the above are not totally necessary ALL or in part.
Drive, ambition, high work ethics, honesty (with yourself AND with your clients – “no, I have NEVER owned, used, shot with or edited a finished video product in my entire life, but I am…”
…fill in the blank) and a genuine effort to learn and apply yourself to developing skills will help a LOT, making it not completely necessary to learn first, invest a huge amount of time earning nothing more than practical knowledge and skill sets, both in the creative process AS WELL AS the marketing and business operations of, well, starting a business. Sadly enough, formal education does not always prepare you for the realities of this business in the real world. Hands on, and even sink-or-swim approaches have generated success stories, what is it called – attending the school of hard knocks. Yes, it CAN be painful, frustrating and a washout, but not if you apply yourself.
Are there easier ways? Maybe, but probably not. Virtually any approach can lead to success – mentally, personally, if not financially. Every approach requires a serious investment of time, patience and perseverance and often humility.
It is my humble opinion that if a person wants to pursue this, or just about ANY service/creative/artistic business he/she can, and can succeed, and SHOULD if this is something that person feels very strongly about, or is tenacious about making it happen.
Develop skills any and every way you can, but start your business when you feel you have enough knowledge to do more than simply fall flat on your face. Figure out what you LIKE or LOVE to do – events, birthdays, entertainment video, documentaries, sports (youth, adult, amateur or pro) or whatever, and focus on THAT area first and foremost. Grow as you go, charge more as you become more proficient, more creative, more whatever, and shoot some family and friend stuff for the practice – see what you and your camera are capable of, and challenge both to go beyond expectations.
Beyond all the above cheerleading, keep this in mind: So long as you try and apply yourself – if you market (and develop a quality product and/or service) you will make it. Good luck to you, and go for it if you have the gumption and ambition.
March 24, 2009 at 11:19 AM #180138AnonymousInactive
Ouch. Anyway, I suppose my post was misleading. What I meant to say was…I eventually would like to start a videography business. I know these endeavors do not happen overnight. I’ve been reading the posts on here and have heard wildly varying suggestions regarding what it takes to get started in videography. Some seem to feel like if you practice hard and long enough at it, that you can develop enough skills to make it, others suggest formal training right from the get-go. My intention for the post was to get a feel for what others who are already established in the business have done to get there start…which road they chose (or was chosen for them).
I have been scouring the web in search of formal training from junior/community colleges and sadly, Iam having trouble finding any classes in video. Everything around my area is technical trades such as welding, auto repair, drafting, etc… Even attending the Videomaker workshops this year will be impossible for me as it is on the west coast (I am from Pennsylvania). I also should have mentioned that my aspirations are more to pursue videography as a side-profession. I am 30 years old and have a stable job as a computer-aided draftsman/engineer. But this is something I’ve always wanted to do. Anyway, I am short on time to respond to this properly, but I just wanted to get my two cents in.
March 24, 2009 at 4:04 PM #180139AnonymousInactive
(Earl) I think we were posting our responses at the same time, I didn’t see yours until now. I sincerely appreciate your feedback. My original intent for this post was to ask others how they were able to “make it”, just to enlighten me as to howothers were able to succeed in this profession. But perhaps I should share more details regarding what I’m looking to do in order to clarify my post. I’d classify my current shooting abilities as “amateur”. But, on the same hand, this isn’t the first time I’ve used a camcorder nor edited footage. I’ve been doing that for years. I feel that I have a good grasp on the technological side of it. I just need help to take the next step in my shooting skills- setting up a shot, lighting, sound, etc…
My main goal is to produce good, entertaining video. I have a good, steady job, so I’m not planning on pursuing this exclusively. I have the funds to invest into the equipment, but I don’t want to jump the gun and upgrade until I feel ready. Even if I only end up with a few events a year, starting out, I want to give it a go. I know plenty of contacts (friends/family) who trust me enough to shoot their special event (wedding, kid’s b-day party, etc…). Of course, the last thing I would want to do is let them down.
I am willing to take classes or workshops in videography, but I am having significant trouble locating schools in my area that offer such a thing. Apprenticing with another videographer might be tough due to my primary job’s work schedule, also there aren’t very many “professional” videographers located within my local area (most are an hour or more away in the city). I’ve never really considered local TV stations, as it wasn’t really the side of videography that I was looking to get into.
I enjoy my primary career, but I wouldn’t say that I have a passion for it like I do for videography. Unfortunately, my parents didn’t have the kind of money to send me to an “artsy” school, I had to be more realistic in my approach and choose a career that would be “steady”. Now I feel that I am at a point in my life where I can start to explore my more creative side.
So, to sum it all up, I’m not looking to single-handedly create a thriving business that will allow me to quit my primary job and retire early in life (even as nice that all sounds). Instead, my expectations are to simply generate video that is at or above a quality that clients in my local community would expect. Even if I only ever monetarily break even through it, I will feel it was worthwhile as long as the video I create is good. I want to produce video that I can be proud of and that others will truly enjoy. I imagine that if it is done right, it can be a very self-rewarding endeavor.
March 24, 2009 at 4:52 PM #180140AnonymousInactive
have you checked out http://www.travelchannel.com/Academy/Academy_Home ? It’s a little more geared toward travel videography but they teach techniques that will be very useful in the wedding and special event videos. Also, I think they have them forming in D.C. and other east coast cities. Plus the people that you meet in that class could turn out to be great contacts that lead to opportunities for you down the line.
March 24, 2009 at 5:53 PM #180141
March 25, 2009 at 8:15 AM #180142composite1Member
Though you may have miswritten your intent, I’m glad you felt a ‘slight sting’ at what I wrote. Earl as always gives quite sage and valid advice with the calming touch of the ‘wizened mentor’ he is added. I tend to come off more like the Drill Instructor who may seem harsh but puts out the info so you ‘don’t get your head blown off.’ I used to train people to do what you want to do but get shot at while doing it. Force of habit.
I presented ‘the bleak side’ to make sure I got your attention not to discourage you. Now that you’ve ‘filled in the blanks’, here’s my assessment of your situation. I feel your pain concerning the lack of ‘production training support’ (to paraphrase) in your area. The area I work in is similar except for my company being the sole producer (nearest comp is 50 miles.) However, you do have some things working in your favor. The fact that you have a steady gig is a major advantage. Since you are working full time your path will be more like Earl’s ‘labor of love’ scenario. Weekends and vacation time will be your best days to pursue further training and shooting experience. Good news is; since you don’t seem to be in love with your day job, that time will give you something to look forward to thus fueling your drive to do it.
Alas, you’ll have to look farther afield for training and networking with working production professionals. Oh and you don’t need an ‘artsy school’ to get good training. Most Universities have servicable to excellent communications departments so if you’re not interested in graduate training (if you already have a degree), you can audit courses as you need them. Another option I mentioned in my first post are training seminars. Seminars usually last from a day to a business week so you may need to use some vacation days to attend. I’ve personally attended Sony Training Institute seminars and they were quite good. Drawback is, you’ll most likely have to travel to a seminar, but you’ll get some excellent training and a certification upon completion to beef up your ‘credibility’. They have courses from basic to advanced video production and an excellent course in writing, producing and directing. Definitely something to look into.
An avenue for hooking up with other production types is the 48 Hour Film Festival. It’s a contest in which teams compete by conceptualizing, writing, producing and editing a short film in 48 hours. It starts up in the summer in cities all over the US and there are dedicated messageboards for teams looking to recruit personnel. It’s an excellent opportunity to meet others interested in filmmaking and work on a production over a weekend. The last time I fielded a team we had crewmembers come far as three states away.
And don’t forget, there are a ton of ‘how to’ content just on this site alone. Fuggeddabout online, DVD’s and books! So there are potential ‘brightspots’ in my ‘bleak’ portrayal. One last thing Earl touched on; take time to figure out what you want to do. Case in point: when I stopped working for a large production house, I knew I wanted to continue working in the business but I didn’t want to do news video. I knew I wanted to make movies, but despite my working in production for years I realized I didn’t really know anything about them other than I liked watching them. While I was between gigs I watched movies and took my high-8 camera out and did my best to emulate what I saw in the films. Eventually, I stopped whining about how limited my camera was and made the relationship between what I saw in the movies and my own experience as a shooter. Add some training seminars and within the following year, I started my own business. A year and a half later, I had a much stronger showreel and won a sponsorship to study film production at a prominent film school. Since then, I’ve been making a living, winning an award here and there and pushing my company to make bigger and better films.
So Joe, you’ve got options despite how ‘bleak’ things may seem. Be advised though, all that stuff about the ‘shark tank’ is for real. Keep that in mind when your dream of starting your own video biz becomes an ‘eventuality.’
March 25, 2009 at 11:59 PM #180143AnonymousInactive
Go for it man I got my degree in Video production IN 2007 and the only jobs I found were at the local news stationS. in these economic times the best thing to do is to start your own business but learn the art of videography and get experience. Now my business is freelance now and I am finishing up my business plan for investors but at the end of the day I am my own boss so I get out what I put into my business and it is not easy but its worth it if you have a true passion for it .
Make a Power Move MAN!!!!
March 28, 2009 at 5:21 PM #180144AnonymousInactive
Okay, haven’t been here on the forums for a while…….your post caught my eye. I am a 62 year old lady and lst started my video experience at my daughter’s wedding 10 years ago. My thoughts were back then “I can do that!”. Ten years later I have a very successful video production company. I learned everything on my own and I have to say most of my training came from my monthly Videomaker magazine. Videomaker answered many questions I had and also gave me the interest to learn more. I started my business working out of my home 7 years ago and over the first two years invested 20K in equipment including 2 HD camcorder. I did weddings, recitals, and many short slideshows to start out with. Since I was unknown almost all of my projects were by word of mouth. I had my equipment paid for within the first two years. I am now doing what I have always wanted working with very successful company doing interview, training videos etc. I can pick my own hours for my editing (Adobe Premiere Pro) and love what I am doing!
March 28, 2009 at 6:09 PM #180145CraftersOfLightParticipant
My 2 cents.
I have found that formal education gives you tools to work with but you need real world experience to learn how to use those tools. There have been many times where I would be stuck if I just worked with the tools instead of “thinking outside the box”. This is because the books and the course instruction cannot cover all variations you are bound to run into.
On the flip side there is no more thorough trainer the real work experience. Seldom are you allowed to pass a project with a 70%. more often than not, it’s an all or nothing adventure. All experience has value. When you fail, look at what broke down. Find out how to work it out and try again. The world is full of examples of fantastic talent that never went through formal training. Their strongest gift was perseverance.
Develop a support system whereby you have friends review/critique your current works. Listen to what they have to say. Use their input to make your works better. You may find them becoming your first customers. They will pass you on to their friends who may be looking for services that you provide. And soon you are on your way to where you want to be.
One (of many) quote I live by is “Live is a journey. Not a destination.” I look at the paths I take and enjoy the scenery along the way instead of asking “Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?”
I mean let’s face it. What are you going to do once journey is done?
April 2, 2009 at 3:37 PM #180146AnonymousInactive
I would be interested in hearing more from Linda Lou regarding her journey to get to where she is today. Whilst everyone else seems to be emphasizing the need for more education, either formal or as an apprentice somewhere, Linda just went ahead and did it. This ain’t brain surgery.
Now that I have insulted all the pros here (not my intent and I do apologize), I think we sometimes spend too much time concerned with the formalities then with the realities. There seems to be hundreds of variables associated with this type of business, something for everyone. For example, I wouldn’t get too excited about shooting someone’s wedding but I would interested in putting together a montage after the fact using tapes from everyone who was there with a camera, all the amateurs as it were. Whether or not this would be a viable income option is yet to be determined and I state it only as one possibility.
It seems there may be more variables then there is time to accomplish them all but there seems to be enough for anyone to make money in this business if they want to and do it in a way that fits their own personality. You just have to do it. There are plenty of experienced people on this forum willing to share advice and ideas which in itself is very valuable for the newbies and others looking for additional income streams.
In addition to Linda Lou, I would be interested in reading about how the rest of you got started in this business, what would you do differently if you were just starting out now (based on your experience to date), where you would like to go in the future, how you spend your average week, etc.
BTW, thank you Earl for your blog, you are a font of great information.
April 3, 2009 at 2:50 AM #180147
You are welcome, n90 (lordy, I prefer real, live, actual names – so much easier, and feels so much more normal & personal…) Anyway…
Dunno what Linda’s response will be, if any, but here’s mine, as short and sweet as I can make it.
First, I had some advantages: Photography classes in high school and college, 30-year career journalist, photo-journalist, and with the advent of consumer/prosumer video systems some “stringer” work for area television stations. Born with some degree of artistic aptitude, raised in a family supported by a “super salesperson” dad and mom, totally extrovert and socially inclined, insatiably curious, avid and prolific reader, etc. etc.
But, my primary responsibility during the journalistic/publication career phase was news writing, though I dabbled in graphics, layout and design, typography, took typing and learned to touch-type using QUERTY approach, dark room technician. I have also spent time as an ad sales/design person, editor, managing city editor, assistant publisher, publisher and owner/publisher of newspapers, creative writer and more – all these prior to actively pursuing a full-time independent video services provider business. At 60, like Linda, I’ve got the years and experience and generally supportive background over a LOT of you young whippersnappers here 🙂
That being said…
I developed an interest in capturing stories, interviews, breaking news and other events via videotape more than 20 years ago.
My first camcorder was a VHS model made by Magnavox (I think owned by Panasonic/Matsushita at the time?) purchased at Montgomery Ward.
A future associate was then volunteer director for an area hospital where I had already developed a decent business relationship, producing, publishing and distributing in house and direct mail newsletters for the hospital, for the physicians group, and for a state-wide hospital volunteer organization. I got all this by first offering my writing and publishing skills to the area hospital to produce, publish and deliver a gratis volunteer newsletter, as a way of being a contributor to the community and volunteering as well. With my overall background, parlaying my interests and skills into an additional money-generating business model was not difficult.
But, while I was and am comfortable as a writer/publisher/photographer, my interests began to expand to video production. I KNEW I could do it! So, when the need for a volunteer orientation video came up at the hospital where I volunteered, I offered to do it for $1K. I had the contacts and creds so I was given the chance, thus purchased that gawdawful VHS camera, a couple of lights, microphone system and a invested into what is REALLY archaic by today’s technological standards, a Videonics stack-box editing system that used data on VHS tape – not even floppies, large (think the 5″ or whatever seriously floppy, or the smaller 3″ or whatever disks in plastic enclosures) and WHAT were CDs? DVDs? MiniDV? even S-Video or S-VHS????
The production worked out and led to other productions and gigs – weddings, birthday parties, physician retirement parties and roasts, holiday celebrations – most of this connected in some way with the hospital where I volunteered. Things change though, don’t they…
…enter managed health care and other cost-cutting elements of many of the area hospitals, tightening of some of the Medicare/Medicaid billing practices and requirements, and the newsletters dropped off in cost-cutting efforts, hospitals were sold out, transferred ownership, ceased to exist, etc. I was still employeed full-time as a news editor and photo journalist for a local community publication. The pay was good, considering, benefits were awesome and the retirement plan was not threatened by poor, starving, filthy-rich CEOs, COOs and other overrated egos.
Meanwhile I had developed really NICE, high quality business cards, did a LOT of shameless self-promotion of my video services – anyone I could trip, tie up, lock in a room, sit at the dining table of and MAKE listen to what I do for a second career. Weddings were a natural first step, so by 1990 I averaged quite a few of those annually, I also continued marketing via direct mail, web as it manifested itself as a marketing tool, phone calls, listings, participation in other web-based service providers such as PartyPop dot com, etc. Always having been comfortable with “shameless self-promotion” and marketing in general – guerrilla or otherwise – I have always maintained the mantra and copyrighted slogan “If you market, you will make it!” That has, does and will always hold true.
At some point, following new cameras (many times, seeking something that would acquire better quality imaging, especially in the era of B-roll linear editing and copies, of copies, of copies of footage that took major quality hits with each reproduction (we’re still before digital, folks), new editing systems, purchase of a NewTek Toaster and later Toaster/flyer 4000 system that never really worked right because it was never realy set up right by the person from whom I purchased it, scads of control systems and editing possibilities in between, I realized I needed to at least have SOME idea of what the term “broadcast quality” production was all about.
Instead of formal schooling, working with an established pro or any of the MANY other ways to get into “things” I opted instead for joining the local community access cable television program, qualifying after taking their relatively simple, but informative, training session and put in a few years working with the various programs – even developing a few of my own – on a volunteer basis.
Meanwhile, I continued with the shameless self promotionj ANYWAY I could, including attendance of work fairs, bridal fairs and other opportunity-generating focus areas. I joined WEVA, attended several of their events, also Videomaker and its west coast event that was then held in Burbank and perhaps still is. Essentially, other than my background and my “training” stint with the area community access program, I am self-taught and self-trained. So, you could say I simply decided to sink or swim.
I put in a LOT of years doing full-time video production work on a part-time basis, holding down my day job and giving away 40 hours a week for a steady paycheck. All this time I averaged with one gig per week the amount of “take-home” pay generated from my day job. Ten years ago my associate quit her job with the hospital and went full-time, marketing, editing, shooting and whathaveyou. Eight years ago I pulled the plug and did the same. There have been lean and mean times, there have been some wonderfully successful times and there have been times when I wanted to crawl under the porch and die.
But, there have also been a host of rewarding experiences, big money, etc.
My focus, and another copyright mantra/slogan is: “Somebody somewhere celebrates something EVERY DAY!” referring, of course, to the need for video in their celebrations. I also moved toward focusing hard on the vastly underserved funeral and memorial, and memorial montage, market. Today, that market alone comprises 30 percent of our gross production income. I prefer EVENTS over weddings, and have never failed to obtain business with the series of direct mail pieces and personal marketing efforts to youth and youth sports and school groups, martial arts and dance schools and groups, community events, private events as well as special interest video development, music instructional productions, and a host of small business video production opportunities. Many of these have originated from either a volunteer approach, guerrilla marketing approach, public events and the host of contacts acquired over the years.
With self-taught/acquired skills, some reasonable quality tools, knowledge of the basics and a whole lot of gumption, formal education and/or apprenticeship can be bypassed, sink or swim, dive in head first, or, as I have said, and others here even, “just do it!”
This is my story, and I’m sticking to it.
April 3, 2009 at 3:11 AM #180148CraftersOfLightParticipant
What a story EarlC
A wonderful example of “The world is full of examples of fantastic talent that never went through formal training. Their strongest gift was perseverance.”
April 3, 2009 at 3:24 PM #180149AnonymousInactive
Earl, what’s the long version?
You and I have a LOT of common history. Kinda spooky in a way. My weakness is in the self promotion side of things. I know what steps to take (on paper) and can do most of it without hesitation but a sales rejection turns me into a whiney little girl to the point where I want to fold up the tent and go get a job bagging groceries. I prefer to remain in the background rather than be in the forefront. I’m a great administrator but a lousy salesman.
However there is hope and this forum is looking more and more like a great place to exchange ideas, learn new things and get inspired. Besides, I am too lazy to stand in a store all day asking if they prefer paper or plastic.
April 5, 2009 at 12:15 AM #180150
Longer version 🙂 is or will be an autobiography, maybe 100,000 words or so, an appearance on Oprah, and a movie deal if I can figure out how to factor in murder, rape, robbery, sex and a bit of governmental or religious alter (haw, haw) cation. Just kidding…
The above was fairly short when you consider it spans some 40+ years.
You have likely by now at least checked out the link above in one of my earlier responses, to my blog where there’s not only marketing concepts and ideas, but also some input on marketing in general, what the brides (if you are wedding centric) want and need to do to find the right one, etc. etc. I hit on a LOT of topics generally focused on starting, finding, getting, doing business and maybe making money. That, my friend, will soon be a HUGE resource guide offered for the world-at-large. Tell you when, when…
April 28, 2009 at 2:01 AM #180151AnonymousInactive
In my experience, learning the ins and outs of video requires an assault from all sides. University classes, trade publications, freelancing….at least those were my main three sources for information. Finally, when you feel like you have got somewhat of a grasp on things, MAKE A DOCUMENTARY! Pick something you’re passionate about, and go for it. When I produced, shot, and edited my first doc, I had no other motivation other than telling a good story and furthuring my video skills. Hopefully, I achieved both.
April 28, 2009 at 5:53 AM #180152DarylParticipant
Wow jstraub78 You have some super advice in here I am glad you asked this question. I guess for me this video bussiness is not a have too situation. I stsrted out as a hobbiest and it has turned into something a lot bigger. Now I work in an interesting feild that is a little more wide open although we do have to play by the same rules. My main job is a missionary but we have now developed our video ministry and now starting in May we will be making our second Christain film in Russian to boot. Everything these people say is true. Practice a lot, work with someone, find some classes to take, and search and read. ON the net you will be suprised how much info is out there on videography. For me practice and experience are where I learn the most, and as you go along you will begin to build and expand, and your bussiness will begin to develop.
April 28, 2009 at 12:31 PM #180153AnonymousInactive
I started 7 years ago making highlight videos for sports teams and high school student athletes to submit to colleges per the request of several parents. I was already videotaping the games, and I was just starting to learn about editing. Thinking back, I always loved making videos, even when I was 12 years old with my grandmother’s silent 8mm camera when you had to send the 3-5 minute film off to be developed and show on the reel to reel projector, I was making movies. That branched off into weddings, tv commercials, memorial videos, pre-wedding video slide shows, anniversaries, birthdays, graduation videos, corporate training videos, insurance videos, legal video edits for attorneys, etc. Video conversion just came along as people wanted their old videos in various formats transferred to dvd. I still have yet to advertise as I have a full time job, but now I get referrals from all over the state. Student athletes contacting me from nearly every region of the state, all based on word of mouth. Potential customers would contact me asking if I could do certain things for them, and it has slowly built up over time. I converted an unfinished bathroom in my house into a home office and it has worked out great. To me you have to have a place away from everyone if you do this at home to work on your projects.
I agree with what everyone has said, practice, practice and then practice some more. I learn something new nearly everytime I work on a project. I absolutely love doing it, and have debated the past few years that maybe I should advertise and see how much more business I could pick up. My fear is that with the amount of business I am doing without advertising, that I could not handle all of the work unless I did it full time, and I have a great day job and am afraid to ‘bite the bullet’ so to speak.
I have been fortunate that I have been able to build my business slowly over time. I have to make sure I have enough set aside to pay my taxes every year as each year I am showing more and more profit, butusing a portion of it (pay as you go) to investin new equipment, new software, etc. I have been fortunate that I have not had to borrow one dime to expand. Whether I do start to advertise or not, I will continue to do this as I love it and believe I am providing a valuable service to my customers. Being a semi-professional musician in my younger days, I love being creative and videography and editing allow me to do that.
April 28, 2009 at 2:40 PM #180154aaron26Participant
I went to Full Sail, got my Associates in Video Production. I learned a lot of stuff and got some experience, some networking. Then I worked at a news station, hated that. I then got a full time job at a production company outside of Detroit, and really enjoyed it. I learned a lot of do’s and dont’s in the field for the next three years.
My fiance and I started a wedding business because we saw the declining amount of work in my fulltime job. When I got laid off it was a smooth(as possible) transition into doing video work full time.
This summer we have over 20 weddings booked, and I continue to do other small jobs (plays, recitials, web video for businesses). We hope by next summer she can work full time with our business, as I have.
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