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March 21, 2010 at 1:28 PM #43202AnonymousInactive
Professionalshave a huge force behindthem with video becoming such an important part of businesses’ advertising strategies; however, opportunities galore will be missed if the need for a professionally made videois not well promoted. Virtually everyone can produce a video; however, only a few amateurs will produce a video thatpromotes their business as good as they really want.
It is easy to show the difference in professional quality.This quality, coupled with pointing out all of the websites that now hosts business videos and how businesses need to have their videos there can help you make a lot more profit.
Businesses want a great video and besides the few exceptions,a true professional is needed.
Buildup yourportfolio showing your customers and prospects the difference in quality and all of thewebsites they need to advertise their videos to help them make more profit too.
All The Best!
March 21, 2010 at 4:31 PM #181028
Your post is certainly on target. In any/every facet of video related business it is important that all who participate make the effort to promote “the difference” to their markets. I am not by any use of the definition a dedicated wedding video producer, but the bridal market is one area that stands out as needing an industry-based push for the argument of value in professional quality over amateur.
The uninitiated only assume there’s no difference and talk doesn’t cut it, nor arguments based on poor quality productions. The good stuff, the professional stuff will speak for itself, but it has to be put in front of the market.
March 21, 2010 at 7:14 PM #181029
This is why I don’t consider myself a salesman. I’m not. I’ll send a link to my reel when requested but that’s what that reel is for. I have not gone to a sales meeting in years. If a company doesn’t understand how and why they need video, my two cents can’t help them. The ones that do know just need to know how much I can do it for. I can do that via email. Should a client wanna haggle my rate, I simply refer em to lower end vendors, knowing that will only double my rate the next time they call.
March 21, 2010 at 10:52 PM #181030
Still, something to be said for independent professionals in the video community working in cooperation to develop a stronger marketing push. A video version of “Got Milk?”
Then, there are those who are primarily focused on their own survival in the business and not particularly interested in pushing the industry, even though the theory might be that what’s good for the industry would also be good for them.
March 21, 2010 at 11:54 PM #181031
“… There are those who are primarily focused on their own survival in the
business and not particularly interested in pushing the industry….”
Diplomatic as always Earl.
I don’t haggle with my client’s either. I have packages and know how to get them what will best suit them for their budget so those who want to haggle can do so elsewhere. Though there is a fine balance between being a ‘salesman’ and an ‘artist’, the tough thing is positioning yourself so that clients can find you. Yes, a reel is a powerful tool, but your reel isn’t your brand… you are.
Going to sales meetings are a pain particularly when clients are ‘shopping’ for the best deal. More often than not, they are happy with someone who will ‘do it for less’ despite there being obvious differences in quality. But often those meetings help flush out the ‘time wasters’, those Grinner mentioned that know what they need and those clients who come onboard because you educated them as to their needs.
The biggest problem right now is many companies do want video, but can’t really benefit from television advertising (expense and small markets) or can’t fathom how to benefit from online exposure. My job as I see it is to show them the potential benefits and then they pay me to make it happen.
Concerning ‘pushing the industry’ goes, at the minimum by giving my clients an upfront and pleasurable production experience even if they choose to go somewhere else next time, they’ll know what to expect and what the standards should be.
The main thing to remember on our end is video is a luxury item in the minds of business. Yeah, it’s great when the clients who want a ‘Mercedes’ and can afford it come in through the door. But until you’re rep and reel can regularly pull them in, most client’s are looking for a ‘sports car’ with a ‘bicycle’ budget! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been on sales calls to businesses that had the resources blanch whiter than desert bones when you show them how much this stuff costs when done professionally at reasonable rates.
March 22, 2010 at 1:45 AM #181032
Yup! Nothing about “haggling” in my posts. Only about promoting the industry helps us all.
Like you said: “…your reel isn’t your brand… you are.” And, “…or can’t fathom how to benefit from online exposure. My job as I see it is to show them the potential benefits and then they pay me to make it happen.“
AND, “Concerning ‘pushing the industry’ goes, at the minimum by giving my clients an upfront and pleasurable production experience even if they choose to go somewhere else next time, they’ll know what to expect and what the standards should be.”
By observing THOSE THINGS you ARE representing the industry in a proper light. By participating here with your insights and responses, sample videos and bits (intended usage of “bits” not bites, or perhaps could be bytes…) of reflection, you ARE educating not only those trying to master this industry, but also those, who like the guy awhile back who wanted to figure out how to D.I.Y. because he thought an industry stalwart was putting the screws to his sports group, do not understand the factors behind the costs of providing professional video production services.
Presentation of such professionalism, knowledge and comprehension of THINGS from both sides of the professional/consumer fence, fairly expressed is what continues to propagate the “education” process to the uninitiated.
I think that was the substance of the opening post here, and what the genesis of thought will perpetuate – “educating” newbies, amateurs, misguided “professionals” and those among us who would be consumers of our services and products.
March 22, 2010 at 3:12 AM #181033
“Presentation of such professionalism, knowledge and comprehension of
THINGS from both sides of the professional/consumer fence, fairly
expressed is what continues to propagate the “education” process to the
Though I worked in the corporate and educational environments first, I didn’t really become a professional until my tours in the Service. Whatever it takes to make the jump from amateur to pro in my my eyes is worth the transition. In this biz at the pro level, “You’re only good as your latest project” is on point.
Turning out an unprofessional looking product is and should be a terrible prospect to anyone who would consider themselves a pro. Granted, ‘the work speaks for itself’ but you also have to ‘walk the walk’ too! It amazes me how those of us in the business lack the basics in customer service and how to conduct one’s self in a businesslike manner.
I’ve had potential clients who had me wanting to stick a ‘spork’ in their eye with their outlandishness to try and cover the fact they had no clue and figured intimidating me would get them a better deal. Needless to say, not only did such client’s not get a deal, they never once got the impression that their ridiculous tactics had no effect. On the other hand, I generally will go out of my way for my regular clients when possible and they know it. Anyone who has ever worked for me knows it too.
The cool thing about this business is you can make a fine living at it without ripping anyone off. Though it can be seriously hard work at times (18 hour days as an Exec prod/Director/DP on a feature for weeks or months) but even on jobs that I sometimes ask ‘why the hell did I take this gig?’ I still have to laugh because somebody is paying me to do it!
One of the things that attracted me to VM’s forums is the fact that there are a good number of pro’s and semi-pro’s who no matter what their angle do their best to point the ammy’s and intermediates in the right direction. Some of us are irritatingly harsh or nurturing, but rarely have I ever seen anyone just dump a load of fecal matter and expect anyone to buy off on it.
Our business is a strange and relatively thankless one. Everyone lauds the actor, the athlete, the politician and so on but takes no time to recognize those people would be nothing without us. One thing that I do think has helped some is the constant stream of ‘making of videos’ that accompany movies and such. Audiences do get a behind the scenes look, but still they aren’t concerned with the people who actually make the movies, television shows and sporting events they love.
I guess it’s kind of like that old ‘BASF’ commercial; “Not only do we make the things you watch, we make the things you watch better!” Prob is; all that ‘making better’ costs money and our worst detractor unfortunately is YouTube. Because anyone with a camera can ‘make a movie’ and have it seen there, the ‘Democratizing’ of the video industry is a great thing and a PIA!
Now everyone not seriously involved in the business of making videos has the impression that all it takes is a little happy cam like their ‘Uncle Bob’ uses for family outings to make a great product. Forget the fact that ‘Uncle Bob’ can’t shoot his way out of a wet paper bag, let alone properly light, gather clean audio or God forbid actually edit his footage with anything beyond iMovie or Movie Maker!
Being a professional videographer or filmmaker is not much different than being a professional mercenary. The last thing a client wants when the ‘fhit hits the san’ on their project is some yahoo who doesn’t know the tools, the craft or the business of bringing in a project on time and on budget. That’s why when I meet ‘time-wasters’ on sales calls, I wish them well in their quest for ‘cheap’ videos. This isn’t Wal-mart. Though you shouldn’t have to turn over your first-born, you’re going to have to pay for Production Services. And only professionals can provide them.
March 22, 2010 at 3:32 AM #181034
I’m a one man band though. If not billing, well, I aint payin’ bills. It’s not my job to sell my services. It’s my job to provide them to those who want them. I do get the notion of only being as good as your latest project. It’s romantic to look at it as an artist. While I’d love to create a masterpiece that out does the last one everytime I go to work, the reality is sometimes my client just needs 4 hours of turd-polishing. If I don’t do that, again, I don’t pay the bills.
I have no desire to represent the industry. What industry? There are too many industries in video for me to take time to represent one in any way. I represent my company. That’s usually just responding with yes when new clients ask if I can do this and that by Friday. Never will you hear me try to explain to any person, network, or company why they need video services. I’d rather begin with “when is it due and what’s the budget?” Backing up further than that takes bread off of my family’s table. I’m not saying I won’t wear one of you guys’ “Got Video?” t-shirts. I just aint gonna buy one.
March 22, 2010 at 6:14 AM #181035
“While I’d love to create a masterpiece that out does the last one
everytime I go to work, the reality is sometimes my client just needs 4
hours of turd-polishing.”
I’ve done my share of ‘turd polishing’ and ‘turning sow’s ears into silk purses’ too! But that’s what I got from that saying about only being good as your last project. Only a pro can look at a project oozing with poop and pig ears and then look at a client with a serious face and say, “Yeah, I can fix that. But it’s going to cost you.” Then go out and do it.
I’m on the opposite end as many of my clients initially are still at the ‘but I thought movies were made in Hollywood’ stage. It’s great to get client’s who are already on the ball with this stuff, but they are rare. I’m constantly having to ‘educate’ my client’s initially as to what’s up. As for wearing a ‘Got Video’ shirt, I’ll wear it if it’s swag or I get to design it!
March 22, 2010 at 5:18 PM #181036
I disagree that clients on the ball are rare. Most who shop video services have utilized them for years. This means they are use to paying 5 figures for a video that can now cost much less. It’s actually reverse of the trying to justify a rate thing. Often, it’s ensuring them I can make a better quality video for them at a fraction of what they paid last time down the road. That’s what my demos are for. I’d rather send a link or two and get back to work than try to explain to someone how qualified I am.
I think we get to a level where time is more valuable than anything. While in my twilight years, I do still have to provide for a rather large family. This tends to set priorities for a brother. I don’t advertise in the phone book because the phone ringing interupts work in progress. I don’t justify my rates because they were justified when I set em. I don’t sell anything. I simply make videos better than anyone in my market can for the budget allowed. Do that, and you’ll always grow. You’ll simply never have a more effective sales force than a band of impressed clients.
March 22, 2010 at 8:43 PM #181037
Not everyone has created, nor been blessed or born with, a wonderful corral of returning clients who go out of their way to generate referral for the video producer whom they love and adore.
Many in the business, whatever facet of it they pursue, have to slough through the ranks, building clientele, generating referrals, producing sample reels – and rightly so.
However, even for those who have been in the business long enough to acquire some or all the components necessary to run a business that has NO dependence on advertising, marketing, social interaction or promotion, much less a need for “educating” the client-community-at-large, the vast lot recognize a need to continue branding efforts – getting their names and services “out there” to offset client latency or outright withdrawal, if nothing else.
Businesses that market often find ways to stay in business in good times and bad. I do not for a minute believe that ANY person functioning as an independent video services provider NEVER has long, lean periods of no business, and never finds him/herself beating the bushes to generate gigs.
When we use “education” (a word Composite has included in his responses here), when we let people know we’re available, when we talk it up, walk the walk, socially interact on these boards and others. When we do ANYTHING more than sit in a cave with no phone, no pool and no pets and wait for the raging hordes of clients to kick in our animal skin door, we’re engaging in promotion of the industry, whether we like to think so or not.
Some do it better than others. Others call it something other than, but it all can and does have a positive effect on our industry. And if MORE of us admitted to it, or engaged in it, all would benefit by that action.
March 22, 2010 at 11:55 PM #181038
“… Animal skin doors….”
Man, that’s ‘prehistoric school’ there! Corporate gigs pay the bills around here and let’s me out to make a flick or two that I don’t have to beg money to make so I am familiar with ‘Cadillac Clients’. But Grinner you hit it on the head about having to bring them up to speed as to why I can do it for less than what they paid for or why I can get them more than what they got at the price they paid last time. No matter how much longer my resume’ gets or cooler my reel gets, client’s first and foremost want to know, “How much is this going to cost?” Even ‘Caddies’ want to pay as little as possible if they can.
Though you’re right about some of the rates that get charged, but the more overhead you’ve got the more you have to charge to cover it. I go out of my way to keep it low, but crews and specialty gear cost money. I can work out deals (and often do) to get stuff on discount and sometimes free thereby bringing down the price significantly versus my more entrenched comp, yet even then I still run into folks who can’t do simple math (this guy saved us $20k) and despite the level of quality the get with me still lean towards a more expensive outfit. The way I’ve pulled those clients in was through ‘baby stepping them through’ and showing them for the money they pay a lot less and often get much more.
Sometimes it’s worth doing others it’s not. I’ve gotten really good at sniffing out time wasters and ‘brokeback wallet’ mofo’s. I let those folks go on their way. The immediate market I operate in is small anyway and everyone gets the whole ‘advertising on local TV’ thing, but not how they can benefit from it or on the ‘net. The only means of doing that is to bring them up to speed. I would much rather sit on my ass with that ‘if you build it they will come’ attitude as Earl says, ‘client’s kick in the ‘skin door’. Unfortunately, all of my Caddie’ clients I had to sharpen up the spear and hunt them down.
March 23, 2010 at 1:08 AM #181039
“Not everyone has created, nor been blessed or born with, a wonderful corral of returning clients who go out of their way to generate referral for the video producer whom they love and adore.”
It wouldn’t be called initiative if it came to ya. Because we all know the best sales force is a handfull of happy clients, one has to first get those happy clients. There are many ways to aquire new blood in your studio. That’s the hard part. After that, if you do your job right, they’ll go no place else and send others your way. A handfull of those and you’ll have no need for advertising and no time to train companies on how video can impove their bottom line. I’ll say this. What you focus on is what you attract. By that, I mean if you spend your time and energy attracting low end clients that don’t whole heartedly want your services and will therefor make life tough, you will indeed attract them. Focus that energy on big fish and you’ll get to spend more time creating than explaining what or why. With that comes bigger budgets, more freedom, and fullfillment, assuming the art is what drew ya to the industry.
If ya get a chance, search Clients or Grinders on the COW sometime. It begins where this thread is going.
March 23, 2010 at 2:47 AM #181040AnonymousInactive
Great conversations. Glad to see the passion for the industry.
All The Best!
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