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July 23, 2010 at 12:24 AM #44315
First off, this is my first post here on VM but have been browsing for some time now and figured this would be a good time to finally jump in.
So here’s the deal- I’m young, single and eager to have a successful meaningful career. I’ve always had an interest in photography/videography and have always been the guy behind the camera. I bought Pinnacle Studio Ultimate 12 about two years back and have since been making various slideshows and such for family and friends and have received nothing but positive feedback from it. After a lot of “speed bumps” regarding my future in other fields, I’ve reached the conclusion that I am more than capable with competing with the surrounding competition in my area as a videographer.
The underlying issue I have now though is all my work has been done with a sub-par FujiS2000 and a laptop that couldn’t really handle Pinnacle unless I edited in 3 minute segments. If I’m going to enter this field, I want to do it right; I need cameras, software, computers, mics, ect. What would you advise someone considering an attempt to obtain a business loan of roughly 10-15k for startup and equipment? I am aware that in the beginning stages I wouldn’t be working for much profit, but I have full intent to make this a full time job after I get established. Basically, I’m just trying to find out if you guys, that do make a living off videography, think its a wise investment. Also, I’m not located in an area flooded with competition with really only one well known company.
July 23, 2010 at 1:09 AM #185586CraftersOfLightParticipant
In today’s economy, unless you already have anincomethat can handle the monthly payments on that business loan, and plan on maintaining ituntil you businessis able topay for itself plus your income, you are putting an awful lot on your shoulders for just starting out.
I would suggest looking into your local small business development center (look in the blue pages of your phone book, yeah I know, “what’s that?” orgoogle “your state” business development)and see what they have in the way of localclasses or seminars about starting a business. Some are free as they are paid for through grants, taxesand donations, others have small fees to cover materials. Most are held during evenings and weekends. I have attended several in my area and the first ones were real eye openers about the extra costs that you normally do not think about in the way of business taxes and fees. They talk about how-tos on such things asmarket research, business plan, product development, all things the bank will need to seeto help you get that loan.
They also give lists of local resources as well.
A very good read is EarlC’s blog http://www.eccomeecgo.blogspot.com/
He covers a multitude of ideas about business thatare full of food for thought.
I am sure others will add to this as they come across your post.
July 23, 2010 at 1:31 AM #185587EarlCMember
Independent video services and production is a good field, but you’re truly going to have to love it and stick with it through the highs and lows – and there will be highs and lows in every facet from financial, cash flow, bad luck, good luck, long and quiet lean times, hard and heavy feast times…
With experience, and it appears you have a solid beginning, I tend to be optimistic in believing that there’s a HUGE market out there in some aspect of video production business – primarily events, special interest and how to production, not to mention the scads of small businesses looking for ways to establish a presence on the Internet – but who are not video savvy enough to do it themselves and cannot afford the “big house” production costs.
Like Crafters says, if you’re taking out a loan to do this use some serious caution before going into debt to start a business. If, on the other hand, you’ve saved up or have access to family and friends who will give you IOU-based startup cash for little or no interest, pay back when you can, or not, go for it.
It also would be good to follow Crafters’ suggestion to at least familiarize yourself with the basic aspects/concepts of good business practice by blocking out time for reading, researching, studying or taking a course or courses. If you have a day job, don’t quit it just yet. Work evenings, weekends and holidays, and for goodness sake focus on diversification of your services instead of applying all your efforts, talents and skills in wedding video production – that, my friend, is a fairly saturated market with the vast majority of competitors fighting over the 22% wedge of brides who actually want video.
Thanks also to Crafters Of Light for the nod about my blog – lots of information there, including an article about getting into the video business, its costs and possibilities.
If you’re willing, want to and are determined you can start from ground zero and build a business but it will take a LOT of effort, some decent money and a bunch of research. There are people “making it” using basic consumer tools and there are people NOT making it using expensive professional equipment. Knowing how to market your business and doing it religiously (marketing) is absolutely as important as knowing how to use the tools for producing and developing video into a profitable business.
July 23, 2010 at 3:34 AM #185588
Thanks for the input. And as far as EarlC’s blog goes I beat you to that a few days ago ;). Very good btw.
I am well aware of the struggles with shooting strictly weddings and I would by no means cripple myself to only shooting that one type of event. The subject of whatever piece I worked on is pretty much irrelevant, but the reactions from the others around me to what I created solely with my creativity- that is where the joy comes from. For example- my most recent was a very simplistic slide show with your basic pans, zooms, fades and just a few VitaScene transitions and video clips for a friend of mine who’s boyfriend is serving in Iraq and just gave me a few pics of him she found throughout facebook and such. Well, for obvious reasons it was a tear jerker for her and those closest to them, and thats my motivation.
I simply stated weddings because that seems to be the “backbone” of beginning videography but my goal is to shoot everything from weddings, sporting events and music videos to the simple still image slideshows of whatever images my customers would like; vacations, class trips, birthdays.
July 23, 2010 at 3:56 PM #185589composite1Member
Without reiterating the good advice Crafters and Earl gave, I say this from my experience;
Build your gear list piece by piece. It’ll take more time but be patient.
Have some other kind of gig that can support you until your video work does. Some would argue that you should dive right in there, but diving into a darkened hole not knowing if there’s water below or anything for that matter is not smart. Even Harrison Ford was a licensed carpenter before his career blew up.
Look for sponsorships, grants, fellowships that offer training in the field. There are also those who would argue that ‘you should just work in the field’ instead of going to school. Well, tell me which sperm cell becomes a person, the one that did what was necessary to ‘get in there’ or the one that ‘worked on its swimming in the field?’ Schooling is just another way to ‘get in there’ and having someone ‘pay you to do it’ makes it sweeter.
Last and most important, Be patient. You’re going to have a bunch of miscues, missteps and mistakes before your successes. But just like the old Nietche saying, ‘anything that doesn’t kill you should make you stronger’. And ‘Smarter’ should be added to that. Learn from your mistakes. Your impatience will cause most of them. Your number one asset at this point is that you are young. Unless you’ve got a terminal disease or the Norns have the ‘scissors’ ready to ‘cut your thread’ handy, you’ve got time. Time and tech are on your side these days. Gear that can do amazing things in the right hands is very affordable now so hang in there.
July 23, 2010 at 6:50 PM #185590Grinner HesterParticipant
Take out no loans. No need to today. Staff until ready to freelance. Freelance until ready to start you ronw business, then buy or rent as ya need to. You don’t need a note every month and if you venture into this without the proper savvy, it’ll just be unemployement with an overhead.
July 24, 2010 at 3:43 PM #185591
Thanks for the solid advice everyone. Its much appreciated and I will be sure to keep everyone posted. I know under normal circumstances the loan would be a bad idea. I was just considering because of the position I’m in with no car note, no house note, kids or family to support. I’m basially at the prime point for starting a business but I’ll dig deeper into the issue after the responses and look into getting a staff job while I ponder things. Would anyone have any suggestions as to the best place to find one? I’ve checked the local listings both physical and online with no luck.
July 24, 2010 at 6:28 PM #185592EarlCMember
If you feel ANY level of confidence at all then go for it. As you’ve noted you are in a less risky position – more so than many others who jump in feet first. Sure, there’s dues (and interest?) of some kind to be paid in any career process. Pick your poison, but don’t let it kill your drive to achieve on a personal level.
Regarding jobs/positions do a search for any/all video production operations in your accessible area and approach them regarding the possibilities.
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