Seeking advice on starting a video production business

Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews Forums General Video and Film Discussion Seeking advice on starting a video production business

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    • #96245
      Avatarraj80
      Member

      Good evening everyone! Its my absolute pleasure to discover this forum and share my thoughts here. Im an independent filmmaker who has produced and directed couple of award winning and multiple festival screening short films and one documentary. Infact my second short film also got a distribution here in the US. I made these films couple of years ago and since then have been working in corporate world in an unrelated field. Since quite some time I had been planning to find ways to make my real passion as profession. As we all know, its tough!
      I have plans of making an independent feature film soon, but im not expecting that to turn into any windfall as most indies lose money! Recently I decided to go part time in my alternate career and put some of the money I have earned over the last few years in starting a video production business which will have some decent cameras, lenses, post production studio etc etc. Looking at some existing similar businesses, I estimated total investment to be around 50-75k which included 4-6 small to medium end cameras, high end lenses, solid lighting equipment, microphones, sound design softwares, couple of editing workstations and other miscellaneous stuff.
      So, here is my plan-

      1. Rent a small office space in an inexpensive semi commercial area where I can put equipment and have decent space for post production work, including mini interview shoots, green screen etc.

      2. Immediately start making some revenue for the company by renting out equipment, post production equipment and studio space to independent filmmakers, documentary filmmakers, political marketing companies, etc etc

      3. Start producing and developing work for corporate clients, educational clients, events etc. Ofcourse this will take some time to take off, I assume

      4. Develop a team of other technical people-DOP’s, sound designers, editors and animators etc and hire them on project basis; hire a part time administrative assistant to help in scheduling, answering calls etc

      Btw, forgot to mention, I plan to start this business somewhere around greater washington DC metro area-northern virginia/baltimore area.

      My long term plan is to hone my both creative and technical skills through the projects I will do through my production company, develop a network of creative people and eventually make my indie feature film using most of resources from the company (both equipment and talent wise)
      I would like you experienced guys to give your two cents on following points-

      1. How does the overall plan sound in the context of current climate of video production business and is there anything important Im missing here?

      2. What kind of cameras and other equipment you guys advice on investing in keeping in mind the current advancements in technology and future?

      3. Is there anything else I can add in my planned list of equipment rental/services offered which has lot of demand nowadays. I mean may be something like media conversion from one format to another or perhaps something else?

      Million thanks in reading it and thanks in advance for your help.

    • #277986
      AvatarJackWolcott
      Participant

      You have some tough questions to answer for yourself. First and foremost, is there a need for what you propose? Begin by doing a very thorough market survey. There are at least 15 to 20 well established companies in the D.C. area already doing what you propose. What’s different enough about what you want to do to make you stand out from the rest?

      Most businesses that fail are under capitalized. Can you afford to be in business for two or more years with very little income while your business is developed? How much will your rent cost; can you afford to pay it for a couple of years with little income? How about insurance and advertising?

      Do you have the working capital to hire artists and technicians? Enough capital to pay the salary of an administrative assistant for a couple of years, even if you aren’t making much money each month?

      A video business isn’t like building a baseball diamond in a cornfield; building it won’t necessarily make them come. Have you worked in the video industry enough to have established potential colleagues and clients? Do you have any reason to expect to be able to get corporate work, to break into a market place already heavily worked over by established production companies?

      You suggest supplemental income by doing media conversion. Do you have the equipment to do this, a collection of equipment that will play Betamax tapes and 78 records, Digital-8 and S-VHS tapes, digitize 8mm, Super8 and 16mm film? If you don’t, you’re going to need another bundle of money to acquire it and someone full-time to handle this end of the business.

      Starting your own business is a wonderful dream. Making it a reality is a full-time job that requires a tremendous commitment in time, energy and money.

    • #277987
      Avatarorodog
      Member

      Dear raj80, what a brilliant and passionate insight you hold! Build it and they will come, I feel you have what it takes to become a leading force and for the rest of us who are still dreaming of a good gig. You have courage, go hard Brother

    • #277994
      AvatarJackWolcott
      Participant

      It’s great to have dreams, and I certainly wouldn’t discourage anyone from dreaming, but making dreams in the business world come true only happens when the hard realities of financing and running a business are thoroughly understood before the business ever opens. Although this article — http://www.videoccasions-nw.com/cost_analysis.html — was written and published nearly fifteen years ago, the information is still as valid now as it was when written. An interesting article here — https://www.fool.com/careers/2017/05/03/what-percentage-of-businesses-fail-in-their-first.aspx — discusses the rate of failure and the reason why many businesses fail to survive beyond the first few years.

      Where I live on the west coast nearly two dozen production companies have failed in the past twenty years. Most were established by excellent videographers and editors; most failed because of poor business practices and, in the past several years, because of the growing trend for clients that once outsourced video services to rely now on in-house “production” by staff using inexpensive consumer cameras, iPads and iPhones and low-end editing software. This is the reality which a startup video company faces today. Having the financial and personal resources to stay in for the long haul and having a solid business plan which includes advertising and marketing strategies is absolutely essential for success.

    • #72005077
      AvatarAngela Chase
      Participant

      Video production requires an expertise in filming and cinematography.Even today, there is nothing that catches the eye than a creative visual content. In such scenario, it becomes important to recognise what all video production needs. From Pre-production to post- production, these stages require a unique execution.The attitude of understanding each client, each project and each one’s budget has kept clients coming back for their video and traditional media requirements.There are various film production companies and digital marketing agencies that can provide you with relevant info about the know hows of Video Production. Apart from this, there are various advertising agencies in Oklahoma City that fulfil all your requirements and deliver what they promise. Get in touch and explore a wide array of options today.

    • #72005082
      Avatarpaulears
      Participant

      There’s a difference between artistic ability and technical proficiency, and a video business needs both types of people.

      I have a warning on the idea of hiring out kit.Aspiring video people rarely have any money, yet demand state oil the art equipment. Your budget seems very tight to me. just looking at the equipment I have with me on this extended project – 9 weeks away from base, I’ve got 9 grands worth of video camera, a couple of DSLRs, some Gopros. 5 grands worth of computers, not including the monitors and other kit. The head and legs for the camera cost me 5 grand. I’ve got two grands worth of mics here with me. Your 50-75K budget for everything seems too small to include inventory to hire out. On top of this you have a tough decision to make. To insure or not insure. You can insist the customers take out insurance, but I know companies local to me who have lost huge amounts of kit to people who leave doors open, and the insurance won’t pay, or go bust before the deal is complete. For small hire companies you also get cross when people bring kit back broken – which they do. We started in 1994, and grew substantially in investment in 2004, and video is a money pit. Our camera graveyard is full of fully working, but unused and old cameras that we’ve grown out of. You are also pitching against fly-by-nights who quote ridiculous rates for expensive kit because they over purchased and are desperate to get some return. Video, with the linked audio and computer kit is not going to make you lots of money unless it’s decently utilised, and ours frankly is not, but we need it for some of the projects we undertake, then it sits for six months unused.

      I suppose the most critical question is “how good are you at creating video productions?” If you have the skills and the ideas, that others do NOT have, then all will be good. One of my friends, a competitor really, just has the eye for things I do not, and given the same equipment and same location, his work is more exciting than mine. I do dull commercial projects, he does wild exciting ones. I cannot emulate what he does, and he passes me dull stuff. works pretty well actually and we don’t tread on each others tail!

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