starting a production company

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    • #54042



      I have been working on started a video production company for 6 months.  After starting in the industry 11 or 12 years ago.  I am very short of funds and therefore I have only invested in a IMac and software so far.  

      My best friend wants to purchase a couple of cameras and accessories looking to spend between 2,500 and 5,000 $…. He has no knowledge of videography or photography and thinks it will be fun to make professional music videos and record live bands.

      This obviously is perfect for me to gain access to equipment I can't currently afford and I am currently researching all equipment due to my knowledge and he is trusting me on every issue.  So to be fair to him and protect myself should him or I at some point wants to part ways, how should I approach my business relationship with him.  Does he become a co-owner/partner or what other options are there.  I guess he could be a silent partner however I am not crazy about him theoretically making decisions in the future with no knowledge of the business or industry.  Currently I am doing some freelance editing and I wasn't planning on giving him any of that money since I have put out way more than I have made through the computer.

      I don't like the Idea of sharing the company I've spent so many hours working on, for equipment I will eventually own anyway.(Since he has no knowledge of the industry and will have to be trained on everything he will ever do which would only be an extra hand during filming .  Yet this would speed up that time to be fully operational by a year if not longer.(so i need to it.) However he has not asked for anything yet and don't know what I should bring up to him.  I need a business plan that is fair to both of us that I can present to him.  As I see the workload in all productions will be all on me with him learning the basics as a second cameraman.  And that I only see him helping out 50% (but I don't know for sure)  I know I need to talk to him and see what he expects.  I just want to do that with a plan.  Any Ideas?

    • #206014

      Steve, you raise the dilemma that comes up often when more than one person is involved with a company. If I read your memo correctly, I think what you are looking for is a way to own and control your company 100%, but include your friend & his equipment in the plan, at least for the near term.


      That's probably the best approach since starting a company producing a very specialized product ( video) takes quote a bit of effort.


      You can chew on this for hours, days & months but that will not get you closr to booking jobs and producing product.


      Since you are really interested in the equipment and to some extent your friends help in production, why don't you focus on setting up a rental agreement for his equipment and a cost agreement for his production help. In turn you can charge him for any work you do for his projects. At the end of the day there is probably and even trade off for your's and his contributions. As for you, it provides access to equipment without laying out the cash up front. It you live & operate in any kind of large metro area, there are equpment rental operation that will give you guidelines on what equipment is worth. Also, if you live near a community college with a TV/film program you might have access to that equipment relative,y cheap.


      I got access to equipment through becoming a certified producer with the local cable company.


      There are plenty of options out there. Find the ones that work and move forward with lining up jobs.


      As for your friend, there is no better way to ruin a freindship than to go into business together. What ever you agree upon, put it in writing and both of you sign it. That act in itself will show who has the committment.


      If you decide to form a partnership, make sure you decide on an exit strategy up front. The only thing worse than going into business with a friend is going out of business with a friend.


      There are plenty of posts in the forum that talk about starting a production company and probably some on partnerships and renting equipment. Bone up on those before you go much fiurther.

    • #206022
      Luis Maymi LopezLuis Maymi Lopez

      As for your friend, there is no better way to ruin a freindship than to go into business together. What ever you agree upon, put it in writing and both of you sign it. That act in itself will show who has the committment.


      That is completly true. At the beginning everything is excitment, big desires, but when things start to get tough and you start to lose/earn money your friendship will suffer greatly. I learned that business work on a different moral than regular life, so meaning that you need to get absolutly everything in writting.


      I also reccomend what John mentioned about renting your friend equipment. Come to a written agreement that he will recieve slighly more than you on payday to cover up his help and the rental off equipment. Something like 45% for you and 55% for your friend (10% more to cover the rental). 


      See how you and your friend work together after a few payed projects and with that experience decide the next step.


      Hope this helps

    • #207296

      Starting up your production company you need to planned well and organize it. I terms of shooting your video production , deciding where and when to shoot, how the characters would look like, etc. are necessary to be able to follow the script thoroughly.

    • #207300

      Starting a company is an exciting proposition, full of enthusiasm and hopes for all the principals involved. Operating said company often degenerates into arguments over who is carrying the load / doing the most work. Dismantling the company is equal to breaking up a marriage . . .  maybe even worse.       Often the individual with the " talent " is NOT the one with the money which needs to be invested. Often the person who is willing to finance the operation will be seeking a return on his investment equal to any other place he could invest his money.    You need to be honest about your own motives; ie, are you really wanting to start a business . . . . which is to say " make money "; or will you be content to simply indulge your " passion " ?   Rick Crampton

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