Managing a Video Production - Part 1

09.05.2015

1.  Part 1 - Getting Started (this post)
2. Part 2 - Planning Your Project
3. Part 3 - Production 
4. Part 4 - Post-Production

So you need or want to produce a movie for your company. Whether Corporate Identity movie, a product promotion movie, a tutorial, a testimonials movie or any other type, you still have to manage the project efficiently and find the most appropriate vendor to carry out the task.

This may be your first movie production project, or you may have done this before, in which case you probably know how frustrating it can be, especially when the process is not clear and organized.

In this blog series we will take you through the whole process, step by step, on both sides of the project - yours and the studio's - so that you know what to expect and how to manage the project without frustration.

Even if you've done this before – keep reading, it will help you manage your next project much more effectively.

So, the first questions that come up are naturally:
>   How much will it cost?
>   How long will it take?
>   What will we get?
>   What should I ask for?
>   Where do I start?
>   How do I choose the right production studio for me?

Well, no worries, a structured process composed of several stages will ease your mind and make the task manageable.

Let's begin.

Stage 1: Prepare a brief  Credit: LOGOBIRD 
This is a short document you can send to prospective vendors providing them with some basic information.This will also 
help you focus on what you want and help you compare the offers later on.
Download Brief 
Questionnaire

The brief should include:
> A short description of your company
> A description of the relevant product/s that you want to present
> The target audience for the video (prospective / existing customers,
investors, B2B, distributors, etc.)
> Main Messages
> The media in which it will be presented (website, tradeshow, etc.)
> The estimated length of the movie
> Voice over, narration and/or subtitles
> Animation or video or a combination of both
> Competitors (including links to websites and commercial videos on YouTube)
> Estimated budget. We know that most companies don't like (or don't know how) to commit to a budget in advance, but with a good vendor this will save both sides a lot of anguish.

Stage 2- Find the right vendor
In today's world of social media and instant access, it shouldn't be too hard to find a recommendation for a video production studio or to find one online. On the other hand, the field is loaded with such studios or freelancers that all say they are the best, so at the end of the day you are going to have to make the choice that's best for you.

So let's get started:

Google them: Once you get a recommendation or find someone online – look at their portfolio. There's no need to look for a project that is identical to yours or even in the same field (there's always a first project in any given field and screening according to field experience could lead you to miss out on a great vendor). Remember: your goal is to find a vendor that makes great videos! So focus on the quality of their work and how their videos look as a whole. Look for:

> Quality (were you impressed by the video?)
> Messages (what did you understand?)
> Did you like what you saw? (how did you feel watching it?)

Stage 3- Set up a meeting
By now you should have narrowed down some choices (preferably no more that 2-3 vendors). Now you can go ahead and schedule personal meetings/interviews with the vendors on your short list. There is no substitute for a first-hand and personal impression, so don't skip this step. Take this opportunity to get to know the people and the company before you "get into bed" with them. Look for passion for what they do, a sparkle in their eye, creativity, etc.


And don't be shy about asking questions, such as:
Who works in your studio? Is everything done in-house or do you work with freelancers? (nothing wrong with some freelance work, but most of the work should be done in-house)
> Can we see examples of other projects you have completed, that are not on your website?
> What is the process?
> What kind of timetables are we looking at? (If you have a tight deadline – Can they commit to making this deadline?)
> How many rounds of feedback and changes do we get?
> Will we see drafts of the movie before it is finished?
> What will be included in the contract and what will be considered "extra"? (images, video clips, sound effects, music, copywriting, etc.)
> What kind of materials would you need from us and in what formats?

BUDGET: A note about the budget for the project: Even before you set up the first introduction meetings and just so you don't waste your (and the vendor's) time, you may consider telling the vendor your 'ball-park' budget. Don’t be afraid that your budget is higher than what the vendor would have quoted and that you're unnecessarily raising the price. Chances are it’s the other way around and your budget is lower than expected by the vendor. If and when you've found the right studio, even if your original budget was lower than the quote – you'll get a lot of creative hours invested in it and the result that you wanted most – a GREAT movie for your company.

The meeting is over. Sum up your impression based on how you feel, what you saw and what you heard.

In the next post We'll take you through the actual process of producing a video.

Link to: Managing a Media Production - Part 2
Link to: Managing a Media Production - Part 3

 
Managing a Video Production - Part 1
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