Every video project is a real partnership between client and Production Companies Based in New York City and there are many important elements to consider. Sometimes the intangibles can be as important as the tangible. All video companies are not created equal and your choice depends on what you want to accomplish. Here are some things to consider before you make a decision.
The Plan – Before you contact production companies
• Establish a clear goal. The more defined your objectives, the better the final product will be.
• Determine a budget range. In many cases, the budget will define the finished product. You will save a lot of time by knowing what you want to spend – even if it’s a range – and sharing this information with the production company.
• Know your audience. Will the program be used to sell a product? To educate customers? To launch a product? To enhance your brand and image? To motivate and inspire employees? To entertain?
• Establish quantifiable measurements for success. What do you want the audience to do, think or feel after they have seen the video?
• Research. Get on the Internet and find out as much as you can about the production companies in which you may be interested.
• Ask business colleagues. A lot of business can come from word of mouth. What better way to narrow your choices that to ask your friends who work at other companies?
• Check social media. Ask your contacts on LinkedIn for advice and their experiences with video production companies.
• Identify internal expectations. What results will persuade your management that the project has been a success? Does your CEO expect to be on camera? How long should the finished product run?
• Will there be travel? Budgets can increase dramatically if a crew needs to shoot in multiple cities. Getting customers and experts on camera can strengthen the message and is often worth the additional cost.
• What are the preferred delivery options? Will the program stream online? Will it be broadcast on TV? Will it be presented at an event?
• Limit the number of bids. Request bids from two or three production companies. When you approach four companies and above you may reach a point where it is hard manage proposals and come to a qualified decision effectively.
• Are there strong opinions for a direction? Sometimes companies think they know what kind of approach they want before they start. If so, they should be made known to the bidders.
• Who is the point of contact?
The Meeting – The first impression can tell you a lot
• How’s the pitch? If the company can sell themselves and understands what it takes to deliver key information, the better the chance they can do the same for you.
• Have they done their research? Is it obvious that they know what your company does or is this the first time they’ve heard of you. It’s (almost) O.K. if you’re a startup but with the Internet, they should have some inkling about who you are.
• Is there chemistry? You are going to be spending a lot of time with these people. You should at least like them. Do you get the sense they like each other? You don’t need conflict before you even get started.
• Do they listen? Do they go on and on about themselves without digging into the purpose of the program and the potential challenges. That’s a warning sign.
• Do they ask good questions? Intellectual curiosity is key to a good proposal and a successful script, shoot, edit and finished product.
• Look at reels. If you haven’t seen their work online, make sure you see it when you meet and ask questions. If you don’t see examples that show the level of quality you expect, it’s probably not going to suddenly show up in your project.
• Take a tour. If they have an editing facility ask to see it. You don’t need to know much about equipment but know enough to find out if the gear is relatively new. If the gear is old, there may be problems.
• Consider awards. But don’t make a decision based on awards. A shelf of awards can indicate a company’s excellence or their competence at filling out award competition applications.
• Be consistent. If you are getting bids from several production companies, make sure they all receive the same parameters and background and budget information.
• Learn about the staff. Do they have in-house writers, editors, video geographers, directors and producers or use freelancers? Or both? What is their experience?
• Who owns the footage? In most agreements, the production company owns the raw footage and the customer owns the finished product. Avoid surprises and find out ahead of time.