So you’ve already determined that your business needs a video. Now it’s time to pick the right video production partner!
Note: If you haven’t determined you need a video, take a look at my previous post: “Does my business need a video?”
And now you’re looking to find the right video production partner for your video project. Here’s what you need to do:
1. Research local video production companies.
Google is a good start, however, I’ve found that a recommendation is usually much more helpful. Ask around and see if there’s anyone who knows of a good video production partner that would be a great fit for your business.
2. Contact and request estimates.
Reach out and share the basics of your project with a simple email. You can even use the template below:
Saw some of your work online and would love to talk with you about a video project.
I’m looking for something that will [get my customers excited about a new product that I’m launching].
Would love to get an estimate for what that might cost. Happy to hop on the phone and discuss scope. My number is below.
If they’re worth their salt, they’ll get back to you, schedule a call, and ultimately lead you through a discovery meeting that will involve some of the following questions (some of which you may remember from my previous post):
- Who is your audience?
- What would you like the video to do?
- What tone would you like it to take (e.g. happy, fun, or refined, serious)?
- Do you envision it being an animation project or a live action project?
Note: Pay attention to how you feel on the call.
Making a video is a creative and collaborative endeavor. You want to find a partner that not only understands your business model, but also your company ethos and your passion.
If you feel rushed, stifled, or put down, throw the flag (see below). This is about finding a creative, collaborative partner. So, make sure you jive with the people you’re bringing on to the project.
3. Review video production bids.
Once the bids come in, review the different approaches. Odds are that each estimate will be different. This is okay. Every production company has a different approach.
Ultimately, you’re looking for three things:
Look at that bottom line. How does it compare to the other estimates? Keep in mind, cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean a better ROI. In video, you get what you pay for. So don’t be shocked by, or avoid, higher numbers.
Are they offering a discount? There are many reasons why production companies offer a discount. Two of the most common are:
- They see long-term partnership potential
- They think the project might look good in their portfolio
Usually the discount means that they’re on board with your company’s vision and is a nice indicator of a potential partnership, not just a client-vendor relationship.
Does their process make sense to you? Usually video projects are broken into pre-production (before shooting), production (on-set work), and post-production (everything else), with the majority of your feedback solicited in pre-production.
How many rounds of revisions are they offering? In my experience two rounds of revisions on scripting, storyboarding, and edit are generally enough.
What are you responsible for? Production companies can bill certain items to the client if they are variable, like location and talent fees. This is something that should only be done on the condition that you approve of that expense. Ensure that’s the case.
3. Creative Vision
Do you get excited when you read their pitch or project description? Do they ‘get it?’
You want to find a partner that is as excited about your project as you are, and someone who is willing to go the extra mile to make your video dreams come true. Often times, big video deals hinge on this component alone—I’ve seen $50k+ projects go to the smaller vendors (yielding great results), just because they’ve better caught the creative vision than the big fish.
4. If you can’t decide, go with your gut.
Once you’ve reviewed and compared all of the bids, ask any questions you might need of the vendors. If you have a clear front-runner, excellent! It’s on to “Lights, Camera, Action!”
But if you’re still a bit confused by all of the options, go with your gut. Pick the partner that (1) demonstrates competence, and (2) you jive with. Because at the end of the day, an excellent product and great time creating it is the goal.
Let me know how this works for you by commenting below! Would also love to hear from you if you’ve already picked a video production company—what other factors did you consider when picking your video production team?