As a video production professional, I hear from a lot of people who need creative services. Advertisers need a new TV commercial or pre-roll video for YouTube.
Manufacturers want a Trade Show video before hitting their industry convention circuit. Authors or publicists need videos for their Facebook page and other social media.
Companies need Explainer videos to summarize new processes and products.
And non-profits need documentary-style videos or testimonials to aid in fund-raising.
It’s interesting to hear their stories, their backgrounds, where they are and where they want to be. And it’s a thrill when they accept my quote and we move forward with the production.
Whether you’re the owner of a small business, the marketing manager of a larger business, or the creative director of an ad agency, your job is to give video professionals the guidance and elements they need to pull the video together. And the successful outcome of your project hinges on choosing the right company for the job.
Hi, I’m Randy Liner, owner of RanDesign Media Services. I’ve been in the business for over 30 years, helping advertisers, manufacturers, and non-profits get their message to the masses. Over the years, my clients have told me some of the challenges they faced in getting videos done prior to meeting me. I’m going to share those with you today. Hopefully it will make your next video go a whole lot easier.
When you are in the researching phase of hiring a video pro, be sure to take the time to watch the productions that the candidate has created. This will not only inform you as to the quality of their work, but hint at their personality, as well as provide insight to their level of commitment.
There’s a reason I’m confident of that statement. I recently met with a prospective client who, after talking about his business for a while, said “Randy, I’m a detail guy. I’ve watched a lot of your TV commercials on your website, and I can see that you pay attention to detail.” Wow! Yes, it’s nice to hear compliments like that, but it also encourages me to keep posting my work, because perceptive people see more than just promotional videos.
A final product can be beautifully filmed and exquisitely edited, but if there was confusion and conflict throughout the process, you’ll always associate negativity with the video. How do you avoid a difficult process?
When you’re interviewing prospective video contractors, ask about their process. Do they define the project on paper going in? Do they spell out what’s included in the cost? Do they have a script or shot sheet prepared before filming? Are you confident that the level of communication throughout the process will make you feel comfortable?
Here at RanDesign Media, the estimate for potential projects are submitted in the form of a Creative Brief, which checks all those boxes above. After the bid is accepted, I work with the client to develop a written script before any filming is scheduled. If the project is an explainer video with motion graphics, there is often a shot sheet for the client to review before editing.
Communication is key, and details make all the difference. While you can’t head off all problems before they happen, asking the right questions prior to hiring a video pro can help give you a sense of what they are like to work with.
I’m a busy guy, usually juggling multiple video projects in various stages of completion. I get paid for writing, filming, and editing. But fact-finding and logistics are part of the job as well, and those require the dreaded M-word – meetings.
If you schedule a preliminary meeting with a video pro and they show up without having researched your website, keep on looking.
Do they ask good questions? And, do their questions indicate a basic knowledge of what your company does?
Can they tell you a few of your competitors? Can they accurately describe your typical customers? And do they show a level of inquisitiveness about your business that you feel is appropriate?
At RanDesign Media, the first thing that we admit is that we don’t have all the answers. But we do strive to ask all the right questions. It’s your answers that help us take the project where it needs to be.
I believe in the value of putting together a plan and sticking with it. But how do you arrive at that plan? Sometimes the ideas fly fast and furious, other times it’s like prying a speck of gold out of solid rock.
That said, it’s not unusual for the final production to be based on an idea that came up in the very first meeting. If you are interviewing a potential video company and it becomes obvious that they are simply gathering information and not testing creative scenarios out loud, that’s a red flag. People who live and work in the creative universe have a totally different perspective than those in more traditional industries. We are always trying to take complex matters and distill them down to their most basic form.
So, you’re ready to move on your project and you’ve talked to a few video professionals.
You’ve explained what you’re looking for and now have some estimates in hand.
The next decision should be about the big picture, not just the bottom line. Consider this: you are placing your public image in the hands of someone you’ve just met. Trust is a huge factor. Reliability, reputation, rapport – all of these are more important than price. You don’t want to automatically go with the lowest price, because as they say – you get what you pay for. Likewise, the highest price doesn’t mean you’re getting the absolute best product.
In marketing and advertising, there are many intangibles, making a direct comparison of services and product difficult, if not impossible. Make sure you know exactly what you’re getting before moving forward, and, look for added value. Ask questions like “Who owns the commercial?” and “Will it cost more for me to put it on my social media?” Also, be sure of how you will be charged – by the project or by the hour.
At RanDesign Media, we are not the lowest-cost provider of creative services in the area. However, we are far from the most expensive. We are in that sweet spot, right in the middle. We strive to be the affordable alternative to high-priced agencies with too much overhead.
There you have it – 5 things to look for when hiring a video professional. I hope that you have learned something from this article, but should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 423-987-5665.