H2M: Business 101 How2Media Business Blog
Lesson 3: Battle-Tested Video Production
Creating an amazing video, no matter what it’s for, can be a challenge. Part of that challenge is making sure you and your company choose the right video production company to work with. From cocky to shy, video production companies can range in attitudes overall, attitudes towards clients, as well as overall abilities. As the saying goes, “You get what you pay for”, and that saying is very true, but it’s your due-dilgence that is truly what will make the difference in how the creation of your video project turns out.
As we explained the importance of returning emails and phone calls last week, we also began to explain how the video production company you and your company choose to do work with should be “battle-tested”. But what does it mean to be “battle-tested”? More so than anything, to be “battle-tested” means to have been through it all before. I take great peace of mind, as do our clients, in knowing that when they are working with us and working with me, they are working with a company and a point person that’s been through the best and worst before. By having been through all possible scenarios, it has allowed our company and me, personally, to grow, to learn, and to allow our clients to reap the benefits. One of the sayings I like that our company shares internally about me is, “I get paid for when things go wrong.” They say this because my character should obviously be fine when things are going smoothly, but what is my character like during stressful situations? Based on experience, I’m proud, and my company is proud, my character remains 100% in tact when stressful situations arise. Let’s face it; in any business, things can go awry. When they do, you need to know that the video production company as a whole, as well as the point person of your project, is going to be able to take care of you, work you through it, and get you through with flying colors. The video production company you choose should be able to come up with answers and solutions quickly. Many times, our clients have not experienced a video production project before. For this reason, and many more, our company, and I, in-particular, take the job of preparing them as much as possible for the entire venture. A lot of this has to do with communication and always being available to their needs, but much, much more of it has to do with our own preparedness, organization, and experience. By being “battle-tested”, my company and I know that if something does go awry with a client’s video project, they are in the best of hands. For the clients that express they have never done a video project before, they are giving me honesty. It is then that I explain that they happen to be in the best hands they could ever imagine. 99% of the time my job as a Production Manager is smooth. Video projects get completed without issue. But there are those times that something happens to the company, something happens to a video location, etc. that force me into making a quick, “battle-tested” decision to help the company through the video project. Ultimately though; it’s not just about “getting the client and video project through a hiccup”, it’s about doing so to where the client doesn’t get stressed-out, and doing so in a way so their video project ends up as close to perfect as humanely possible.
When you are choosing the right video production company for your video project, the most important thing you can do is go to the company’s website and see their work. Mark my words, their best work will be on their website. If it is not, you are wasting your time. No video production company should ever tell you that you watched the wrong demo reel or watched the wrong example clip on their website. That’s a red flag! The videos on a video production company’s website are their first impressions. Even if their prices are right and even if you’ve heard good things about them, if you don’t like the work featured on their website, walk away immediately and don’t turn around! You wouldn’t buy a car you thought was ugly, would you? If you like the video(s) on their website, the second thing to do would be to call them (DO NOT EMAIL THEM…CALL THEM INSTEAD!). When you call them, ask to speak to a project manager or production manager about a possible upcoming project and have questions ready to ask this individual. By speaking with a Project Manager or Production Manager, you are speaking with the person who would be in charge of your video project. If this person isn’t nice when answering your questions, don’t expect them to be nice when working with you on your project. If this person seems annoyed at answering questions, rest assured they will get annoyed when answering questions during your video project. People are people, and if you can’t work or get along with this person, there’s no sense in doing business with them. When you are speaking with the Project Manager or Production Manager, make sure to ask them of things that have gone wrong in past video projects. If they say “Nothing’s ever gone wrong” or anything equivalent to that, you know they are lying. The reason this is a great question is that, for one, no one ever asks this…ever! That means you will catch them off-guard and will be putting them in a potentially-stressfull situation right off the bat! That’s an awesome thing because you will then see their true colors and whether they handle the question well. For example, if they stammer and stutter when you ask the question, expect them to be nervous when they are taking care of an actual issue for you during your video project. If they get angry, expect them to act the same during your video project. Ultimately, you are looking for an individual that can create LAS (LISTEN and then ASSESS the situation/question, and then SOLVE (or answer) that question/problem in a normal manner. If they can handle your surprise question in a calm manner and provide a realistic answer, you can feel confident in working with that individual.
Ultimately, your video project is an investment meant to create an ROI. Having a battle-tested video production company and individual to work with is key to giving your video project the best chance at success!
Next Friday’s “Business 101” blog (Lesson 4: Attention to Detail)