What this guide is
This guide won’t teach you how to press record, stage lighting or direct talent. Rather, it’s a collection of accumulated knowledge that provides fundamental insights into the business of operating a video production company. From HR to Compliance, it offers you the condensed wisdom of a University degree without the HECS debt, allowing you to profit from your passion and scale your video production business overnight.
Why this guide is was created
Starting your own video production company isn’t easy. You’ve probably already felt the sideways glances from cast members or prospective clients, it’s often right before they ask you your age. You’ve likely already seen the number of competing production companies that appear in a Google search. So where do you start? Consider this beautiful little guide your little, legal anxiety popper.
Who this guide is for
This guide has been built for three types of people.
- The recently graduated film and media student who possess basic technical skills but are yet to build a client base.
- The independent videographer with a reasonable amount of client experience who wants to establish and grow a production company.
- The career changer who’s long had a passion for creative media and wants to turn it into a viable profession.
Whichever you are, you already possess all the basic technical skills. You already have the dream of working for yourself. You already have a creative fire burning brighter than a redhead walking under the Australian sun. Offering actionable advice, real-world examples and the rawest inspiration available, this is the fountain of knowledge that will unleash your potential.
What you’ll get out of this guide
After completing this beautiful guide, you’ll be more confident, more capable and more clever in growing your early stage video production company into a successful venture. With highly specialised, industry relevant skills spanning business and project management, accounting, marketing and sales, you’ll excel in your chosen video production service, leapfrogging your competitors and saving years of learning by failure.
- Human Resources
- Project Management
- Marketing & Sales
- Business development
- Human Resources
As a producer, hiring new contractors to work on your video production set can be like inviting a marriage celebrant to your wedding. You have a vague notion of their capabilities and believe you can trust them to execute their important role, however they could just as easily turn up drunk without their gear and eat the entirety of your underwhelming catering spread.
Ultimately,“crew want praise and cast want direction; both want respect”. If you can remember this piece of wisdom while always surrounding yourself with people who are better than you are at what they do, your video production company is poised for success. Read more.
Operating a video production without legal contracts or production insurance is like sex without a condom. Whether you’re managing a “corporate video production company” or a “video marketing company”, in lacking contractual contraceptives you leave yourself unprotected from unexpected consequences. While fine today, relationships can sour and harddrives can be smashed; in nine months you don’t want to be receiving a court summons for something you did without protection.
To protect the growth of the baby you do want (ie. your business) you’ll need to take adequate measures. Doing so will protect yourself from loss (money, time, energy) and ensure your stakeholders don’t leave you holding an emaciated baby.
While true that video production companies managing a single client project at any given time have less of a need for project management software, if you plan to grow your production company (and you should), sooner or later you’ll be handling multiple video projects simultaneously. For this, you’re going to need project management tools to ensure the production is executed on time and on budget. Doing so alleviates stress on the production crew, the production company and the client; ensuring all three are willing to work with you again.
Outsourcing is often an appealing prospect for video production companies (or anyone who’s read the ‘4 Hour Workweek’). However the cost benefits of labor arbitrage are often more appealing in theory than in practice. Fortune favours the bold and, like Vin Diesel bravely agreeing to another instalment of a flailing Fast & The Furious franchise, we decided to abandon any thought of career prospects and drive ahead with our plan. Here’s what not to do when looking to outsource your video production services.
Marketing & Sales
Writing a video production proposal is like donating bodily fluids; you freely offer your finite resources in the hope of making something beautiful. But without the right precautions, you could end up facing court cases and custody hearings.
The ability to write video production proposals is a skill we wish we’d been taught in University. Whether it’s a corporate video production proposal, a video marketing proposal or anything in between, this skill is valuable for three reasons: (1) it develops a business acumen that will up the odds of your video production company surviving (2) it increases client conversion rates (reducing the number of proposals you need to write to break even) and (3) it allows you to command a higher price point by professionally differentiating you from competition. Here’s how to write the perfect video production proposal.
Unlike growing a tank of Sea Monkeys in your bedroom, growing a video production company won’t happen overnight. While many in the video production industry are content to freelance or maintain a boutique video production service, if you’re reading this you’re interested in expansion. Bigger clients means larger budgets that will allow you to test new creative ideas, rent/purchase new camera equipment and even the rising cost of a Netflix subscription. Here’s the fundamentals on how to win bigger video production clients.
Whether you’re a freelance videographer looking to increase profitability, or you’re a Melbourne video production company looking to differentiate your service from others, offering creative services in addition to the “hard” production services you already provide is one means to achieve your goal. Unless you choose to specialise in a production department, by not acquiring knowledge from other fields you’re losing out on an opportunity to achieve greater personal growth and establish stronger relationships with clients.
Here are some tips on how to kickstart the process of adding creative services as a line item to your video production budget.
How quick are you on the record button when 100 kilos of confetti suddenly perforates your eardrums? How fast can you sidestep a Smirnoff Double Black when your eye is pressed to the viewfinder as it hurtles towards you in slow motion? Minimising the probability of sustaining $100,000 of damaged camera equipment while still delivering clients video content is ultimately a business decision.
From exotic strawberry daiquiris to your household Melbourne Bitter, we’ve had a veritable minibar of alcoholic beverages tossed at filming entertainment and live events. Whether you’re filming a festival aftermovie, live streaming or more general event video productions, you’ll want to nail your operations.
Media Masons is an online video agency, delivering brand-building video content in Australia's hospitality and retail industries. The company’s head office is based in Melbourne, Australia.