You know you need to make a video to get more followers, business, sales… more whatever it is. Congratulations!
Moving images are the best way to capture and engage your audience. You’re off to a great start.
But… when you google ‘Production Company Melbourne’, hundreds of businesses pop up. So you start the time-consuming task of clicking on every website, reading every ‘About’ page, and watching every showreel. But they all kind of look the same.
How do you know which production company will deliver on its promises?
Here are nine things to look for when partnering with a production company.
- 1. Look for: Experience and examples of past work
- 2. Look for: A producer who listens to understand
- 3. Look for: A team that can challenge you
- 4. Look for: An understanding of the distribution strategy
- 5. Look for: A couple of quotes
- 6. Look for: Talent
- 7. Look for: Understanding of usage and music licensing
- 8. Look for: Clear (and realistic!) timelines
- 9. Look for: A team that can grow with you (like us!)
1. Look for: Experience and examples of past work
Ideally, a production company will have experience. Experience working on the same type of video you’re after and experience with communicating with an organisation like yours. However, don’t be put off if you can’t find something on their website exactly what you’re after. Your team of experienced artists should always be keen to try new ideas and new ways of telling a story. So as long as they can show you examples of work they admire that they think you will resonate with, mood boards (series of images that resonate with your story), and describe their vision, you are off to a good start. It’s important that your team is keeping up with current trends and doesn’t want to give you the same thing they did for the last company.
2. Look for: A producer who listens to understand
It’s important that your producer listens to you and understands what you need. They should have excellent communication skills and be regularly in touch with you about where your video/s is along the production pipeline.
It might be worth asking in advance how they communicate and keep track of feedback and versions. Back in the olden days, I remember we used to have to keep track of email chains, or I would make up word docs with tables for clients to write notes in, or I would hastily write notes on scrap pieces of paper on my desk. These days there are simple yet sophisticated online platforms that make it a breeze to communicate your thoughts on a work in progress. For example, we use Wipster. Feedback can get confusing very quickly, especially if you have multiple deliverables. So it’s a good idea to learn about your partner’s systems and processes.
3. Look for: A team that can challenge you
These days, a company is more than a faceless organisation. We want to see a bunch of smiling headshots on a website and read a little bit about them. Since you’ll spend a lot of time with this team, it’s helpful to be a little friendly with them and know a bit about them. So why not ask your producer to introduce you to the team that will be taking care of making your video happen?
Your video team is there to help you, and they want you to succeed just as much as you do. So ask them for their advice, ask for their ideas. At this stage, you’ve probably left the ‘Sales Team’ way behind, so don’t worry about them trying to upsell you. You’re talking to creatives now, and they want to produce the coolest thing on the internet with you. You want your new partner to be able to offer up ideas, and suggestions and even challenge you on yours. This is part of the process. You do not want a ‘yes ma’am’ partner… you may end up with something very dull that won’t turn heads, or pause scrolling.
4. Look for: An understanding of the distribution strategy
You want to partner with a company that understands distribution strategy. Sometimes a production company is not a marketing company, so they won’t be hired to build your distribution strategy. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t talk about it with them. If they don’t ask where your video is playing or how you’re going to get eyes on it, you may want to look for another partner. Making a video for television is very different from making a video for a story feed. Not just in production value but in the story too. So make sure your production company cares where you’re playing your video and who your target audience is and what the goal of your video is. Even if they don’t offer content strategy, they should still be marketing oriented and understand how to sell your product or communicate your idea (like us!).
5. Look for: A couple of quotes
If you’re new, get a few quotes from other companies to compare. I’ll say it! I’m not afraid of a little bit of competition. But don’t be tempted to choose your partner based on who matches your budget. As I mentioned, you’re going to be talking to your team a lot, so make sure you like them, trust them, and like their vision for your project. Don’t be afraid to negotiate on price. Maybe they want to work with you too and would happily give you a discount. Just ask. Sometimes you only have the budget you have. But that doesn’t mean you have to work with someone only because they had the right price. I see it too often companies choose the cheapest option because they think that’s all they can afford and they end up with a video that is subpar and their video production experience is poor. Choose people and ideas, over budget.
6. Look for: Talent
Actors and voice-over artists can get expensive, so you might be tempted to hire talent internally, or ask a friend (I have another blog planned for people considering hiring their best friend, as there isn’t enough room to go into detail here). But make sure you understand that if you need to hire actors, and you are using your video for paid advertising, you can expect to pay thousands of dollars for their voice and image. Mind you, it’s money well spent!
Extra tip: Make sure your production company is paying your talent Award Rates. Let’s pay people what they’re worth.
7. Look for: Understanding of usage and music licensing
If you’re making a commercial, your production company may ask for the ‘usage’. This means how long will your commercial be playing and for how long. The price will go up depending on how long it’s streaming for and how many states. Make sure your production company has considered this. And while we’re talking about license fees, make sure your music is licensed properly. You don’t want YouTube to take your video down for copyright violations.
8. Look for: Clear (and realistic!) timelines
Timelines are also important. There are production companies out there that have hundreds of projects running at the same time. To them, you could just be a number that gets lost in the sea of projects. I get asked a lot ‘how long will my video take?’ To which I reply “six to eight weeks, depending on how long we have between feedback rounds.’ But it’s nice to know that your producer is only looking after a handful of productions. That way they can make sure they have the creative mindset and time to dream up ideas and keep you in check and to the schedule. But you want to make sure they can focus on your video shortly – not in a few months when they free up some space.
9. Look for: A team that can grow with you (like us!)
As you can see, there are a lot of things to consider when looking for a production partner. But hopefully, you’ll only have to do your investigation once and you’ll be a returning client. At Creativa, we love returning clients because we love building relationships with our clients. The more we know and understand you and your business the more we can achieve together.
If you’d like to get in touch with any burning questions or a project that you’ve got in mind, you can book a time to chat with me here.