We all know that video production is a growth market with a particular demand now for more engaging online video content from brands and clients alike who want to position their products in a space where their audience is spending literally more of their time than they are anywhere else.
This in turn has led to an increase in new production companies arriving in the marketplace each with their own unique slant on production and each with varying degrees of experience, equipment, facilities and creative capabilities.
At some agencies the demand for more video content is being met in house through the growing commonality of lean but efficient in-house production teams who can take advantage of the technological shift the marketplace has had towards lower cost but higher quality cameras and editing systems and are able to facilitate production on various scales.
But sometimes even for these agencies there is either a creative driven, expertise related or overflow of work related need that arises which requires them to source and work with external production companies of various sizes and scales.
For smaller agencies with no in-house production capabilities at all this need can be more urgent as finding the right production house that meets their needs, understands both the agencies and clients specific wants, needs and objectives and is able to work in a fruitful creative partnership can be a real minefield…
So how does one find the right production company? How do you sort the wheat from the chaff and how do you know you are getting the best deal both in terms of monetary spend and end product creative output?
Having worked in both the agency and production company space my advice is to both ask a lot of questions and follow the simple tips I have included below:
1. Find the time to network and meet with production companies when you don’t have an immediate need for one (when you are up against a looming production deadline and your client wants a video now is the worst time to shop around as you are more inclined to go with the company with a decent showreel who says they can deliver on time rather than the company who has the background of work, the same creative mindset and the experience to deliver on time)…
2. Go to their place of work! Make sure they have one and that you aren’t just looking at a shiny website with nothing to support it. Sounds crazy but with the growth in the market there are a lot of cowboys out there!
3. Never trust a showreel… Showreels are a great indication of talent but that’s it they should never be used as the be all and end all of a company’s creative capabilities. Everyone in production knows you only put your best work in your reel. A better step is to ask for a reel and some samples of work in the area you are interested in (TVC, Animation, Presenter Video, Demonstrational, Viral etc).
4. Don’t be impressed by a client list… Be impressed by the end work and results they have achieved for those clients… Any middle of the road and upwards production company can tell you they have worked for a few impressive FMCG, Retail or Government Clients and sometimes this can be enough to gauge you’re interested but make sure you see this work first you shouldn’t hire a company for a big campaign for Coke if the best they have done is some event-recording gig for Subway. Ask to see the specific video and also ask them to be clear about the work they have done on it.
5. Have coffee with their key creative people where you don’t talk about any upcoming jobs but rather talk about creative process and inspiration etc. This will help you see if you share a similar creative mindset and vision. It’s a simple tip but it can save you a lot of heartache later if you know the people you are going to work with get you and how you work.
6. Don’t be impressed with what camera equipment they have in house…Be impressed with them picking the right camera equipment for your project!
7. Be involved in the process. Allow the production company freedom to get things done but don’t give them a long enough leash to go totally off brief and complicate things more than they need to (as complications add cost and if you can’t see and ROI in them then avoid them!).
8. Lastly – give feedback at every stage. Let the production house know what they are doing right and also when they are not meeting your expectations. This keeps things clear and allows for solid improvement and a better end result.
If you follow these tips and take the time to shop around to find the production company who meets your expectations and delivers work that you and your clients like you’ll be in a great place for ongoing success in a growth market that should deliver benefits for you and the production company alike.