This year has been our biggest year at Georgia Street Media. A lot of cool things have happened, and we’ve gotten an opportunity to work some pretty awesome new clients, like 20th Century Fox, Hootsuite TELUS, CBC and CTV. Wow.
A lot of people ask us how we’ve gotten to where we are today. Dedication to our craft, years of experience, and a passion are all contributing factors, but i’d like to take go back and share some thoughts on some fundamentals of what makes a successful video producer in the corporate and advertising world. Here’s my top 5 list of things to keep in mind:
1) Don’t be a salesperson. The market is far too saturated to have a separation from a dedicated sales department at a video production company. From my experience, companies want to partner with video agencies that are easy to work with, reliable and creative. Presumably, the reason you are in video or film is because you are creative and want to make cool things, right? Remember that! Start first as a filmmaker. If you find out that the budget/scope assessment is way off (and this can happen from time to time), you can step back from the project…
2) Know the brand. Before working with new clients, we usually take a few hours to study the client. We watch any and all video content they’ve produced in the past, and we study their website(s) for content and aesthetic details in layout and typography. When it comes time to discuss a video for that company’s site we are already then operating within the framework of their brand identity as well as the audience they are speaking to. It’s fine to pitch a concept that is a bit too ambitious, or risqué….but when you pitch something that is totally off brand, it’s going to fall flat and not leave a good impression.
3) Use a project plan whenever possible. There are a million ways to do it, and there are a handful of names for them as well: workback schedules, gantt charts, production schedules. Basically a project plan just lays out upcoming tasks, ownership, and estimated delivery times. Don’t get super-complex with it. Just clearly lay out what’s coming up and what responsibilities are yours and which are your clients. If you can glance at it and in 20 seconds figure out what’s what — you are on track.
4) Understand corporate structure. If you are a freelancer….or if you are a junior producer at a small agency you might report to no one or you might report into 1 or 2 producers or senior staff. We enjoy a ton of autonomy. But it’s nothing like the reporting that is required for larger corporate entities. So know when you submit a budget, or a proposal that there might be more than one pair of eyes looking at it and possibly giving feedback. The more that you know how that world works, the more strategic you can be as to how and when you present the right way with minimal feedback or creative compromise.
5) Don’t take over on all aspects of production. As a producer, you are responsible for everything on the business side of things for a video project. You are also responsible for the creative, but that doesn’t mean that you need to be steering filming/directing/writing and editing. Part of your responsibility as producer, is to make sure the vision of the project is on track, according to client’s original vision (and yours), you can’t do this if you on set for 12 hours/day or buried under a mountain of edits.
OK, that’s it…Good luck! Now get out there are make some awesome video content!