Written by: Cassie Phillips (guest contributor)
Chances are you’ve had lots of opportunities to handle things yourself when it comes to filmmaking and video projects. Decoration, finance, advertising are just some of the things that can end up falling to you, especially in the early phases of a business. As a result of this, things don’t always get done at the level a dedicated professional can provide. We’ve all seen those cheesy local commercials done with low grade cameras, poor lighting, awful writing, and limited editing.
Yet the reality of doing it yourself may leave you with a video along those lines simply because you lack the tools needed. Cameras, editing software, expertise, and a qualified staff are extra expenses and investments you likely can’t afford to provide right now. The best course of action is to bypass all of that by hiring a person or organization who already has all of these things along with a career of experience.
Do Your Homework
Yet finding the right person isn’t always simple. Finding the right company for the job is going to require some research on your part. There are two types of searching you can do: active and passive. Searching Google and viewing webpages are what I call “passive” research. Thankfully professionals with websites will frequently have samples of their work so you can see the kind of quality they’re capable of.
Don’t be afraid to call other businesses whose videos you’ve been impressed with. They may be willing to share references with companies they’ve used. They want to build a business relationship with you. At the same time, beware of companies that advertise too much. The best companies have work that speaks for itself.
Active searching is naturally a bit more engaging because you’ll actually be calling filmmakers whose work you respect. I strongly recommend either meeting in person or talking over the phone with someone. Emails, texts and other forms of non-direct communication are unlikely to provide as good an impression of the people you intend to hire.
Request Samples and Negotiate
Once you’ve found a few different companies, don’t settle on a contract right away. Request samples from all of them and then decide between the ones you like. There are probably going to be a few different companies that can provide what you want, so the next step is negotiating a deal. You should also be gathering the intellectual materials you’d like to have in your project, as they’ll likely need more information.
Not everyone is amicable to making deals, but if you’re willing to push it, chances are you can get them to give you a better price. Be firm about what you need and what your budget is. Don’t be tricked into paying in full before you see any work, either. There’s no guarantee what they produce will be up to standards. Payment should always be rendered on service and not the other way around.
Naturally, you may need to put up some kind of collateral. You may need to
work with sensitive information online in your negotiations and clarifying what you need. You don’t want to have to worry about security or being tracked, so consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) whenever you’re paying for things online. For an explanation, Secure Thoughts explains how to hide and encrypt your data so you can minimize the likelihood of information theft.
When you’re sure you’ve found the company you like, run through what you need one last time. Double check you’ve got these things in order:
When everything is done, review the results thoroughly before you release it. Don’t walk away from the process until you’re satisfied. Make sure to be open to others’ opinions. What you like and what your customers like may be different. Consider having others view the finished product before showing it to real audiences.
Do you have any other input on how to find a great filmmaker for your project? Are there any steps in your process you would like to talk about? If so, please leave a comment below and tell us what you think.
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