Starting a Video Production Business: Mistakes People Make
If you are just starting your own video business we want you to know some of the pitfalls to avoid. Even if you are experienced, read the list of the eight biggest mistakes made when people start video production companies and see if you have made any of these mistakes.
- They focus too much on equipment and focus too little on technique. These days anyone can get digital video equipment, but this will not produce broadcast quality without a videographer who knows their stuff.
- They buy a cheap wireless mic, tripod, and light and then find out they need a better one in six months. You need to start with the basics that will carry you through the next five years. These are a good tripod, wireless mic, and lighting.
- They think because they have some great expensive equipment, that the phone will start ringing and business will flow in. Think again. Each year lots of dreamers (Speilburg wannabe's we call them) buy lots of gear and are surprised to find that business is slow. Marketing is what this business is all about. You are not really in the video production business but in the entertainment business. Video production is just a tool ... read "Master the Lost art of Common Sense Marketing" by Brad Antin.
- They refuse to diversify when they start out. Diversity is the key to paying off your equipment! When I got started I did everything from slide transfers to Nursery school graduations to a corporate training tape. I did it free to get my feet wet. Even if you have your heart set on producing documentaries of global warming and want to save the world, video gear cost money. There has to be a way to pay for it. Sometimes when starting you have to swallow your pride and do things that your heart is not totally in, for income. Guess what? sometimes those things prepare you as a better videographer for what you really want to do
- They don't network with others. Networking is the big key for those who make a big success in this business. Don't be afraid to tell the other videographers in your area what you are up to. The ones that are the true success won't mind another up and coming local videographer. As long as you are honest and respectful. Users groups are a big help since they provide a support platform.
- They fail to realize that this business is more of a people business than a techie business. Editing is one thing, but dealing with people is a skill that less video people can master. Those that do, out shine the videographers without people skills by a mile. Think of any successful videography company. How are their people skills, chances are they are pretty good. Having an "attitude" in this business can eventually leave you with just your camcorder as your friend and though you may be happy with that, it doesn't pay the bills. Get "Master the Art of Selling" by Tom Hopkins.
- They don't think about "buying used" to begin with. Used gear can save you lots of money. There are videographers who are constantly upgrading equipment and are looking to sell old gear. Sometimes the best buys can be things with little no moving parts like video mixers, or character generators. The chances are getting burnt on these items is less than that of a seven year old editing VCR. For your safety, make sure there is at least a 24-hour trial policy.
- They prefer to watch TV for trends and techniques. TV is a great teacher, see a (no effects) commercial you like? Copy it on tape and try to recreate it shot by shot (with help from friends as the actors). Try to edit your version the exact same length cut for cut. You will be surprised how much you learn and how much your technique will improve.