Recently I received an email from a previous client whose organization was planing for a video they needed to produce. The question he asked was timeless in our line of work…
About how much does it cost to produce a 60 second animation?
I ended up writing him a response that addressed a lot of problems with that question. I decided that it might be useful to post an informal primer to help businesses communicate more effectively with a prospective video producer.
Have a specific goal in mind for your video
This is the cornerstone of all video production. Having a clear goal guides every other decision you will make in the production process.
“My business wants something we can put on our YouTube channel.”
“I want a YouTube video that has a humorous edge and can promote my top-selling product. A video that will be shared amongst 17-30 year old males, and will gain 10,000+ views within the first 3 months.”
Immediately the picture is clearer. A talented producer will be able to tell you immediately if her company is right for the job. She will also be able to start piecing together specific details about the scope of the project. A writer and talent will have to be brought on board. A distribution strategy will have to be developed.
Name Your Price
Many people feel that if they name how much they want to spend, they will get taken advantage of. However, when you name your price, you name the level of production that you wish to achieve. A commercial can be made for $30 or $3000, it really depends on the level of production. Knowing the goals for your video will be the key to figuring out how much money to invest.
WARNING: Measuring your budget against a proposed hourly rate is not a good strategy. Just imagine you had to hire someone to type a long document for you. One applicant is the best in her field, has worked as a stenographer for 10+ years. Her rate is $100 an hour. The other applicant was just introduced to a computer three months ago. His rate is $30 an hour. Who would you hire? In one situation you pay a higher hourly price, but get your job completed quickly and with few mistakes. In the other situation, you have to wait longer for your project to be completed, it’s probably riddled with mistakes, and you actually end up paying about the same total amount because it takes up to 4 times as long for the typist to complete.
If naming a price is still over your head or you just have a clue where to begin, try this approach: View past work by the video company. Find a video that you feel might be similar to what you want, then ask how much that particular video cost to produce.
Have A Deadline
Nothing gets more convoluted than a project in limbo. Goals expand, mindsets change, and suddenly the scope of your video can become much broader. Have a deadline for when you want to launch and remember: video has the option of being re-purposed. Release your video, analyze effectiveness, and tweak to maximize. It is very rare for a message to be totally successful right out of the gate. But the only way to see what works, is to get your video out of the boardroom and into the hearts and minds of your viewers.
Want to see more posts like this? Ask us for advice on proceeding with your project. Seriously, it gives ideas for some great posts!