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Corporate Video Paperwork

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Ayodele BanjoCorporate Video Paperwork
by on Feb 5, 2009 at 7:46:22 am

The corporate video business in Nigeria can be profitable but also tiring. This is becos the 'clients' keep feeling that this is their chance exercise the 'artistic' muscles that they feel have. This leads to loads of re-edits and 'heated discussions' because the truth is that they are never sure want they really want most of the time or just want you to do it they the think is best because they have TVs at home and there is no big deal about video production. Could you guys help me with a template for some kind of paperwork that makes the 'client' write out the most important things he needs to see so that when he comes to me asking for a 'bullet time' i can tell him that "its not in the contract!". Thanks guys

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Mark SuszkoRe: Corporate Video Paperwork
by on Feb 5, 2009 at 1:45:29 pm

A couple things that might help:

Structure the payment for the deal in thirds: one third to start the work, one third at the point of showing the first "rough cut" of the master, the final third upon delivery after final changes. This means they can't make you wait to get paid until the end of the project, and if you get into problems and the project is canceled in mid-production, you are paid for what you already completed and they don't pay for what has not yet been done. Both sides are protected.

The sudden changes they keep throwing at you indicate that your project may be missing some essentials that help organize and define the work. Before the project starts, you need a document called the Creative Treatment, which is a descriptive outline of the video, scene by scene, explaining what is said and seen but not containing the actual dialog. When everyone can read this around the table and agree to it, there can be no excuses later that "this isn't what I had envisioned", and every scene has already been discussed and justified in an overall context. Do this step BEFORE the actual script is written, the treatment is the blueprint for writing the script.

If they STILL want to throw more changes at you after this point, the deal memo or contract you wrote up before starting needs to state that there are extra charges for such changes, and that you are not responsible for the additional time/lateness of the project. When this is being done for a corporate project, it can be helpful to insist that any changes outside the original document must first be signed off by the company president, with his understanding that the "change order" is adding cost.

This is often enough to discourage the "back-seat producers" from indulging their muses, because they are suddenly on the hook to their boss for explaining the changes, rather than you, a person that is not know to the company.

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Ayodele BanjoRe: Corporate Video Paperwork
by on Feb 5, 2009 at 4:39:02 pm

Thanks a lot mark. Will let you know how it goes

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Kai CheongRe: Corporate Video Paperwork
by on Feb 7, 2009 at 5:39:09 pm

What we do is also to include the number of revisions for scripts as well as edit slots, plus what kind of animations/motion graphics is provided in the quotation. Once the clients sign off on that, if they need additional drafts/slots/effects, they would need to pay additional costs [sometimes the options are included in the quotation eg. cost of each extra shoot day].

Of course, we're also flexible in most cases. But with those terms down in a contract, things are less fuzzy and you should have boundaries to work with. Negotiating and managing the terms is another set of business/producing skills though.

I find that a lot of times when we're working on corporate videos, half of the work is to actually guide the clients along. They have a budget to work with and on our side, our resources [physical hardware or esp. the intangible otherwise] are also limited by that.

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Timothy J. AllenRe: Corporate Video Paperwork
by on Feb 9, 2009 at 3:37:20 am

Kai is so right when he says "half of the work is to actually guide the clients along". It might be even more than half.

The main thing is to keep the communications going throughout the process. A contract is a must - just to keep the suprises to a minimum. But there may still be suprises.

The preliminary contract, the treatment and the shooting script are all "linchpins". They help keep the wheels from falling off your production. They are all devices for communication - a way to clarify what is about to happen before committing specific resources into the project.

That's why it's difficult for me to understand why so many people do business with only a handshake. It's not that I don't think people should trust each other. I certainly do. It just makes it easier for everyone involved to be "on the same page" if you are literally on the same page. ;-)

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Ayodele BanjoRe: Corporate Video Paperwork
by on Feb 9, 2009 at 4:26:39 pm

you guys are great. thanks.

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