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How do I break into corporate video?

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Robert McGunnigle
How do I break into corporate video?
on Dec 13, 2009 at 2:06:44 am

Hello all!

My subject line pretty much says it all! Currently I work at a medium-market television station producing client commercials. My duties include: meeting with clients to develop an understanding of their business and assess their advertising needs; writing scripts; shooting video; editing; creating graphics/motion graphics/VFX; & providing voiceovers.

I have 8 years of experience and was considering making the transition into the corporate video realm; however, I'm unsure as to how to go about it, what to expect, & what types of opportunities are available for someone like me.

Any input you guys could provide would be greatly-appreciated! Thanks in advance!

RM

There's no shelf-life on creativity.


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Mark Suszko
Re: How do I break into corporate video?
on Dec 13, 2009 at 3:38:53 am

This is just my opinion, but in this economy, what probably flies best right now is a contractor who only works as-needed, and is not on full time hire basis. The "gunslinger" that is called on just when there is something they can't already handle well enough internally. Mission-specific, per-project basis only. Get in, save the day, don't let the door hit you on the way out. If you're good, they put your phone number in the database for the next similar thing that comes along.

A DVD-developer guy. A flash/interactive/macromedia director guy. A web guy. A corporate theater/live events producer guy. A "corporate news/PR projects/ make our CEO look good defending our toxic event on Nightline" guy. A "you tube/social media" guy. Sure, you could be several or all of those at once. But my sense of it is that these days corps don't feel like paying extra for those skills of yours that you don't use on their specific job, because they lack the patience or vision to see that the skills overlap and leverage off each other or may be of use down the road... They want to commoditize what you do. And there are more people than ever, all vying for the same work. So my impression is that you need a single well-developed niche you really excel in to be considered for these things. That means not trying hard for the jobs outside your defined sphere, but putting everything you have into your one main expertise. Then being willing to be somewhat of a gypsy in wielding that expertise.


"Corporate" is a wide term. That includes hulking megalithic multinationals... and non-profits, for example. That could include small businesses and trade associations. NGO's. One of the things you'll want to do is narrow your scope after deciding what is the best fit for your skills and talents.


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Robert McGunnigle
Re: How do I break into corporate video?
on Dec 13, 2009 at 7:35:13 pm

I guess I should've specified: What types of full-time opportunities are available in the corporate world? I know that it's fairly commonplace for small to medium-sized corporations to outsource video work, but I also know that some companies have a 'media services' department or something of the like.

RM

There's no shelf-life on creativity.


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Bill Davis
Re: How do I break into corporate video?
on Dec 19, 2009 at 7:43:38 am

In this economy, few but the largest corporations will have in-house video departments. And with those, the folks who have the gigs now will be holding on to them so tightly that all the blood will have left their fingers months ago.

Just remember, corporations are arrangements of people. A "corporation" doesn't hire you. A PERSON at a corporation does. Just as a PERSON at a small business, a government agency, or any other form of organization hires for them.

In order to be hired, you must find a way to put yourself in front of that PERSON (or those people). Recommendations, cold-calling, discovering which bar the video, or marketing, or advertising, or human resources department drinks at after work on Friday - all of these are perfectly reasonable ways to wheedle face time with a person who can hire you.

But if you don't eventually get face time with someone. You'll never work for them.

Simple as that.



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Robert McGunnigle
Re: How do I break into corporate video?
on Dec 22, 2009 at 2:19:59 pm

Great points! Thank you, Bill! You've pretty much confirmed what I suspected all along. Am I correct in assuming that corporate video offers no more job security than any other position these days (perhaps less due to the fragile nature of the economy)? The reason I'm asking about all this is because I'm kind of 'weighing my options' and taking stock of what other opportunities are available. I appreciate the comments, though! Keep em' coming!

RM

There's no shelf-life on creativity.


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Matthew Chiumento
Re: How do I break into corporate video?
on Dec 22, 2009 at 7:15:00 pm

Bill's right you have to network!! You have to do your homework...

Seek out an organization in your area that you think might have or be in need of services. Look for a way in the front door, design, web, presentations, training, marketing ETC. Get your feet wet, learn the company culture and product then start asking around. You would be amazed on how Power Point is seen as a Skill set in many corporations these days.

Another suggestion is do some freelance work for the company a couple of times and then offer up your services full time.

Good luck



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Walter Soyka
Re: How do I break into corporate video?
on Dec 31, 2009 at 11:01:25 pm

[Matthew Chiumento] "You would be amazed on how Power Point is seen as a Skill set in many corporations these days."

"Powerpoint" is a skill set, and just like video production, it's really easy to underestimate the complexity.

I see three parts to it in my work: actual Powerpoint technical fundamentals (creating proper, easy-to-maintain decks), graphic design (making the slides work well), and presentation design (crafting the story of the presentation as a whole, including the speech and visual support).

Having skills in all three of these areas makes you a valuable communicator indeed.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Mark Suszko
Re: How do I break into corporate video?
on Jan 1, 2010 at 12:33:48 am

OTOH, there are corporations that have banned powerpoint, because in the wrong hands (more often than not) it is a huge time waster as well as an actual barrier to communication. Google up powerpoint plus Ed Tufte, you'll see what I mean.

If you can do all three of those skills, we're not talking about you; you are an elite communicator. But most rank and file people don't use powerpoint; they perpetrate it.


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Walter Soyka
Re: How do I break into corporate video?
on Jan 1, 2010 at 6:43:13 pm

[Mark Suszko] "OTOH, there are corporations that have banned powerpoint, because in the wrong hands (more often than not) it is a huge time waster as well as an actual barrier to communication. Google up powerpoint plus Ed Tufte, you'll see what I mean... most rank and file people don't use powerpoint; they perpetrate it."

Agreed. Just like having FCP on your computer doesn't automatically make you a good editor, having PPT on your computer doesn't automatically make you a good presenter. Further, as you and Tufte point out, PowerPoint's designs and templates actively discourage good communication.

My presentation clients recognize this, and that's why they hire me. They focus on their business and their message, and I focus on helping them convey it to their audience. Slides are a medium, and PowerPoint is a tool; both can be used either effectively or ineffectively.

To learn about slides done well, don't skip the Tufte, but also read up on the work of Nancy Duarte and Garr Reynolds.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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grinner hester
Re: How do I break into corporate video?
on Jan 4, 2010 at 7:50:54 pm

Start calling companies you want to do work for and bid on some projects. Let em know your rates, availability, ect. Take em to lunch if you have to. As with everything, it's all in who ya know. It's up to you to get to know em.



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Kevin Rossiter
Re: How do I break into corporate video?
on Jan 11, 2010 at 1:17:38 pm

grin ... I agree with you completely here.

Speak to them and tell them your rates.

Like many here, I get many emails offering voice, acting, camera, animation, design, and various video multimedia services.

They get filed somewhere ;)

The ones that get past my attention threshold are those that:

a) call me up

b) make me an offer I can't refuse.

Although our production company is doing okay, video and multimedia work is tougher to find and tender margins much tighter.

So I need to hear from people who plaster their best rate right up front, and make me a great offer.

But - and here's the rub - most applicants say "hmmm ... I negotiate on an individual job basis. Tell me about a job first, then I'll make an offer"

This is answering my question with a question.

It might have worked 2 years ago, but today. No thanks.

I hope I don't sound too harsh, but I need great rates as well as great skills, and I need to know inside 30 seconds

Tell me your rate, tell me your link, and maybe, just maybe ...






Rossiter & Co Video Multimedia Web for Business
http://www.rossiterandco.com


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Timothy J. Allen
Re: How do I break into corporate video?
on Jan 7, 2010 at 10:06:55 pm

Robert,
Don't overlook the government video side of things. I went from broadcast to government work about 10 years ago. In general it has better hours and benefits than even corporate video gigs - and much better hours than mid-market broadcast. You do have to be comfortable finding ways to work *within the system* to get things done - or when to risk initiating changes of policy within a political environment. If you can handle that - and be able to diplomatically strive for creativity without getting worn down over time - it might be a great path for you.



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Robert McGunnigle
Re: How do I break into corporate video?
on Jan 8, 2010 at 2:49:45 am

Tim,

What you described with Govt. work sounds like what I'm looking for! So how do I take the first step? I've become very familiar with the 'broadcast' way of job hunting, but outside of that...it seems like you need to know the 'secret handshake' to break in! Thanks for the input!


Rob

There's no shelf-life on creativity.


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Timothy J. Allen
Re: How do I break into corporate video?
on Jan 22, 2010 at 11:57:04 pm

I can't speak to local or state employment since I've only freelanced at that level, but my big break for federal government work came through an ad that a large contractor placed through tvjobs.com to augment their staff during a contract bid proposal 10 years ago. I actually didn't know a soul at NASA until I started working there.

Most, if not all of the largest federal contractors bid on video related service contracts from time to time, so they are a great source of employment within the federal government.

For shorter-term jobs, I've placed ads for subcontractors and freelancers through the typical job sites like monster.com, right here on creativecow.net in the "jobs offered" forum, and yes... craigslist. (To be honest we never hired anyone from craigslist, but if the right applicant had come along through that route, we would have.)

Anyway, if you are interested in a federal government gig, I'd suggest that you focus your efforts towards a large contractor or directly with the U.S. government.

Here is a link to the top 100 federal contractors for 2009:
http://washingtontechnology.com/toplists/top-100-lists/2009.aspx

For a federal civil servant job, the best way is still to know someone for references, but you ultimately need to apply through this website:
http://www.usajobs.gov

There are benefits and drawbacks to being a civil servant or a contractor, so you would probably have an inherent preference for one role or the other... but that's a topic for another thread.







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Richard Crowley
Re: How do I break into corporate video?
on Jan 10, 2010 at 5:40:28 pm

The other responders have all made excellent points. Note further that there is probably LESS job security in "corporate video" than in most other corporate jobs. It is increasingly seen as "peripheral" and is a target of downsizing and outsourcing. And it appears that internal corporate media production groups frequently seem to price themselves right out of most of the day-to-day jobs.

In-house production for a government agency would appear to be more "secure". Government appears to just continue expanding regardless of the economy (and the politics in power at the moment.)

As someone in a big corporation (but NOT in production) I can confirm that contractors are hired by individuals in the corp and get the bigger and more complex jobs which can't be handled in-house.


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