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Asking for suggestions for a SMALL production/marketing company.

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ninetynine
Asking for suggestions for a SMALL production/marketing company.
on Oct 10, 2005 at 3:15:26 pm

As in my subject line, I am interested in recieving suggestions or lists of "Must have" equipment, software, etc., that experienced professionals believe one needs in order to pull off a small but (hopefully) successful production/marketing company. I receive several video/film magazines filled with products, but on an extremely tight budget, I find it difficult to make a move in any one direction. I am currently producing local commercials and promotionals with the basic equipment and software I have, but I'd like to be able to do more. So, I am writing my business plan, with the desire to expand and to be able to offer more services, but frankly am not sure how much more I need to purchase, who I need to hire, etc. I would appreciate suggestions from anyone out there who has themselves started such a business and who is willing to offer their advice. I would especially appreciate Positive feedback, because I am already surrounded by naysayers and the "you-can't-do-it demons" that live in my head. Thanks very much!!!!



ninetynine


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David Jones
Re: Asking for suggestions for a SMALL production/marketing company.
on Oct 10, 2005 at 5:33:04 pm

It's hard to suggest equipment when #1, we have no clue as to what equipment you already have.
And #2, we have no clue as to the other services you intend to offer.

Example, are you wanting to add duplication services, or offer multi camera shoots?
Or are you wanting to upgrade from your current camera to a more professional one?
Also what is your budget?




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ninetynine
Re: Asking for suggestions for a SMALL production/marketing company.
on Oct 10, 2005 at 5:52:01 pm

Thanks for replying. At the moment, we're estimating a possible budget of 25,000 to 30,000. I'd like to spend even less of course. (I hate to admit this...but we began with the intention of A) getting a great demo reel and B) producing our feature film C) while we looked for work at a great company. But now we're looking at our options a little more seriously and realize to really make it, we must really commit. Anyway... here's what we've got: We have a G4 and a G5, AE, Photoshop CS, Final Cut Pro4 HD, Motion. We have only one camera, a Panasonic DVX100, A lowell light kit, Tripod, steadicam, crane, a "homemade" dolly system that works pretty good, Panasonic DV deck AG-DV2500, and four external hard-drives. We also have a lav mike and a seinheiser shotgun mike. We have a cheap field mixer, but it helps....

I look forward to your reply and suggestions....





ninetynine


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Nick Griffin
Re: Asking for suggestions for a SMALL production/marketing company.
on Oct 10, 2005 at 6:00:59 pm

Alright. Just to get started...

You can almost always hire a shooter or you can rent shooting gear on an as needed basis. This is a very good way to get started without a huge investment. So assuming your computer situation is under control, if you just want to post you'll need:

An NLE - lots of flavors and price points to pick from.

Adobe AfterEffects - you can start with Standard Edition. (Although some will argue that Apple's Motion is more than good enough with which to get started.)

A playback/record deck in whatever format you will receice & send out.

A Monitor (Decent TV with video input jack will suffice, but only until you run into issues you missed due to not having underscanning to see the whole picture.)

Powered Speakers

LOTS of disk space.

At least 2 gig of RAM.

Some may disagree, but personally I can't conceive of doing any kind of production without having Photoshop handy.

It would be nice to have an audio mixer if only to manually control levels and handle monitoring. And then if you had that a patch bay would be pretty important, but you CAN live without this -- if only for a short period of time.

OK, guys. What did I miss for a bare bones start-up?


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Nick Griffin
Re: Asking for suggestions for a SMALL production/marketing company.
on Oct 10, 2005 at 6:05:21 pm

Oh. Your post came in while I was writing my earlier reply. Sounds like you're well on your way and not quite as "bare bones" as I might have thought.

The BIG thing to remember is only buy things when you absolutely HAVE to have them and the job(s) will quickly pay them off. That's why renting for individual jobs so often makes sense. (IMHO.)


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ninetynine
Re: Asking for suggestions for a SMALL production/marketing company.
on Oct 10, 2005 at 6:18:31 pm

Thanks, Nick,

I didn't see this post 'til late. It is reassuring that we seem to be on the right path. I guess while we're dreaming and scheming, we need to really focus on WHO we are. Ultimately we see our selves as filmmakers, but need to work the commercial end to get the bills paid. Currently the way we operate is to write, pitch, and market our ideas to local businesses and venues in order to get a gig. (We are not in the phone book!) Mostly, we don't want to promise what we cannot deliver. We are not FX experts or graphic artists but as we try to sell ourselves commercially, more and more it seems we need to get a really good graphics person. In the mean time, it's learn as we need to know. I suspect it is that way for everybody? We live in a rather isolated area and "shopping out" for other vendors is not really an option. But then again, maybe a more contained job description (regarding services we offer and what we don't offer) would clear up whether or not we need to seek out vendors who are more expert than we are. We can't do it ALL. Right?



ninetynine


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alex
Re: Asking for suggestions for a SMALL production/marketing company.
by
on Oct 11, 2005 at 7:01:21 pm

I can't imagine what else you need unless you have a specific project in mind, or for some reason you live out of reach of a rental house.

A good rule of busines is to never let the tail wag the dog! Let your incoming work dictate your equipment needs, never own anything you don't need to (especially in this business where things go obsolete fast), and if you have extra cash burning a hole in your pocket, spend it on marketing and outreach rather than equipment. Now your business plan can concentrate on your strategy for bringing in business.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Asking for suggestions for a SMALL production/marketing company.
on Oct 11, 2005 at 10:24:08 pm

Spend your next $200 on marketing and business books, the other advice already given is what I'd have told you. You have the basic tools, can rent whatever else specifically is needed for a job. Now you have to produce some visible product and start locating clients.

My favorite advice to people starting out is do some pro-bono production for a favorite charity or NGO, preferably the favorite charity of the guy who runs the big company you really want to work for. This becomes a legitimate calling card that gets you in the door to the head guy, bypassing all the gatekeepers.


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Michael Kellam
Re: Marketing and Business Books
on Oct 12, 2005 at 2:55:24 pm

Mark,
Can you recommend any Business and Marketing books that you feel are particilarly useful? I'm very interested in expanding in this area, having learned in the last few years just how critical it is.
Thanks in advance!
Michael


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ninetynine
Re: Asking for suggestions for a SMALL production/marketing company.
on Oct 12, 2005 at 2:36:21 pm

Thank you so much for replying. I guess it is my own insecurity in MY ABILITIES (even though our little company is doing work and getting work and no one hates us yet...) I was convinced that we needed more to pull off "being professional. " School loans, is how we aquired equipment (to complete our thesis projects) and it seemed somehow - not serious enough to be taken seriously. Maybe I need a shrink more than equipment. I will gladly take your advice and get stuff only as we need it. In the meantime I will log on to Creative Cow and focus on getting better at what we do. Thank you again. I am grateful for a forum to talk to others in this field.



ninetynine


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