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Video tidbits

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Greg Ball
Video tidbits
on Jul 18, 2006 at 9:13:57 pm

I'm working on adding some things to my website, and I'm looking for a short sentence/factoid related to video production that would be helpful to corporate clients. Does anyone have one they could share? Thanks.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Video tidbits
on Jul 19, 2006 at 4:04:17 pm

The eternal truth, AKA the golden triangle:

"You can have it FAST"
"You can have it CHEAP"
"You can have it QUALITY"

But you only get two... any two, but ONLY two...


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Video tidbits
on Jul 20, 2006 at 6:06:14 pm

Mark,

I think the original was: "Faster, Cheaper, Better -- choose any two."

DRW


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Steve Wargo
Re: Video tidbits
on Jul 20, 2006 at 7:38:17 am

I'll second that for a standard slogan. In the race car business, it's Fast, Cheap, Dependable - Pick 2"

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona

It's a dry heat!


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Tim Kolb
Re: Video tidbits
on Jul 20, 2006 at 2:57:20 pm

Hi Greg,

How are you doing?

Are you looking for some sort of sales kind of thing or something to get a client to think in the long term as far as investing in a quality project or....?



TimK,

Kolb Productions,
Creative Cow Host,
Author/Trainer
http://www.focalpress.com
http://www.classondemand.net


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Greg
Re: Video tidbits
by
on Jul 20, 2006 at 5:24:27 pm

Hi Tim,

Doing well. I hope you are too. Just something that would be helpful to a potential client, or even a current client, that peak their interest and get them to read more. Perhaps some kind of factoid related to corporate/ business video, like..."More than 60% of medium to large businesses use DVDs to traing their employees" Or even a more meaningless yet entertaining factoid about video production.

I still don't understand how you can do fast, cheap, quality. How does one do cheap quality?


Thanks.

Greg


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Tim Kolb
Re: Video tidbits
on Jul 20, 2006 at 6:07:36 pm

[Greg] "I still don't understand how you can do fast, cheap, quality. How does one do cheap quality?"


The saying refers to the fact that you can manipulate the three factors to minimize one by pushing the other two...

You could theoretically do a quality job at a more reasonable price if you could have a year to do it as fill in work...not fast.

You could really turn the project and make it great with some overtime and late nights and subcontractors...not cheap.

You could do something really fast and not charge much if the standards were low for production value...stammering actors who aren't lit and only get two takes while the cameraman, who you hired inexpensively as he just graduated from Earl's Video School, shoots off his shoulder...not quality.


I think an interesting concept is "What do you throw away?" Show a picture of paper brochures and a picture of a DVD/CD...it's all about perceived value...make sure your message stays in front of your client...etc, etc...

It isn't as true as it was 5 or 10 years ago, but I still think it applies to some degree.




TimK,

Kolb Productions,
Creative Cow Host,
Author/Trainer
http://www.focalpress.com
http://www.classondemand.net


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Video tidbits
on Jul 20, 2006 at 6:09:31 pm

[Greg] " still don't understand how you can do fast, cheap, quality. How does one do cheap quality?"

Thats easy, just put in more time, but make sure its not "premium time" -- as in put your assistant on this one, or do it in your spare time.


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Bob Cole
Re: Video tidbits
on Jul 20, 2006 at 7:54:41 pm

As a sales message I think the "pick any two" line is kind of negative. It's fine for us to talk about this amongst ourselves of course.

But with clients I'd advise a more standard approach, giving examples of how clients in your target market are benefiting from your services.

Naturally I haven't done this myself but it's fun to give free advice and worth about as much.

-- Bob C


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Video tidbits
on Jul 20, 2006 at 8:17:17 pm

Bob,

I have to disagree. I think its reality. And, while reality may be a bitter pill, its better for everyone if the client is grounded in reality than in some "ladida" false conception that wishful thinking will get their project done yesterday, for nothing, and at the very highest quality. That is far too often the artist's conception of reality, and one that leads to poisoned relationships and hurt feelings.

DRW


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Bob Cole
Re: Video tidbits
on Jul 20, 2006 at 8:50:12 pm

[David Roth Weiss] "I have to disagree. I think its reality. And, while reality may be a bitter pill, its better for everyone if the client is grounded in reality"


Perhaps the "any two" line is useful at some critical point in the negotiation. But for first impressions, I just think it's negative and off-putting to put it on a website. I also think it's sort of condescending to talk to a client that way. But perhaps that's just me.

I would be delighted if my competition used the "any two" line on their website, and I'll make sure my website is full of client benefits. (In actual fact of course I don't even have a website so I'm speaking purely theoretically here. But this discussion is interesting, as I am girding myself for actual marketing, after 30 years of referrals.)



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David Roth Weiss
Re: Video tidbits
on Jul 20, 2006 at 8:59:37 pm

Well, I'm not saying it should be used as the banner for your production company, but its very useful, and it can be a great ice breaker if mentioned in a humorous way that gets the client to see the irony. In fact, make certain to point out the irony to them and they'll immediately begin to appreciate your Harvard education.


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Bob Cole
Re: Video tidbits
on Jul 20, 2006 at 9:02:28 pm

[David Roth Weiss] "they'll immediately begin to appreciate your Harvard education"


Isn't there some code of ethics about outing somebody without their permission?

I could of course tell the world about DRW's 110% approval rating from the Americans for Democratic Action, the ACLU, and the American Communist Party. But that would cross a line so I won't.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Video tidbits
on Jul 20, 2006 at 9:44:02 pm

[Bob Cole] "Isn't there some code of ethics about outing somebody without their permission?"

Bob,

Apparently its okay to out anyone these days. Hell, I may be due a medal of some sort of medal for outing you, or at least I should be entitled to a promotion and a guaranteed bi-weekly paycheck.

DRW


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Bob Cole
Re: Video tidbits
on Jul 21, 2006 at 12:57:06 am

[David Roth Weiss] "at least I should be entitled to a promotion and a guaranteed bi-weekly paycheck"


It's in the mail.


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Steve Wargo
Right, DRW
on Jul 21, 2006 at 7:30:27 am

How often does someone dash in the door, at the last minute, and need their project done that they forgot all about? The fact that they know up front that they have to give up something for their tardiness, or lack of money, tells them something.

We had a client a while back that was always late and then he would suck up to my wife, who runs the front desk: "How's your Mom doing", "Oh, you got your hair done. Wow! It looks great!" Then, she would say "Oh, can't we do this for Mr X? He's such a nice guy." Nice guy, my ass. He's a con artist. Of course, he would drop it off at 5pm on Friday and say "How early can I get this Monday morning? I have to show it to the group at our breakfast meeting."
Sure thing, idiot. It was the same thing when I was in the car repair business. People want to drop it off on the way to work and pick it up on the way home, 9 1/2 hours later.

Oh crap! I'm blogging again. Sorry.

My next topic of complaint will be the clients who think that we should charge the same thing to work on Sunday as we do on Wednesday afternoon. Our company has a sliding scale for day of week and time of day. You don't? Why not? Get the plumber to come over Sunday night at 9pm and see what that costs.

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona

It's a dry heat!


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Mark Suszko
Re: Video tidbits
on Jul 20, 2006 at 8:09:45 pm

Where I work, we have some nice toys, maybe not the bleeding edge, but adequate. But most of our clients have zero budget or something very small... as in, maybe I can get 10-dollar honorariums and a VHS dub to my actors for a commercial spot, and maybe I can get 50 bucks for a special, vital prop, and that's it. We work on revolving funds and charge-backs, so I live in a world of "funny money" compared to most of you guys.:-)All the production is billed as a one-time fee, but there is no billing structure to cover things like props or special supplies.

So for us the iron triangle equals we can still make it look good, and we can meet your budget, but we're going to have to take way more time. Also, we have a LOT of customers in the pipeline, so we have to have a lot of lead time to fill requests for services. If I can't buy or build standing sets or travel to a real location, I have to fake the locations using greenscreen, Lightwave, Photoshop, etc. and since the money clock's not ticking on my hours put in, I can take all summer to make a high-end looking spot if I need to.

Other times, something comes in and needs an immediate turnaround. It may realy need some roto work, but they will settle for a soft edge wipe as long as it's in the fedex guy's hands by three.

Or the time a client wanted the look of some cel animation for a spot voiced by a kid. I tried to get them to buy us a copy of Toonboom which was like maybe $300 at the time and downloadable online, so I could have been animating in really high quality with preceision control within an hour of the go-ahead. They decided that $300 was too much, but still wanted the animation. So I built some south-park-like characters in a paint application, built several sets of mouth shapes, and built an entire spot in the linear suite, doing stop-motion single-frame linear edits and manipulating the characters with a 1-channel Alladin DVE and Alladin paint, keying in appropriate mouth shapes. Took two-three full days, made my eyes cross, and... they loved it, it ran statewide for years.

I once got a local first place award for a domestic violence spot that cost me less than $20 in props, all closeup tabeltop photography of a stopwatch, some simple switcher effects, with some pretty good theater-of-the-mind audio track work to sell a clearly-thought-out copy idea. I took several days to tweak and perfect the spot best as I could. I beat my rival's $1000 spot that used location photography, boom shots, and actors dressed as clowns.



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Mark Suszko
Re: Video tidbits
on Jul 20, 2006 at 9:13:58 pm

Well the "triangle" discussion happened before you fleshed out what it was you were looking for. I agreee it's not a sales pitch to clients type of message of itself, because arrogant clients will just say they demand ALL THREE. They may think they get all three, but that's rare.

To the new point you're trying to make, you could cite the various scientific studies which show people retain information better when it's presented visually as well as aurally. Wikipedia and google are your first stop for those.

And you can make a case for messages that are retained better when they engage the audience's emotions, something video with sound is very good at.

Conversely you could point out how weak video is at conveying a lot of things better suited to text. I have had clients I would like to drill that message in to:-)

If you are trying to define a new market, you can show statistics about video sites such as youtube, which just hit some kind of record large milestone of postings/downloads this week... as well as getting sued for copyright infringment by the guy who shot footage of the Rodney King beating or whatever.

You can show how network Tv viewership this month hit an all-time low, at the same time apple is rolling in money distributing postage-stamp sized video via itunes. You can discuss how the TIVO phenomenon means advertising as we know it has changed forever, and that you know where it's going next and how to execute it for the new environment.

You really need to kind of define what you're trying to communicate on this site of yours and to whom; then the good choices for you will be more apparent.




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Mike_S
Re: Video tidbits
on Jul 21, 2006 at 2:47:20 pm

I might lean on Orson Welles, with his

"A film is never really any good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet."

Or maybe David Oglivie's

"When I write an ad I don't want you to tell me you find it creative. I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product."

Or even Gwyneth Paltrow:
"From my experience in film there is no truer adage than, 'It's very hard to make a good movie from a bad script'."


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Video tidbits
on Jul 21, 2006 at 2:58:32 pm

Mike,

The Orson Wells quote is outstanding.

As for Gwyneth Paltrow's quote, she left out something... It may be hard to make a good movie from a bad script, but, its also easy to make a bad movie from a good script. Hollywood seems to manage both feats more and more each year.

DRW


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Mike_S
Re: Video tidbits
on Jul 22, 2006 at 9:12:20 am

Hi David,

I just love the Welles quote too. I think it hints at an essence of what film (I'd include visual communications) can be - what it maybe needs to be, if it is to reach, influence, move, perhaps even change people ... Hannah Arendt approached a similar idea with her "Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it."

I hesitated on suggesting the Paltrow line: I so agree about how easy it is to trash a good idea / script, and how often it seems to happen. And, somewhere, I'm a little scared on this one. I think a great script is a really useful starting point for any project, and one that my clients sometimes see more as cost and delay than as essential blueprint. So yea - push script and preparation.

Yet sometimes the film has to "take flight" in production - build on what's in the script and preplanning, and use it as a launch pad for something more extraordinary. I'd hate to see the need for script time turn into a reason to mechanise the production process - "we have the script, now paint in the scenes by numbers." If it's a mechanical process, it may be controllable and costable, but will the results be as good as they should be ..?

Mike



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Rhett Robinson
Slogans & Sales
on Aug 14, 2006 at 4:01:29 pm

As far as a slogan, motto, or mission statement goes, I would really look at the market *you* want to target, and see what it is *they* want, and associate yourself with that. Is it informational? Corporate? Entertainment?

I've been a print designer (working for print companies) for about 15 years now, and I've found that I know what the clients need better than they do, although I don't sell it that way (makes ya sound like a jerk, ya know). I would focus on the specific group you would most like to attract (or, perhaps better yet, the ones that you are most likely to attract, because the job's halfway done), and let them know you can fill their needs.

I definitely don't push the speed/quality/cost routine, but I absolutely don't shirk from it. If someone want's 1,000 full color rack cards tomorrow, it's gonna cost them. If they can wait until the next gang run on the press, it's less than a quarter of that price (and they can actually get 4 times as many for such a small jump that it's crazy not to - remember that if you need printing, and give yourself some time).

I get to have this discussion, oh, about 3 times a day, so I'm pretty good at telling what the person really needs, and how to break it to them. The people that demand all 3 you have to sell in a different way, and convince them that the one that is lacking is really up to par. Meaning, you let them know "that's the going rate", or "that's how long it takes", without turning them off or lying. I'm a designer, not a sales guy, but I know how to sell what the customer *needs*, not what they *think* they want, so I get nonstop business.

Anyway, really focus on what your client's final result is, and sell yourself based on that. I've actually only done a few reasonably serious video projects, but those were well done, and I get regular calls from people they've told, which is really the absolutely best way to advertise, hands down.

Direct mail? It will pull about a 5-10% call rate at the absolute best, if you focus it on people that need your product. Print advertising? It's like shooting a shotgun from 1,000 yards away - you might hit something. TV? Doesn't really work well for my business for the same reason, but if you're able to flash your skills onscreen, and perhaps work out a trade deal so that it doesn't make you hurt for a week, it could be pretty good. It's a shotgun approach too, and with the DVR, I never watch a commercial that I don't want to see anymore - like a well designed motion graphics piece. Then again, I never did - that's when you do something instead of being locked to the tube. However, all of these things can add up. However, do you want calls that you can turn into sales (and can you handle the time that takes?), or do you want a client that's ready to buy when they get to you.

There is a snowball effect to word-of-mouth and networking. They say "it's not what you know, but who you know". Not quite true, but like Zig says, you'll get what you want helping enough other people get what they want. If they like you, trust you, and want to work with you, they'll pass your name on, and there is NO better advertising than that.

Okay - that went into "preachy blog" mode in a hurry! Good luck.


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