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Advice on growing a young production company

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Jon Etheridge
Advice on growing a young production company
on Jan 4, 2008 at 9:44:34 pm

Hey everyone out there in COW land. I hope everyone had a good new year. I'm posting to get advice on expanding a production company. Were a new production company in Wilmington NC We just got finished calling and sending our reels to pretty much every ad agency in the state to try and get more work. What are some of the ways you guys improve your business over the years. Our goal is to get big clients that take value in the quality of their commercials/corporate videos ect. Let me know what you think of our website inspire2film.com and ways to improve that as well. Thanks everyone!! :)

-Jon Etheridge
-Inspire Productions
-edit@inspire2film.com


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Rick Dolishny
Re: Advice on growing a young production company
on Jan 5, 2008 at 1:31:47 am

First of all great reel. What is the music; you made it work really well.

I like your site, but I wonder if it could be a little less talky and more showy. You have a great reel but the site looks a bit green.

As for more work there is no magic bullet. Just keep doing what you're doing. Spec ads might be good to help beef up your portfolio a bit more. The thing with ad agencies is they need to see you can do a little bit of everything, at least in my experience.

---
Rick Dolishny
Discrete Editors COW Leader
http://www.dolish.com - http://www.digitalimagefest.com


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Zane Barker
Re: Advice on growing a young production company
on Jan 5, 2008 at 5:28:20 am

[Rick Dolishny] "First of all great reel. What is the music; you made it work really well. "

I completely disagree on the music, for the reel. The music was way to dramatic for the reel. The video rest of the content in the reel was good, but the music keeps saying something really dramatic is about to happen, and it doesn't.

Just my opinion.

Happy Editing To You!!


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Nick Griffin
Re: Advice on growing a young production company
on Jan 5, 2008 at 4:10:29 pm

[Zane Barker] "I completely disagree on the music, for the reel."

Okay, I completely disagree with Zane, completely agree with Rick and love the reel AND the music. It shows off Inspire Productions' work and editing skills quite well. (And Jon, beautiful footage! If you guys are shooting stuff like this with in house talent you really have quite a shop for a market of your size.)


[Rick Dolishny] "The thing with ad agencies is they need to see you can do a little bit of everything, at least in my experience."

Yes and no. Most agency people are like most normal people in business -- they too often want to (and need to) see something very similar to what they want to do for it to sink in that you can do what they want. That's why a reel like this is a good start, but should be supplemented with a longer form reel showing complete spots. If at all possible, put together a custom reel in response to what you learn in the sales process. "I realize, Mr. Creative Director, that your agency does a lot of real estate work, so I wanted to show you some examples of successful real estate projects we've produced."

And speaking of sales, to grow you're probably going to need to add salespeople/"producers" who can just keep knocking on doors, buying lunches and stay in close contact with the agencies you're trying to crack. Sending out a reel to an agency in Charlotte is unlikely to make them very interested in using a production house in Wilmington. Several in person visits by a producer wanting to show the latest ideas, techniques and work is. People like to hire someone they know and frequently that's accomplished by calling on your prospects in person over a long period of time before you get any business at all. It's not easy and it won't be cheap but it's probably the best way to achieve your goals.

And that's my... (Ka-ching) ...two cents.


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Todd at Fantastic Plastic
Re: Advice on growing a young production company
on Jan 5, 2008 at 5:07:15 pm

[Nick Griffin] "Most agency people are like most normal people in business -- they too often want to (and need to) see something very similar to what they want to do"

VERY true. Fortunately we rarely lose the jobs we are up for, but we just lost one to an outside unknown production company even though the agency almost always hires us. We lost it because the other production company had a spot on their reel of exactly the same genre as the ad agency's client. In the end though it bit them in the rear... the other production company chaged them more than TEN times our rate for a one-day Varicam shoot (and had things on the budget like a huge crane, Fisher dolly, blimped genny... all things that weren't even used) and the footage was so bad that the agency was ashamed to show it to the client. They apologized profuesly for not hiring us, and I bit my lip to keep the "I told you so" from flying out of my mouth.

[Nick Griffin] "put together a custom reel"

Also good advice, as Nick's almost always is. In addition to our "regular" commercial reel, we have several other reels laying around with industry specific spots on them. We have a reel for retail, one for automotive, real estate, plastic surgery, pharmacutical, banking...etc. And we have quickly thrown together custom reels on a number of occasions. It is well worth an hour's suite time to assemble a custom reel especially if a potential client is almost "on the hook" anyway.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Jon Etheridge
Re: Advice on growing a young production company
on Jan 6, 2008 at 2:51:49 am

Thanks for the advice everyone. When we sent out the DVD's with our reel on it they also include several 30sec spots. Hopefully the quality of the work will shine through.

I love the fact that there is a place like the COW that us young guys can come and ask people with a ton more experience. Again, thanks everyone.

Wish me luck

-Jon Etheridge
-Inspire Productions

Jon Etheridge
ethproductions(at)yahoo(dot)com


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