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Making a video is kind of like making a pizza...

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Joey Groah
Making a video is kind of like making a pizza...
on Sep 17, 2010 at 12:40:07 pm

"Look, I don't know the answers to your questions, I just want to know how much it costs." We sometimes get the "Tell me how much a commercial costs" question call, where someone doesn't want to go through a discovery phase and just "needs to know now!"

Do you guys have any favorite similes or metaphors you use to describe the "hey, if it's not too much trouble, I sort of, maybe, I might, y'know, need to know what you're trying to do" part of starting the proposal and bid process to the uninitiated?

I tend to go with building a house, "We can build you a house that can do the most basic functions of a house, or we can build one with as many rooms as needed at any size with as many stories as you want. Those cost different things. What kind of house are we talking about?"

Sometimes it seems clunky, but much better than the time I tried to go for "gourmet hamburger..."

Joey Groah

Partner/Producer
DIGICO Shoot | Post | Design
http://www.goDIGICO.com

O: 540.433.6529
f: 540.574.3041





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Walter Soyka
Re: Making a video is kind of like making a pizza...
on Sep 17, 2010 at 1:51:48 pm

The client thinks they are buying a product, but you are selling a service. It's a tough divide to cross.

I liken it to tailoring a suit. The client ends up with a product, but it's customization -- your service -- that gives it real value.

You and the client discuss their needs, then together select a fabric and a style. You take their measurements. They go away and you get to work. They come back for a fitting and you adjust as necessary. In the end, the client gets a product that fits perfectly and is ideally and uniquely suited for them.

Off-the-rack media is certainly cheaper, but it never fits right.

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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David Roth Weiss
Re: Making a video is kind of like making a pizza...
on Sep 17, 2010 at 2:31:56 pm

I find cars make the best analogy. Do you want a Ford or a Lamborghini?


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ron sussman
Re: Making a video is kind of like making a pizza...
on Sep 22, 2010 at 2:39:05 am

unfortunately these days its "we only have Ford money but it needs to look like a Lamborghini and if you can't do it for the money we will find someone else who will". I like the house building analogy.


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Fernando Mol
Re: Making a video is kind of like making a pizza...
on Sep 17, 2010 at 2:33:20 pm

When I get that question I always try to give the client a range that covers what I think are their needs: "It depends on the project, for example my last video for X client was $XXX, but I also did this other project for $XXX".

For a client to understand, I ask him how much can cost to go out with my couple in a Saturday night. If they freeze, they get the idea.

A client that expect to spend five bucks in a project will be tankful (and you too) if he finds out early that he's totally out of range and can stop wasting his/your time.

Clients that insist in how much it's going usually are clients that have never done a similar project before. Consider that they may never will.

*Always share a link to your site and rate the posts. This is a free service for you and for us.


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Scott Carnegie
Re: Making a video is kind of like making a pizza...
on Sep 17, 2010 at 3:09:28 pm

I will sometimes say that cost depend on what they want, if they want to hire Brad Pitt then we can, it will cost about a million dollars more.

http://www.MediaCircus.TV
Media Production Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


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Todd Terry
Re: Making a video is kind of like making a pizza...
on Sep 17, 2010 at 3:15:17 pm

My typical smartass answer is... "How long is a road? It just depends on where you want to go, and what kind of scenery you'd like along the way."

T2

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



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Fernando Mol
Re: Making a video is kind of like making a pizza...
on Sep 17, 2010 at 3:37:37 pm

I try to ask back "how much did you spend in your last project?". And if they haven't done anything like this yet, then I start defining the project. When the money question comes back, then I say: I'll send you a budget.

When the money question comes at the first call, before any real meeting, then (in my experience) that means the client probably will be a grinder. Shooting high tends clear that question.

*Always share a link to your site and rate the posts. This is a free service for you and for us.


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Joey Groah
Re: Making a video is kind of like making a pizza...
on Sep 17, 2010 at 3:38:04 pm

Ha, these are great, and versatile for the scenarios.

I always forget the cars! I'm going to steal "What kind of car driving on how long a road driven by Brad Pitt in a nice, tailored suit..."

Joey Groah

Partner/Producer
DIGICO Shoot | Post | Design
http://www.goDIGICO.com

O: 540.433.6529
f: 540.574.3041





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Dave Johnson
Re: Making a video is kind of like making a pizza...
on Sep 17, 2010 at 4:11:47 pm

Personally, I use the building a house analogy most often and think an important distinction to make is building a house, rather than buying a pre-fab house like those sold in the early 1900s.

While the car analogy also makes perfect sense to people like us who already understand the parallels, I avoid it like the plague because I've found it allows clients to oversimplify the issues the analogy is intended to clarify ... in other words, most people tend to answer that question by simply saying "I don't need a Lamborghini for ten times the price of a Ford when a Ford will get me from point A to point B just the same ... so, how much is the base-model Ford?". In fact, the answer is often more along the lines of "I'll take the Lamborghini for the price of the Ford" since the analogy didn't help them understand the reasons one costs more than the other, which in my opinion the house analogy does much better since most people understand the differences between a mobile home and a two-story, four-bedroom house with a two-car garage and a pool much better than they do the inner workings of car engines and designs.

Circling back to that question so easily circumvents the real issue, which Walter stated very well with "The client thinks they are buying a product, but you are selling a service." ... in my opinion, hiring a video producer is much more similar to hiring a general contractor to build a house or a tailor to make a suit than it is to selecting which pre-made product you want to buy off the shelf.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Making a video is kind of like making a pizza...
on Sep 17, 2010 at 5:04:07 pm

[Dave Johnson] "While the car analogy also makes perfect sense to people like us who already understand the parallels, I avoid it like the plague because I've found it allows clients to oversimplify the issues the analogy is intended to clarify ... the analogy didn't help them understand the reasons one costs more than the other, which in my opinion the house analogy does much better since most people understand the differences between a mobile home and a two-story, four-bedroom house with a two-car garage and a pool much better than they do the inner workings of car engines and designs."

I absolutely agree.

Whatever analogy you use, when you are describing why one approach may cost more than another, you need to be very clear about what added value the client is getting for their money. You should also be clear about how it's you that's adding that value.

Talking about Brad Pitt or fancy tracking helicopter shots as items that increase the budget makes clients think about extra zeroes on the price tag that offer no return. Unless you happen to be a videographer-slash-helicopter pilot who represents Brad Pitt on the side, they also have little to do with your business. All you've accomplished with that conversation is convincing your clients that they can do their video on the cheap without sacrificing much. You've given up an opportunity to help your client produce a stronger video, and you've missed out on making a bigger sale.

Instead, I think it's important to make that conversation on budget range about items that add both cost and real value -- more time for concept development and writing, better design, color correction, etc. With information like this, your client can make a well-informed decision about what they want and what they can afford.

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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Steve Kownacki
Re: Making a video is kind of like making a pizza...
on Sep 18, 2010 at 12:44:39 pm

I have always used the house analogy and to expand it goes something like this:

you have a blueprint, I have a script
you have an architect, I have producer
you have a hammer, I have a camera
you have a shovel, I have an editor

I can show up with a pile of lumber, nails and carpenter, but without a plan I don't know where to begin. The same that I can show up with a camera and just start shooting things. If I don't know where I'm going costs will probably get uncontrolled.

If you can show me other videos you like I can ballpark them based on some criteria of locations, talent, blah, blah, blah.

Steve






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Mark Suszko
Re: Making a video is kind of like making a pizza...
on Sep 20, 2010 at 3:29:39 pm

I use the house and car analogies interchangeably with my clients or potential clients. But lately, I've been pushing hard for them to go thru the Creative Treatment process, and I like the analogy I came up with when they offer some resistance to putting in the homework of writing out the Treatment or even a specification memo.


The analogy I came up with was:

"You go to Denny's and sit down, the waitress (us) comes to you and you simply say: I'd like eggs, please". Nothing more. So, after she brings you scrambled, and you send them back, over-easy, over-hard, and you send them back, Denver Omelet, and you send it back, French Toast, and you send them back, Huevos Rancheros, and you send it back, you've spent all this time and wasted all this effort and material, when you could have just said at the beginning:

Three-hard-boiled eggs and some toast, please.

That's that the Creative Treatment is about, it is about defining your needs as accurately as possible, from the beginning, so there's less guesswork involved, and everybody is on the same page".


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Mike Cohen
Re: Making a video is kind of like making a pizza...
on Sep 20, 2010 at 9:42:23 pm

"Actually, making a video is not like anything else...it is making a video, which is why you have come to us. We know how to make videos. Let us walk you through the process, answer your questions define the deliverables and do a great job for you."

That's what I say anyway.

Although I do have a craving for an omelet pizza, which I will eat in my car while building a house.

Mike Cohen


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Mark Grossardt
Re: Making a video is kind of like making a pizza...
on Sep 28, 2010 at 8:53:53 pm

Some clients aren't ever going to WANT to understand.

I once had a grinder who was upset that the final product wasn't close to what he wanted, despite it being exactly what the script that he signed off on called for. He wasn't about to spend another dime paying for a reshoot, new VO, more editing, etc. I used the house analogy, explaining how a contractor could go back to your newly built house, tear out a few walls and expand your living room by a couple hundred square feet, but that's gonna cost money, and man, that's an expensive way to build the house that you want.

His response was silence and an angry stare followed by, "That's a terrible analogy. Making commercials is nothing like that."

Mark Grossardt
Video Editor
Clark Creative Group


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David Johnson
Re: Making a video is kind of like making a pizza...
on Sep 28, 2010 at 11:55:37 pm

[Mark Grossardt] "Some clients aren't ever going to WANT to understand."

You're exactly right, which is why I'm grateful that one of the business owners I worked for early in my career taught me that it's sometimes ok to fire a client ... when they'll clearly cost more than they'll ever be worth, there's nothing wrong with kindly walking them across the street to one of your competitors and wishing them luck.

By the way, Steve Kownacki and Mark Suszko, those are great additions to the traditional analogies so thanks much for sharing your thoughts ... although I must admit I'm a little skeptical about comparing myself to a Denny's waitress ... especially considering the buyer's remorse people often experience the morning after eating at Denny's. ;~)


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