FCPx and the new economy.
This may be a bit off topic but I wanted to post to this forum because you people seem like the smartest in this business. How are most of you or your business coping in this lousy economy? For us, as we've been in business for 30 years, I'd say corporate is down about 80%, commercials are almost non existent,political commercials which we did quite alot of, the funding has been removed from them as the developers and business backers have all gone broke, we're doing a bit of government work, since there is still a bit of funds there.
I believe that FCPX plays into the hands of those who do the $200-$500 crappy videos for Demand Studios or Monkey See, et al, as that segment seems to have increased for the amateur.But I believe that if it were not for the cheapness in price of producing videos of this type, the client would not do them anyway, so no net gain for the pro.
I welcome your thoughts.
[Don Scioli] "How are most of you or your business coping in this lousy economy?"
Our business has been very very weird. Usually the summers are pretty busy but ours was dead dead dead. I mean, like having to consider some MAJOR business decisions dead. And then all of a sudden about two or three weeks ago, WHAM!... it seems like every single client has been coming out of the woodwork needing stuff... and some pretty big and high-budget projects as well. And of course, everyone needs everything yesterday. Arrrgh. Just today we heard from a client who asked us to bid on a project back in May... we hadn't heard a peep out of them (I frankly forgot about it) but suddenly they need the project done now. We're again to the point where we will have to be putting off some projects, and probably not accepting new clients, because we simply can't get it all done. How long will it last? Who knows, but I'm sure it's not permanent and sooner or later we'll be begging for work once again.
I'm trying not to be complacent or self-satisfied about it... I'll probably be back to counting pennies here again before long, the pendulum always swings back eventually. I'm hoping though that this is a good sign that our clients are ready to really spend some money again, though. But I'm not counting on it.
It seems it's the same with us year after year. Our yearly business would be great if only we could get it to even out so that we had a reasonable amount of work all the time... but it seems to either be feast or famine. We are (fortunately) in "feast mode" right now, but frankly it is killing our tiny staff, and stressing everyone out. I don't dare increase the ranks here though, because I know we'll be switching back into "famine mode" sooner or later, and don't want to find myself too fat during those times either.
Next year will be a political year, which we greatly look forward to. I used to hate them, but now I've grown to love political season and doing political commercials. Most of them aren't art by any stretch and very few ever make the reel... but the political consultants don't care one whit what anything costs ("Just get it done!") and they pay super fast, because they have to (per election rules). We really court political work.
I still don't know how to even it all out though... if anyone has a magic bullet for that, I'll sure take one. Maybe two.
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
When its slow I do marketing; work on my website, make a new promo video, go to more local meetings to meet people face to face, media industry related events. To be fair I am not doing my own business full-time so I don't have the same pressures you do.
Media Production Services
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Don, I have to say that I don't think it's FCPX. It's the larger economy and the forces of low cost video in general. As Terry so aptly points out, the business community, especially outside the west coast, appears in a death spiral. Less government spending, less consumer demand, all my friends in the Pacific NW running smaller businesses are hurting. The only ones surviving and keeping us afloat are Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, and Starbucks with their satellites of companies that cater to them.
I feel for someone like Terry, great depth of experience, huge investment in equipment, staff, etc. and yet the phone doesn't ring when it used to. It makes it damn hard, and I doubt that his business is going to an 18 year old with a T2i. My buddies out here in the younger set are mainly finding work in special effects, sitting in front of an editing/SFX computer and occassionally shooting some stuff on 5Ds in the studio. But I don't really have a handle on the Ad Agency world anymore.
My ex-partner who sold what used to be our video production business a few years ago, left for NYC and I chatted with him today. He says the area still has a strong demand for video services. So while the centers thrive, the outlying areas die. We are likely to be in this mess for another decade. There seems to be no light yet at the end of the tunnel. And don't get me started about our politicians, who seem only capable of making things worse at this time.
But keep plugging away, and when you don't have work, remember this is really a business about relationships. Keep making them, and keep the ones you make, and you'll likely find something to do.
Best of luck!
Terry, great web site! I certainly wouldn't spend much time worrying about that aspect of the business!
Sorry Todd, I can't edit these things after the fact. Meant to say you not 'Terry'
Well, not going to give any details of our business operations, but I will reiterate what others have said. When things are slow, work on your capabilities. We have been tweaking a new website for a year and building a new CRM tool for our e-commerce side of things. Both of these investments will pay dividends in the future.
New work comes in if you work for it. Budgets are often based upon fiscal years, not on when someone needs a video made. So you sit and wait, follow up periodically, and keep working your contacts for new business, and seeking new contacts.
But yes, the economy is slow for a lot of businesses.
Not sure what this has to do with Final Cut X either. It's software.
[Al Bergstein] "Sorry Todd, I can't edit these things after the fact. Meant to say you not 'Terry'"
No worries, Al, happens all the time. The burden of having a last name that can be a first name, and vice versa. I'm used to it.
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
For me the quietest time was the first half of 2010 and there has been a gradual creep back of work since around june/july 2010. Still a bit uneven but in the last 3 or 4 months I've actually had to turn a couple of jobs down because I'm busy and can't fit them in.
Most of my stuff has been with people I already have a professional relationship with, but I have had a handful of new contacts and if anything people are more fussy about experience/track record than ever.