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Staffing my startup

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D. TannStaffing my startup
by on Mar 20, 2012 at 5:11:01 pm

I hear that the two things that drain profits in a company are overheads and staff. I have reduced these in every aspect of the business but what i cant cheat or fake is the shooting of footage and the editing of footage. I need some advice in the hiring in these areas.

My startup will be serving the corporate sector, and we will be shooting and editing the GVs of a house and other properties. Thats it. Adding to the complexity is the ability to serve on a national basis. In the immediate area where i am based i may have to hire people myself but when dealing with clients all over the country it becomes unfeasible.

Consolidating these too areas naturally leads to hiring Preditors, which could be the best way of keeping costs down rather than hiring a sperate film crew and then seperate editors to edit it. However hiring fulltime staff would be too expensive, so the natural route is to hire freelancers, but dealing with freelancers who drop in and out of the radar as they pick-up work elsewhere would make hiring temperamental, plus there is the issuing of filming the properties according to certain specifications will be difficult having to educate each one on what to do every time will be time consuming (though not impossible). So perhaps the best thing to do I will have to outsource and subcontract to local video production companies where they deal with hiring freelancers and educating about what and how they need to shoot, plus the issue of travel expenses etc.

Is this the best method for a startup?

How much would I be expected to pay for them to film GVs of a property?? This is important as the costs may run up making the price prohibitively expensive for the client at which point there is no point in the venture.

I realise that I have just outsourced an almighty section of the business. Even with commissioning video production companies to do the work, and therefore transferring the cost onto the client by increasing the price, depending on the cost to commission a video production company, it is still viable as the price might not be too high to make it economically viable for my clients.


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Mark SuszkoRe: Staffing my startup
by on Mar 20, 2012 at 7:28:07 pm

Your business model is flawed, I think, and you're opening yourself up to get every client poached from you. Especially when they figure out you're essentially just a middle-man, marking-up another man's product. No offense meant, but that's what it looks like from here. You don't mention any "added value" you bring to the party except for locating the clients. In this era, I can't imagine such a model as viable. There's already plenty of services out there for booking crews and freelancers on a per-project basis.

Your 'start-up' is a solution looking for a problem.


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Steve MartinRe: Staffing my startup
by on Mar 21, 2012 at 1:00:40 am

D. Tann,

I think I agree with Mark. But perhaps it's because I don't know what you mean by a "GVs of a property." I've never heard that term.

Regardless, I think that unless you're bringing something very valuable to the table (spectacular marketing, super efficient production process, brilliant content, etc...) it seems unlikely that you'll be able to charge enough of a premium to offset the cost of outsourcing everything and protect your margins for the long term. And the idea of policing a nationwide network of freelancers from stealing your clients sounds like a time consuming and perhaps futile effort.

There might be something I'm missing and I hate to be negative, but I just don't see it. But I've been wrong before.. many times! Best of luck to you!

Production is fun - but lets not forget: Nobody ever died on the video table!


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Richard HerdRe: Staffing my startup
by on Mar 21, 2012 at 4:19:11 pm

[Steve Martin] "Regardless, I think that unless you're bringing something very valuable to the table (spectacular marketing, super efficient production process, brilliant content, etc...) it seems unlikely that you'll be able to charge enough of a premium to offset the cost of outsourcing everything and protect your margins for the long term"

Unless...he has a lot of capital for a gigantic scale. For example, remax or century 21. These are giant real estate sales corporations in the US. In that case, I believe you'd want to buy equipment and hire employees and fly them around the country to shoot.

I participated on an extremely small scale in a similar business model but it was for a cook book. (I brought them lunch :) The shooters gained massive efficiency having done the same basic task for 3 months. Hiring a pile of locals every time is a bit wasteful from an efficiency point of view.


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D. TannRe: Staffing my startup
by on Mar 21, 2012 at 5:02:59 pm

Thanks very much for the replies everyone.

- GV stands for 'General Video', its a term used in the UK TV industry, i didnt know it by any other name. Its footage that doesn't have people in it basically, just inanimate objects including buildings.

- I havn't told you the service Im offering in its entirety; there is a completely separate aspect to the service and its not something that video production companies offer. You'd be right to have reservations about its success based simply on treating what i have written as the service in its entirety. But its not the whole picture.

This middleman issue is no different than the worry a business owner feels about the client and freelancer getting too close, any service business is worried about this. Im sure those business owners reading this know what im talking about. I dont think this can happen to me because the business and the service it offers is multifaceted, and i think that element is crucial. The client cant run away with the freelancer or production company because the other aspect would be completely missing. There are elements from different industries that are required for my service to work properly. Like any business theres risk and it might not work, and im prepared for that, but my business is not a middleman and it certainly wont be the reason for its failure if it does fail.

All i was wondering was about the subcontracting of video production companies in the UK, their cost of services and to see the type and the circumstance of the businesses who subcontract to video production companies to see if my business is similar to theirs. They would subcontract not as a finished product but as a means to their finished product. (I hope this makes sense, as i can foresee confusion about whos using who for what)


But thanks for the reality check, its always to healthy for people test you, but ofcourse if it is a proper business than it will be able to stand up to such possible dangers, and i think mine will.


PS:

-I dont how to quote on these forums but i really do like the phrase "Your 'start-up' is a solution looking for a problem." There are alot of "entrepreneurs" that create these sorts of businesses and Im weary of making such a mistake, so hopefully i wont become

-Also on a minor note, in creativecow you cant reply to a thread in general you can only reply to an individual post??


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Richard HerdRe: Staffing my startup
by on Mar 20, 2012 at 8:40:27 pm

[D. Tann] "to film GVs of a property"

What is a "GVs of a property"?


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Todd TerryRe: Staffing my startup
by on Mar 21, 2012 at 2:18:56 am

I'm glad someone else chimed in and didn't know what a "GV" is either... I was having one of those "Everyone knows something that I don't know" moments.

T2

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



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Tom SeftonRe: Staffing my startup
by on Mar 21, 2012 at 10:07:49 am

General Views?


But also to chime in - you aren't selling anything, you are marking up the creative output of someone else. Once your clients find out who is shooting and editing their footage, you can kiss them goodbye. In challenging times, design agencies lose clients to production firms for producing content because they don't like seeing a 40% markup for answering a phone and booking a job.

Also - property videos pay terribly and disappear like a fart in the wind. Make sure you get paid up front before your (sub contracted)cameraman arrives to film something.

Edited to add - we were once offered £150 to drive a 170 mile round trip and film some property. The estate agency thought that it would only take 1hr and why should they pay for travel. I laughed. They didn't.


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Alex ElkinsRe: Staffing my startup
by on Mar 21, 2012 at 2:27:31 pm

[Todd Terry] "I'm glad someone else chimed in and didn't know what a "GV" is either... I was having one of those "Everyone knows something that I don't know" moments."

GVs are what us UK peeps call B-roll.

Alex Elkins
Twitter: @postbluetv
http://www.postblue.tv
Post Blue showreel
Latest work: Greyhounds in Motion at 500fps
My Vimeo Pro page


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Mark SuszkoRe: Staffing my startup
by on Mar 21, 2012 at 2:52:33 pm

I notice it's kind of a British quirk to shorten names of thigs that are already comfortably short, like changing football to "footy", etc. and it makes me smile and shrug because most of the time the contraction makes things more obscure, not less, and it feels, to me anyway, like someone trying too hard to act casual and knowledgeable about something.


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Alex ElkinsRe: Staffing my startup
by on Mar 21, 2012 at 3:06:58 pm

I must say that I think the US term 'B-roll' is a far better description than GV [General View].

I have no idea why we use different terminology within cinema/filmmaking. Perhaps the french term for 'B-roll' is closer to 'general view'. It's the British way to adopt the foreign term, whereas the US style would generally be to rename it to something more descriptive and logical.

We also call dailies 'rushes'. Again, dailies is probably a better description. I think 'rushes' comes from the idea of 'rushing' exposed film to the lab after shooting.

Alex Elkins
Twitter: @postbluetv
http://www.postblue.tv
Post Blue showreel
Latest work: Greyhounds in Motion at 500fps
My Vimeo Pro page


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Mark SuszkoRe: Staffing my startup
by on Mar 21, 2012 at 3:43:10 pm

Well, we call it a switcher here and you call it a "vision mixer" there. We call Editing "cutting", a subtractive process, while you (at least used to) call it "Joining", an additive process.

I think we still both call it a bad deal when we see a bad deal, though:-)


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Alex ElkinsRe: Staffing my startup
by on Mar 21, 2012 at 4:07:05 pm

[Mark Suszko] "you (at least used to) call it "Joining""

I never knew that. You learn something new every day!


Anyway, apologies to the O.P. for hijacking the thread!

FWIW, I tend to agree with the others regarding the sight flaw in the business model. However, I personally know someone using this sort of model for wedding videos and it works quite well. Turnover is high, but so are the expenses in paying freelancers. The trick, as has been pointed out, is not only to generate the clients, but to make sure you do something unique enough that you as the agency can't be replaced. Maybe a deal with a big property website giving you exclusive video rights in exchange for a share of your profit?? That gives you something your freelancers and other production companies don't have...

Alex Elkins
Twitter: @postbluetv
http://www.postblue.tv
Post Blue showreel
Latest work: Greyhounds in Motion at 500fps
My Vimeo Pro page


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Juris EkstsRe: Staffing my startup
by on Mar 21, 2012 at 6:32:13 pm

May I disagree strongly on the B-roll - GV debate.
I think that General View is a far far better description than B-roll which actually gives no information at all about what it is.
Maybe the other term we use, CA's or Cut Aways is an even better description.
Nothing to do with the OP though.


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Mark SuszkoRe: Staffing my startup
by on Mar 21, 2012 at 8:48:26 pm

General View means nothing to me. View of what? Generals? And we never abbreviate Cutaway or Cut-Away as "CA". Back in the day, we all had more nearly identical nomenclature for everything because we learned it in school out of textbooks. My sense of things is that these days too many people are casual about terminology and prefer to make stuff up or use terms without looking them up first. I see people calling a lens a "lense", but worse, I often hear people say: "pan that down", when they mean tilt, "Pan it in", when they mean a dolly, hell, everything is a pan now, I guess:-P

Now where did I put that belt onion?


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Juris EkstsRe: Staffing my startup
by on Mar 22, 2012 at 12:08:25 am

I completely agree about the very loose terminology in use, particularly things like L.S, MS CU etc., but GV and CAs has been in use on this side of the pond for a very long time, and it was definitely taught that way in film schools over here.
But this is a case of . . . divided by a common language.


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Andrew RendellRe: Staffing my startup
by on Mar 22, 2012 at 12:12:05 am

On the terminology front, lots of us in the UK are influenced by the BBC (mainly by being trained there). The BBC is in many ways a "law unto itself" and in general it doesn't feel the need to conform to anyone else's practices (except for things like the EBU and ITU broadcasting standards, which the BBC has frequently contributed to) so the BBC has often made up it's own descriptions for things which have different words everywhere else. One of the most distinctive things is that for the BBC everything is an abbreviation, e.g., GV for general view, blue- or green-screen is CSO (for colour separation overlay, although I've never heard anyone outside the BBC using that one), etc, so the UK tv business does tend to use a few terms that are different to the rest of the world for that reason. In fact, making up your own TLAs is still quite popular in London!


BTW, I thought a "joiner" was the technician who cut and spliced the neg (making cement joins) to match the edit for making the release prints of a film. I've never heard joining used to refer to editing (an editor has also been referred to as a "cutter" in the UK for at least the last thirty years). As a general rule I'd expect any UK specific term to be an acronym rather than a different descriptive word.




[TLA = three letter abbreviation.]


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Tom SeftonRe: Staffing my startup
by on Mar 22, 2012 at 11:01:07 am

I notice it's kind of a British quirk to shorten names of things that are already comfortably short

Mr Pot, Mr Kettle called for you and left a message....


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