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Looking to start a video/photography production company, and looking for advice from those already successful

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Tom SmithLooking to start a video/photography production company, and looking for advice from those already successful
by on Dec 24, 2012 at 10:29:24 pm

My partner has been doing freelance gigs here and there for years, and I myself have been doing editing for short films, directing some shorts, cutting commercial vids, and some local TV shows for over a year now. I come from an acting background and have been acting in indie films for about 7 years now. I made the natural progression from in front of the cam to behind it and started learning video editing and color correction on my own time out of necessity. The point we are at is this: it's time to step up this game and make a living from it, since there's no reason we can't.

Now though it's also time to hear what others have to say who have gone before us and reap the wisdom. Equipment wise, we have one DSLR to work with, intend to rent others if need be. We have some decent lights and a bunch of lenses. I will be doing the editing and most post work. Really looking to do any kind of work needing video. I would like to eventually be able to solicit scripts and produce at least one feature within the next year or so. We plan on doing weddings and events mainly for now since they are plentiful and pay bills.

If anyone has any words of advice, that would be great.


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Jonathan ZieglerRe: Looking to start a video/photography production company, and looking for advice from those already successful
by on Dec 25, 2012 at 4:19:23 pm

I may not be the person to listen to, but some things that work or me:

1) plan. The more time spent planning, the less money spent on production
2) focus on one thing at a time, but cultivate other options. While you're shooting a commercial and you have that whole crew together, try shooting some stock or a self-promo shot or improve on the last shot. I now shoot stock photo and video and now I'm getting audio and sound effects for stock.
3) the only constant is change. Since I started doing this for real (moving from hobby to pro), the business has changed. It will keep changing
4) dive into the DIY film community - lots of great, inexpensive solutions to often pricey equipment and practical solutions for numerous situations. Start contributing to help build clout.
5) cultivate professional relationships locally. You never know when you will need a new shooter or assistant. Also, the others in your field are your friends and resources - need to borrow something and so-and-so has it? Great being em into the project or borrow their equipment.
6) dont be penny wise and pound foolish. That mean saving by not buying the little stuff (which really adds up quickly), but then buying expensive equipment or having to have the latest equipment. Remember, last years must-have item is often holding down the dumpster pile a year or 2 later.
7) protect yourself: hire a lawyer - before you spent any money on equipment, supplies, etc, have a lawyer put together your business (be it an LLC, corporation, or partnership) and get legal with your state. Get licenses, model, property, and other releases, agreements, accounting, etc all straightened out before doing business. The money you save over the long run will be immeasurable.

I have more, but that's enough for now!

Save early. Save often.

Jonathan Ziegler

http://www.electrictiger.com
520-360-8293


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Emre TufekciogluRe: Looking to start a video/photography production company, and looking for advice from those already successful
by on Dec 25, 2012 at 10:16:16 pm

Here is some great advice from NIck:

http://magazine.creativecow.net/article/12-things-i-know-about-business-at-...



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Nick GriffinRe: Looking to start a video/photography production company, and looking for advice from those already successful
by on Dec 26, 2012 at 9:12:50 pm

Aw shucks, thanks, Emre.

Of course there's also now #13: Proofread so you don't have "loose" where you meant to say "lose."

I think one of the better pieces of advice given in this forum over the years has been to invest in gear and software at the point where it's really needed and not to think you have to be fully geared-up from day one. Rent, borrow, get by until your situation demands that the item is something you'll be using on a very regular basis.

It seems that Tom may already be headed down this path and Jonathan has also made this point in his item 6, but let me add a concurrent thought. Gear, especially computers and software has to pay for itself very quickly. A matter of a few months to a year is ideal. You also have to regard frequent upgrades as a cost of doing business. Build this into your long term planning.

Be especially wary of taking on too much debt in the name of staying current. That's one of the nearly universal factors in the demise of so many of the big production houses. Twenty years ago most of them felt that they had to be state-of-the-art in order to hold onto their clients, so the latest and greatest "box" had to be available in the "A" Suite. Quantel, Multi-channel ADO, etc. Then along came folks like most of us with our inexpensive desktop systems that could do the same work for a fraction of the cost. The big production houses still had to pay down the loans they'd taken for their latest and greatest boxes and they still had to pay the leases or mortgages on their expensive facilities and POOF... they started going out of business. A trend that continues to this day.

So stay smart, invest carefully and regularly keep a close eye on how much is going out and coming in.

And one other thought and an idea that's not discussed here often: Going into business doesn't necessarily have to be an all or nothing proposition. Many times it can be much safer to hold onto an existing job while starting your new venture on the side. As you develop new clients and a predictable flow of business you can make the change from part time/on the side to becoming a full time six or seven day a week business. It may not be practical for everyone in every situation, but for those who can make the gradual transition work, it's a helluva of lot safer.


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Reyad Hasan PrinceRe: Looking to start a video/photography production company, and looking for advice from those already successful
by on Jan 9, 2013 at 1:32:52 pm

We specialize in commercial documentaries, corporate television commercials and even educational films.

Our film and video production company is located in Austin Texas, and we are happy to travel to our clients to provide on-location video production services.


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Tom SmithRe: Looking to start a video/photography production company, and looking for advice from those already successful
by on Dec 27, 2012 at 9:04:46 pm

Great stuff thank you all


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