Successful Video Production is Like a Vacation
by Kenneth Wajda
first question I often hear when someone inquires about
television production is:
much does it cost to produce a video?"
equate that question with going to the travel agent and
asking how much a trip is going to cost without mentioning
your vacation goals. If the travel agent knew how much you
could afford and what kinds of vacations you like, they
could offer you a plethora of choices, based on their expertise
So, let's skip that question, "How much will it cost...?"
and let me suggest a pair of alternate questions that work
equally well for your travel agent:
much do you want to spend?"
(or "What's in your television production
"Where do you want to go?"
(or "Who is the intended audience
for the video?")
are much better questions as they focus the discussion on
how we can produce the most
effective video piece to do what you intend it to do and
who you want to reach. Knowing how much in in the budget
to work with, we can discuss how best to use that money
to increase your bottom line and achieve your communication
goals. Because you do have choices "where you go."
we produce five 30-second promotional spots or would it
better serve your goal if we produce one ten-minute clip
that shows the workings of your business and highlights
the people and their passion for your product.
have a short attention span. I graduated college with a
mass communications degree and I understand how to most
effectively communicate a message. Oftentimes, the shorter
the better. Got Milk? Where's the Beef?
is a very effective medium to deliver a messageyour
message. But you want to maximize your budget by putting
as much of it on the screen, not in below-the-line production
costs that the viewer will never see.
restaurant owner might do better spending $400 a month on
a consistent series of web TV ads (featuring their own chef)
than spending $5000 on one 30-second spot with a celebrity
comes down to choices.
you are a kid and given $5,
you know there are many possibilities for that fiver,
and you consider them all.
the producer? What is their background, their experience?
Do you like their production style? (Their work for other
businesses is a good indicator of what your piece will look
Do they work with a 15-person or a two-person crew? (There's
a time and place for each.)
How much time do you want this production to take? When
do you need the final, edited piece? Some producers are
notoriously faster or slower, often depending on how they
learned the business. In my experience, L.A. filmmakers
learn to use big crews and create slow, detailed shoots,
like Hollywood. New York filmmakers tend to be quicker,
more independent-focused, often using smaller crews and
more realistic shooting styles.
Standard Definition? Will it ever play on TV? If it's for
the web only, you could save money by not choosing HD.
actors and locations be needed? Can you make an effective
piece without professional actors? (The answer is often
probably not.) Can we simplify the locations or cast? Or
does it need to be a grade school classroom full of children.
Whatever is best for the audience, the most effective storytelling,
is the best choice.
answer the questions and work with your budget to create
effective television spots that serve your needs and help
your business grow.
where do you want to go?