5 Tips for Tight Turnaround Creative Video Production

download (54)As a freelancer in creative video production, your reputation is everything to you. Without it, your business would certainly fail. Luckily, your reputation is generally built on two things that are already within your control, the quality of work that you produce, and your ability to meet deadlines. If you have ever struggled with the latter component, then this post is for you. Here are five tips for achieving a tight turn around on your video production projects.

1. Stay Focused on The Deadline

The first step in making sure you meet your client’s deadlines is to simply care about your performance in completing work under deadline. Once your deadline is a priority, you will be more likely to make a serious effort to meet them. To make sure you meet your deadlines, consider missing one a cardinal sin. After you have established this habit, the rest is just a matter of logistics.

2. Keep a Running List of Projects & Deadlines

One way to make sure you never miss a stated project end date is to keep a list or spreadsheet of all your current projects, their status to date, and their expected deadline. Depending on your organization skills, you can even color coordinate this list to show what stage of development each project is currently in. Alternatively, this could be an online list or spreadsheet, or just a list on paper. The tool you use does not matter, so long as you are keeping track.

3. Communicate Clearly

One reason many freelancers lapse on their deadlines is that they do not communicate their expectations clearly with the client. When the deadline is fuzzy, you will have a much harder time reaching it. Instead, be clear in setting your deadline and explaining your process. If the client fails to mention a deadline, do not forget to ask for one.

4. Give Yourself a Cushion

Yet another way to make sure you are completing and submitting your work on time is to build in a cushion. Essentially this means you give yourself a deadline that is a few days earlier than the one the client stated. This way, should anything go awry, you still have a few days to tie up loose ends. To do this, break your project down into smaller pieces, and estimate how long each piece will take, giving yourself about 15% more time than you think it will realistically take. This way, you can accommodate any delays, or finish early to the delight of your clients.

5. Have a Clear Outcome

Lastly, you and your client should agree on what exactly the end deliverable will be. This way there are no disagreements about what you are supposed to have accomplished when. When you turn in a project the client did not ask for, you will have to go back and do extra work to correct the mistake, necessitating more time spent on the project.

Dementia, Domestic Abuse and 3 Things I Have Learned About Film Making

images (26)My story starts about nine years ago, when I had come out of a `difficult` relationship and was enjoying life again. I was determined not to have wasted fifteen years of my life and so wrote a short story about my experiences. I can tell you that it didn`t make for an easy read, but I found the writing process kind of cathartic and when I`d finished, I put my story away and forgot about it.

Fast forward eight years and to an elderly friend who I had known for some time and who was just the sweetest lady.

When she started to forget names of people and places she had been to, her husband took her to the doctors and she was diagnosed with dementia.

Her deterioration was hard to witness and when her husband died suddenly, she went into a care home and then a nursing home. Eventually she recognised no one and completely lost touch with reality, although she seemed content and rocked a doll as though it were her child.

I had a lot of emotion that I needed to express and so out came my pen again and I wrote a story about old age and dementia. My friend`s experience was still very raw in my mind and so I changed my main character to a man – which helped me write from a more detached perspective.

I also wanted to give the elderly a voice. I watched how my Mother was often ignored or spoken down to and she said that since she had gotten old, she felt invisible.

When I had finished writing, I mentioned the stories to a friend of mine, who is a film director and he asked to read the scripts.

He suggested finding a well known person to play the lead role and thought that Bobby Ball would be ideal. At the time I recall thinking “Fat chance somebody famous would ever agree to be in my film”. Horrible, negative attitude, I know, but I still struggle with self esteem issues.

This could have been the end of the story, as it`s so easy to get demoralised and give up on your dreams. Sometimes it just feels as though everything is conspiring against you and the easiest thing is just to give up and find something else to do. I don`t think my years in an abusive relationship helped, as I still carried the mental scars and it takes a long time to rebuild self esteem when it has been shattered so many times.

It really was an effort, but I decided that whatever had happened in the past wasn`t going to affect my future and if ever I paid heed to those little voices – you know the ones that are always telling you that you can`t do something or you`ll never be good enough – if I ever caught myself listening to them, I`d give myself a good talking to and tell myself how great I was. I didn`t always believe it, but it`s better than criticising yourself all the time.

So, these are the 3 things I have learned from this experience, but they apply to pretty much anything that you want to achieve.

It`s so hard when you`re working on your own and it`s something you`ve never done before. If your confidence is shaky to start with, the first knock back is likely to send you scurrying in the opposite direction. But don`t. Have faith in yourself – everyone has to start somewhere and you have nothing to lose, but everything to gain.

Oh, it`s so easy to make excuses as to why you should just give up – and yes, it would be easier. But, I`m telling you, the sense of achievement you get with each step forward and with each bridge you cross, is just amazing. Keep going, no matter how tough it gets and you will have an advantage over thousands of people who try, but give up too easily.

It`s when you need help and when you reach out to people, that you realise how many friends you`ve got – or haven`t got in my case. I should have networked like mad to get the word out, but I didn`t and I had to work so much harder to catch up. Make new friends and get in touch with people you haven`t spoken to in a while.

Surround yourself with only people who have a positive outlook on life as negative folks will bring you down and you will start to doubt yourself.

9 Tips For Choosing a Video Production Company

images (27)Unfortunately, many businesses rush into video production without thinking it through. But a rash decision without a clear plan or set goal will lead to disappointment, and waste your time and money.

How can you avoid this outcome and be happy with your next video project? These 9 strategies can help you produce an effective video without a lot of headaches.

1. Begin with the end in mind.

Don’t just make a video because it’s the trend right now. Instead, think about what you want your video to accomplish for your business. Is your goal to increase business? Educate your viewer? Train your employees? Determine your goal first, then work with a company that understands the scope of your needs and can consult with you to achieve your goals.

2. Cheap video comes at a premium.

Be wary when a production company offers its services at a rate that seems too good to be true the production team may just shoot from the back of the room on a tripod and call it a day. But it’s more expensive to do it wrong the first time and have to redo it. So find out what’s included in the total package: Are edits included? What about music licensing? Or travel expenses? Watch out for those additional costs that can be thrown in at the end and bust your budget.

3. Value accountability and reliability.

Some companies will over-promise to land a client then under-deliver when it comes to the end product. Can the company ensure on-time delivery? Does it have the resources to do so? If you don’t receive the final version until a month or more after filming, will the content still be valuable? Get a guarantee that you’ll have a team dedicated to your project that won’t quit until your video is the embodiment of your vision.

4. Consider your audience.

Prospects and customers who see your video will immediately form an opinion about your business-it affects their perception of your brand. And what could be more important than how potential clients perceive you before they meet you? Think about your target audience and what elements are important to them, then be sure to create a video that reflects that. If you’re including testimonials from clients, be sure they’re reflective of your target audience. Otherwise, you risk alienating your current client-base.

5. Work with experts in your industry.

When choosing a production company, work with someone who already knows what works and what doesn’t by looking to those who specialize in video content for your industry. Experienced vendors have an eye for details you may miss. Don’t forget to get references and sample videos before signing a contract.

6. Consider the value of your time.

How much is your time worth? For example, a retail store owner should be concerned with store sales, not managing a video project. Work with a company that doesn’t require any micro-managing on your part.

7. Choose someone who’s up on video industry standards.

This includes optimizing videos for HD and mobile devices. Make sure your partner creates videos that can be readily accessed in social media, on your website, and anywhere your video might be viewed.

8. Be careful when hiring friends or family.

It may seem convenient to hire Uncle Bob or a longtime client, but it might be more costly to your relationship if the quality of their work doesn’t add up and, in the end, you have to do the job again.

9. Expect stewardship.

Your relationship with the production company shouldn’t end after filming. Choose a production team who can advise you on future projects and provide ongoing, fresh content for your business year after year.

Video is increasingly present in strong marketing strategies. It’s time to add it to yours.


Corporate Film Production Services Company – How to Choose

images (25)Corporate Film production services can be a great source of help to you if you want a film done for low costs and within a short period of time. Making a corporate film is really a dream for thousands. A number of video production companies one will find on the Internet which will offer you the best services. Compare one company against another and be sure to way each of their strengths against their weaknesses. The independent corporate film requires specific preparations in order to achieve the best results for your business presentation, corporate filming, marketing project, advertising. The best way to tell whether the company is capable enough to shoot your corporate film. Video is the most powerful medium to pass on your message for your company. Thus it is very important that you get the right corporate film production service for your video.

For video production, you must need a video production company which will make a video as the way you want. There are five major steps to follow in film production:-

• Development

• Pre-production

• Production

• Post-production

• Distribution

The five phases of video will differ depending on the type of project that you want. The pre-production stage includes processes like concept and idealizing the video to be created and planning and scheduling the recording process of the corporate film. The production stage is the stage in which actual recording of the video takes place and the video to be created comes into being. The post production phase is the stage in which the video is edited and corrected to make it more perfect and various visual effects are added to it to make it look more realistic and good-looking. All of these stages in the corporate film making process require the services of different individuals with quite diverse skills. For every minute of a finished video, between scripting, shooting, editing, graphics, animations, and choosing and inserting exact music, a video production company might spend 20 hours or more of work effort. A production company will work with you in the pre-production stage to help you deliver your message, which we then apply to the production and post-production

When it comes to video, it is important to not simply speak from a script. Video editing can be a very long process and requires much patience while putting the clips together. But a good video production company will try to make the experience pleasant for you. They will be helpful and work at making you happy. If you sense personality attribute, conflicts or lack of concern for your needs, these will be intensifying as the project progresses. Now a days in many bloggers they cover everything from lifestyle to food and fashion, and local events, but a good corporate movie production still commands the attention, as the industry carries on making big budget corporate movies with best quality and satisfaction.

I hope this article will help you find quality corporate film production services. Also be sure not settle for nothing less than perfect as this is your project and perfection is key in film production.


Pitching At AFM – Don’t Be Shutout

download (52)The American Film Market was founded in 1981 as a way to circumvent the strangle hold big studios had on marketing and distribution, especially in foreign markets. The answer has been to sell distribution rights directly to independent sales agents, brokers and distributors. The market also facilitates financing by bringing together filmmakers, product, and financial sources.

Held in early November, nearly a billion dollars of production and distribution deals are sealed every year on films in every stage of development, pre-production and production. The Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel is converted into a busy market place. Some 700 screenings are held at various theatres on the Santa Monica Promenade and at nearby hotel screening rooms. With 8,000 attendees and the industry’s largest conferences, AFM is the must destination for independent filmmakers and industry people.

Last year’s AFM Conference Series included discussions on financing, pitching, production, and marketing and distribution. They also focused on crowd-funding, crowd-sourcing audiences, film festivals, and video on demand. In this article, I am going to focus on the pitch conference and pitch sessions. Pitching your project is the initial step in getting a project rolling, to obtaining finance, gathering a production team, and marketing and selling the film to sales agents, brokers, and distributors. All these steps require some sort of pitching activity. Thus, knowing and perfecting solid techniques is vital to the success of any project.

Getting your script read in Hollywood is difficult. Most agents, producers, and studios will not accept unsolicited work. One must stir up enough buzz to wake up the industry and by doing pitches to anyone and everyone you create awareness. In this way, you create a water-cooler talk-ability that gets you referrals, opens doors and obtains those face-to-face meetings. Screenwriting is a very competitive profession and being able to pitch your script effectively places you above the rank and file. It’s estimated that the Writers Guild of America registered over 100,000 entities and the MPPA rated 708 movies in 2014. Thus being able to rise above the competition and mingle with the 1,670 AFM buyers from 70 counties greatly ups your odds.

A pitch conference is a good place to learn about this process. They say a good pitch can get a bad film made and a bad pitch can leave a terrific project languishing on the shelf. At this conference, attendees learn the essential rules and tools of pitching from experts. These experts included Stephanie Palmer, former head of creative affairs at MGM, Tobin Armbrust, producer of “Begin Again” and Cassian Elwes, producer of “Dallas Buyers Club.”

I’ve included suggestions and tips provided by these experts, along with those referenced in articles they wrote. The goal of your pitch is to generate enough interest to entice further development or to have them read your script. Thus, your pitch is much like a movie trailer, providing the essence of the movie to create further involvement.

Open your presentation with some small talk that establishes a common ground and builds rapport. By doing so, this can be a major factor in selling your script. It cleanses the palate and you began on a clean slate with no carry over from previous presentations. Before you begin your pitch, provide context by defining the genre of your script or give a brief background of your story before you begin your detailed pitch. For instance, this is a comedy that takes place at an all girl boarding school outside of Boston.

Make the experience as if they were watching a trailer of your completed movie. Pitches in the comedy mode should be funny and those in the thriller genre should have moments of surprise and suspense. Use precise words to create a vivid visualization and avoid abstract themes and generalizations. Likewise, provide markers where you are in the script such as, “Moving into act two,” or “In the final scene.” This helps the listener know where they are in the story and where the plot points and twists are located.

Use suspense to up interest. Instead of telling the listener how the story evolves, plant the seeds for the twists and surprising revelations to come. By using these set-ups and pay-offs to your advantage, it illustrates your storytelling skills; a point often overlooked when promoting your abilities as a screenwriter.

Expect to be interrupted. Most meetings are conversational and interactive. So be ready to expand on your pitch and provide more details. Being too detailed and describing every scene, character, or location bogs down the process. The more you say, the less they hear. Find descriptive and active words that quickly bring life to the story. Being animated and emotional likewise enlivens your pitch as it lets your enthusiasm shine. It shows you believe in your project.

Using too many names also confuses the presentation. While it’s okay for main characters, it’s best to identify supporting characters by their function or descriptive handle. In addition, don’t be afraid of clarifying your pitch. Interact and ask if they have any questions at this point. Respond to their questions and suggestions in a positive way. Disagreeing with them shows a lack of respect for their input. Consider their suggestions and then get back to them.

Besides the conference with experts, the market also sponsors a pitch session. Here ten participants selected based on their submitted video and get two minutes to pitch their idea. Another ten are selected from the audience and from these two groups judges select a winner. A modest cash prize goes to the winner along with industry awareness.

These pitching sessions are not for the weak. Critiques tend to be on the caustic side of constructive. If it’s boring, you’ll likely hear that assessment. Likewise, you will hear questions about casting, budget, and marketability. Be ready with answers and comparisons to other pictures with similar budgets that have done well.

Beside the pitch sessions, there are many opportunities to pitch your script or project to people attending the market, people such as producers, production companies, distributors, and sales agents. These people and their contact information are listed in the market’s catalog. You can also mingle with these people in the large hotel lobby or at screenings, events and parties held during the market.

What you learn at this market will help improve your pitching abilities. The networking possibilities are endless and provide ample opportunities to connect. In addition, thank you notes, query letters, and follow-up meetings will help strengthen these relationships. One should likewise consider pitching at other venues, such as film festivals, writer conferences, and pitch fests. Links to these events are available online. Each time you do a pitch session, you learn what grabs people’s attention. You become better at describing and promoting your film.

Moreover, if you keep practicing your craft, it won’t be a strikeout, but a home run deal.