Okay so you’ve decided that you want to put together a video or commercial for your company. The first step is usually look at what other companies may be doing that achieve the look you’re going for. Once you’ve found some videos or examples that you like, you need to choose or shop around for someone to produce it. Before you hire a company though, there are some questions you should ask to ensure you’re happy with the final product.
1. Do we need to supply a script or do you provide that?
Not all production companies provide the pre-production services you may need. If you already have an idea of what you want and what you want to say you may not need that, but it’s worth knowing if the producer will be supplying someone to write the script, storyboard, and help the Director of Photography (DoP) come up with a shot list. If you have to do it yourself, not only are you spending more time on the production, but you may not always be happy with the result.
2. Do you provide/recommend talent or do I have to be in the video?
For lower budget (< $3000) commercials, I find that someone in the company chooses to be in the video themselves rather than hire talent. Whatever the budget though, you need to know how much you should be involved. Being in a video is much more than just looking nice and showing up on the day of filming and giving your elevator pitch. You may have to dedicate time for hair, make-up (yes even men), rehearsals, location changes, and ultimately being the face of the company. If that’s part of the deal, fine, but you should know before-hand if you need to budget time for that.
3. What do you do with the video after it’s edited?
The expected response may involve delivery on disc, FTP, or Dropbox, but that’s not what you’re asking. You want to know how to use the video you’ve just spent thousands of dollars on. You may already have a marketing team ready to blast it out to various social media channels and newsletters, or you may not. Hopefully you’ve already determined why you are making a video and the goals you’re looking to achieve. If so, this next step should be fairly mechanical. Does the production company provide social media marketing for a time period? Do they help advertise for you? Do they put together the whole package for you? The last thing you want is to spend $1500 – $5500 on a video just to have your 200 Facebook friends see it.
4. Will we own the video? / How long can we use it?
With traditional advertising you’d be paying for x amount of months for y dollars. Some production companies still operate this way depending on the deliverables and you need to know if you can use this product forever, or just a couple months. Granted a few months may be enough, but what if you want to use it as a reminder video in 6 months or next year? Generally the production company will own the copyright of the video to protect their creative rights, but will license the video to you for a certain amount with either limited or unlimited rights to use.
5. Do you have a contract?
Now if the answer to this is yes, then the previous question shouldn’t be an issue. Not all companies use contracts, or the hiring company may provide it. Either way, you need to determine internally if you want one (you should) and who should write it up. In almost every case we provide a fair contract to outline all of the “what if” scenarios. Not all productions need a contract, but make sure everyone is on the same page before checks get signed or cameras come out. Contracts can sometimes be seen as a lack of trust, but they exist to protect everybody in an event of miscommunication at the very least.
What do you think, are there other questions you think you should ask or that you’d want answers to? Leave a comment below!