5 Unique Methods For Keeping Your Video Production Business on Track In a Bad Economy

MattBusiness, Filmmaking, Mindset, Video Production2 Comments

During a bad economy, you’ll find it difficult to get a loan from banks when you need it to fund your video production business.

And why is that?

It’s because they believe that you won’t have enough resources to pay for the loan. That’s just how things work and unless you learn how to go with the flow, you won’t be productive and run a smooth video business.

It is challenging to overcome issues inherent with a down economy, and to keep a strong mindset, once you are experiencing the effects of a bad economy.

However, here are some things you can do to alleviate its impact.

1. Target industries that are not influenced by the effects a bad economy

These industries may be health organizations (people are in constant need of medical attention), high-level education (education is always in demand), government (they never get affected by the economy), religious organizations (they always have funds).

It doesn’t mean that these industries become successful during a bad economic situation. However, they do better than any other industry which indicates that you won’t lose business when everyone else in the corporate world declines your projects.

So don’t go knocking on tech company doors during a recession or down economy  — these guys won’t have time for you and your work!

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2. Think about ways to get more money when everything is doing well

You’ve heard of the phrase, “Make hay while the sun shines.”

Right?

That’s what we’re talking about here.

It’s the time of the year when banks are ready to lend money to anyone who goes to them. This is the perfect time to decrease the money you spend every month on certain things.

Remind yourself not to get additional expenses that will dip into a bigger part of your savings.

You will need to have cash reserves once the economy turns and you wouldn’t like to spend any more than what you usually do when your video production profit gets low.

3. Save when there’s a chance to

If you’re like most people, you have an urge to buy more things when you’re doing well. When profits are up, you’re more likely to splurge out on things you don’t necessarily need.

Resist this urge.

During the times when people go crazy at a shopping spree, you should seriously focus on selling.

Do everything you can to sell and market during the day and produce that at night or when the weekend arrives.

Get the chance to spend more time on your sales while everyone is busy spending their money on purchases.

Be a creator not a consumer.

4. When you’ve earned your money and would like to spend it on something, remember that business tragedy is a reality

It’s undeniable that problems with the business are something that happens to any entrepreneur. To ignore this fact will lead to unfortunate circumstances for your production company.

The economy is greater than you or any video production business out there. To keep up with it, you should should learn one simple fact: the market is smarter than you.

Sounds crap, doesn’t it? But I’m afraid it’s the truth.

The roads of Wall Street are littered with the bodies of those who thought they were smarter than the markets.

That’s why it’s important to work hard and earn while the economy is at its peak. Focus on selling and disregard spending. Make clever decisions about your finances. Soon, the good things you do during this height will conquer the inevitable lows that a bad economy will unfortunately bring.

5. Focus on eliminating the time sucks

I’ve found that the largest time suck and profit leak in a video business is the creative process. In the past, we often spend way too much time trying, tweaking and hating our work until the deadline arrives and we are forced to hurry up and make it suitable for delivery to our client.

In our studio, this is often referred to as “polishing a turd!”

You don’t want to be in this position.

When this happens, we aren’t fulfilled as artists and our bank account isn’t filled up with the cash needed to support our families and to reinvest in our businesses.

In order to be both fulfilled and financially successful, we have to find ways to systematize our creative process so we can deliver quality products, faster and with higher profit margins.

In other words, we want the freedom to be as creative as possible in each project we work on and we also want to be paid for all the time spent making the client’s masterpiece.

Sometimes, it simply doesn’t happen this way.

We don’t have the luxury of an open-ended meter where we can just work on a project as long as we want with the guarantee of getting paid for every single hour it takes to complete it to our satisfaction.

Instead, we either work too many hours that we don’t get paid for or we intentionally work fewer hours because we want to make sure we get paid for all our efforts.

Both options are bad for us, the video business owner.

If we work too many hours that aren’t compensated, we can’t survive and thrive financially. And if we work fewer hours than it takes to deliver an exceptional product for the client, we risk not getting hired again which also impacts our financial well-being.

It’s a lose/lose scenario.

In order to be successful in our industry, we must systematize as much of the creative process as possible.

What follows are my thoughts on systematizing your video production business. This is a starting point and I plan to write a more detailed article on the subject in the future.

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1. Scriptwriting

How do you go about writing a script for a project?

Create a process for doing the research, developing the outline, submitting for client review/approval, etc.

Write the process down once and it’s done forever. Then it’s just a matter of following the process each time.

Sound easy?

It is. And it will make your life so much easier.

Another thing you can consider doing is to encourage the client to handle more of the scriptwriting responsibilities so you don’t get bogged down with that part of the process.

This is what I try to do in most projects and it’s been much more profitable (and pleasurable) for me overall.

2. Lighting Interviews, B-ROLL, etc

I know DPs who like to take a different approach to lighting on every single shoot. I’ve actually heard them say that they don’t want any two shoots to look the same as far as lighting is concerned.

I think this is insane!

In my opinion, you don’t want to change your style with every shoot. Instead, pick a style, master it and use it for a long time on many shoots until you feel like you need to upgrade it with either different equipment or more advanced techniques.

It used to take me an hour to properly light an interview. Now I can do it in 15 minutes or less because I do it the same way, every time.

You can, of course, still be creative. We not talking here about limiting creativity. But get your process down first. Then add in little things.

3. Editing & Motion Graphics

This is the part of our creative process that really kills us.

The artist in us wants to try something new but your client (or sometimes business/project manager, if you have one) just wants to hurry up and finish it.

Believe it or not, there are patterns that you develop over time in the editing and design process that you can replicate with minor tweaks. Doing it this way takes much less time to create but looks completely different in the eyes of your clients.

The same logo animation with different color schemes, shadows, fonts, etc, can be used in dozens of videos without anyone ever knowing.

The same color correction style or vignette treatment can also be recycled in each project without any issues.

There are tons of things you can do to keep your work fresh for each client but to greatly reduce the amount of time it takes to complete it.

I know I didn’t go into a ton of detail in this post on how to systematize every aspect of the creative process but I hope you are already getting ideas on how you can find ways to produce outstanding work in less time… resulting in higher profits for your video production business!

Like I said earlier, I plan to write a more detailed post on systematising your video business. Got a little carried away with this post on improving your business in a down economy and it turned into a meditation on  systematising businesses!

If you have any questions about all this, please let me know in the comments below. As always, your comments and social shares (using the share buttons below) will be much appreciated.

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2 Comments on “5 Unique Methods For Keeping Your Video Production Business on Track In a Bad Economy”

  1. Hi Matt,

    I would be interested to know more about your 15 minute lighting setup. Can you offer a bit more detail about that?

    1. Hi Brian,

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      It’s a basic 3 point lighting setup that really helps me nail things down fast. Of course, every lighting situation is different, but having a basic go-to setup you can use no matter the situation will save you time (and money!)

      From there, it’s just a case of tweaking and refining depending on the individual situation.

      We have a more detailed explanation here: http://filmlifestyle.com/video-production-lighting/

      Hope that helps! 🙂

      Matt

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