My main focus in the video production business is to figure out how I can use my talents as a video producer to make the most money with the least amount of effort. This is how all successful filmmaking companies operate.
Things like being my own boss, not having to rush to work every morning, enjoying my freedom, travelling around the world shooting videos for my clients….all while building a business asset that if worth something and helps people in lots of ways.
Those things are all incredibly important, too.
I’ve talked about these things on Filmmaking Lifestyle a lot in the past, but I wanted to go into a bit more detail here.
Advice on Starting a Video Production Business:
1. Research your market. Find the need. Fill the need
What are the other filmmaking companies in your area?
What type of clients do they serve?
If there are ten wedding videographers and zero corporate video production companies, then you should seriously consider being the first and only corporate production company in your area.
If there are ten corporate video companies and only a few wedding videographers, you might consider leaning more towards wedding videography.
If it’s about the same in both categories, consider serving both markets or simply choose the type of work you prefer to do.
To illustrate what I want to talk about here, I’m going to use the example of a friend of mine I was recently advising about starting a video production company. He lives in another area (and market) to me. Most of the video production companies in his area are focused on wedding videography.
A lot of his competitors don’t do any corporate video work, so my friend could be the one and only corporate video production company in his town. At this time, most of the potential corporate clients get all their production projects done out of a larger city about an hour from where they’re based.
2. Plan to Lose Money
After the research had proved that there is plenty of opportunity for another corporate/commercial production company in his area, we discussed how he’d handle the cash needs for both his new business and personal obligations.
The reality is that it could take as long as two years to generate a large enough client base to reach the salary he makes in his current line of work.
Knowing this up front, he has to figure out how he’s going to pay all the business and personal bills until his company can support both.
I suggested that he can work full-time or part-time for someone else to support his income and spend the remaining time to build his video production business. He could also get loan from a bank or find an investor to finance his business.
3. Pull The Trigger!
Let’s face it: Starting a video business is a very hard thing to do. Keeping your head above water is equally as challenging.
However, you can’t be successful as a video business owner until you take the first step. If you have decided that this is something you want to do, then do it!
Don’t waste any more time. Every day that passes is a day that you can either be working towards building your asset (your business) or working to build someone else’s asset (someone else’s business).
I’ll tell you from experience that you will make mistakes – a lot of mistakes. But the only way you can learn from those mistakes is to hurry up and make them.
In this way, we can use the famous business mantra: fail fast. If you’re unsure what that means, here’s a good description.
4. Improve Your Focus And Become Better
Every time I realize that I’m trying to do too many things in my video business, I remember the wise words of Miagi from the original Karate Kid movie: “Focus Daniel-san!”
Like many of you, I have an insatiable drive to be successful in business and in life. This can be both a blessing and a curse.
I succeed because I try a lot of new things. However, I’d probably succeed faster and at higher levels if I did fewer things better.
Part of being a great video producer is having the ability to communicate extremely difficult messages or concepts in a way that anyone with a 6th grade education or above can understand. We have to focus in on what’s important and work really hard to simplify, simplify, simplify in order for the video to accomplish its goals.
I believe the same is true for our video production companies.
In order to accomplish our goals, we have to first create processes for marketing, selling, production, etc. We then have to work our tails off to make them as simple as possible. Not only for ourselves, as the business owners, but also for those we ask to help us in various capacities.
Some Further Thoughts
If ever you are interested in starting a video production company, there are things you need to understand when venturing in this kind of business.
Starting this kind of business requires planning, research, training, and business insight.
Your total investment will vary depending on the equipment that you need, which is determined by the type of video business and the services that you offer.
There are different markets that a video production company can be involved with such as broadcast and corporate productions, promo videos for local businesses, event videography, documentary films, training and sales videos, etc.
It is, of course, important and wise for you to examine the various markets before you decide on where to focus your efforts.
Listed below are the things you need to startup.
If you manage a filmmaking company, you need to train in many areas. They include camera operation and shooting techniques, video and audio recording and editing, script writing and lighting techniques.
You can acquire these skills by taking classes or courses on video production, interning or doing part-time work in a video company, or you can read books and rely on your own experience.
Of course, I normally assume that those who visit this site have the requisite filmmaking skills. The real training, and what Filmmaking Lifestyle covers, is the business, marketing and sales training that you need to make your video production company a success.
2. Business Plan
This is important for the success of your company, and will also be used as a startup and operational roadmap to steer you through all the facet of the business.
It should include startup checklists, financial details, equipment, advertising and marketing techniques, pricing list, operational details, among others.
3. Licenses and Permits
Like any other business, you are required to ensure you have all appropriate licenses and permits. Filmmaking companies are no different.
Most of these licenses and permits will be more general in nature. Like insurance docs for the gear you own, public liability insurance, or a CAA license for flying a drone, for instance.
In other cases, there are more specific instances wherein you need to secure a temporary filming permit when you are shooting on a property that is owned by the city or town.
To be able to operate as a legal business, you will need to obtain a local business permit from the town where your business is located and a tax registration certificate.
You need to file some paperwork with your secretary of state and obtain a Tax Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service if you are going to operate your company as a corporation of Limited Liability Company.
Should you hire employees, you are required by the IRS to apply for an Employer Identification Number.
That’s general US based advice, and, like with everything legal, your mileage may vary according to the country or region where you’re based. I’m not a lawyer and nor do I play one on TV!
I hope this article on how filmmaking companies get started has been helpful. As we’ve discussed on the site plenty of times, it’s a tough business to get established in, but if you follow these guidelines, and others found around the site, you’ll be improving your chance of success many times over.
As always, if you have comments, questions or thoughts, please post a comment below. And, if you found this article helpful, ensure you share it with your social audiences using the share buttons below.