Top ten things you never want to hear your video production company say

Did I really just hear you say that?

Video production continues to grow as part of the overall corporate marketing mix. With that growth comes specialization, complexity and a host of issues that many video production customers may not be aware of.

Here are the top ten things you never want to hear your video production company say:

1. “We don’t have general liability or errors and omissions insurance.” 
What could possibly go wrong, right? Quite a lot, as it turns out. One of the crew drives over your best customer, someone forgets to get a permission form signed, your production company uses licensed material that nobody has a license for, a light falls on someone… etc. Chances are things won’t go wrong, but if they do you had better be working with a company that is well insured. Standard insurance coverage today for a video production company is $2,000,000 for errors and omissions and general liability.

2. “We do a bit of everything – websites, PR, SEO, graphic design, print, advertising… oh ya, and video.”
The market will always support a range of generalists and specialists that service the same business audience. That said, a good rule of thumb is that if the number of services offered by a company is greater than the number of employees you might want to consider getting a second quote.

3. “We don’t really understand the web, or social media, or marketing .” 
The vast majority of corporate video today is being delivered either exclusively or predominantly on the web. Creating video for the web is not the same as creating video for broadcast, or for theatrical release, or for presentations at an event. Viewing behaviors are very different online. You have to consider delivery platforms, hosting options,  interactivity,  conversion techniques, social media aspects of your video and many other factors that are unique to the web. If your video production company doesn’t understand delivery, then someone on your marketing team or ad agency better have that piece covered.

4. “We just do corporate video to pay the bills but we’d rather be doing television.”
Very few people go into video because they want to help businesses sell more products or services (marketing and sales stuff). Film or television is usually the goal. Doing corporate work is just what pays the bills. While there are a number of great companies that do both very well, unless your video production company is working under the direction of an ad agency or marketing firm, or they specialize in marketing video you shouldn’t be surprised if your video is wonderfully irrelevant.

5. “We don’t really focus on business results per se, but we think this video could win an award.”
Creative work is wonderful if it serves a business objective. If it doesn’t you’ve wasted your money. Very few industry awards consider business results in their selection criteria – which is unfortunate because business results are the only thing that matter.

6. “There will  be lot’s of different people working on your video project.”
You met the president of the company and his senior team – they all seemed pretty sharp. Are they all going to be working on your project? Every service-based organization operates with some form of distributed work model. It’s up to you as a client to ensure you get the best people working directly on your video project. If you’re not sure, ask… up front.

7. “No, we don’t need a script or a storyboard, we like our work to evolve as we go.”
If you don’t know exactly what you are shooting and why, you’ll likely end up wasting your time and money with video. A script tells you what key messages have to be communicated in your video. Even if it’s a testimonial video project you should be looking for specific ideas rather than random musing. If you don’t have a storyboard, how do you know what to shoot?

8. “We can always take money out of pre-production if you need to keep the price down.”
That’s like saying ‘we can take money out of the design and architecture phase of building your home.’ Pre-production is where all the value in your video is created. This is the last place you ever want to cut corners.

9. “OK, sure we’ll shoot that, whatever you want… it’s your video.”
The best video production projects are collaborations between client and producer. Both sides should have ideas and both sides should have opinions. You won’t always agree on every point but your video production company should have a lot of experience and that experience should add value to your project.

10. “Do you want this thing to go viral?
That’s sort of like asking ‘do you want us to write a hit record for you? Viral isn’t just a lucky outcome – it’s part of a specific plan that is built in from the very beginning of your project. If you goal is for your video to be shared by thousands or millions of people then you had better build something into your video that you know people are going to want to share. (And then you need to spend a whack of money promoting it…)



7 thoughts on “Top ten things you never want to hear your video production company say

  1. Definitely some scary responses to receive! You have to do your due diligence when shopping for the right video production company. Not all are created equal. Make sure to analyze portfolios for their core strengths to make sure they can satisfy your video goals.

  2. Love this article.. You’d be surprised how many people say that they can do it all, or you meet one set of people up front and a whole different set of people actually work on your project!

  3. Number 9 is a difficult one. Finding the right balance between understanding clients and their goals and being passionate about visual storytelling is never easy. Having a large portfolio to present ideas visually can really help!

    • Yep – that’s one of the most challenging situations Tina. Even when you understand your clients business problems it’s possible that you won’t see eye to eye on the vision. That’s were experience plays a large role (that includes having a large portfolio to reference) in solving your clients business goals.

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