Starting your own film company, useful tips 4 you
Posted on September 01 2019
Todays blog is about sharing some useful tips based on my own experience in starting a video production company.
1. Build a Website
Get a website running asap! Video business is not a walk in business. Apart from mouth to mouth propaganda and your network, you will heavily rely on your online marketing skills to get jobs. This means, the first impression of future clients, will always be your website. I would highly recommend you to put much effort and money on it's design and functionality. This will take time, but you can start small and work on it over the time. The most important information is your contact info and some work samples. If you do not have great web designer skills, now worries! There are lots of ways to pay for a professional website. For example Squarespace or Wix or Wordpress are hosting companies, that offer ready made templates to choose from at a reasonable price. If you need to save money, even cheaper would be to use social media like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to promote your business. Same goes for Video channels like Youtube and Vimeo.
2. Find a Name
This is obviously a given. Every company needs a good name. Try to find something clever, that explains the services you are offering. Now, to the tricky part: You will need to find something unique, because you do not want to infringe rights other companies by accident. This will not only cost you time, but if you have to pay for damages, lots of money, too. After you found a good name, be quick about filing all the necessary LLC paperwork. Your first step will be to find out about requirements to register and incorporate your company with your local state government.
3. Show work samples and relevant work
You need to give future clients a glimpse in your work prowess! How else are you going to convince them to hire you? I like to use a showreel for this occasion. One for each service my production has to offer. You can use existing work or shoot new material, if you need more footage.
4. Buy only basic equipment (cam/audio/light)
Buy only essentials at the beginning. This entails, a professional camera, audio equipment and lighting. And of course a good computer(s) to process all your data.
5. Find a rental store
Do not over-equip! Sure your business might feel a little incomplete with only basic work equipment. But here me out. I am not saying you do not need any equipment. But everything apart from the basics I described to you before, can be rented or bought over time! Rent extras like lenses, dollys, sliders, glide cams and the like from a rental store! This helps you to save your seed capital and you will avoid buying equipment, that quickly gets out date. Another perk is, that you will save on storage space and therefore expenses on rent.
6. Set up a business bank account and get an insurance.
You will be dealing with expensive equipment, work with very pricey goods or shoot at costly sets. Accidents will happen, better be prepared, than in debt.
Wether you start as a one man show or with a full team of professionals, keep in mind, a good network of DP's, sound men, directors, make-up artists and the like will be to your advantage. Sometimes projects become to big to shoulder on your own, or all your employees are booked, but you do not want to loose a customer. Proposing people from your network, or hiring freelancers for those job is always better, than to disappoint a client. When this system works reciprocally, it will help all of you to a constant income and full employment.
8. In conclusion
Building your own company is hard work. You need to always give 100% and all the responsibility will lie upon your shoulders. Later when your company grows, you have to take on additional responsibility for your employees. In Germany self-employed translates to the word selbständig. This word is build from the words selbst, which means “(your)self” and ständig, which means “all the time”. This is basically the on point description of being your own boss. You will have to work all the time, especially at the beginning! So do not take self employment light. After this brief reminder, lets look at the perks of being your own boss! Its provides you freedom in your decision making. Nobody can over rule your decisions or tell you what to do when. If business runs good, you will keep more of the cake and (maybe) the most important thing about being the boss: You can say no, if a customer behaves obnoxiously!