How To Start A Video Production Company
I assume you love cinematography, digital filmmaking, video production, videography, or whatever you want to call it, since you’re here. You want to make a career out of it, but not quite sure how. Well, I will show you how to start a video production company. Whether you want to be a small business or a big corporation, I will give you great tips to starting a video production company from scratch.
This might seem like it’s the easiest part, but it may not be. For me, it wasn’t. Coming up with names, doesn’t have to be your first step, but if you think branding like me, then it should be.
Type of Business
There are many like LLC’s, S-Corp. I can suggest, but I don’t live in your city and state. Everywhere is different. An LLC for a video production company would be most recommended due to liability. Research the rules of your county, state, or country to see what makes the most sense for you. Also, please check your locations business requirements. You may need a business license to be a videographer. Once you setup what kind of video production company you want, you will be able to open a business bank account.
Get A Website
How to start a video production company without a website? You can’t! Well, you can, but I have always said this. Get a website! Register that .com with GoDaddy or Namecheap and then begin getting a website operating. There’s always deals to register a domain for cheap. Social media is a great asset, but having a website to share your company’s videography, pricing, and contact information is mandatory. Blogging your video content is also helpful with promotion and the search engines. There’s likely many video production companies in your city, so there’s no downside to maintaining a website.
While websites are timely and costly, the steps to create a website in 2021 is as easy as it has ever been. However, everyone doesn’t have the time for website building. There are web designers who can create a website from scratch or setup a created template, but I’m assuming you want to keep expenses low since you’re starting a video production company from scratch. There’s plenty of WordPress themes and webhosting companies such as KnownHost that have WP in the control panel that you can click a button to setup. All you need to do is find a WordPress theme and a little patience to install and customize it to your liking. You can find premium WordPress themes from ThemeForest.
Wait! There’s More!
There is more to it than a website. You need a YouTube and Vimeo page to post your video portfolio. Why both you may ask? Why not? Vimeo is more professional, but YouTube is the larger platform. You can use YouTube to post your demo reel and whatever you want related to the company.
One more thing about websites.
I mentioned a website being mandatory for starting a video production. I don’t know your skill in web design and you might not have the time or money to setup a website at the moment. So, until you can, using Vimeo, YouTube, or Facebook as your default webpage until you can get a website running is ok.
Buy business cards
Yes, I know everyone wants to do everything online, but business cards are still useful. The beautiful thing about business cards is, they’re cheap and you can leave them anywhere. Make sure your name, business, phone number, email, and website are on it.
Create social media profiles for Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. If you’re into these platforms, SnapChat and Tiktok. Use them to promote your work.
Video production equipment is not cheap! When starting out, you might think you need this, you need that, you need everything! Yes, you do need equipment, but you also need money and you also need to promote your company and get business. If you don’t the capital to buy equipment, rent! There’s plenty of video equipment rental places that ship, like LensRentals and BorrowLenses. You can also search “Video production equipment rental near me.” Results might show local stores that you can pickup from. It’s ok to rent. Movie studios rent equipment. Clients don’t care if you used rental equipment or purchased camera gear. As long as you get the job done is all that matters. Besides. How will they know unless you tell them?
I suggested renting, but you might have the money, or you’re deadest on buying camera equipment. Well, that’s ok. What kind of camera should you buy? What kind of lighting and audio? Well, I will link you to do some resources, but don’t forget this. If you’re going to be shooting, who will be doing the video editing? If it’s you, make sure you have a computer and software (Adobe Premiere) that will be video editing compatible. I would say a good computer is more important than showing off that you have a gang of video production gear. If video production equipment is necessary for you, the least you could buy is a 4k mirrorless camera, LAV mic and audio recorder.
Niche or Everything?
Figure out what you want to do. Sure, you can do everything, but do you really want to? Lasting Blueprint has done different types of video production projects such as testimonials, music videos, events, and real estate. It’s your business, you can do whatever you want, but specializing in something can’t hurt. Maybe you want to document Cannabis industry events. If you do a niche, clients who’re searching for a cannabis event videographer will more likely find your work. Your name will spread within that industry because that is the only type of video production service you offer. If you go with a niche, pick something you’re passionate about and can sustain your business model. You don’t want to focus on making videos for cassette tape collectors. Sure, that’s a nice side project, but will it be profitable? Doubt it. Do some research and pick a niche with a market.
How to Start A Video Production Company and Get Clients?
So how will you find clients? Well, friends and family are possible when starting. You also have FB groups that post jobs. You have Craigslist also which might be your best bet. If you’re recommended or posting online that you’re a new videographer starting a video production company, someone will pop up. The video production budgets will be low because they know you’re new and need work. Don’t let them take advantage of you because you’re desperate to start your portfolio. Set your expectations before starting any work.
Should You Do Free Video Production Work?
Now after reading that. You’re probably still wondering how to get clients. Well, the easiest way is to offer your services for free. I don’t recommend that. Providing free services is time consuming and your stress levels may raise. Trust me, I know. When you provide free video production services, people will take advantage of that. Even if you have strict guidelines for the free work, they will find ways. A 1 hour, 1 location shoot with 1 edit will turn into 4 hours, 5 locations, 20 edits, and a whole lot of over-delivering. As a new company, you will probably cave to the pressure because they will tell you how many clients they will get you. I cannot speak for everyone, but when I did free work, the amount of business I received from it was slim to none. Don’t fall for the bait!
If you’re starting out and still have nothing, you can barter with a company. If you don’t have equipment, suggest for the client to help pay for rentals for the project. Much better than spending time and money on a free project. Another suggestion is doing a mock project. Want to be a wedding videographer? Contact a local local wedding photographer and ask to video a styled shoot. What is a styled wedding shoot? A styled shoot is a collaborative effort of many creatives. If you want to do videos for lawyers, find friends and/or family that can be an attorney and client for a few hours. You can also contact local models, actors, or students to play parts in a mock project you want to do. There are plenty of ways to come up with a video to get you started versus doing a free marketing video for a business.
Tip: Example To Build Video Production Portfolio
If you want to be an event videographer, look up local public events. For example, your congressperson might have an upcoming townhall meeting. Contact their staff and ask if you could video it for a few minutes. Capture them speaking and shoot enough B-Roll to create a short event highlight video. You might be reading this and saying “ok, you said don’t do free work.” Yes, but what I suggested is minimal effort and it’s not for anyone else. Shooting some of the event might take an hour. You would now have event video content to market your business to companies planning events. Not only that, with my example, your congressperson might inquire about the video. You can charge them for the RAW footage or a edit a promo video for them to use for political promotion. It’s possible they might need to hire a videographer for their re-election campaign.
Video Production Contract
Before you do any work for a client, make sure you have an agreement signed. I am not a lawyer, so I am not giving legal advice. A video production contract will lay everything out for the client. Hire an entertainment lawyer to create a basic contract. If you cannot afford an attorney, there’s templates online that you can use and tweak. Please, do not provide a service for anyone without a contract.
So, that is my advice on how to start a video production company. You don’t have to use everything, but when you’re ready to start your own video production company, use it as a guide. Don’t be afraid to make changes. Nothing is set in stone with how to operate your business. It’s YOUR business. Outside of the business requirements, do what works for you. Of course, don’t forget obvious things such as a logo, email address, and plenty of patience. If you have more questions about how to start a video production company, please leave a comment, send an email, or contact on social media. I will have no problem speaking with you and helping.