Video & Media Production Company

Startup Costs: $100,000 +
Home Based: Can be operated from home.
Franchises Available? Yes
Online Operation? Yes

Multimedia production is the business of storytelling. Specialize in video production for marketing and communications. Help companies communicate internally and share their message externally, whether the intent is to sell something, inform someone, or inspire someone. In video production, no matter your niche, every person involved is a storyteller. Whether you are the producer, director, camera person, the writer, the editor, or the talent– everyone is a storyteller in this world.

Ask the Expert: Diane Strand, Founder/Executive Producer/Board President of JDS Video & Media Productions, Inc.

JDS Video & Media Productions, Inc. is a full-service multi-award-winning multimedia production company with an in-house creative and technical crew specializing in video content for events, corporate communications, marketing, and documentary stories that highlight organizations, people, and products.

What is the first step to getting started in the Mulitmedia Production Industry?

First, you need equipment. The essential tools include editing, camera, audio, and lighting equipment. You will need a basic business plan to move forward successfully, but you can also expect to shoot a little from the hip, so to speak, in this industry. Many video producers live project to project without a plan set in stone because, in this business, you're not selling widgets– you're selling creativity.

You have to have the ability to make a personal connection with your clients. You have to be creative and communicate that creativity to your clients with excitement. We get our clients because of who we are and our reputation that proves what we can do for them. We understand their vision and use our creative eye and technical skills to bring it to life.

You also need to have an idea of where your focus will be. There are three main spaces in the entrepreneurial world of video production: the wedding videographer, the TV show, film or documentary videographer, and the marketing industrial videographer. After you decide where you fit, you'll need a demo reel to show samples of your work, which often means doing some work for free in the beginning.

Is the Mulitmedia Production Iindustry growing?

Yes. Because of smartphones, everyone has a camera everywhere they go now. But passion, dedication, and storytelling set you apart from those simply posting footage on social media and those who can establish, scale, and sustain a successful video production business. You have to take the time to understand your clients and develop your business. 

Depending on the size of your business, such as if you're a solopreneur or a family-preneur like we are, growth is significant in the early years. But then it gets to a point where you have to level up and scale, or you're not going to grow anymore. The capacity of your business in that micro-business size will only allow you to take on so much work, as there are only so many hours in the day and so many days per year.

You will scale faster if you dedicate your time to a few big clients rather than many small clients. A simple way to do this successfully is to have a niche. For example, our niche is biotech and medical. By establishing that niche, we were able to scale in what we could charge while keeping the volume of our work aligned with how many working hours we actually had. We scaled economically by taking on larger scope projects for companies, but not necessarily in project volume. By turning down small jobs that didn't fit our niche, we began making more per hour or per project but worked the same amount of hours while focusing on our core clientele.

 

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What are the current trends in Mulitmedia Production I and what type of person is a great fit to try this?

 

Motion and quick cuts are the trends right now, including Steadicam work, drones for filmmaking, and juxtaposition editing.

Some trends have seen a surge in the past couple of years due to the pandemic. For example, handshake videos have become very popular. These are short videos that appear on the landing page of a website or social media page that feature a spokesperson (usually the business owner) introducing themselves and the business. These have helped companies maintain a personal touch with their clientele while meeting prospects in person was not as easy. Likewise, training videos have also increased partly to help replace in-person sessions that couldn't happen but also to engage people with video content during training sessions, rather than using words on a pamphlet.

Overall, things are very dynamic in video production right now. Videographers will film an event, and by the end of the event, they've made a video about what just transpired over the past four hours.

Having a good balance between a type A personality and a creative side is key. As an entrepreneur, you have to think analytically to take the time to understand your business and your client's business. Knowing your client's target audience and how to communicate to them sometimes means making several edits to get it right, so persistence and attentiveness are essential traits to possess to be an effective storyteller.

How much money can a person expect to make in the first year and in five years?

It depends on who your clients are and how many services you offer. I run a full-service video production company, which means that we will not only make your video, including pre-production, scriptwriting, casting, and post-production, including music, voice-over, graphics and editing, but we also distribute the video to your target audience. The distribution could be on social media, on a website that we create to host the video or market it through YouTube and other outlets. Right now, the market price for most videos is somewhere between $3,000 and $4,500 per project when you're working with most medium-sized businesses. If you're working with a small business, the range falls between $2,000 to $3,500 per project. The videos go much more in-depth for large-scale corporations, requiring high-end features such as animation and several production days. You'll need to budget for more production time and different attributes for your video, so your price range will increase to about $5,000-$7,500 per video.

Related: Need One-on-One Help? Book a Session with an Entrepreneur Expert.

What kind of experience/training do you need to have?

 

Technical training to learn how to operate professional lighting, camera and editing equipment is essential. I recommend Adobe Creative Suite and Adobe After Effects for editing, Steadicam cameras, drones, and studio cameras for filming, three-point lighting, and audio frequencies, recording and editing software.

 

Understanding branding and marketing is essential to communicate messaging to your clients and for your clients. Working as an intern or apprentice and even shadowing professionals is a great way to gain the skills and experience necessary to get started. You'll also need basic business knowledge to operate profitably.

What do you wish you knew when you were just starting out?

 

As a serial entrepreneur, I'm motivated by producing results, but when I first started, I was expecting results fast, probably too fast. Success takes a long time; even an overnight success takes ten years. Focus on the little wins and follow the momentum to reach the big wins. Success takes time to marinate, so don't think you need to do something else if you're not getting instant results.

You're not going to be the right fit for everyone, so it's important to find out who your ideal client is. If someone's not the right fit for you, you're not going to produce your best work. I learned that lesson early on when we took on our first client as a video production company. They had used another company for production, and when the post-production side wasn't working for them, they came to us hoping we could fix it. They were already unhappy with the footage, so we should have passed on the project, but, as a new company, we wanted to make the client happy. It became a frustrating experience because we weren't servicing our ideal client — someone who wants to work with us from concept through delivery. We were trying to make a client happy who was already unhappy using footage we didn't shoot that wasn't up to our standards. Since we now understand who our ideal clients are, pleasing them — and ourselves — comes naturally.

Who are your customers?

We primarily focus on biotech and medical corporations, such as Abbott Vascular and Temecula Valley Hospital. However, we also have other types of clients we are very proud of, including the City of Temecula, Temecula Valley Unified School District, TEDx, California State University of San Marcos, and we service many local nonprofits by sharing their mission. 

Our main source of finding new customers is reputation, word of mouth, and networking through involvement within our local community. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth and being involved with your community.

 

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Are there any resources you recommend that were extremely valuable to get your business off the ground?

 

Being active in our community made it easy to get our business known through word of mouth. It's a simple but powerful technique to earn recommendations based on your reputation. For example, the first organization I joined after starting my business was the Economic Development Council (EDC) of North County San Diego. That involvement introduced us to a few of our first major clients, including BREG, Tri-City Hospital, and Neurocrine Biosciences. When we relocated to Riverside County, I went straight to the Southwest EDC, eventually becoming an executive board member. I also joined my local chamber of commerce. These opportunities allowed me to network with other business owners, leading us to more of our major clients, some of whom are still with us today, many years later.

I highly advise joining your local chamber of commerce to help you start making valuable connections. I firmly believe that if you get involved in your community and are a good corporate citizen, your community will give back to you. Become an expert in your industry, and help others by providing H.O.P.E. - helping one person every day.

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