Starting An Event Video Production Company? Here Are Some Founders’ Tips

Starting An Event Video Production Company? Here Are Some Founders’ Tips

I wish I’d known that….

This sentiment is familiar to just about everyone who has, at one point or another, tried something new. We always hope we know everything going in, but that rarely turns out to be the case.

Starting a business—the grandaddy of new things—is no exception, but the prospect of being underprepared doesn’t seem to have lessened our resolve! In 2015, 330 out of every 100,000 adults in the U.S. started a business in any given month—an upward trend since 2013. Clearly there’s something about busting out on our own that agrees with us.

Starting your own event video production company doesn’t have to be a journey filled with surprises. Plenty of people have done it before you, so why not use their “I wish I’d known” moments to your advantage? You won’t be able to avoid mistakes completely (where’s the fun in that, anyway?), but you can at least head into it with a little more confidence. Below are some of the best tips we’ve seen from people who’ve been there, done that.

Tips From The Pros On Starting An Event Video Production Company

Tips On Equipment

Consider renting equipment at the start.

Although renting equipment won’t make financial sense for long, it may be worth doing briefly in the very early stages of your business. You may want to test-run a variety of gear to see what you like the best and what performs well. It’s also a good way to handle equipment that you’ll only use occasionally (see the next tip). If you’ve already tried it out, you’ll know you’re making the right decision when it comes time to buy.  

Don’t buy what you don’t need.

Investing in good quality gear is important, but so is buying the right gear in terms of what you actually need. Video equipment is expensive, and there’s always something else to buy—but avoid the temptation! Take stock of the gear you’ll actually need to create the kind of videos you intend to produce. For example, you don’t need complex lighting equipment if most of your shooting will be outdoors. Ask yourself: What are my video production needs? What can I afford to spend? Then go from there.

When you buy, invest in good quality gear.

If you’re going to make an investment anywhere, do it here. To ensure you’re buying the best quality gear, combine a healthy amount of independent research with a sprinkling of advice from a pro (or pros). Travis Johansen at Provid Films suggests contacting a company that is producing videos you admire and asking for some insight. Ideally, your contact should be from a different geographic area than you so they don’t feel threatened sharing information. He says it will save you “literally thousands of dollars,” because buying cheap equipment first and upgrading later will actually cost more. Enjoying and mastering the right gear from the start will pay off in the long run.

Consider buying equipment that supports live streaming.

These days, live streaming should be on every videographer’s radar due to its growing popularity. Even if you don’t do live streaming right out of the gate, make sure that the equipment you buy supports live streaming for eventual use down the road. For instance, every production company needs a video switcher, but some switchers natively support live streaming while others would require a separate encoding solution.. Give yourself options for future growth by buying high-quality equipment that does more.   

Interested in adding live streaming to your company’s product offerings? Become a live streaming expert with this extensive checklist.

Tips On Marketing The Business

Spend time building a top-notch portfolio.

A beautiful portfolio is your best salesman, according to Maksym Podsolonko, founder of Magic Day Luxury Experiences. To build an expert portfolio, make sure you can deliver great footage before you start any marketing, then reach out to local event planners and offer to shoot a wedding or any other celebration for free, showing them your first videos as part of your pitch. At the same time, launch a website and start creating content to gain organic traffic from search engines. With three great videos in your portfolio, launch a Facebook campaign targeting newly engaged couples in your area. You can also offer a 10% referral fee to photographers, event planners, and venues in your target area.

Be smart about advertising.

Advertising can be an invaluable source of new clientele if you handle it right. Robert Barrows at R. M. Barrows Advertising & Public Relations suggests establishing an advertising budget and marketing goals that make sense for your company, and then discussing them with 3-5 ad agencies. Choose the one you think will do the best job for you, but don’t sign a long-term contract—make sure any agreement you sign can be canceled by either party with 30 days’ notice.   

Competitive research is boring—but do it anyway.

In the ancient military treatise The Art of War, Chinese General Sun Zi (and Michael Corleone of the Godfather—whichever you prefer) advised to keep your enemies close. Substitute the word “competitors” for “enemies,” and you have one of the first rules of conducting business. Once you get past the tediousness of performing market research (it’s below zero on a scale of 1-10), there’s serious value in knowing more about your competitors. Johnathan Paul of 2920 Studios says that knowing his competition helped him define his own company’s strengths and weaknesses, which led to a stronger marketing strategy that clearly set his business apart. He also advises not to undercut the competition. It’s a strategy that never seems to pay off and may even backfire.

Market your niche.

It’s helpful when you’re just starting out to focus on one type of video business, and market yourself as such. Corporate videos, special interest videos, and consumer video services (like weddings and other similar events) are all possible paths; choose one that plays to your strengths (and your competitors’ weaknesses, if possible) and start there. You can always expand gradually as your business starts to take off. But starting small gives you a chance to fine-tune your brand and stand out in a particular area.

Tips On Running The Business

Always do your absolute best.

Regardless of your level of experience, Johansen advises to strive to be the best videographer you can be and consciously try to improve your work to match the quality level of other great video production companies in your area. Too often, videographers starting a new production company produce lesser quality work because they aren’t getting paid much, but that’s a mistake. Instead, always go the extra mile. You will be rewarded with referrals, repeat business, and great reviews that will bring in new clients who had no connection to your old work other than seeing it online.

Join local professional event organizations to make connections.

Industry relationships are vital to cultivating a successful business. Jeff Kear of Planning Pod says that meeting other local events professionals helped his event management software business get the traction it needed in its early days. Through organizations like Meeting Professionals International, International Live Events Association, Professional Convention Management Association, and National Association for Catering and Events, you can develop relationships with event planners, venues, caterers, and other local event professionals who can be valuable referral sources as well as resources for learning more about the industry. He also recommends contacting the local chapter president of each of the above associations and asking them how being a member can benefit your new production company.

Keep your overhead as light as possible.

Do you really need an office? Do you really need additional staff? While it might be nice to have these things, they will be a huge drain on your business at a time when you simply don’t have the resources to cover them. Determine what you actually need to get the job done—what’s the minimum you’ll need to survive? It’s entirely possible to run a successful business from your home, says NextShoot’s Dominic Sutherland.

Hone your business instincts.

Let’s face it, not everyone is naturally suited for running a business. A passion for video production isn’t enough to guarantee the success of a media production company; you also need to be smart about managing and completing tasks, understanding finances, and tracking down business opportunities. On top of that, there’s a good deal of stress involved. Long hours and financial insecurities top the list of small business owner stressors. Use this checklist to find out if you have what it takes to run a business and identify areas you may need to work on. Once you’ve started your company, keep the juices flowing in the right direction by hooking up with other small business owners. Join a local Chamber of Commerce chapter, or consider getting a business mentor through SCORE, a community of entrepreneurs who volunteer to help and advise other business owners.  

Build a solid business model now.

It’s essential to define the ways in which your company will deliver products and services, and how you’ll generate revenue. Also, consider whether live streaming could become an additional revenue source for your business, and how it might work. Will you charge for your live stream content? If not, who will pay for it? Local sponsorships of tournaments or events give valuable coverage to small organizations and a boost to your production company at the same time.

Do you have any of your own tips for starting a media production company? If so, tweet us @stretchinternet and let us know!

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4 Top-Notch Leadership Books Pastors Are Reading Today

4 Top-Notch Leadership Books Pastors Are Reading Today

We asked Tim Ahlman, senior pastor at Christ’s Greenfield Lutheran Church in Gilbert, Arizona, to share with us his thoughts about the best leadership books for the modern pastor. Here’s what he had to say!

Most pastors are in this business because they love people and love Jesus. But despite those genuine intentions, some pastors really struggle with leadership skills. I strongly believe that pastors need to invest in leadership books that are both sacred and secular, so they can grow in their ability to connect with their congregants and with the community.

There are so many great leadership books out there I could recommend—but these four (organized alphabetically by last name) are worth checking out as soon as possible.

1. The Four Disciplines Of Execution

By Sean Covey, Jim Huling, & Chris McChesney

The Four Disciplines of Execution” is an excellent book for those who want to become better leaders. It walks through four distinct rules good leaders tap into: focus, leverage, engagement, and accountability.

While this book is written from a secular business perspective, its themes can easily be applied in a church setting. Many churches strategize well, but when the rubber meets the road and it comes time to carry out a plan, they get stuck in what this book calls the “whirlwind”—or the day-to-day grind. This is a very helpful read for anyone who feels like they may be stuck.

(If you want a sneak peak into the theme of the book, check out this Q&A with Forbes contributor Dan Schawbel and the three authors.)

2. Simplify: 10 Practices To Unclutter Your Soul

By Bill Hybels

Bill Hybels is a long-time pastor from Willow Creek Community Church in the Chicago area. He is one of my favorite authors in the Christian leadership genre because his work is so practical and applicable. “Simplify” talks about how the exhausting pace we live at can leave us spiritually drained—and offers advice on how you can break free from this harmful pattern.

3. The Ideal Team Player

By Patrick Lencioni

Patrick Lencioni is a best-selling author of many business leadership books, including “Death by Meeting” and “The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive.” In his most recent book “The Ideal Team Player,” Patrick identifies three different values or characteristics that define a key teammate: someone who is humble, hungry, and smart. This has been instrumental in helping me identify ways to interact with my non-paid and paid leadership staff.

You can learn more about Patrick and his work on his website.  

4. Communicating For A Change: 7 Keys To Irresistible Communication

By Andy Stanley & Lane Jones

Andy Stanley is the pastor of North Point Community Church in the Atlanta area, and Lane Jones is the executive director of membership development there. Together, they created “Communicating for a Change,” which is a must-read for pastors today. In it, you’ll learn seven critical methods to connect with your congregants, like moving them through a “one point” sermon.

(Also, check out Andy Stanley’s website—he hosts a wonderful monthly podcast!)

What leadership book are you reading today?

Tweet us @strechinternet and let us know, and your recommendation might end up in an upcoming article!

Everything_You_Need_To_Know_About_Live_Streaming_Your_Church_Services_Stretch_Internet

From Streaming on a Boat, to a Live ESPN3 Broadcast – The Flexibility of Wirecast

Wirecast6

Editor’s note: We are giddy to present another guest blog from Imry Halevi, who currently serves as the Director of Multimedia & Production at Harvard University. Imry has worked directly with Stretch in the past when he served in a similar capacity at Northeastern University, and he is truly one of the best in the business. Though Harvard is not currently an active Stretch Internet client, Imry has continued to be a tremendous resource and has stayed active with the Stretch community. If you haven’t read his previous guest posts, do yourself a favor and check them out here

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Wirecast 6.0 has Twitter Integration, But Why Stop There?

twitter

One feature we’re really excited about in Wirecast 6.0 is Twitter integration. This new feature allows you to take Tweets in real time and overlay them during a broadcast. And there are plenty of ways you can use this during a broadcast, whether it’s interacting with fans during a pre-game show or making halftime more interesting than just a shot of the middle of the court… unless you hired this guy for your halftime show. Nothing is more entertaining than “The Amazing Christopher.”

So, how do you get your hands on those sweet, social media interactions? It’s quite simple.

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For the love of sports

I was born with “The Sports Gene”. I love sports. All sports. I love competing, spectating, blogging, and I love debating sports. I was the only graduating senior in my class to play 3 sports per year all four years of high school. I love basketball, baseball, soccer and golf. And though I was not built to be a football player (I tried it, once. I was pancaked by a guy 3 times my size within my first 2 minutes on a practice field and decided there were other sports that could appreciate my talents more), I definitely enjoy watching a good football match up.

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Thank you for Calling…

Just a little intro and background for you guys. My name is Nick Oliver. People call me Nick but you can call me Dragon. I graduated from Arizona State University with a degree in political science and minor in international studies. Now you may be asking yourself, what am I doing over at Stretch?

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What Doesn’t Kill You, Makes You Remember To Dial “1”

“Hi! … This is Jose from Stretch Internet and I’m calling about…”

Those were the first words I ever said on my first outgoing call from Stretch Internet. I probably wasn’t more than three weeks in to my part time job and it was time for the “newbie” to make his first call. The issue was simple: the stream was working fine but there was no audio. Did the client have no play-by-play broadcaster calling the action, or were they struggling to set their microphones up?

The only way to find out was to call.

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Of monsters and mascots

 

Hooray, Stretch!

Hooray, Stretch!

 

It’s time to come up with a name for our unofficial (but totally official) mascot, and we’re calling on our super clever client base to help us out! Yeah, we are talking about you. So take a break from whatever generic caffeine-infused-energy-drink-du-jour you’re undoubtedly abusing, and send us that million dollar idea (note – value approximate). We need your help to come up with the perfect name for our mascot. Send us your best ideas to:

namethemascot@stretchinternet.com

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