Always Over-Deliver to Clients

I had a meeting with someone last month, a CEO of another video production company, who told me he does his best to cut his costs to the bone for every job, so he can profit more. Shooting with poor camera and lighting packages. Sub-contracting editing and post to interns who’d do it for $300. And hiring crew at the very cheapest rates he could get away with. Then he charges his clients as if he’d brought his “A team” to the party.

That sucks. And I think that’s shitty business.

I like money, sure. But it’s not the only driver for me, and it shouldn’t be for you, if you want to do the kind of great work that it takes to get better clients. I believe it’s best to always, always over-deliver to your clients, not to skate by on the bare bones minimums.

I don’t mean ‘let the client take advantage of you’. But I do mean, do every job in the best way you can. Don’t skimp. If the gig calls for a RED Epic Dragon, bring one. If you know to get a great picture on location you’ll need a ton of high-end lights, bring them. And pay your crew fairly.

Maybe it’s just how I was raised. But I don’t like being ripped off, and I don’t ever rip off my clients. They hire you to give your best, so give them your best.

Don’t Take Every Job You Are Offered (Don’t Be A Slave To Money)

If you take every job you are offered, you will not have the time and mental space to do the work you need to advance your career. It becomes all about the money, or maybe specifically, your fear of not having enough. The work, and your career, will suffer.

This is a very hard lesson, especially if you have just come off some lean times. And it often means you need to walk a tightrope. That’s OK.

I sometimes fail on this one, but less and less often as I advance. The road behind me is littered with the corpses of directors who didn’t ever learn this lesson.

On Sharing Information & the #1 Personality Trait You Need In This Industry

I’ve never been that great with secrets. When I learn something, or someone teaches me something new, I want to share it. I think it’s why I chose this career of telling stories for a living. I don’t worry about Continue reading “On Sharing Information & the #1 Personality Trait You Need In This Industry”

Tip #1: Adobe Lightroom is Rad for Video

Adobe Lightroom is meant primarily for editing (‘developing’, they call it) still photos. But there are a couple of cool tools hidden in Lightroom that us video folks can really use, and if you’re smart about your workflow, it’s not that hard to access the power of Lightroom in your video production pipeline.

I recently shot a series of interviews of some big-deal financial whizzes. The setup had us filming with two RED Dragons, and the main angle the agency client wanted had some issues. Specifically, there was light bouncing all over the place, from multiple directions, and we needed to use a lot of ND to get the look the client needed. Our mattebox and french flag (plus a large black flag) couldn’t help all that much- we got the dreaded chromatic aberration (purple fringing) monster in those shots.

Now, there are Continue reading “Tip #1: Adobe Lightroom is Rad for Video”