…and why cost isn’t everything
You’re one step closer to making your corporate film a reality. You’ve written a clear and comprehensive production brief (please see our blog on how to write a video production brief) and you’ve proudly sent it off to production companies. Now, they’ve sent in their tenders and proposals and it’s time to decide – which film production company will make your brainchild a roaring success?
When you read through the responses, you may notice that many of the proposals are similar. That’s what makes the decision making process even more difficult as you will have to go through each tender with a fine-tooth comb. Of course, cost is a key factor in the decision-making process. But there’s so much more to film production than meets the eye. If you opt for a production team whose plans look the part, but they lack the required experience and expertise – your film could be doomed to failure.
So, the big question is how should you compare and evaluate film tenders and proposals? Which is the one for you? Here are the questions the production teams should have answered for you.
Have they included a production schedule and is it realistic?
In your brief, you should have indicated any key production dates and deadlines and asked the production companies to produce a proposed production schedule to meet these dates. This should clearly indicate the timeframes they will work to through the various stages of pre production, filming, editing and approval. Their proposal should address how long each element of the production will take.
When assessing the timescales, do bear in mind that there will be various stages of the production that’ll need client approval – specifically the script and draft edit, otherwise known as ‘roughcut’. The production company won’t have any control over how long you and your colleagues take to approve these various stages. If you’re going to have to get ‘committee approval’, then this is likely to take much longer than signing something off yourself!
If the proposal’s timeline appears to be too good to be true, it may be an indicator that they are inexperienced in this industry.
Did the proposal include a show reel?
If you haven’t worked with a production team before, you’re working with an unknown commodity. Being able to view their portfolio will give you an insight into their previous work, their previous clients and whether they’ve been able to deliver, especially if they’ve done similar work previously. Preferably, the showreel will come with testimonials from past clients to back up the production company’s claims. A showreel demonstrates what they’re capable of, as well as showing whether the team has the skill and expertise to produce a film to a high quality.
Will they stay in touch?
Do they reply promptly to emails? Are they willing to be contacted? Will they be at hand to take calls? Making sure you have prompt and regular contact with the production company will make sure both you and the production company stay on the same page. Communication is key for the success of your corporate film.
What is the budget like?
Now, whilst we said cost isn’t everything, budgets are very important when it comes to film production. A good budget should give a detailed breakdown of the cost. A vague budget could have nasty surprises in store, so make sure you insist on a detailed budget, going over the cost of each service. How many days filming have been included? How many hours editing, and does it include one round of amendments? If additional filming or editing is needed for some reason what is the cost? Does the quote include travel costs? If overnight accommodation and subsistence is needed have they quoted a fixed price? If these details aren’t provided within the budget, alarm bells should ring.
By requesting this breakdown you can look over each production company’s tender and compare and contrast.
When it comes to looking at budgets, the thing to bear in mind is value for money. Instead of simply going for the cheapest proposal, look at the quality of work. The old adage often rings true – you get what you pay for. That’s not to say that the cheapest will provide a programme of unacceptable quality, but you need to ensure that you are getting a professionally produced video that will mirror the brand and corporate image that your audience will expect.
Deciding on a video production company to commission is a decision which shouldn’t be taken lightly. But if you consider all of the above questions, you’ll save yourself a lot of headache, heartache and frustration in the long run. What’s more is that you should hopefully set yourself up for a successful partnership, which could continue for many years to come.