What the smallest productions can learn from the biggest

Gear failures, budget busters, scheduling snafus—video productions are rife with opportunities for things to go wrong. Whether you’re putting together your first small shoot or the 100th episode of a major television program, some scheduling and budgeting tricks can make any production smoother. We asked Crew Connection Manager Ashley LaRocque—formerly a post supervisor for network TV—to share some simple but hard-earned wisdom on ways to save time, money, and headaches.

Three lesser-known tips to save headaches when budgeting and scheduling your next big project:

 

1. Budget extra money and time for working across time zones

Technology is a great way to bring people together across multiple time zones for meetings. But, for daily production and post-production details, it still only goes so far. Even in the digital age, the most reliable way to transfer footage is still on physical hard drives. Packaging, insuring, and shipping costs money. Lots of money. LaRocque once worked on a show that filmed in Australia. Having post-production halfway across the world in Los Angeles made the process incredibly cumbersome. In typical situations, after the crew shoots, they process the footage overnight and hand it off to post production the next day. But in this case, it took a day and a half at best to get to post. Not only did it slow down production and turn shipping into a huge expense, it also took longer to catch mistakes. Time is money. Waiting for resolution costs a lot of both.

The bottom line is that you have to make sure the final result of working across multiple time zones is worth finding both the extra time and money in your budget.

 

2. Simplify processes to save time and money

Most people with “executive” in their title, such as your very own executive producer, don’t have time to read every single email they receive. Or any of them. Including executives in email chains is often a formality. But as LaRocque explains, it’s a necessary formality that has a simple workaround.

We all know it’s the assistants who truly run the show, so LaRocque learned to group executive producers and their assistant(s) under the EP’s name. Every time she emailed one, she emailed them all. Grouping contacts pays off the first time you don’t have to search your memory for an assistant’s name or your inbox for a months-old email.

Another way to save money, time, and brainpower is to use a crewing service to book domestic and international video service providers local to your shoot. A good crewing service can be invaluable when it comes to (quickly!) finding high-quality crews with the right gear and vision for your project. Not sure how to even go about hiring a trustworthy crewing service? Here are five things you should look for.

 

3. Expect the best, but prepare for the worst

You can get a decent idea of what a production will cost if you have worked on a comparable project, but there are always less obvious costs. Consider ahead of time what costs might come at a premium. If you’re traveling crew, you’ll need to set aside extra time and money for ferrying people and their oversized gear, feeding them, and putting them up. If you need to shoot a particular scene at night, keep in mind the premium crews charge for working overnight.

After you’ve budgeted for every subtle expense you can think of, add line items for the ones you’d bet against happening. If you don’t think “zombie apocalypse” will make it through the budget approval process, call it weather delays or gear failure instead. Whatever you call it, just go ahead build in the extra costs now so an extra 10K due to rain delay or a broken camera doesn’t bring your production to a grinding halt.

Similarly, post-production supervisors should have a backup plan in case money gets taken out of their budget. Since post means “after”, it’s only natural that it will receive what’s left of the budget after everything else has already gone wrong. Expect to work on a shoestring budget and you’ll be either dead on or pleasantly surprised.

Plan ahead, but also be flexible when things change course. Because they will. You’ll be easier to work with (and happier!) if unforeseen circumstances don’t derail you.

Who couldn’t use a little more time and a little less hassle on their next shoot? Barring interruptions from zombies, following these tips and planning ahead will make your next project smoother and more profitable.

 


About Crew Connection

Crew Connection logo

Crew Connection puts a suite of marketing tools at your fingertips. Get your demo reels, stills, gear, awards, and more in front of the biggest clients all over the world—for free. At Crew Connection we pay video and post production providers within 30 days of receiving your invoice so your work and your life are never interrupted. Need live assistance or want to add quality jobs to your pipeline? Our crew coordinators are on call around the clock. Sign Up on Crew Connection, call 303-526-4900, or email info@crewconnection.com.

 

This article was originally posted to productionhub.com. Read the original article here.

5 things you need to look for if you’re considering a crewing service

When you’re managing a media department, you’re expected to be everywhere at once. It’s not enough to keep up with the newest gear; you have to make important decisions in the marketing, finance, and crewing departments, too. You know you’ve found a good online crewing service when it gives you back time in your day by providing several workflow management solutions all in one.

Here’s what to look for in an online crewing service:

 

1. Time savings

How much time would you free up if you could skip fruitless Google searches and find both domestic and international video service providers in just a few clicks? Time is money and a good online crewing service saves you both.

 

2. A rigorous vetting process

Your shoots represent your brand; so you don’t want just any crew on the job. You want the best crew on the job. A good vetting process ensures you’re not just searching a slightly-filtered version of Google. Make sure your crewing service’s database is made up of high-quality crews personally approved by an in-house team of experienced media experts.

 

3. Usability

Most of us have abandoned a tool that would have eventually made our lives easier because it had too much of a learning curve. An intuitive interface eliminates frustration and saves you time now—not in six months, once you’ve mastered a complex system of workarounds. A simple interface that allows you to search by services, gear, and location makes the process feel as easy as ordering a pizza.

 

4. Detail management

Rates, dates, gear, travel, and more. The details surrounding video productions are endless and can make even the most organized person feel like throwing computers and phones out the window. The best online crewing services provide a simple place to manage all of the details, including rate negotiations, messages, and invoices.

 

5. Human touch

Online services take crewing to a whole new level, but in some cases, there’s no replacement for the human touch. It’s nice to be able to pick up the phone if you hit a roadblock or just want to skip the screen for once. The combination of stellar online usability and real-life human backup is hard to beat.
Who couldn’t use a little more time and a little less hassle? A good online crewing service is a way to simplify your workflow and make 2017 smoother and more profitable.

You’ll feel like you’ve just hired the uber-organized assistant you’ve always wanted.

 

About Crew Connection

Crew Connection logo

Crew Connection puts a world of video service providers at your fingertips. In just a few clicks you can search, chat with, and book vetted crews local to your shoot—all on your own schedule. Rely on Crew Connection’s team of media experts to organize the crews and gear you need for multi-day and multi-location video projects anywhere in the world. Our crew coordinators are on call around the clock if you ever need live assistance. Visit CrewConnection.com, call us at 303-526-4900, or shoot us an email at info@crewconnection.com.

 

This article was originally posted to productionhub.com. Read the original article here.

Four ways to build a studio

*This article was originally posted to productionhub.com. Read the original article here.

 

What better place to go for advice on how to build a successful production house than where competition is the stiffest? Mike Levy started Levy Production Group in 1987 and succeeded where many others failed—Las Vegas. We figure if you can make it in the entertainment capital of the world, you can probably make it anywhere. Here are our top four takeaways from Mike on how to build a successful studio:

Get experience

The best thing young, aspiring editors, camera people, and future business owners can do is get experience. If you want to become the go-to person in your field, take online courses, college courses, and even unpaid gigs as opportunities to learn the ins and outs of video production. Learn the industry overall, not just your position. Understanding everything from production through post makes you a well-rounded teammate or team lead. Not all jobs offer glamour, but all jobs offer experience.

Be nice

Being talented isn’t enough. Don’t just learn to be good at what you do, but also at how you do it. This is not your typical desk job. Our industry is famous for long hours, late nights, and many consecutive days on set. Tough conditions can bring out the worst in people. Those who can communicate clearly, listen well, and stay level-headed are invaluable. You’ll be remembered as much for the way you conduct yourself as for the work you produce. Be humble. Look to learn from people rather than to be right.

 

4 ways to build a studio

Behind the scenes with Levy Production Group.

 

A warehouse is just a warehouse

You can’t just call a large, open building a studio. Having enough room to shoot properly is just the beginning. If you really want to do it right, you have to be ready to invest in heating and cooling, overhead and floor lighting, and soundproofing, for starters. If clients have to redo a take because they hear an ambulance in the background, they’ll be taking their business elsewhere next time. You also need creature comforts so you can accommodate not just the shoots, but the people, too. Clients want to go to a facility that feels good—with nice dressing rooms, kitchen areas, restrooms, etc. Fresh-baked cookies (a Levy Production Group signature), goodie baskets, meals, snacks, candies, sodas, and gourmet coffees and teas go a long way toward making people comfortable and earning repeat business.

Find your niche and do it well

It seems simple, but most of the important things are. When you have the best resources and do the best work, you’ll get return clients. Word of mouth and reputation are irreplaceable.

After starting as an ad agency and outsourcing to local TV stations, Mike Levy decided to invest in a small stage to facilitate smaller projects like ChromaKey insert shoots and single-car shoots. Realizing that they were good at something and that they could get paid for it, Levy Production Group bought their first camera and editing package and have grown along with Vegas ever since. In their current 14,000 square-foot facility, they do everything from everyday interviews to shoots with big-name celebrities, athletes, and musicians.

Building any business can feel like a gamble, but with these key practices it’s a sure bet.

 

4 ways to build a studio

A peak inside the top-of-the-line studio at Levy Production Group.

 

About Crew Connection

Crew Connection logo

Crew Connection puts a suite of marketing tools at your fingertips. Get your demo reels, stills, gear, awards, and more in front of the biggest clients all over the world—for free. At Crew Connection we pay video and post production providers within 30 days of receiving your invoice so your work and your life are never interrupted. Need live assistance or want to add quality jobs to your pipeline? Our crew coordinators are on call around the clock. Sign In to Crew Connection, call 303-526-4900, or email info@crewconnection.com.