Andrew Suhl and Walter Schlomann formed Salt and Pepper Media after almost three decades of friendship, including twenty years of collaborating on many successful films, television shows and videos. They combine lifelong, hands-on experience in all realms of production with a devotion to achieving your goals. They tell us why video is so important to boosting your brand, and components to be aware of when getting your own video made.
Video: it's everywhere. How can you use it to promote your business? Video is becoming a basic feature on individual web sites: as a DVD at sales shows, or on your iPhone in the elevator. Video is used for everything from silly entertainment to a very focused “sizzle” marketing reel to a prerequisite for TV appearances. People want to “see” your product in action; how it's made, how it looks, and especially for experts - how you look.
The qualities that make your business successful: integrity, professionalism and creativity, should be directly reflected in all your promotion. The same goes for video: it should be a compelling and informative profile that quickly gives the viewer an accurate snapshot of why they should do business with you. Whether you make handbags or are a sex therapist: a successful video will tell your story the way you want it told.
The good news is that you can use already existing material with an interview. This gives you wide flexibility. Say you have newspaper clippings, announcements, photos or even, best of all video clips. These can be artfully edited with an interview, graphics and music to create an exciting little piece that will accomplish exactly what you need. The beauty of editing means that you can use the same material edited for a:
- 3 minute sizzle reel for a press agent
- 6 minute video that appears on your web site via You Tube
- 5 minute DVD that plays at your booth at a trade show and that you leave with a buyer.
How to find the right producer to have a reel at the ready:
Decide what it is that you want. Do you need a “sizzle reel” for your web site that is 3 minutes long, or an instructional video that could be an hour long?
Don’t go by company size. Smaller and boutique is often much better for customization and personal treatment. A large production company might get you better satellite transmission rates, but is that what you really need? On the other hand, make sure the producer is really in business and not just a web site.
Is this somebody you can “work” with? After all, this is a collabrative effort and you should feel comfortable with the inevitable give and take that makes for a product you are proud of and that works.
Shop around for price but the cheapest is by no means the best.
You already know that “you get what you pay for”. Much depends on how much material you already have and how sophisticated you want the final product to be. For example, if you want very fancy motion graphics and The Rolling Stones for an audio track, that will be expensive, involve licensing, etc. If more standard graphics of your logo and your friend’s great (but unknown) music will suffice, that brings the price way down. Make sure the payment terms are clear. Typically you will put down 50% on signing the contract and pay the balance on delivery.
Limit shoot days and program length: the most expensive aspect of a project is the number of shoot days. You probably can limit it to one day if not a half day shoot in your office. Busy people have short attention spans: less is more. A “sizzle” reel shouldn’t be longer than 3 minutes and a “profile” 5 minutes.
What elements can you bring to the story?
Interesting visual elements that add drama and production value make for a stronger video. If you are a designer or manufacturer, showing the product being made is a great visual to couple with your interview. It shows the product organically and makes for a more entertaining “doc” feel.
Look for overall experience.
They certainly must have an easy to view “reel” of work online for you to look at. In addition to “sizzle” work are they good filmmakers? See if the producer has created compelling work and is open about customizing it to your needs. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you need to see exactly what you are looking for already produced. You are unique and this is not a cookie-cutter industry. You deserve special treatment and personal consideration to make it work.
The beauty of video is that you can customize it to whatever your needs are. And it can be updated anytime for a new product line, or a specific project or any other kind of change you want to make. Even the clip from “Oprah” you just got because you had the reel at the ready!
Now you need to look for a video team! Start in our Entrepreneur Directory to find professionals who understand how to make you shine.