Our concept development team here at KVibe Productions fully understands and appreciates the pre-production phase. It’s a long and arduous process, but a necessary one as well. The problem is, most clients simply don’t grasp how critical it is.
Often, clients don’t have much of an understanding of the entire filmmaking process, from concept development through all phases of post-production. Why should they? They’re not in the video production business, after all.
That’s why communication, though, is so important. Figuring out how to break down the video production process for clients so that they can see things as you do, and understand the solutions you come up with, is simply a lost art.
Far too often, the director operates as if he or she knows best, being a video production professional and all, and should make all the ultimate decisions. Then, the client can simply thank them later.
But when the client is ultimately making the final call, the director may find that he or she has wasted a lot of time crafting a concept that never had a chance of satisfying the client in the first place, and that a little communication would have gone a long way.
You need to make sure the client understands what to expect.
We know. It’s a fine line to walk. Video production companies need to deal with all kinds of nuances and preferences with each new client, yet still must maintain an open channel of communication and allow their skills and expertise to surface and serve a purpose on every video production project.
For instance, some clients may want their corporate or commercial video to look and sound the highest quality possible, but are reluctant to spend even near the amount of money required to achieve such things. The solution isn’t just about you being resourceful enough to accommodate their desires as best you can.
You need to make sure these people understand, from the get go, what goes into a production of that caliber and the kinds of results they should expect based on the money they’re willing to spend. A firm understanding on the client’s part is just as important as your resourcefulness in production.
Sometimes, problems arise inevitably and, if you don’t put the necessary time and effort into filling the client in so that everyone’s on the same page, those problems could become devastating.
For example, what about those clients that stay close to the process throughout its entirety? They’ve had a ton of input on the finished product, even sitting in the editing room while it was cut, only to change their minds when the time comes.
You’ve done your part, closely collaborating with the client to realize his/her vision, only for that vision to change, fundamentally, when the time comes. That means the work has been completed and approved, yet now there are new instructions. What do you do?
The answer: There is no easy answer. Once a problem arises because of a lack of communication or a misunderstanding of what you’re offering, it may be too late.
The client needs to understand, beforehand, what kind of time and results they can expect, and that any drastic changes in direction down the line will result in additional charges and time. And you need to be the one to tell them.
There’s a flip side to that coin, though.
It’s a two way street. The video production company needs to know, precisely, what the client wants as well. Only then can the client determine if the company can deliver those results, how long it will take, how much it will cost, and what level of production quality they can expect.
That’s why every video production company should use the client introduction or first meeting as a fact-finding mission. They should be asking themselves: What’s the client’s vision? Who is the target audience and what’s the intended message that must get across to them? Where will the video be displayed?
Sometimes, it can be very helpful to create a document after that initial meeting or, at least, once you have a firm understanding of what the client wants.
In the document, you can summarize what you’ve taken from the previous meeting(s) and how that information was used as a foundation for the production you’ve designed.
It’s a great way of letting the client know you’re listening, and that their vision is important to you and the project, while at the same time, it provides proof of your communication capability and intention to be open and honest.
Keep clients close and channels open.
Who you talk to is also important. We mentioned earlier the horror in finding out that, after completing an early cut, someone sees fundamental problems with your overall concept.
That can happen when someone simply changes their mind, but it becomes almost inevitable if you’ve been communicating with the wrong person throughout the production. That’s why the video production company needs to make sure they’re speaking with the right person from the start, and satisfying the right person’s vision.
A couple last quick tips: Ask clients to show you, on a site like YouTube, something similar to what they envision for their project. Also, establish specific production points at which you’ll all get together and review the process so that the client will be involved in all phases throughout the entire production.
That way, if something does come up in the midnight hour of the project, or if they simply change their minds, they’ll understand the need for additional time or money.
The bottom line is, as long as you’ve done your part to fully grasp their vision and all the logistics, to ensure the client understands the process, what it takes, and the kinds of results they can expect, then you can avoid the countless production problems that arise out of bad communication.
KVibe Productions is a full-service video production company. Whether it’s a product video production, a corporate video, or a commercial production, KVibe offers the total package of multimedia services from development through distribution.