Hint: It’s not about getting better gear.

10 Things your Video Production Studio Should be Doing Right Now

We often get caught up doing work and neglect spending the time to improve the way we work. I came to this realization at the beginning of 2016. I was not making enough per project, not working efficiently, and not accomplishing much for my clients. From interacting with clients to focusing technique, here are the top 10 ways I’ve learned to tighten up my video production process to elevated the quality and quantity of my work:

1. Focus on accomplishing your client’s end goal for the project.

When providing a service to a paying client, they have the final say. Rather than using their money to fund your expression of creativity, use it to accomplish their goals. This allows you to defend your creative decisions by highlighting how they move the project closer to the intended result.

2. Edit iteratively to minimize wasted time.

You know there are going to be revisions. Possibly on something you spent an hour on. Rather than trying to present a perfect first draft, treat it like just that: a first draft. Like a sculptor, start by finding the general shape of your story, then work on clearing up the details as you get feedback from the client.

3. Price work based on the value you bring to the client.

You have experience, knowledge, a quality body of work, and get results. Few, if any, other people can do what you do like you do it. Be confident in that. Otherwise, you are a direct contributor to an already diluted market.

4. Learn the business of design alongside better filmmaking techniques.

How do you manage the client-vendor relationship? How do you get bigger clients? How do you get more clients? How do you solve business problems through video?

5. Take time to see your work from a non-expert’s perspective.

No one else is bothered by the slight high-ISO noise in the shadows of that one shot.

6. Be intentional with pizzaz.

Before you add an effect, color grade, or animation, ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” If the only answer is, “It looks cool,” leave it out. Modern filmmaking is not about how flashy your video is. In fact, more often than not, it looks amateur. Sparingly use FX to intentionally, elegantly support or advance the story you’re telling.

7. Be a creative collaborator, not an order taker.

This goes back to 1–4. If you aren’t solving a problem or accomplishing a goal with your video, your client is probably wasting their money. Spend time asking lots of questions before getting too deep into the project. Align your design thinking with their brand, messaging, and target audience to filter your creative decisions through that lens. Set clear guidelines when involving the client in the process.

8. Find your niche. Then a niche within that niche. That’s your niche.

Unless you live in a really small town, “small business owners” are not a niche. Focus on positioning yourself as specifically as possible, then begin to expand your services as you grow. It’s not easy to dominate the market of wedding videographers. It may be easier to be the best the Mariachi/Hipster Fusion Wedding market(but definitely be practical with your niches).

9. Be specific with the deliverables and process up front.

If possible, before preproduction has even started, give the client an itemized list of everything they will receive. Files. Hard Drives. Screenplays. Assets. Everything.

10. We hear it all the time and it’s still true. Story over everything.

What makes a good story? I still haven’t figured out how to pull great stories consistently from thin air, but I know how to listen for the elements of a story that make it unique and highlight those in my work.

What other tips do you have for growing Video Production Studios? Leave them in the responses below. Now go out there and elevate your production quality, turnover time, and the value you bring to your clients.