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Dave Morgan February 10th, 2012 11:20 PM

best time to ask if they want to use your services, for music videos
 
When would be a good time to ask the client if they want to go ahead with your services to shoot a music video for them? Should I wait till I give them some of my ideas for the video, or tell them the full treatment?

David Chilson February 11th, 2012 08:48 AM

Re: best time to ask if they want to use your services, for music videos
 
The best time, no make that the ONLY time to ask the prospect is AFTER you have established a value for your services. Too many people fail to follow that rule and are forever working on the cheap or not at all. Remember clients are people who have paid you before, prospects are everybody else.

From your post it sounds like you have some sort of prior relationship with the band. You are probably aware as a general rule most musicians are one broke-ass group that has a harder time making money than you. I have never forgotten what I was told early on. “Most of our money is spent on whiskey, women and weed, the rest we just waste”.

Ironically they can be easily convinced of the value of a music video and realize it’s the only thing standing between them and true stardom. Ever since Michael Jackson did “Thriller” it’s the way to go. Unfortunately, Craig’s list is full of them offering you prominent billing and adding to your reel as payment and maybe pizza. Cheese only, no toppings.

The bane of most of the people in this industry is establishing value and asking for the sale, in that order. Actually it’s the difference between being successful in any industry that depends on sales. Oh god you say, I’m not a SALESMAN, I HATE salesmen!

A real salesman would NEVER ask for the sale until not only has he or she established a value and need for their service, the prospect would be convinced hiring someone else would be a mistake. Then and only then do you DESERVE to ask someone for their business.

You have to believe. Believe in what they are selling and that what you do for the client really will help them make money. Because until you do, you will never be able to charge what you are really worth.

Craig Seeman February 11th, 2012 11:26 AM

Re: best time to ask if they want to use your services, for music videos
 
A potpourri of thoughts on this.

Explaining the value of video marketing to musicians.
You've invested in buying the best gear you can get, maybe in lessons or at least hours of your most precious resources. All of this to reach people, to grow your audience, to make a living loving what you do. It you really value reaching people you have to invest in creating the best video marketing piece you can.

What you should be aware of is that for many musicians, a music video is nothing more than a vanity piece, not a marketing piece. If they aren't going to invest in their marketing and can't be persuaded to, they're not worth pursuing. You weed those out as you take to them.

A marketing video for musicians must have a goal.
What does the music video actually sell? What is the "soft" call to action (what would be the end goal the musicians would like)?
Will the music video sell songs? Will it get them bookings? Will it raise their visibility in the market making the former two more likely?
Unfortunately I don't think most musicians think about this. Without that, they may have no perceived value.

Musicians work for nothing but the love of the music so you should do their video for nothing?
While I admire the purity, for those musicians, making a living (a self sufficient income) is, at best, a secondary goal. Unless you too want to work simply for the love of it, pass those people by.

What's the right marketing video for the musician?
Personally I think a song performance is much more valuable than a "music video" (FX heavy or narrative heavy) piece (although this can certainly vary). There's good market reason why channels such as MTV and VH-1 moved away from music videos. It's likely related to the same reasons record labels drastically cut budgets for them. It's related to the "goals" I mentioned above.
The music video, if it gets lots of views, can certainly raise the visibility of the musician . . . but mostly people buy music. Whether it's CDs or downloads or music streaming, people listen rather than watch the music. There are much more cost effective ways to sell the sound than paying for a music video. Of course this would be different if people actually bought music videos, I think that's been tried in various forms. It didn't work.
On the other hand, a great, well edited multicamera live performance, can show the dynamism of the performers, the physical talents of the musicians, sometimes the audience response. For someone looking to book a musician in a performance space, this tells them more about what they need to know.
Additionally, the public values performance, especially live performance. Heck this is why people go to see musicians live even when they can buy studio recording. Seeing your favorite guitarists fancy finger work or the emotion in the face of your favorite singer, has great value. So both fans and booking agents love it. Keep in mind i'm not talking point and shot performance. Multicamera coverage showing individual musicianship, musicians interacting, the cohesion of the musicians.

I've shot many live performances ranging from very talented musicians struggling to grow their audience, to names some of you would recognize at least in their niche markets. I always sell the performance video over a music video. I think it has a much greater chance of providing value to the musicians.

What's the value of the music video to you?
Despite what I've said above it can be of great value to you. Once again goals comes into play. What are your goals? Some of the best music video directors go on to become great Spot/Commercial directors. A few even go on to do feature films although it can be hard to carry short form into long form. A lot depends on your style. There's FX heavy vs Narrative music video and each is sustained differently in other video mediums.

So you really need to think about what really serves the goals of the musician when you sell video services to them.
You also need to know what serves your career. Do you want to become a Spot/Commercial director and are you willing to do an unprofitable music video as a show case to move your career into a more profitable direction?

When's a good time to go ahead with your services to shoot a music video?
When you know your goals, they know their goals or you can persuade them what to do what best serves them. It may not be a music video.


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