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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old March 7th, 2005, 07:54 AM   #1
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Software to run your Wedding Video Business

Hi All

As a wedding videographer but also a Lead Windows application developer I am next going to embark on my next development project which is the creation of a Windows Application to run Wedding Videography businesses. Could I take this moment to ask a few simple questions which I would really gain great benefit from while I plan the development of this project.

1. As a Wedding Videographer. What software do you currently use to keep track of your customers and what services they have purchased from you? I.e Excel, Act! or an access database. You might even just use a paper based system.

2. Although my features list is quite extensive, if you were to use an application to keep track of your clients, what things would you like to see in such an application.

I really want to develop something for the community in which I stronly enjoy being apart of. I just cannot find anything suitable currently available which does everything I want it to within the realms of a Wedding Video business.

Your help and ideas would go along way to developing something for the community.

Thank you in advance

Steven

P.s: if you would like be involved offlist and be part of the beta testing stage please do get in contact with me. I want to get fellow professionals involved.
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Old March 7th, 2005, 08:16 AM   #2
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First, don't leave out Mac users....and second, don't leave out Mac users!!!
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Old March 7th, 2005, 09:08 AM   #3
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quickbooks?

I used to use Quickbooks to do all my accounts payable/accounts receivable. It lets you customize each service you perform and can add it to your invoices and receipts just like the 'pros'...I would go as far as to say that Quickbooks is the industry standard for ap/ar.
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Old March 7th, 2005, 09:26 AM   #4
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Hi Jeremy

Thanks for your reply. I trust that Quickbooks certainly handles all of your financial aspects to your business but I presume it does not handle all/some of the specifics regarding your customers booking? Typical examples might be Wedding Location, Time/Date of wedding, specific details such as customer requirements, handling of semi-completed booking forms to send to customers, diary management, mail-merge of standard business letters to customers etc etc.

Having first hand experience of keeping track of bookings. I found I was using more than 3 applications to my administration of my business. I wrote an application for myself to keep track of everything but now I want to rebuild this development and release to the community.

It's a chance now to learn more about how others work to design something to work with the largest audience as possible.

I trust you use nothing else other than QuickBooks and a Word Processor?

Kindest regards

Steven
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Old March 7th, 2005, 11:29 AM   #5
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I use Quickbooks for the financial side and a custom built web app that handles appts, bookings and client details.
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Old March 7th, 2005, 12:41 PM   #6
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Hi Brian. If you don't mind, can you tell me what you do regarding the creation of letters which I presume get sent to your customers? Do you use something like Word?

Regards

Steven
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Old March 7th, 2005, 12:45 PM   #7
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Sorry for leaving that out. Yes at this time I use MS Word. I am incorporating that into my web app so I can simply choose my template and bride then it will spit out the letter and I can tweak if need be then either email or snail mail it.
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Old March 7th, 2005, 02:12 PM   #8
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I'm currently all paper, keeping my contracts. Information and printing out any correspondence and putting it in file folders by person.

But if a good piece of software was out there at a reasonable price I would be interested.

You asked for what features would you want this software to have, and here it is, I think you will regret asking.

Some features I think would be helpful would be being able to manage clients by type, by date, and whatnot.

For example, say I get three leads from a show, and have rough information on a few of them (phone number, name, and wedding date)

I put those people in a leads area, sorted by wedding date (and maybe also an area to Star certain people as being particularly likely or something. (You know, a way to quantify that gut feeling of, this is a very good lead)

Say two of them call me and want demos, I could then move them into an area for leads with demos, add any additional notes I gathered about them and then mark when I sent out my demo to them, with an option to remind me X number of days later to follow up with them.

I would also like an option to start new "phone call notes" which are automatically dated, I can title them, or they just become "Phone Call #1" and I can jot down any details of that conversation that I probably wont remember, for example what questions they asked of me, So I donít try answering them again if I sit down with them, or what their concerns were.

Say one of them then wants to meet with me, I would then like to be able to keep dates times and places in the client's info, which will then show up in a calendar built into the program with reminders telling you whatís upcoming for today and tomorrow, any of which can be clicked on for the full information.

In the meantime one of my initial leads wedding dates has passed; I would then like to see their wedding clipped from the database, maybe sent to some obsolete corner or prompted for deletion.

Say that couple that meets with me signs my contract. I would then want to send this clients information to "Booked Clients" I would then like to be able to open up that client's info, (dates times locations deposits received other payments etc) tell it to use my scanner, and put the pages I just scanned into an area in that client's info. So I can then access a digital (image) copy of the contract and other info, which I could print multiples of at any time. Of course then I would want to be able to enter those dates into the calendar and be reminded of their wedding on the terms I set (week in advance, day in advance, the day of or whatever you prefer)

It would be nice if the clientís info could also figure out the total package price, the deposit paid, and then give me a projected income over whatever range of time I prefer. For example I could tell it, between April and May 2005, how much new money will I make, or how my year is shaping up, and it would return the balance due on every booked client automatically.

Then I would like to move them to a Shot Weddings area of the database, where I can mark them by order shot, mark which ones I am editing, any notes about editing etc, and _Then_ once thatís finished and the demo is in their hands, finally send them to a "Past Clients" area, (with the option to mark if they ever referred me any business and if they request new demos etc.)

I would also like it to either be integrated with firefox (its open source right?) or just have a plug-in with it. Which you can right click on emails to automatically send it to a clientís info page. And perhaps with the feature to create filters that automatically send anything to or from that email address to that client's information.

If it were integrated with firefox I would like to see it automatically figure out if thatís their email address in their contact info page, Then the program should automatically set up a filter, and also with the option to "Create a new lead" right from the email program. If the only information you have is their email address and the email requesting a demo.

I think it would be really neat to have all this information on hand and organized properly, I'm always forgetting phone conversations, and the file folder and paper process is alright, But its a little odd since I was raised in the digital age.

Hope that helps in some way.
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Old March 7th, 2005, 04:18 PM   #9
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Wow Josh. Thank you. This is exactly what I am looking for. I can certainly relate to quite a few of your ideas in practice. What i am presently doing is collating these idea's into a definitive list. Even if they are wacky they will go into the list. Most of your ideas presented fall into a customer tracking category. Diary managment is an important part of a videgraphers life so this certainly is another important area. Additional items on my list are Stock Control, Order Tracking for duplicates, reminders for follow-up. Certainly scanning directly into the system was not on my list but certainly doable.

I am just finishing a website tonight which will be the project home while development takes place. Your ideas will be placed online together with others from the board. I will announce the website shortly.

Thank you again for a good contribution which has certainly got us thinking!

Kind Regards

Steven Salmon
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Old March 7th, 2005, 07:12 PM   #10
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Don't make it so narrow as just "Wedding Videography". Wouldn't the same tools be necessary for Legal Videography, Biographical Videography, Commercial Advertizement Videography or a dozen other Videographies?

Less of a vertical market might mean more appeal and sales.

I would love to see a video asset catalog system (db) that could be cross-referenced with a CRM system. Something like CatDV or TEPX that was linked to a CRM to query for follow-ups, due dates, and possible unsolicited anniversary reselling.

Keep us posted, sounds promising.
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Old March 9th, 2005, 05:52 AM   #11
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Thank you all so far for the positive comments onlist and offlist. As promised a website has now been created for the project codenamed 'RingsOnFingers' which is very much alive and kicking. Please read the introduction article which details the project.

I will post a dedicated article on DVInfo.net in due course but for now I am currently looking for 150 video professionals to be involved in the project. Each of the 150 video professionals will receive a full licensed version once released.

If you want to get involved, please point your web browser to:

http://www.ringsonfingers.com

Look forward to welcoming you onboard!

Best Regards

Steven Salmon
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Old March 9th, 2005, 07:44 AM   #12
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Organizing your bookings

A typical website that includes this software with your membership is wedj.com. They have online software that handles exactly what you are talking about and it is for the customer as well.

Chris A
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Old March 9th, 2005, 08:30 AM   #13
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Hi Chris

Thanks for the post. I am a little confused by your post. I took a trip to wedj.com which appears to be a supplier index of services. I could not see any reference to something similar to my proposals. Perhaps you could point me in the right direction?

Regards

Steven
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Old March 9th, 2005, 09:09 AM   #14
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Josh,

We actually built software that does just that...it was not intended for wedding production but video in general...

all job bid emails get thrown into a database, they are marked and tagged, once a client signs up for a project they are given a web page that they can log into...that page contains all there job spec info a copy of the contract in pdf and personal info...it also contains web clips and stills of there job in progress or finished edits...

it was custom built and we sold this in 2001 for $6,500, works great to this day, we actually use a copy for ourselves...

with a few tweaks for wedding folks how much do you think you would be willing to pay for this?

by the way it web oriented so its mac pc friendly...it runs on a iis asp server, so you will need to get one or get a monthly shared hosting plan
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Old March 9th, 2005, 09:43 AM   #15
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Wedj software

That is correct Steven, it is a services website that vendors sign up with, you add a button on your website and customers can check your date availability, etc..

You might be able to contact the site and see if they can let you see or experience a demo of the Gigbuilder software. There are quite a few things you can do with it in addition to add payments and choose available music selections.

Chris A
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