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


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Old September 26th, 2005, 02:08 PM   #1
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Startup help

ive been practicing with my cam, reading tutorial after tutorial, i now have:

4 iriver 790's
a panasonic pv-gs250 with all filters and monopod for mobile
a jvc gr-dvl250 with tripod for static behind the ceremony (maybe a telephoto lens not sure)
all the production suite software i could ask for (premire pro 1.5, tmpg dvd source creator and dvd author, adobe creative suite cs2, extra audio and video add ins)

but now im stuck!

my question to everyone is how do you jump into the business with very little cash flow and professional expieriance?

i was going to try this way:

-make and produce my own brochures, business cards, demo dvd's
-get on the web and post there
-then sign up for every search engine and referal service i can find for videographers
but do i just call bridal shops and churches and such and try to market myself that way or am i missing something?
maybe local photo shops?

everyones input of how they started out would be very helpful!!! thnx
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Old September 26th, 2005, 05:24 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Trojanowski
my question to everyone is how do you jump into the business with very little cash flow and professional expieriance?

i was going to try this way:

-make and produce my own brochures, business cards, demo dvd's
-get on the web and post there
-then sign up for every search engine and referal service i can find for videographers
but do i just call bridal shops and churches and such and try to market myself that way or am i missing something?
maybe local photo shops?

everyones input of how they started out would be very helpful!!! thnx
So your asking how to get your word out about yourself, but you don't have a lot of money nor experience, right?

Well start small, it may suck at first to do little things, but once people can see what you do, they will spread the word for you.
I started out doing football games for the parents at a local high school. I videoed the games with the coach’s permission and turned around and sold the DVDs for $12 each to the parents (little more complicated than that, but you should get the gist of it). This allowed me to make about $60 - $80 a week. I know its not much, but as a freshman in college and no job except this, this was rocking for me. By the way I had a Panasonic Palmcam and Vegas Video 3.0 and used Sonic's My DVD. I did that for the whole season and really got a whole lot of recognition for it. plus i was able to save at least $50-$60 a week for better software and equip.

So back to the no money thing, to promote yourself, there are lots of low cost ways, without making it obvious to potential clients that it's cheap.

1. WEBSITE!!!!!: so many people have gone to the digital world, they use websites more than they use the phone to contact businesses. Who do you use to host your website? www.freewebs.com , you can start a free account with them, but then have to pay $4.75 (or less) per month for their "premium account". They have simple templates, that allow you to add your info into. You can take a look at my website if you wish www.mattsfilms.com , i used one of their templates. in the free account you won't be able to see all the things you can do, but if you or anyone has questions about it you can e-mail me : msproductions@quixnet.net

2. Domain name: Hurry, register you domain, find something that represents you. at the time, my domain was the only "cool" sounding thing I could find. Personally I don't like it now, but everyone knows me by it so I am stuck with it. To register your domain, use the one freewebs.com recommends, this way when your clients go to your web page they will see your domain name in the address bar, not the forwarded address. You can also use registerfly.com to register other domains, they are cheap, but, DO NOT USE THEIR SERVICES, THEY SUCK, JUST AS THEIR CUSTOMER SERVICE DOES. I warned ya. anyway...when you purchase any EXTRA domains then you can use that to forward to your primary domain (the one that is hosted through freewebs). for instance I also registered www.mattsawyers.com

2.Business Cards: Use www.vistaprint.com and whatever you do, don't get the free ones! People do these for their business around town, then when I flip it over i see the "www.vistaprint.com" advertisement....Its a no no. Anyway buy their premium cards for like $3.99 then shipping is like $12 and about $15 later you have 250 professional business cards, they also have an option to upload a picture for $4.99. I just designed my card in Macromedia fireworks, then uploaded it to their site and voila I got my business cards.

3. Postcards: same place as above, design in Photoshop or whatever, upload them and order them. At one point they offered like 250 for $30 + shipping!
Send these to friends and family and even past clients. Address them & sign them to leave a personal impression upon them. Maybe even right a small note to them.

4. brochures: probably same place as above, I've never used them, but it looks like a good way to go. I made a couple at home and gave then out. I also did flyers, but like 1/3 of a brochure size.

5. Demo DVDs: first you have to have experience to do it. Look around the forums to find more info on what to put on your DVD.
Personally...see next number

6. Demo "folders": I personally like to sit down and meet with someone even if they are just Interested. I have a folder (done at vistaprint) then I have my flyer, business card and and mini demo DVD-rom and some other useful info.
of course, I had the flyer printed through vistaprint. I also give them info on like what songs they may want to use for their wedding DVD (I am assuming you will want to do this for only weddings or other large events [this example is for weddings]) Why mini DVD-rom? Well smaller discs ones have a larger impression on them; at least for my clients they do. And -rom? I like them because it allows the clients to go home stick it in a computer and view what I offer for them. It allows then to pick and choose different packages I offer and to see some examples of each. I used Macromedia Flash as the interface. (Flash 8 offers some awesome video import options.)

7. Visit local bridal shops and hand them some business cards. Don't just call them, they'll forget. Plus its unprofessional. By the way, look professional too.

8. Talk (meet with) local photographers about you business and if they want to, give them you business card(s). Same to schools and churches, call them and then set up an appointment to talk to them. Majority of my business come through referrals through friends, a local school and some photographers I have worked with.

9. When speaking to ANYONE, try to slip in the fact that you do business as a videographer. So if you ever go to the movies and see someone and say "hey I do videography for weddings...here's my card..." then you just made a trip to the movies a business trip! :)

10. As for referral systems and search engines, I don't use a whole lot, plus that can also cost a lot of money.
I added my domain and info into google & yahoo's directories (freewebs will help you with this).
I also use www.alltimefavorites.com ; they are a good referral system and I get a little bit of business from them. Its free to set up a merchant account with them, but if you use their referrals, you have to pay a percentage back to them (it's not much).


***NOTE: to get better deals from vistaprint.com, sign up for their newsletter, wait a couple of days for their newsletter, then use the link there to get like $0.99 business cards. Yes I'm serious, I did it.


I hope this helps!!!

~Matt
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Last edited by Matt Sawyers; September 26th, 2005 at 05:27 PM. Reason: stupid spelling errors
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Old September 26th, 2005, 08:17 PM   #3
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That was some very comprehensive feedback from Matt so I don't think I'm going to top that.

I'd suggest getting a few weddings under your belt even if it means doing the first 1 or 2 for free or very inexpensive. Word of mouth is, by far, the best form of marketing. The best part is...it's FREE.

I got started by doing a single wedding for free. I had no intentions on getting "into" wedding videography ironicly enough but after that one free video was out there being passed around to friends and family I started getting calls inquiring about my "rates". Rates?!....Rates? Needless to say I was amazed at how fast it grew itself.

All of the other marketing advice your given is very good- most of which I have to take into account for myself. Thus far I have done no formal marketing short of business cards. Business cards are a very inexpensive way to spread your word to those who HAVEN'T seen your work. I can't count the amount of times people asked me for a card after striking up a conversation and someone realizing I do video.

It'll be better yet once I have my website up so that the card can link to the website to help a potential customer get an idea of the style and quality of work you produce. Similar to work of mouth websites can work in the same way. If someone comes across a website they like they'll share it with others. It's very infectious. It's kind of ironic me saying this because I haven't released my website yet myself.

Another good, and free, way of marketing is networking. Become friends with the photographers you shoot with. It's usually not too difficult- simply strike up a conversation- become genuinely interested in their favorite person..THEM. This isn't a knock against photographers- it's human nature. People are drawn to you if you take time to show genuine interest in THEM rather than simply talking about yourself. I've diffused many stand-offish photograhers by simply striking up conversation with them about their work, or their website or the format they are shooting (I have a genuine interest in photography as well) and so on. Once you develop these bonds you'll find photographers will practically book jobs FOR you. If they enjoy working with you they'll go out of their way to refer their clients to you. Make sure you do the same thing for them as well.

Good luck- hope some of this helped.
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Old September 26th, 2005, 09:40 PM   #4
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thanks guys, a ton of great information for me to explore. i have a tabloid color laser printer so running off decent looking business cards and brochures isnt too hard. now off to work on these great ideas!
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Old September 27th, 2005, 07:11 AM   #5
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Spend the $7 for some real business cards. The laser/inkjet ones just don't cut it IMHO. Do some free work and build a demo reel.
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Old September 27th, 2005, 08:25 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Trojanowski
thanks guys, a ton of great information for me to explore. i have a tabloid color laser printer so running off decent looking business cards and brochures isnt too hard. now off to work on these great ideas!
Bob is right, get them professionally printed! The price has come down drastically over the last few years. There is a place here that does 5000 four color, two sided cards for $159.00. No way you can compete with that. Work on your design though. If you take them something camera ready that is the way you want it, it will be just that much simpler.

Good Luck.

Mike
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Last edited by Mike Teutsch; September 27th, 2005 at 11:34 AM. Reason: Price is $159.00 not $59.00!
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Old September 27th, 2005, 09:35 AM   #7
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What worked for me.

Matt gave you some great ideas (I may use some of them myself) I started out by calling brides to be, directly from there wedding announcements in my local paper. I get about 2 gigs for every 5 calls that I make. I started out doing them very cheep in exchange for permission to use some of their footage on my demo dvd. The call is started by my introducing myself and telling them what I can do for them. I then ask if they would like for me to meet them so they can see my work. If they dont go for it I ask if they would like for me to mail them a demo. It has been very cost effective for me. Dont give up.
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Old September 27th, 2005, 11:28 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Teutsch
Bob is right, get them professionally printed! The price has come down drastically over the last few years. There is a place here that does 5000 four color, two sided cards for $59.00. No way you can compete with that. Work on your design though. If you take them something camera ready that is the way you want it, it will be just that much simpler.

Good Luck.

Mike
Yea, plus right now www.vistaprint.com/vipoffer is having 250 postcards for $9.99! I promise I am not working for them, but full color on one side and b&w on the other, you just can't beat it. I am not criticizing or anything, but doing them on your laser printer will cost you more. How much is the paper (please don't tell you gonna cut 'em :P)? 14? Plus toner = ~$3ish, you can do whatever you want; but I strongly suggest going with a professional printer, even if you do go with Mike T.'s place. By the way, what place is it?
Dan if you have an questions about printing this stuff, you know were to find me.
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Old September 27th, 2005, 12:12 PM   #9
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[QUOTE=Matt Sawyers] but I strongly suggest going with a professional printer, even if you do go with Mike T.'s place. By the way, what place is it?
QUOTE]

Matt,

I corrected the first post, to $159.00, but have since looked up the price and it is really $149.00. Couldn't find my paper right away. This place is in Port St. Lucie, FL, so may not be something you would want to use, but the name is "Sky's The Limit" printing. I do have the phone number if anyone should want it, but like I said it is a local company.

Mike
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Old October 5th, 2005, 02:53 AM   #10
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This should be a FAQ sticky at the top. Matt advice is thorough and very good. I can tell you from recent experiance I pay next to nothing for ink with my bulk ink system but the card stock you buy anywhere makes up for the price. I get my cards from viastaprint also, it is way cheaper.
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Old October 5th, 2005, 07:54 AM   #11
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I agree with the above - I am also starting out - but have buisness rolling in right now.

1) Word of mouth is the best form of advertizement. Do a job or two for free just to get the word out. Network with the DJs and Photographers - if they are established and see you working hard (for free) at a wedding - they might reccomend you to some of their clients.

2) Buisness cards are a must!

3) Design your own website, or try to spend a few hundred getting one designed or you. It should be a place where you can maret yourself and show off some work.

4) Make sure that every moment with your customer counts -even if it's small talk - make sure you market yourself and are professional about it - again - word of mouth means more than any public advertizing will . . .

5) Might want to place an add in a local newspaper - usially I don't get many hits from doing this - but one job can lead to five more if you do it right. . .

Ryan
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