Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Going Pro: A New Series

This series is about how to start a successful video production company in 40 weeks.  Forty seems like an odd number in this situation.  Sure, it’s four groups of ten and there are plenty of lists of 10—ten best, ten worst, ten tips, ten commandments….  Groupings of ten just work.  But that’s not why I picked 40 weeks.  It’s the length of a human pregnancy, the ultimate metaphor of creation.  And that was one of the little earthquakes that rattled my world: my wife had just gotten pregnant.  (Okay, that sounds like she did it all by herself when in reality I’m at least 50 percent responsible—50… 50… hmm, that’s a good number.)  

Hurricane Images Inc - Magic bridge, China

In 40 weeks I had to not only start a company, but make it successful.

"Let go of your day job; 

live off your videography"

What do I mean by successful? I believe that anyone who makes money at their craft—whether it’s $25 a shoot or $2500—has earned the right to call themselves a professional. But I’m setting the bar higher for this series.   By successful I mean you’re positioned to let go of your day job and live off your videography work. 

This Going Pro series outlines the steps, theories, and practical bits that went into my 40-week evolution from part-time photographer to full-time videographer/photographer.  It's not a road map, precisely, because there are many ways to make this journey. It's more like a suitcase for the journey.  A suitcase that someone else has packed for your journey, full of surprises-- and hopefully vitally useful items.  The series will spread out over the next three months or so.

To accomplish this in 40 weeks you must have some knowledge of videography.  If you don’t, you better add another “pregnancy” to your timeline in order to get up to speed on the technical aspects., because this isn’t for absolute beginners.

Hurricane Images Inc - Forbidden road, Turkey

Nor is this for established cinematographers (in fact, I hope some of them chip in to make this series more useful). This is designed for skilled crafts-people who are planning to make the leap into a professional career.  This includes the business structures, strategies for reaching clients, the products I use the most, and advanced techniques that will help separate you from the hobbyist.

"Nuts and bolts of business and art"

So I won’t write about 3 point lighting; but I’ll may discuss 4-point lighting, which is the difference between an amateur lighting design and a beginning professional.  I won’t talk about how set up a website; but I may write about what should be included and how to coordinate across web platforms.  I’ll dig into the nuts and bolts of contracts; I’ll balance production approaches with business methodology.  But mostly—and I hope most usefully—I’ll give a blow-by-blow account of the steps I took to establish a production company. I believe a honest personal account can yield more gems than a dry instructional guide… and is harder to come by even in these days of self-promotion.

I’ll post at several times a week.  It may take a few entries before the meat and potatoes of “how to” start to appear.  But trust me, there’s a method to the madness of going pro. 

Next post: we’ll get in the time machine. We’re story-tellers; we need to start at the beginning.

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