View Full Version : After Production is complete then what...
02-03-2004, 09:10 PM
If I go out with my DVX100 and shoot some commercials for some local clients. Come home and edit everything, do I need to contact the cable company in advance to get that commercial aired on their network or a certain channel? Is it the clients responsibility to contact them and pay the air time cost to have their spot aired? I am a little confused at how this works. Another scenario I guess would be, I would shoot a spot for a store then I could drop the BetaSp tape off at the cable station for airing providing the client paid for airtime already.
As for other things, I am aware of Film Festivals, contests, local programming, sales, etc.
02-03-2004, 09:59 PM
Well there are two ways, you can buy the airtime and mark the cost up to your client or have the client buy the airtime themselves...it really depends on how media savy the client is...or not. If you can make a few buck and learn in the process better for you.
The process with the station is quite easy, realize that the station only has one channel but might have affiliate stations that you can also buy media from as well.
Also realize that the cost is very dependent on when the spot plays...different times different costs.
Contact the station and get there rates...it's quite a empowering situation actually, I used to own two post-secondary schools and would produce direct, edit and composite the spots then buy the airtime...
Good luck ::)
02-04-2004, 11:50 AM
Welcome to the hell of shooting local TV commercials...
You have now entered a no-win zone, courtesy of the antitrust monopoly known as the television stations.
If you want to shoot commercials, you have to convince the client to shoot a commercial, and pay you for it. Then you have to make arrangements for airtime. They can either work with an ad agency to buy airtime, or buy it directly from the station.
If they use an ad agency, the ad agency will 99.9% of the time have a production company that they use, and will convince the client to go with them instead of you. After all, there's going to be a contract in place between the client and the agency that basically says the agency does everything as far as advertising goes, so you'll get cut out of the deal.
If they go directly to the station, the station will say to the client "why not let us shoot the commercial for you? If you spend $2,000 a month with us, we'll shoot the commercial for free." How do you compete against that? You can't. You don't want to be shooting entire commercials, including post, for $200 or $300, do you? That's what the stations would charge and pay.
So, the only way out is to become a media buyer. You try to buy airtime yourself, cutting the station's salespeople and production arm out of the deal. But stations won't sell you discounted airtime unless you're a "bona fide" ad agency. Are you? Of course not, you're a production company, so no, it'll be "rack rate" for you... If you become an ad agency or media buyer, you'll be entitled to a 15% discount on airtime (a commission, actually). But, being an ad agency is a full time business in and of itself, far more involved than simple production. And then it becomes your responsibility to the client to buy adequate coverage, do demographic research, place the airtime in the proper time slots on the proper channels, do follow-ups to see how effective the ad buy has been for the client, revise airtime and airing slots to maximize efficiency... and of course, you can only do this if the client doesn't already have an ad agency.
If a client understands the importance of advertising (meaning, he/she's willing to put up the budget to get results) then they're going to have an ad agency and you're cut out of the deal. If the client DOESN'T understand that yet (which can be demonstrated by the fact that they don't have an ad agency) then they'll be too cheap to pay what it's worth ("why should I pay you when the station will do it for free?")
Is there a way out of this trap? Sure. Make some incredible spec spots, win a rack of awards, and shmooze shmooze shmooze people at the ad agencies until you get in with someone. Once you become "in", and the agency gives you a shot and you do incredibly well with it, other agencies will be more open to you. Agency spots will pay $5000 to $100,000 or more. And you won't have to know anything about airtime or media buying, or selling directly to clients.
Of course, landing an agency, for a small outfit with a DVX, is about as likely as making a breakthrough feature film on the DVX. It's been done, but it doesn't happen very often.
Trying to make a living shooting local commercials is a hellish existence, which is why so many people turn to weddings, events, and corporate films. Good luck in whatever course you choose to pursue!
02-04-2004, 11:54 AM
Barry, so bitterly put...but ohhh so damn true.
02-04-2004, 11:57 AM
i imagine weddings are easier to get, but really who wants to deal with that sort of uncontrolled environment, and all the pressure of performance on top of it, wedding planners ect.. bah. i mean ive just been trying to stay away from that stress bag ...
02-04-2004, 12:28 PM
Oh, weddings are probably a worse hell, sure... I wasn't implying that they were better, just -- well, easier to get, I'm sure, and it seems like most people making money off their cameras are doing it shooting weddings.
Other ways are legal videography (but you should get certified by the NCRA first) or event coverage... corporate videos are probably the easiest ways to make decent coin... corporate clients tend to be easier to land than ad agencies, there's no real follow-up necessary (unlike airtime, etc) and they're usually bigger projects ($5,000 - $15,000 or so). One producer friend makes his entire living off the HR department of one of the casino chains here, producing training videos and an in-house TV show for them.
Did I sound bitter about local ads? That's only because I'm bitter. I tried making the rounds and beating my head against that wall for a couple of years, before I finally learned exactly how it works and got out of that. I find regional clients and corporate clients much, much more pleasant to deal with, and better paying too. And more satisfying work.
Seriously, I think there's a case for an antitrust suit here, because the TV stations own the means of production and distribution -- fifty years ago the movie studios owned the theaters, so they owned the means of production and distribution, and the Supreme Court stepped in and said "no more" -- split 'em up so that companies would have an equal chance at the screens. I think the same thing should be applied to the TV stations -- they shouldn't be able to bundle in their production services for free, because it isn't ever truly "free", they have expenses they have to meet just like we do, but they can "hide it" and cut independent producers out of the loop. If they had to compete separately for production services, it might make the whole landscape a lot more fair.
02-04-2004, 12:45 PM
im feeling ya barry, sorry bout the 2 lost years. ive actually been looking into grabbing up a corparate video job here in the area to pay some bills when working on this feature coming up .. well see. hopefully i wont have to go that route.
Wow Barry... VERY well put. And the antitrust suit sounds like a good idea actually... It would allow an even playing field for independents, PLUS it would reduce the amount of that CRAP that TV stations produce and pass off as "commercials" ;D
02-04-2004, 02:33 PM
This is a really interesting subject as I have seen both sides of the coin. The sad part with the commercial clients in most cases are so glossed over by the stations to see themselves on the TV that they don't realize there commercials suck..
a vicious circle.
I have had the misfortune of doing way too many commercials as an editor and that is why I have aquired the DVX to try and aggressively cut into the stations market...to really show the client some creative work, content and storytelling.
I believe that intelligent clients can rise above the mediaocrity that the small union-based local stations call creative.
I am starting off my professional shooting life by doing 3 commercials for an AIDS foundation here in Canada.
Enough about me...
02-05-2004, 10:13 AM
Well I am not totally interested in doing commercials. My main thing is Music Videos and Short Films at this point. However, I was thinking about producing a TV show on local programming then going out and getting local stores/companies to advertise during my show. I have seen local commercials on TV that looked like they were shot with a VHS camera! I sit there and say to myself, I can do a whole lot better than that! But then again, that client might have not paid much for the production so I guess you get what you pay for.
02-05-2004, 12:38 PM
Okay, now that's a WHOLE DIFFERENT BALLGAME.
You can make decent to good money doing a half-hour show. And if you own the commercial slots yourself, then yes, you can offer someone a package deal. And you don't have to fret over ad-agency responsibilities, because you're not handling the client's whole marketing plan, you're just selling time on your show. You can even pull the TV station "package" deal: advertise on my show for three months and I'll do the commercial for free, etc...
In that case, let's re-orient the thread -- this goes from "bad idea" to "excellent idea". If you have a sponsor for the show who will cover all production expenses, you can do quite well. There are some production companies here who do nothing but produce a single half-hour weekly show. I currently get my bills paid on a half-hour show I do.
So, first thing is to get the specs from the station (for example, on my half-hour, they give us 28:30. The station keeps the other 90 seconds for their own spots/promo's). Then find out what format they accept. Many stations are still stuck in the analog morass known as BetaSP -- our cable station here is proud that they finally got a BetaSP deck! Sheesh. So if you're mastering on DV, you may have to arrange to make BetaSP dubs to deliver to the stations. Some stations accept DVCPRO, so you'll have to contact your cable company or broadcast companies to see what they accept.
Then finish your show, add bars & tone at the beginning, followed by a slate (10 seconds that says the name of the show, the date, your contact info, etc, with a countdown counter) followed by the show itself, followed by a little section of black. Then make arrangements with your airtime salesperson as to when they expect to receive it (for my show, which airs weekly starting on Monday, I have to have the tape in to them by the previous Thursday).
Make sure you deliver tone at the level they expect (some expect 0db, some expect -20db). And make sure your black levels correspond with what they expect (which will likely be analog 7.5 IRE). Other than that, you should be good to go.
02-05-2004, 01:46 PM
This changes everything...for the better. Barry what type of show do you do? I have been very interested in creating programming like this with the ability to sell commercial airtime....
02-05-2004, 02:27 PM
O.k. first we take over cable ! Then local stations! Then the networkes! DVX USERS UNITE!!!! Ba Ha hA Ha ;D
Hey it could happen 8)
02-05-2004, 02:27 PM
The show I do is very simple, it's for an auto dealer. I in fact don't have to sell commercial airtime, because the auto dealer buys out the entire half hour and I run a couple of their commercials in the middle. It's very different work -- I've done national and regional commercials with exquisite production values, but with this show it's basically a DVX on a GlideCam, run by an extremely talented operator... and then I do some post graphics. My commercials would typically take three days to prep, a full day to shoot, and two days to post. With this show, there's no prep, 2 hours to shoot, and then about 3 days of post -- and it's a steady gig.
We are always pitching new commercial deals to them as well, since they've already paid for the airtime... the auto dealer show pays the bills, the commercials are gravy.
After quite a while working the local market, I've come to the conclusion that there are really only two advertisers on local TV (in our market): car dealers, and lawyers. Yes there'll be an occasional ad for something else, but in quantity, there are 30 car dealer ads, and 25 lawyer ads, for every furniture store ad on the air. So I went after car dealers, and so far it's doing well: their traffic is up dramatically, they're selling many more cars than compared to last year, and the show pays my bills and lets me work with my friends every week. And because I'm my own boss on my own schedule, it permits time throughout the week for writing screenplays and pestering investors... (not to mention spending way too much time on DVXUSER!)
02-05-2004, 02:36 PM
I am going to approach the local brutal TV station to find out about buying a 1/2 hr slot...any advice?
Also your auto show what does it focus on maintence or..
My background is very similar to yours, I have recently moved to alot smaller place and am needing to cultivate a client base and new types of projects.
02-05-2004, 03:53 PM
Our show consists primarily of the dealer showcasing cars for sale. Sometimes he offers unbelievably good deals -- frequently a couple of cars under $1,000. But also expensive Corvettes and such. And a whole segment on new cars.
The focus of the show is driving traffic to the dealership. If we can get the head count up, and get more people in, then they have more chances to make a sale. We talk about service, we talk about financing, etc., but the main goal is to drive traffic to the dealership, and most of that comes through offering great deals.
My goal, as the creative guy, is to find a way to get people to watch the show. If I can keep their interest, and keep their eyeballs glued to the screen, sooner or later they're going to see a deal that connects with them. So we spend a lot of time on graphics and humor, adding elements to the show that will hopefully stop a channel-flipper in their tracks, call their friends and say "hey, check out this show... this guy just said -- wait, is that for real? A 2003 Celica for $5000? "
Anyway, that's the gist of that particular show. Not a lot of money, but enough to make it worth doing. Other shows that have done well here in the past are real estate shows -- a new home showcase, where you go out and convince builders to put on a 2-minute video tour of their new home developments. Then you have a host in between those segments, and usually tie it in with a charity or something, etc. In a half-hour show, you might have 12 builders... those builders will pay somewhere around $1000 to have that two-minute slot (the show would air every day, once on a broadcast station in the morning on a Sunday, and the rest of the week at 2:00 a.m. on some UHF station). If you can fill the slots with builders and sell a few commercials, you're looking at maybe $15,000 revenues weekly (plus, you also charge the builder to make the video tour, maybe $1000 or $1500). Your expenses are primarily crew & airtime, graphics & post, etc. Plus the host's fee, plus you also would do well to have a cross-promotional relationship with a radio station or with a print advertiser (like a magazine). For a show like this, your airtime costs in our market would be around $6000 per week. Pay your crew well, and you could clear a few thousand per week. It's a lot of work, a lot of selling to the builders, etc -- but there's one guy who's been doing this type of show consistently since 1970-something, and made a good living at it, even though his show was really basically unwatchable. Oh, he'd also bring on "invited guests", which would be someone like a mortgage lender or a home inspection service. Those people would pay maybe $500 for a 2-minute interview segment.
Anyway, those shows don't work here now -- we have a red-hot real-estate market, nobody needs to advertise. But if real estate isn't red-hot where you are, that might be a viable show idea.
02-05-2004, 05:24 PM
Ok Barry thanks for your insight. The cable company here like you stated has a Analog system however, they have the ability to broadcast in DVD! They told me that I could put my whole show on DVD and then broadcast it that way as well. If not then it will have to BetaSP.
Now, instead of leaving black for the spot inserts, could I just edit them in with everything else? So basically all they have to do is put the DVD in and cue it up and press play. If I am going to shoot the spots myself then I should be able to insert them into the layout of the show as well.
This is something that I am still researching but would like to get my show on local programming at some point. Thanks again for your insight.
This is something that numerous friends of mine do. *They buy airtime-- or sometimes even work out a cashless deal with the station-- and get companies to sponsor them in return for commercial time. *Sometimes the show is composed of more commercials than the actual show based on the agreements that they made with sponsors. *At least they get to do their show! *I'm not sure how much my friends make by doing this, as it's more for the love than the money right now. *(I'm sure the it'll someday be for the love of the money :))
02-05-2004, 06:55 PM
Now, instead of leaving black for the spot inserts, could I just edit them in with everything else?
If you've bought out the half-hour, you definitely want to give them a continuous-play show. You'll deliver the full show (including all commercials) on one DVD or tape.
Don't leave black for commercials, though -- you never know, some day one might slip through. Make a commercial for your show (you know, "if you'd like your product or service advertised on this show, call xxx-xxxx") and fill in all the spots with that commercial. Then if you don't manage to sell all the commercial spots some week, at least you've got a backup plan in place.
(oh, and broadcasting off DVD... interesting. Hadn't heard of that yet. Beware, though, because so far it looks like home-burnt DVD's are only about 70-80% compatible, so you'll have to run a test to see if yours will work in their player. This would be a much more cost-efficient way to go though... $5 for blank DVD media beats $58 ($8 for a BetaSP tape and $50 for transfer to BetaSP) especially when that's every week!
02-05-2004, 07:46 PM
Barry, excellent information, I hope you don't mind me pounding you with questions on this. I quite like the real estate approach as the market i am in is really booming...one of the fastest growing areas in Canada.
I also think that commercial time could be bought by trades such as, a tiling company or granite counter top company etc.
What about doing this for existing high end houses that are for sale here...time and commercial paid for by the realtor.
02-05-2004, 10:06 PM
Well, depends on how high-end you want to go. There's a company here in town that has had a show on for a couple of years, and they just extended it for five more years (so it must be doing well for them). They also have it on in a California location, where it's been on for something like seven years.
Basically what they do is sell 1-minute segments to their agents. The show is hosted by the owner of the real estate company, and only their agents are allowed to be on the show (which I guess they try to market as a benefit as to why an agent would join with them). The agents highlight one house with their minute -- usually it features the agent addressing the camera in the house's foyer or living room, followed by a gorgeous tour of these million-to-five-million-dollar houses, with a professional voiceover doing the narration, followed by the agent again, wrapping it up by saying something like "if you want to see this house, or other houses, call me, blah blah blah".
From what I understand, they charge the agents $1000 to air that segment. That probably includes production time too though, because if not, that's some good money -- $30,000 per show...
Makes sense for the agents though, because a 3.5% commission on a 2 million dollar house would be $70,000... makes spending $1000 to market it a little investment. And, of course, they'll probably never sell that house due to the ad, but they may get another seller to list with them because they're seen as "the high-dollar expert" or whatever.
Anyway, like I say, that type of thing doesn't really work in a hot market, it works better in a cool market. Our market is so hot that houses rarely stay on sale for more than a day or two. Within a couple of days, any house listed here will have four or five offers, usually above asking price. So, why advertise? There's no need, so home shows are slower here, but maybe where you are it'd work.
You'd need to get in good with a major real estate company that has a lot of agents. You need that "stamp of approval" that comes with the prestige of it being, say, the "Good Housekeeping Home Show" or "Americana Realty's Homes Today" or whatever. That'll give the agents confidence enough to buy in. You'll probably have to do a lot of favors and have the first few agents on for free -- agents can be somewhat egotistical, and if they see others doing it, they may want to position themselves as the expert and get themselves on, etc...
02-05-2004, 10:24 PM
Thanx Barry big help...part of the problem is i am in a very small market. It is only about 1/2 million people for the whole valley. So I'm trying to cultivate different opportunities here for myself with my skillset, versus heading back to Vancouver for work.
02-06-2004, 11:28 PM
Hey Barry since you seem to be the expert on this topic, Do you think it is hard to get a distribution deal if I wanted to instead of producing a TV show, to just get my project(s) on DVD in stores. I won't be ready to do anything like that until late Spring sometime. But what would be the procedure if I decided to go that route. Basically I would be handing the distributing company a complete done deal project all they would have to do is make copies and seal them up with barcodes and place them in the stores...I know this is different from doing a show but this is an option that I am considering.
02-06-2004, 11:38 PM
Here is an interesting option for you...
02-07-2004, 08:01 AM
Thanks Taylor, that looks like a cool site. I will have to check that out in more detail. Have you used them or know anyone that has used their services?
02-07-2004, 09:11 AM
Thanks Taylor, that looks like a cool site. I will have to check that out in more detail. Have you used them or know anyone that has used their services?
No I haven't but it is a very great idea to have a fullfilment company handling your replication, shipping and billing. Save you alot of headache. *I made a howto snowboard video years ago and have been thinking of putting it throught them...only problem is my master is in storage 2000 miles away ???