Seeking advice on starting a video production business

Felienin

New member
Good evening everyone! Its my absolute pleasure to discover this forum and share my thoughts here. Im an independent filmmaker who has produced and directed couple of award winning and multiple festival screening short films and one documentary. Infact my second short film also got a distribution here in the US. I made these films couple of years ago and since then have been working in corporate world in an unrelated field. Since quite some time I had been planning to find ways to make my real passion as profession. As we all know, its tough!
I have plans of making an independent feature film soon, but im not expecting that to turn into any windfall as most indies lose money! Recently I decided to go part time in my alternate career and put some of the money I have earned over the last few years in starting a video production business which will have some decent cameras, lenses, post production studio etc etc. Looking at some existing similar businesses, I estimated total investment to be around 50-75k which included 4-6 small to medium end cameras, high end lenses, solid lighting equipment, microphones, sound design softwares, couple of editing workstations and other miscellaneous stuff.
So, here is my plan-
1. Rent a small office space in an inexpensive semi commercial area where I can put equipment and have decent space for post production work, including mini interview shoots, green screen etc.
2. Immediately start making some revenue for the company by renting out equipment, post production equipment and studio space to independent filmmakers, documentary filmmakers, political marketing companies, etc etc
3. Start producing and developing work for corporate clients, educational clients, events etc. Ofcourse this will take some time to take off, I assume
4. Develop a team of other technical people-DOP’s, sound designers, editors and animators etc and hire them on project basis; hire a part time administrative assistant to help in scheduling, answering calls etc
Btw, forgot to mention, I plan to start this business somewhere around greater washington DC metro area-northern virginia/baltimore area.
My long term plan is to hone my both creative and technical skills through the projects I will do through my production company, develop a network of creative people and eventually make my indie feature film using most of resources from the company (both equipment and talent wise)
I would like you experienced guys to give your two cents on following points-
1. How does the overall plan sound in the context of current climate of video production business and is there anything important Im missing here?
2. What kind of cameras and other equipment you guys advice on investing in keeping in mind the current advancements in technology and future?
3. Is there anything else I can add in my planned list of equipment rental/services offered which has lot of demand nowadays. I mean may be something like media conversion from one format to another or perhaps something else?
Million thanks in reading it and thanks in advance for your help.

Thanks,
visit my website
 
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Kim Welch

Senior Member
Staff member
I saw the post subject thought it was someone just starting out with no idea what is going on but it really sounds like you understand the basics well. I know a few people who started with a camera and assistant and built from there and added equipment as they went and now are doing a lot of work. One of the things I have heard several times is that renting equipment or it being a part of the package was a serious revenue stream. Love what you do and learn something new every day is my advice this morning. Ask me later in the day and it might be different.
 

Jared Isham

Moderator
I would try holding off on getting office space as long as possible unless you already have a strong client base. The biggest thing for me when starting out was overhead. Keep your costs as low as possible. When it comes to renting out gear you have to ask yourself how reliable that income stream would be. Do you think you would have gear rented out every day or just once or so a month? This all depends on the competition and the needs of your area. I'm in Los Angeles so using services like KitSplit or ShareGrid help but are not reliable sources since there are a ton of people in the area and a ton of rental houses.

I would avoid purchasing too much gear when starting your own company as it will often times be out of date and the fad will be to move onto the next camera. It also gets really expensive...for my bigger shoots I just rent the additional gear that I need from local shops or from Lensrental.

The main thing is to have a revenue stream or client base figured out, or at least how you plan on acquiring new clients before you start adding to your overhead. My $0.02 - hope it helps.
 
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