A Lesson in Making Budgets

Its not all about money not completely at least

The Executive Producer at House of Sticks told me that they usually make a project budget based on 3 questions:

  1. Do I want to work with them in the future? House of Sticks sees that it would be worth making less money if they were to continue to make videos with a reputable brand just for the exposure. This relationship will add credibility to the company as well as generate a long-term working relationships. People like working with people they like.
  2. Is this an opportunity for a unique quality portfolio piece? Let’s be honest, not every piece a production company makes goes into their public portfolio. Often times House of Sticks will opt for less money when they recognize that the video itself will be a marketing tool for them. It is easy to choose less money when you feel it is an investment into your company’s brand.
  3. Some projects are not portfolio pieces and some companies are hard to work with. However, money often times makes any project “worth it.” I have learned that some companies are willing to pay a lot to get a video asset they want. And, House of Sticks understands that while it may not add credibility to their company or open opportunities for future work, money allows them to continue doing what they love. It is an business after all.

These lessons I have learned have caused me to reflect on my future in film-making. I learned that when evaluating future work opportunities, I need to either 1. work with people who will give me more credibility, 2. Provide me the opportunity to build a strong portfolio piece, or 3. give me the money to continue doing what I love. You really need all three.

It is apparent to me that quality portfolio work is ESSENTIAL. Quality work leads to quality clients. Because, as the director at House of Sticks likes to say, “companies don’t want you to do something for them, unless you have done it before.” Kind of strange to think of, but it makes sense. Agency creatives who have their careers on the line can’t swing an miss too many times.

Spec work might just pave the way

And this leads to the final lesson I learned: Don’t wait. Spec work can lead to real work. I recognized that it is important for me to invest in quality equipment and “make stuff” that I love. For some reason, I thought this just applied to students. However, now I realize that it applies to any company looking to grow. Nobody knows what you are capable of until you get out and do it! And, I have been surprised in hearing about the House of Sticks journey. They have been SUPER willing to help me along the way. I hope I can apply what I have learned this summer by not letting excuses stand in the way of producing quality content! I can’t always wait for people to take a chance on me; I need to make way for opportunities ahead of me.