Real quickly. I never knew how much went into the pre-production and planning for a commercial shoot and the level of detail expected.
Proposals come from relationships
Interning with House of Sticks opened my eyes to the world of pre-production. I assumed that when video production companies were approached by a company with a project, they simply chose a production company that they like doing business with. However, most of the time, agencies send out project proposals and production companies compete against each other by making bids (submitting budgets) for the project. The agency then works with the company to choose a production team based on their ability to stay close to company’s proposed budget as well as the quality and aesthetic of the work they produce. I had no idea.
Agencies, I also learned, must invite production companies to bid. Not everyone can bid on a project or the agency would have too many bids to sift through. Not to mention they want to control what the client sees. This makes networking essential for production companies. It’s literally a “who you know” business. The quality of the work just gets you in the door. Many times, production companies will reach out to agencies to get on their radar for future projects. If a production company has a quality reel and has made video assets with reputable brands, it makes it easier to convince agencies that they are worth working with.
I also learned that it is important to make ALL of your clients happy because it could lead to future work opportunities. House of Sticks aquired the Coca-Cola project because Coca-Cola heard of the work House of Sticks had done for McDonalds. McDonalds was very pleased with the working relationship and the videos delivered to them. Coca-Cola shared this with their agency and the agency invited House of Sticks to make a bid on the Coca-Cola project. They were soon chosen for the project. Agencies talk because people talk. And a lot of big agencies with big clients have other big clients. Not to mention, people don’t stay at the same place of work forever either. It’s who you know. Grow your network like you should be growing your reel.
Through learning this process, I recognized the importance of networking, building lasting relationships, and producing quality work. People talk… your work talks… who you are talks… those three statements are something I hope to remember going forward in my film career. Lots to think about and a great perspective shift for me.