When you decide to hire a professional video production company or producer, in North Carolina (or otherwise), take solace in knowing that you’ve already taken one big step in the right direction. You’ve come to the realization that in order to put forward a professional product, you’ll need at least a little professional help. Lets face it, from time-to-time we all need professional help.

The next step is finding the right fit.

North Carolina is currently a little unique considering the recent loss of the film incentive program (now an evolving, smaller grant program). Production personnel and companies alike are moving south to Georgia and South Carolina in droves, where incentives are still the norm. This means fewer video production resources and options, especially in smaller markets. However, cities like Charlotte, Raleigh, and even Wilmington still have healthy competition and will likely travel throughout the state when dealing with a reasonable production budget.

Like any other industry, video production companies each have their own strengths and weaknesses. There is no one-size-fits-all model but there are some basics steps that should help you get it right the first time around, so you don’t end up putting that big budget in the wrong hands.

Here are 5 things you can do to make sure you’re hiring the right production team:

  • Know the Basics (Desired Quality and Parameters)
    • Find videos that reflect the overall quality that you’re trying to achieve. Don’t worry about the elements included in the production, just try to find a few examples that achieve the overall level of professionalism that you want to see reflect your brand or message. If you know the style and can find examples of that, even better. Also know how long the video needs to be and in what capacity the video will be used. 
  • See Samples of Work (Lots)
    • You can tell a lot about someone when you see their portfolio. In general, varying styles and scopes are both good things. You don’t want to see someone who makes everything look the same. Also make sure the works they are showing have been fully produced by their company, or at least get a feel for what roll the company had in the production. Many times people will be sub-contracted out as individual crew members and then use the final piece in their portfolio. You don’t want to give a production company credit for the parts of the production they had nothing to do with. If all they did was sound or lighting, you might want to find the company that handled the rest.
  • Set Your Budget (Based on Comparable Products)
    • You get what you pay for, unless you do something very right or very wrong. A seasoned producer or production company can help you get a handle on roughly what your budget should be but it comes down to you to decide what that final number is. You don’t want to show your hand by throwing out big numbers but at the same time, it’s your job to give the company something to work with so they can start getting a better gage for what it would take to put the production together. Show them the quality you’re looking for and then ask what it would cost to reproduce something similar to that. From there, they’ll need to know what the budget is so that they can hit that mark and work backwards.
  • Eye the Energy Level (It Matters)
    • You will be able to tell if they are uninterested for whatever reason. This should be a red flag. If they are engaged and asking questions than that is a good thing. If they are just saying “yes, we can do that” than maybe you want to dig a little deeper. After all, you’re going to professionals for a reason. What good is it if they aren’t bringing their creativity and skills to the table. Communication is also a tell-tale sign of how interested they are in the project. If they aren’t following up or being diligent with their proposals and feedback then maybe they have other things they’d rather be doing.
  • Trust Your Gut (Seriously)
    • Just like any relationship, you want both parties on the same page. Video production can be a very delicate and potentially expensive process. Remember that what they are essentially creating is art, and artists aren’t known for their business acumen. The best hire is someone who is being honest and objective, while also feeding your ideas/energy. Find someone who wants to tell your story and has experience creatively and successfully telling other stories. 

Once you have chosen a production company, trust the professionals to be professional. No project will ever come out exactly as you picture it beforehand. All you can hope for is that they are honest, talented, easy to collaborate with, and stay true to the story.

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