Welcome to the May issue!
“How much does it cost?” That’s the question uppermost in most potential clients’ minds when they contact me to talk about producing a video biography. Since they’re custom productions, budgets will vary from one legacy video to another. But there are a number of factors that figure into the equation – and this month you’ll learn about some of them. There’s also an award to announce, a tip on an upcoming Ken Burns documentary and link to short PR clip I recently recorded for a local business competition.
I hope you enjoy this issue of the Family Legacy Video® Producer’s e-Newsletter. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone toll-free (888.662.1294) with any questions or comments you have.
Cheers! – – Steve Pender
Family Legacy Video Receives 2012 Communicator Award.
On April 30, Family Legacy Video, Inc. added another trophy to it’s display case: an Award of Distinction from the 2012 Communicator Awards. The honor came in the History/Biography category for the video biography, “Charlie Thomas – Deals of a Lifetime.” The legacy video, finished in 2011, featured Charlie Thomas, a phenomenally successful automobile dealer and car collector, telling his life story. “It’s terrific to once again have our work recognized by the Communicator Awards,” said Family Legacy Video’s president, Steve Pender. “While the thanks of our clients are always the highest accolades we receive, it’s nice to have other video professionals look at our work and say, ‘Hey, this is really good.'”
You’ll find a clip from the winning video here.
The Communicator Awards is the leading international awards program honoring creative excellence for communications professionals. The Communicator Awards are judged and overseen by the International Academy of the Visual Arts (IAVA), a 550+ member organization of leading professionals from various disciplines of the visual arts dedicated to embracing progress and the evolving nature of traditional and interactive media.
A new Ken Burns documentary on the horizon.
Acclaimed documentarian Ken Burns is readying a new offering focusing on the Dust Bowl years in the U.S. Mr. Burns has a terrific body of work, including documentaries on the Civil War, WWII, baseball, jazz and, most recently, prohibition. You’ll find information about this and other upcoming productions here.
An “amazing” effort.
I recently entered a short video in a contest sponsored by a local business group. The challenge was to record a pitch explaining why your Arizona business is amazing. So on a recent weekend, my wife Halina and I set up a DSLR in the office, made a quick recording and then uploaded it to YouTube. I must say it’s not a high-end production by any means, but it was fun to do and offered a chance at a little PR. Did I win? Well, no (rampant favoritism was involved, I’m sure). But I still think Family Legacy Video is pretty amazing. Like to take a look? You’ll find the clip on YouTube.
Join the Video Biography group!
The discussions on the LinkedIn Video Biography group mentioned in the April 2012 newsletter have already begun, and you’re invited to join in the fun. To join, sign in to your LinkedIn account (or create an account and then sign in). Then, place your cursor over the “Groups” header at the top of the page. This opens a drop down menu. Select “Groups Directory” from that menu and then enter “Video Biography” in the search window. Once at the Video Biography page, apply to join the group.
– – Steve Pender
How do you price those video biographies?
I was chatting with a fellow Rotarian at my Rotary Club meeting the other day when he asked, “So how do you figure out what to charge a client for a video biography? Do you have standard rates?”
“Well,” I answered. “All of the legacy videos Family Legacy Videos creates are custom projects. That’s because each client’s story is unique and all of my clients, along with their families, have their own special needs and wants. So while Family Legacy Video doesn’t have standard rates, we do offer standard starting levels. For example, our lowest-priced option is the Family Legacy video Q&A, which is a basic question and answer session, including a few photos, delivered on an auto play DVD. From there, clients can step up to a Premium Family Legacy Video, which is a true documentary-style production, but one in which we use only the visuals the client provides. Folks who can afford the Deluxe Family Legacy Video get a more ‘big budget’ documentary treatment because the budget allows me to spend time researching and obtaining visuals like photos and films the family can’t provide, and then include those in the video to really enhance the storyteller’s remembrances.”
My table mate processed my answer as he downed another forkful of chicken, then asked, “Okay, I understand the starting point idea – but how do you know where to set those starting prices?”
“Experience,” I answered. “I’ve learned the number of hours required to plan and shoot a legacy video interview, for example. And that is pretty standard no matter what level of service a client pays for. The main difference comes after we shoot. A very simple treatment like the Q&A involves much less editing than do the Premium and Deluxe videos we offer. I track the hours I spend on each and every project and seeing the number of hours I’ve spent on various projects early on has allowed me to set and then adjust my pricing as needed. Each starting point is based on a certain level of service – for example a single interview at a single location and a final video running approximately 1 1/4 hours. I spend time before drafting a contract learning just what the scope of the project needs to be, based on the story we need to tell and the resources available from the client and family. If I can see that we’ll need more shoot days or a certain amount of time at the client’s location to scan photos or that outside research is called for, I factor all those things into the price.”
“Research,” my friend continued. “What exactly does that entail?”
“Research is one of the many areas where Family Legacy Video shines,” I said. “Simply, it means finding visuals like photos, maps, newspaper clippings and moving images that really help tell a story in a visual way. A simple example: I produced a video biography for a gentleman who flew B-17 bombers during WWII. He had some great personal photos from his time in the service, but nothing that really illustrated an actual mission. I was able to track down old government footage that precisely matched up with his descriptions. It really ‘made’ the video and gave it additional depth, meaning and entertainment value. For a project on which I’m currently working, I’ve unearthed no less than twenty sources for various images, both in the U.S. and other countries. This takes time, of course, and often money. While I can find some material for free, most often it comes with some cost.”
My fellow club-member, a realtor, nodded. “So it’s kind of like contracting with a builder for a house. The builder is going to offer a base model at a particular price point. As you add options and upgrades, like clients can do with the video biographies you create, the price changes accordingly.”
“Yep,” I answered. “And by the same token, we can adjust the scope of a video based on the budget a client can afford.”
“Okay, that’s pretty clear now. Thanks for the explanation, Steve.”
At that moment, the club president rang the bell, calling the meeting to order. I reached for my dessert and settled in to enjoy the day’s program.
– – Steve Pender