When you think of film or video production companies, your mind probably goes to the “Big Five:”
- Universal Studios
- Paramount Pictures
- Warner Bros.
But even though these huge production companies are responsible for producing a majority of the mainstream films we see today, there are also hundreds and thousands of smaller, independent video production companies that create incredible products.
If it’s your goal to start producing on your own, you probably want to create your own company. Starting a video production company can be difficult, but not impossible. Follow these 10 steps, and you’ll be well on your way to bringing your dream to life.
Step 1: Find a Niche (If You Want)
Before you start your video production business, it can be very helpful to narrow in on the type of work you want to do. Maybe you only want to offer videography for weddings and special events, or maybe you only want to produce independent horror films. Even if you want to be a full-service agency, it’s good to know that before diving in.
You also don’t have to stay in one niche forever. You can start with one specific category and expand to include more mediums or genres as your company grows.
Step 2: Create a Detailed Business Plan ✍
A lot of logistical planning goes into starting any business. If you’re interested in starting a video production company, you’ll need to create a detailed business plan that includes short and long-term goals and a plan of attack for your finances. Include expected expenses in this document, such as:
- Startup costs
- Studio/office rental
Step 3: Start Fundraising
There’s one thing everyone needs to start a business: money.
Once you have a thorough business plan, you can use it to apply for small business loans, grant money, or a line of credit. Or all of the above! You can also try your hand at crowdfunding or speaking to investors.
Step 4: Legally Register Your Business
To legally register your film production company, follow these steps:
- Decide on a company name that suits your identity well.
- Apply for a trademark and register with the state’s registrar.
- Get an employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS.
- Open a business bank account, and file an operating agreement and articles of organization.
- Get a business license and pay licensing fees if required in your state.
Many small video production companies organize as LLCs to make finances, taxes, and liabilities easier to manage. However, you also have the option to incorporate your business as a C-Corp, S-Corp, or sole proprietorship. You can work with a small business lawyer to help determine the best course for your company.
Step 5: Gather Equipment
You’ll need to have basic film equipment on hand to validate your services. Ideally, as your company grows, you’ll upgrade to high-end equipment that allows you to offer excellent results and stand out from the competition.
You can either buy or rent the equipment— renting may be more affordable as you start out. As you gain consistent business, you can start investing in your own equipment.
Step 6: Get Online and Get Social
Nowadays, most people look for services on Google and social media. It’s paramount to have a presence on both of these outlets. Create a well-designed website with a straightforward URL. Make sure your website is informative, but don’t clutter it so that it’s hard for people to contact you or find the information they need.
Add blog posts, team bios, and a portfolio/reel to showcase your authority and expertise. Additionally, create social media accounts to showcase your work and engage with potential clients.
Step 7: Hire Employees
It’s possible that your business could start as a one-person operation. However, if you want to increase your reach, it’ll be important to have at least a network of freelance videographers, editors, and producers.
As you grow, hire in-house staff to manage pre and post-production, development, accounting, marketing, and everything else that comes with running a small video production company. You can usually hire your actors and crew on a per-project basis.
Step 8: Set Competitive Pricing
You want to charge enough for your services to make a profit, but you don’t want to charge too much that people never consider you. Similarly, a lower-than-average price might get some people to hire you, but others may wonder why the price is so cheap.
Find a happy medium with your pricing by evaluating other production companies of your size in your region. Set competitive pricing and be honest and upfront so your clients know what to expect. You can always adjust your pricing as you get a better understanding of what your clients expect.
Step 9: Build and Showcase Your Portfolio
Ideally, you wouldn’t be starting a video production company unless you’ve already had plenty of experience in the industry. Gather clips, storyboards, and behind-the-scenes photos to showcase on your website and social media. This will help validate your skills to potential clients.
Step 10: Promote and Network
Most people in the film industry would agree that networking is one of the best things you can do to further your career. After starting a video production company, network with other industry professionals at festivals and events.
Additionally, don’t be afraid to promote and advertise your business through other mediums besides social media. Post in online forums, utilize paid online ads, and hand out business cards and brochures. You can also come up with a great promotional deal when you first start out to help attract customers.
We Did It and You Can, Too!
At Stringline Pictures, we started a full-service video production agency to help bring high-quality video and filmmaking to Minnesota and beyond. From pre-production to post-production and everything in between, our dedicated team followed all these steps listed here to bring our goals to life.
Feel free to reach out to our team to learn more about our video production company or to work with us on a project you’re thinking of!