In the production world, you always hear about budgets and companies cutting back on spending. I’m not even sure I’ve been in a place where I’ve heard that companies are ramping up on spending, so I think my story is and always will be, companies care about the bottom line. Period.
Since production can be such a subjective business, with price ranges from super cheap to massively expensive, I wanted to give some insight on how when “ballin’ on a budget”, you could find some less expensive alternatives to get a simple production done. Now, we’d prefer to always have a chance to win your business, but when you need something on the frugal side, here are some outlets to try.
We’ve heard plenty of horror stories about some of the sketchy areas of Craiglist, but for finding a last minute video guy for an event, or a college student to do a quick edit for you, it is a good place to set the price you want to pay, and see who bites. You may get a lot responses to sift through, but you can usually find someone in your price range.
Because we respect our industry too much, we do not recommend using Craigslist to find “free” or “for experience” type of work. Offering a small amount of compensation is better than expecting someone to give their time and talent for free. In cases where you may not have money to spend, offer something tangible like a gift certificate, free food, gas reimbursement, or something that shows you appreciate that person’s time. This will increase the chances of you finding someone willing to care more about your project.
TIP: Be as specific as possible in your ad, and mention your price clearly as well as expected method and timing of payment (cash on delivery, Paypal deposit, check on site, etc.). It will save you a headache when dealing with potential candidates. Everything will be up front and all parties will be clear of expectations.
Guru has become a great go to place for freelancers looking to get into extra work. Its platform is set up for you to review potential filmmakers, see some of their work, and read reviews on then. On the flip side, it also allows filmmakers to see how much a potential customer has spent using the platform and hear from other filmmakers on if the person is good to work with.
As with Craigslist, Guru works great the more specific you can be with your request. Since there isn’t an opportunity (without an upgraded paid account) for potential filmmakers to ask you questions about your project request, the quotes or responses you receive will be solely on the information you provide them. So you can imagine if you don’t provide a lot of information, you may not receive a lot of responses. Or you may receive responses that are not in line with your needs.
TIP: Be as specific as possible in your ad, but also look at other requests that are similar in nature to yours and see how they are written and what price ranges they have requested so you know whether or not to raise or lower your offering. Try and deal with filmmakers who have a portfolio that shows the type of work you need.
ProductionHub is another great place to not only find freelancers, but production companies in general. It’s a great way to get some prospects for instance if you were holding an event in another city or state and didn’t have any referrals for production companies there.
Because ProductionHub caters towards the more seasoned production professional, interactions will be more advanced than the other two sites mentioned above. You will be dealing with small to large production companies in the bidding process, so be prepared for more in-depth service request descriptions, and more traditional production budget ranges.
TIP: Use ProductionHub as a way to gauge if your budget for your project is reasonable. Professionals on there will definitely let you know if you’re barking up the wrong tree budget wise. It is also a great platform for finding production companies out of your local area without being lost in a sea of Google searches.
Now you may ask why in the world would a production company be willing to send you to check out some other alternatives instead of telling you to work with us. Well, the answer is simple. We understand that we are not the only option available and work best with those who have chosen us after reviewing other options. Plus we recognize that everyone does not always have the budget to work with us, but still needs to get a production completed. We’d rather see you succeed and achieve your goals somehow, someway, so that maybe one day we’ll have an opportunity to try and win your business. We believe there is enough creative energy in the universe to go around.
We did however put together a quick list of Pros and Cons about dealing with sites like we mentioned above:
• Cheaper alternative to traditional production companies
• May be able to find a last minute filmmaker for a project
• You get to use the “Name Your Price” model to stay in your budget
• Can find filmmakers outside of your local area to use when traveling
• Gives you a feeling of having people fighting for your business
• There will usually be no wiggle room on your project. Once you say what you want for the price, the filmmaker is usually going to give you just that and nothing more
• Some Freelancers hired off sites like these usually come with a limited skill set, meaning they will be able to only offer you the skills they have available, which may or may not be enough for your project
• Some individuals on sites like these aren’t interested in upholding a good reputation, and are only interested in doing your project for the money, which means your project may not be handled with the best care
• It may be hard to find a historical blueprint for individuals on sites like these. If they don’t have their own website, or some kind of company history, there’s no telling whether you’re dealing with a professional or an amateur
• The selection process can be overwhelming. You will usually have a bunch of responses you have to sift through and hope you make the best decision for your project.
We hope this helps you on your search for cheaper alternatives to video production and gives you an idea of what to expect. Like with production itself, it’s the planning process that’s the most important. The more you can figure out what you need and the best way to achieve it makes it easier to get it done instead or realizing it in the middle of project. Best of luck to you!