The First Meeting with your Production Vendor

At this point, you have written an RFP, identified a strong vendor candidate, and scheduled a meeting with them. You might be wondering what you should prepare for the first meeting.

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Warm Up the Room

Give a fresh overview of the project, describing anything that may have changed from the initial RFP in the event that they need to make changes to their original proposal.

Clarify the Concept

At this point, the production company will present their creative approach. This approach should be easy to understand and have immediate emotional resonance. The idea should immediately make sense in your mind and you should be excited about its creative possibility.

Ask questions about the concept until you have a clear understanding of it in your mind. If you’re relying on a production company to give you exactly what you want without communicating exactly what that is, there’s a good chance you will both be disappointed in the end.

Explain the Execution

The production company will describe how they intend to execute the concept. It is very important that both you and the vendor are on the same page regarding execution. Their approach to production needs to fit the project scope, which is dictated by logistical factors like timeline, budget, and access to talent. If the vendor paid attention to your RFP, they will have designed a concept tailored to the project scope.

This discussion of execution should carry through post-production (editing) and beyond. Get a sense of how they like to work and how many opportunities you will have to give feedback. In addition, ask the vendor how they typically prefer payment. Make sure that their company is insured and request an insurance certificate.

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Get Specific

Depending on the needs of your project, you may need to dig deeper into certain aspects of the production. For example, if your project requires casting, discuss the types of actors you hope to include. If your video is interview-driven, it’s time to start narrowing down the list of interview subjects and brainstorming what talking points each interviewee will cover.

You’ll also need a location. Do you want to shoot on your organization’s premises? If so, the production company will need your help with finding and scheduling space. Do you need to rent a location? If so, feel free to delegate the task of sourcing the location to the production company. Depending on the proximity of different locations, it is possible to shoot in more than one location per day, but moving equipment and setting up multiple times will eat into your shooting time.

Here is a list of additional topics you may need to discuss: production design of sets/locations, costumes/wardrobes, hair/makeup styles, special effects, stunts, safety.

Your meeting should begin to result in a list of action items. Keep track of who is responsible for what so that both parties are clear on responsibilities.

Wrap it Up

As the meeting draws to a close, everyone should have a shared mindset as to what comes next.

Remember, this is a collaborative process. You should feel comfortable asking a production company any production related questions you may have. Hopefully, this is the first of many fruitful meetings and the beginning of a trusted partnership.