You can always make a film somehow. You can beg, borrow, steal the equipment, use credit cards, use your friends’ goodwill, wheedle your way into this or that situation. The real problem is, how do you get people to see it once it is made?
Back in early April I began talking about the launch of my new production company. In between existing clients and our own personal projects, we’ve been working hard on getting things set up. Back then I figured it would take us close to 72 days to get things going, and we’re right at the 72 day mark.
So how’s it going?
Well, it’s coming right along. We aren’t ready to start publicizing things too much (aside from saying “Hey, we’re up to something!”), but we do have a lot of the pieces in place.
For most creative companies the difficulties come not in doing the creative work (although that can be a challenges as well), but in actually running a company. It’s often haphazard, work is completed in fits and starts, and there’s very little predictability in client experience.
We’re trying to do things a little differently. Before we start shining too much of a spotlight on this thing we want to create a really consistent experience for our projects and how we communicate with our clients – from first contact through final deliverable.
We do need to wrap up one last really important thing before we launch. But it’s kind of out our complete control. So we have a little calm before the storm (so to speak). Rather than just staying silent about things, the next several updates on Wolf Mountain Creative are going to be about the processes that we’re developing to make sure that our clients have a really great experience.
We aren’t necessarily unique in this. The great production companies – all great companies, really – have a very clear process for their projects. It’s one of the reasons why they are great companies. We want to join their ranks. And I’d like to encourage you to join their ranks too.
Simply great video paying homage to the elusive and legendary BMW 850CSi.
Hot Wheels meets Mario Bros. in an epic race of 80’s vehicles.
via fstoppers.com: “If you’re old enough to remember VHS tapes, you remember video quality that was abysmal by today’s standards. However, even in the late 80s and early 90s, manufacturers were working to bring HD tech to consumers, and this demo reel is a surreal example of such tech.”
I’ve found the initial friction point for launching a creative company is branding. There are so very many sickeningly cool video production companies, directors, cinematographers, graphic designers, motion designers, and otherwise amazing creatives out there, and the temptation for me is the felt need to look as good as they do. After all, if what I’m doing isn’t perfect then I’ll never be taken seriously. I must have THE BRAND sorted out first.
This is a lie.
The lie of THE BRAND takes me down a very deep rabbit hole and keeps me from actually getting started. If I let it, I’ll spend days, weeks, or months trying to make it perfect. Meanwhile, I’ve stalled before I’ve even reached the runway.
I confronted myself with two truths:
It’s true. I’m not. I’m engaged in a visual industry, but I am not a graphic designer. Sure, I can tell good design from bad design. But I don’t create logos or branding guides. I connect with people and help them tell their stories. I think I’ve finally become OK with that. I highly recommend recognizing your strengths and being OK with your weaknesses.
It’s not that my clients don’t care – it’s just that they don’t care nearly as much as I care about my company name or brand. A client is really asking the questions “Do I like their videos?” and “What will it be like to work with them?” Neither of those have much to do with my name or logo.
Here’s how you can push past the friction: recognize your name and brand just need to be non-embarrassing and moderately competent. Here are five examples that I’m literally making up right now:
Register the domain name and social media accounts. Put it in a sans-serif font in your image editor of choice. Black on White, White on Black, Black on Transparent. Add a version with a little color if you want. Save them as .png files. Done.
This is exactly what I did for our first logo shown below:
Beat the friction, move on, and revisit it later once you have some projects done and money to spend.
This is not an original thought at all. I’ve wholesale stolen this from How to Make a Logo for Free in About 5 minutes and John Saddigton’s article How to Start a Company in 72 Hours. I will not be stuck in branding mud ever again, and you don’t ever need to get stuck there.
When you’re starting something new, the law of inertia does not work in your favor. You are battling friction, and for creatives like us that looks like getting distracted and stressing out over small things. It’s your reptile brain working against you. The challenge isn’t to be really really good, it’s to get something done. You can always go back and refine.
I think the hardest thing to learn about video and film production isn’t directing, cinematography, sound, or editing. There are tons of beautifully shot and edited TV and movie flops.
The real linchpin is story.
It’s the hardest easiest thing to learn. It can be grasped by a child, yet it can flummox even the most established writer/director/producer.
I personally have never watched Breaking Bad. But I’ve always admired the story.