Don’t Hire a “Video Guy”

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Lots of businesses are jumping on the video bandwagon – and for good reason. Not only is video rapidly outpacing conventional marketing methods but video – for better or worse – says more about your brand in 60 seconds that your blog does in 2 million words. Unfortunately many of companies are making the expensive mistakes of hiring a “video guy”. And I should know – I was one.Backstory. Early in my career a large corporation wanting to evolve their marketing brought me in to start developing video & motion graphic assets to help bolster their marketing. While there were certainly plans for building an in-house production team for the foreseeable future I was the “video guy” and unfortunately, despite everyone’s best efforts, the restrictions of a one man video production/marketing department ultimately killed any plans for future growth.

Here are 5 reasons why hiring a video guy is a terrible idea.

The work suffers

Evan as a new hire it didn’t take long for me to realize that literally everyone within the company had video needs. New business needed a flashy video for a presentation. HR needed a video to expedite training and on boarding. And or course, marketing (the function for which I was hired) still needed marketing collateral. The problem with having a video guy in house is that everyone thinks, nay, expects, that because you’re on the company payroll that you’re available for their project. Sadly the result is a talented albeit scattered and frustrated video pro whose best effort is mediocre.

 Master of None

You ever stay and watch the endless credits roll at the end of a movie? Every one of those names is an experienced professional with a specific skill set. True that you’ll likely not attempt a remake of Avatar for your company website but the fact remains that it takes a lot of diverse skills to pull off even the simplest video production – scripting, planning, camera operating, editing, sound design, color correction, etc. Suffice it to say that no matter how talented your video guy is he’s not going to be a master at all of it.

Meetings & Dolldrums

Creative people often pursue careers in the arts to escape the tedium of conference rooms and endless meetings. We opt instead for the bottom line with space and freedom to create. Unfortunately your video guy will spend way more time in meetings than he’ll ever hope to – meetings that will likely beat his unbridled creativity into dominance. And what’s he going to say? No? You’re his boss. After a while the thing for which you hired him will fade and you’ll be left with an unfulfilled technician producing uninspired work.

 Language barrier

Have you ever listened to creates talk? We speak our own language. This was pointed out to me one night by my buddy – a police officer – when I met a fellow creative at the corner tavern. We had a great conversation but to the cop it was all greek. Your video guy really needs to work around other people who understand his world. Sure the graphic designer in the next cube (cubes- soul crushing to video guys) night suffice in a pinch but it’s not the same. Video is call consuming and having someone who understands both the filmmaking process & the business is important for the long term happiness of your video guy.

Equipment

It’s shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that film equipment is expensive. Cameras, wireless mics, lighting, sweeps, jibs & dollies, stabilizers, etc add to to a pretty penny in a hurry. What’s worse is that, while the fundamentals of cinematic storytelling haven’t much changed since it’s easiest origins, the digital revolution is constantly churning out new equipment. Which means if you’re cameras aren’t constantly running you’re going to be losing money in the long term.

The Alternative.

If you’re seriously considering hiring a full time video guy my recommendation is to stop. For the same cost that you’d pay to hire a single, jack-of-all-trades, video generalist for a year you can hire a whole team of highly specialized video crew to supply you with every project you could want for a year. The net result? Higher quality product, better storytelling & lower cost.

Bryce and his team of creative filmmakers have been telling business stories for nearly ten years. They’re fortunate to call Chicago home.

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