Choosing a production company is one of the most important responsibilities of a creative director.
The business you partner with will have far-reaching effects on every element of your project, so it’s critical to make a carefully considered decision based on all available information.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most important factors for creative directors to consider when looking at different production companies.
While every situation is different, these tips should help you find a partner that aligns with as many of your needs as possible.
The first thing you need to understand during the search process is what scale you expect the project to reach.
You have to find a company that has the resources to support your goals; on the other hand, you also want to avoid overpaying for resources you don’t really need.
Working with a smaller production company obviously comes with limitations, but it can be advantageous for brands that want more creative control over the project direction.
With a smaller partner, you’ll be able to stay in close communication with their team and adjust your approach as needed.
If you don’t have a clear idea of your needs in advance, you’ll have trouble identifying the ideal production company for your unique project.
It’s important to be realistic about the scope of your project and come up with a practical estimate of the money and other resources you’ll need.
In general, larger production companies tend to offer a wider range of services, while smaller businesses may serve a more specific niche.
As a creative director, you should be looking for a partner who has the knowledge and relevant experience necessary to make your project a success.
Failing to perform this research in advance will only lead to headaches down the road as you try to make things work with a partner whose specialties don’t match your needs.
If you’re having trouble deciding between multiple options, don’t be afraid to contact each company directly and ask about their capabilities.
Once they understand what you’re looking for, they’ll be able to discuss the situation in more detail and help you understand what they can offer for your project.
The best way to get an idea of what a production company can do is simply to look at what they’re done in the past.
Most production companies provide thorough portfolios that illustrate some of their most successful projects in different fields.
You should never hire a production company without looking at their portfolio first.
Case studies and testimonials are other great resources to leverage when looking for a new production partner.
A good case study includes details about the scope of the project as well as the client’s goals, plus information about how the company helped the client develop their ideas into a finished product.
Once you’ve looked through these documents, you’ll have a better idea of what a potential production company is capable of and how they might fit in with your business.
Of course, the portfolio is just one of many factors to consider during the search for a qualified production company.
Along with skills and production capacity, you should also be looking for a production company that takes its client relationships seriously.
Your early communications with a prospective production company will give you insight into the way they typically treat their customers.
If the company’s sales rep takes three days to get back to each of your initial messages, that’s a good sign that they aren’t going to be a reliable partner.
You shouldn’t have to wait more than about one business day to hear back after contacting a production company.
Even if a company is generally responsive and helpful, you may still find that they aren’t the right cultural or creative fit for your team.
When you’re working on a creative production, you can’t afford to collaborate with partners who don’t share your motivation or investment in the project.
In your first few inquiries, ask each company what they think of your ideas and what makes them a good fit for your projects.
If they only give you a generic, boilerplate response, you should think twice about whether they’re your best option.
As a creative professional, you want to work with someone who’s just as invested in your success as you are.
Naturally, you shouldn’t work with a production company if you can’t afford their services.
It isn’t always easy to predict the entire project scope in advance, but potential partners should still give you an idea of what they’ll charge.
To make things easier, try to determine as closely as possible what you expect to need from a production company.
With that information, they’ll be able to give you a more accurate quote and let you know about potential issues that could end up raising the price.
Once you’ve talked to a few different companies, you’ll have a clear picture of the price range for your unique project.
Don’t be afraid to come back to them with your other offers and try to negotiate for a lower rate.
If you want to finish your project in a certain period of time, you should confirm that timeline with the production company before getting started.
Make sure to be as transparent as you can about when you need to complete different stages of the project.
Logistical issues can become serious problems in a creative project, especially when you’re working back and forth with another team.
If you aren’t careful about this in the early stages, you could end up delaying the entire project or creating a rushed product that doesn’t live up to its potential.
Every production is different, but there are still some basic elements that every creative director should have in mind when looking for a production company to work with.
From price and timeline to resources and a shared creative vision, it’s critical to find a partner that aligns with your team in as many ways as possible.
These seven considerations should give you a starting point as you search for a new production company.
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