This is by far the number one question that we are asked – “how do I know if I’m doing things right as a wedding filmmaker?” If you don’t come from a business background, running your own business can feel overwhelming when you’re just getting started. Sure, you probably have your craft down pat to some extent – although growth is definitely a by product of experience and time and hopefully we’re all improving daily in that area!
But, the “businessy” side of running a business can feel daunting and overwhelming. And truthfully, it may just feel easier to push it aside and keep perfecting your craft. However, knowing the ins and outs of your business and being able to clearly communicate why you do what you do and how you do it is important! We all want to be educated business owners, and sometimes that starts with us asking the hard questions!
The next two questions that usually come in tandem to the first relate to legal matters and finances. Truthfully, I am not the best person to give advice in either one of these areas. Sure, I can speak from our experience, but, I don’t know your business and all of the specifics of it so I can’t speak directly about it!
For all things legal, our sweet lawyer, Caroline Fox or The LawTog blog have clearly and effectively answered all of my questions 100% of the time. If you’re just getting started you’ve probably asked “How Can I Start a Wedding Filmmaking Business the Right Way?” Well, here’s a step-by-step guide from the LawTog on how to do so! Just swap out the word “photography” for “filmmaking!” All the procedures are the same!
For all things financial, our accountant has been great! (And I can’t recommend getting one enough!) But, for all of those “I wonder about…” questions, Amy Northard’s blog has literally been a godsend!
And for all things filmmaking, well…I’m your girl! Here are three questions to ask yourself when you feel like you’re uncertain with where you are in your business:
This is by far the most “tangible” way to assess your growth as a filmmaker in business. If you have paying clients on the books, you are doing something right. Someone out there saw something in you or what you create and they paid you to provide the service of creating a wedding film to them. That “thing” might be your marketing, your word of mouth referral rate, the quality of your films, your price point, your techniques/storytelling. Whatever it may be, if you have paying clients on the books, something is going right in your business.
If you’re just getting started, you might not have much work of your own to compare to. That’s ok, this is your starting ground! However, if you’ve shot two weddings or 200 weddings, you should be able to look back to where you began, (even if it’s just to the last film that you shot) and see growth in some way. Every time you go out to make a film, you should strive to be better in some way.
– Before: You shot using only auto white balance because you didn’t know any different.
– Now: You use custom kelvin because you can have more control over your image and in turn, your work looks more consistent.
– Before: You started every film chronologically with the bride getting ready straight through to the sparkler send off out of the reception.
– Now: You start off every film in a different way – maybe with a one minute recap of the whole day and then piece in the larger parts of the wedding day after that.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you are “paying” for education. I know when you’re just getting started there are a lot of expenses to deal with. From purchasing basic gear, getting a business license, constructing a website, etc. Often times, high priced educational resources are just not in the budget and that is totally ok! More so I’m asking – are you investing *time* in growing, learning, and expanding your knowledge about your craft?
There are plenty of free resources out there that can help you grow in your filmmaking! From free education on YouTube, plenty of google searches that can lead you to quality blog posts, or even informational podcasts. The more you are seeking out education, the better filmmaker you will be!
This week I’m hanging out on my Instagram, @ashleyherrinton, chatting more about various “behind the scenes” areas of the business side of our business! Come hang out and follow along with the hashtag, #behindthefilmbiz!
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