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Video Production Going Off Script? Get Your Studio Back on the Same Page

Video Production

Are you a small but mighty video production studio or part of an in-house video production team? Now is a great time to be in the biz. Today, the demand for engaging video content, from corporate video to entertainment, is at an all-time high. But are you positioned to take advantage of the increased demand for turnkey video production services? 

If the initial rush of signing on a new client quickly turns to dread, then you’re not alone. Many video production studios struggle with growth; juggling multiple projects while keeping an eye on production, capacity, and budget are necessary to deliver the goods to your client. You want your studio to be recognized for its quality of work and the creative talent you have to unleash on the film and TV industry.

But before you can turn up the volume on your video production service offering, it’s a good idea to take stock of your studio’s capacity and identify any growth challenges that may hold you back.

Modernizing the Video Production Studio

So, you’ve built a tidy client portfolio, and your in-house video production team is dripping with talent. Your writers have a way with words, and the keen eyes of your videographers somehow capture the intangible. But what about your studio’s production workflows and tools – are they a help or hindrance to your studio? 

Behind the scenes of your next TV commercial or video project, you might find that your budgeting practices are taking up too much mental space from your other responsibilities. Maybe you’ve had to turn down some choice client projects in fear of not being able to deliver them on time for their campaign kick-off. Or perhaps you have noticed that passing the baton from your scriptwriters’ work in an online word processor to the next stage of pre-production isn’t rolling so smoothly when you’re attending to concurrent projects. 

While the apps and processes that you use helped get you where you are today, they’re not necessarily the same ones that will get you to the next stage of growth and success. Here are 5 key challenges facing video production studios; do any of these resonate with your studio?

4 Key Challenges Facing Video Production Studios 

1. Siloed Pre-Production Workflows

When you work with the best people in the biz, you’re likely working with specialists whose methods to madness are numerous. Starting with scriptwriters, they might be using an online word processor, like Microsoft 365 Word or Google Docs, for screenplay formatting for video content, such as a TV commercial. 

You might be using a task management system, or a system not intended for this purpose to manage the phases of pre-production from scriptwriting, screencasting, filming, editing, etc. You might also use web-based financial software for payroll and budgeting. Storyboards might be plotted out with free open-source software. 

With so many applications, it’s a good idea to map out each phase of your video production, associated workflows, and the team member responsibilities. You may identify that there are breakdowns in communication and workflow through this process. These breaks in your studio’s workflow can add time to the completion of a project as your video production moves from one phase to the next.

2. Getting Stakeholder Sign-off Takes Too Much Time

It’s important that adequate time for review, feedback, and script revisions are factored into your pre-production process. Your clients know their market well and have insight that can help inform creative decisions about the script, the target audience, and the communication objectives. Yet feedback coming in at the wrong time, and chasing down approvals, is causing bottlenecks throughout your production process. 

It’s best to have a streamlined, codified way of soliciting feedback from key stakeholders at each pre-production phase or run the risk of missing important project deadlines and milestones.

3. Difficulty Budgeting

Your studio is on a roll, members of your production team work well together and are building a rhythm, but financial challenges loom over your production as you take on more work. Your finances are the lifeblood of your studio and require attention as you allocate them to multiple projects. The trouble is you don’t have real-time data at your disposal. 

Finances are done as a post-mortem on a given project rather than something that is carried out as part and parcel of your production. How costly was that shoot? What’s your forecasted revenue for the next project based on projects of similar size and scope? It’s hard to say without an easy way to follow the paper trail.

4. Lack of Visibility into Your Projects

As you take on more projects, efficiently managing your video production workflows can be tricky. While your creatives may thrive in the chaos of pre-production, your clients don’t. To build trust with them, they’ll expect regular updates about the project as well as being informed of delays and, equally, important milestones. 

Without a centralized system to manage your video production, and anticipate project delays before they happen, it might be difficult to maintain your momentum and deliver the project on time. This could impact your working relationship, reputation, and the prospect of repeat or referral business. 

For your client, in-house video production is an expensive undertaking. It’s among the reasons they’ve decided to outsource their video project with your video production studio in the first place. With that comes an expectation that your studio will have a repeatable methodology and straightforward approach to each stage of video production. 

Here’s where your studio can really shine, but your workflows aren’t always repeatable, your processes are held within the heads of your cast and crew, and without a clear schedule, your shoots sometimes take longer than anticipated, leading to budget overruns.

Complex Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

There’s no shortage of productivity apps on the market that offer a quick fix to the challenges your studio has been experiencing. But with each production team adopting their own approach to manage workflows, you’re still left to overcome the lack of transparent communication between each phase of production. 

But what belies the endless churn of one-off apps is a system that’s potentially even more disconnected than what you might be using now. 

Consider the collaborations that make the most sense for a production team (a scriptwriter with an editor, or director, or with an actor), and very quickly you end up with a complex web of connections to establish between a production using manual processes and communication tools. But complex doesn’t have to be complicated. 

To overcome this problem, many growing studios will consolidate the myriad of apps in lieu of a single, shared platform purpose-built for video production. Celtx, for example, offers a platform to take your studio from the ideation stage through the entire pre-production process with a comprehensive and flexible toolset available.

The Platform Approach for Video Production

If your studio is taking advantage of the increased demand for video content production, then it’s important to consider continuous improvement and how you can build upon your success as you grow and take on larger profile projects. Getting your studio on the same page across each phase of video production is a great step to increase your capacity to take on more concurrent video production projects without overstretching your team. 

Today, with fewer barriers to entry for scriptwriters, video editors, directors, and other video production specialists, there are more and more creators in the market. It isn’t a zero-sum game; there are many opportunities out there for video production crews to work on creative content from short films to corporate video content. However, it’s helpful to consider how you can increase your competitiveness in the marketplace by signaling that you’re an experienced studio to work with. You can do this by adopting a modern, centralized video production solution that can help you better manage your time, budget, and resources and confidently take on – and deliver – video content to your clients.

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  • Matthew Melay is a technology enthusiast and contributing writer for Celtx. His articles cover transformative technologies for film & TV and interactive media industries, including script writing, media production, and narrative design software.

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