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Why We Want To Know Your Production Budget

Jun 17, 2016

“What’s your production budget?” That’s the million-dollar question (though it’s rarely a million-dollar answer).

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“What’s your production budget?” That’s the million-dollar question (though it’s rarely a million-dollar answer). When we pose this question to clients, we tend to get the same replies from everyone… “we don’t have one” or “let me check and get back to you” (which we all know is a clever way of punting). Come on. Of course you have a budget. You wouldn’t buy a car without first figuring out what you can afford. But I get it. You don’t want to show your hand. You’d rather us show our cards, and THEN tell us what you actually have to spend. But here’s the thing… I’m still going to ask you for your production budget. Every time. Here’s why.

It Helps Us Find The Right Approach

First, with live productions, there are USUALLY a number of different approaches. For a multi-camera show, we could bring in a small production truck, or we could bring in a flight pack. These are 2 viable solutions, but each have different price points. A flight pack is usually more cost effective, but if you’re looking for a more controlled production environment, then a truck may be a better solution. Our approach to every project is custom, because no two projects are the same. If we know your target production budget up front, we’re not going to waste our time pricing out solutions that would be above what you have to spend. We’ll build an approach that meets your goals, maximizes your investment, and meets your budgetary objectives.

It Helps Us Establish Credibility

It goes without saying that we want our clients – current and prospective – to trust us with their project and feel that we’re a credible production partner. But that’s a 2-way street. We want to know that our clients are credible as well, and knowing your production budget helps establish that credibility. A while back we received a web inquiry that sounded like a great project. After some back-and-forth via email, we were able to get some additional information on the project. Our contact had clearly mapped things out and had very specific details on what they were looking for – a multi-day production with a mobile unit, audio truck, full rehearsal day, etc. Right in our wheelhouse. And then we dropped the budget question. They were looking to do a 3-day project with a production truck, audio truck, full staffing, etc… for $5,000. And we understand – you can only spend what you have to spend. But in this case, $5,000 is only going to get you a fraction of what you’re looking for.

It Saves Everyone Time

Knowing your production budget saves everyone time – us as a company, and you as a potential client. If we don’t know your production budget up front, we’re going to put together whatever option we feel is the best approach. But if that ends up being more than you have to spend, then we have to re-evaluate our approach and present you with something new. So not only did you waste your time reviewing a proposal that’s not within reach, but we wasted time presenting you something that wasn’t in reach. I always tell our clients that a proposal is not a final answer. There are always (and often) tweaks to make. But if we have a target number to hit, it makes that process go so much smoother.

We work with all sorts of clients on all sorts of projects of all sorts of sizes. We’ve yet to work with a client that truly has an unlimited production budget and hands us a blank check on day 1. Maybe that white whale is out there, but we haven’t done business with them. Everyone has a budget – big or small – and there’s no shame in that. It’s our job as a company to maximize your investment as much as possible. But that’s difficult to do without knowing what we have to work with – we’re shooting in the dark. So show us the money.

No Comments
  • Andrew Ryback Reply
    2018-03-07 21:55:41

    We're glad you found this to be useful, Margaux. Let us know if there's anything we can help with.

  • Margaux Ford Reply
    2018-03-07 05:57:06

    I appreciate the tips on hiring a production staffing company to have more time to focus on the creative aspects of the project. Hiring a production crew is a tedious task, and can take up much of your time. We're currently working on a huge production, and I'll share this article with my boss so he'll consider on delegating the recruitment to a staffing company. I like that you mentioned that staffing company can ensure to have the right team onboard for the project. Thanks!

  • Robert McWilliams Reply
    2017-10-31 19:05:18

    Todd:I have an ad agency in addition to our production company. We put one of our clients on OTT two months ago up in Nevada. Seems to be working!Thanks again for the work earlier this month.Rob

  • Nicole Rohde Reply
    2017-05-27 22:28:45

    Hey Andrew, Any word as to whether or not the Jokers will be back for Comic Con this year? Please let me know. Thanks!!!

  • Aaron Estabrook Reply
    2017-02-23 16:26:57

    I'll be tuning in for sure!

  • David Patton Reply
    2015-01-16 13:16:02

    Interesting blog post Andrew. For those who are nearly ready to cut the cord, but still want access to key channels such as ESPN, I'd recommend checking out Dish Network's new service, Sling TV. It provides access to a handful of channels for $20/month.https://gigaom.com/2015/01/15/sling-tv-details-price-devices-networks-resolution-bandwidth/

  • Andrew Ryback Reply
    2015-01-13 14:44:19

    Go for it! I'll admit that I was a little apprehensive about pulling the plug at first, but honestly, the transition away from DirecTV has been seamless. The only missing link is live sports, but there are a few work arounds depending on what sports you watch. Good luck!

  • Gregory Hart Reply
    2015-01-13 06:35:00

    While I am part of the 55 year old demographic that still has TV boxes and does TV viewing, I do my viewing using DVRs and networked PCs playing video files from an in-home server. I too have noticed that I view a handful of shows on a regular basis and have found various other sources for these shows. And now it has gotten to the point to where I am seriously considering ending my very long relationship with DirecTV and going streaming. Working in the TV industry also helped to open eyes to this as well. This transition from "old" TV is coming and the networks (Les Moonves, I am looking at you!) had better plan for it.

  • Gary Reply
    2013-08-08 09:44:39

    You've left out a HUGE part of this story by not mentioning Howard Stern's effect on the Sharknado buzz! #siris-ly

  • Marybeth Harrison Reply
    2013-08-07 14:46:29

    I can almost hear the theme song from Jaws as I read your post!