“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.