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A podcast where you join me (Colie) as I chat about what it takes to grow a sustainable + profitable business.
CRM Guru, Family Filmmaker, and Host of the Business-First Creatives podcast. I help creative service providers grow and streamline their businesses using Dubsado.
You’ve likely looked at wedding video and thought, “How did they create such an amazing film? I want to do that!” Have you ever considered the same thought for commercial videos? Ben Davis joins us to share how he’s found more creativity in commercial projects, while also creating a better balance for this season of his life.
Listen in as he shares how wedding films helped prepare him for success in the commercial space, highlights the key differences in the two industries, and what commercial brands are looking for in their end results. Plus he even shares the two P’s to commercial videography.
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Ben is one-half of the amazing team behind Yamean Studios, an award-winning brand strategy media agency who work with brands and businesses to develop meaningful content and engage people with actionable brand experiences that spark human connection. They turn stories into conversations, impressions into relationships and campaigns into results.
Since the launch of Yamean Studios in 2011, Ben and his wife, Natasha, have grown the brand into an industry leader in creating effective strategies, powerful identities, seamless interactions and memorable experiences to help connect people to client’s brands and organizations. With a strong and focused vision to help brands and businesses gain a competitive advantage in the connected world, they have successfully helped businesses, nonprofits and influencers grow, launch products and build enduring relationships with their communities.
Through their passion for innovation and culturally relevant work they have helped to produce media, strategy and campaigns for clients including Macy’s, Eaton, AT&T, NFL Hall of Fame, the City of Pittsburgh, Mini of USA, Brown University, University of Pittsburgh, Virginia Commonwealth University, National NAACP, Urban League, and the United States Marine Corps just to name a few.
Natasha and Benjamin also have a strong passion for capturing love stories as well. Their weddings have been featured in People Magazine, Martha Stewart Weddings, BRIDES, Style Me Pretty, Essence, Munaluchi Bride, B Inspired Magazine and Grace Ormonde among other blogs and publications both international and domestic. Through their innovative style and desire to transcend how normal wedding videos are produced, they have been blessed to capture NFL, MLB, NBA, and Celebrity weddings and events around the globe. Natasha and Benjamin also have dedicated their time to teaching the next generation of filmmakers through a series of workshops, mentorships, and speaking engagements at major photography conferences.
Today’s episode is brought to you by my Love Your Leads private audio training! Are you providing an experience for your leads that sets an expectation on when they’ll hear from you, provides them with tools that will help them easily say yes and book you, while also making them feel seen and heard? In my private audio training, you’ll learn how to love your leads and get more booked clients through an automated booking process.
Here are the highlights…
[1:28] How Ben Got His Start in Wedding Videography
[5:38] Transitioning from Weddings to Commercial Films
[8:33] Flexibility in Work & Relationships
[9:10] Creativity in Corporate Work
[11:40] The Benefit of Starting in Wedding Videography
[13:43] Creating Projects with ROI through The Two P’s: Pretty & Profitable
[14:24] The Expectations of Commercial Videography
[16:40] Marketing in the Wedding Industry
[19:44] Marketing in the Commercial Industry
[23:36] Pricing for Video Work: Custom vs Packages
[30:32] The Difference in Charging for Commercial and Corporate Work
Connect with Ben
Review the Transcript:
Colie: Have you guys ever seen like an amazing wedding film and you’re like, how in the hell did they create that? welcome to the Business First Creators Podcast. I am chatting with my good friend and fellow filmmaker, Ben Davis. However, he makes wedding films. You guys all know I make family films, but like every time I watch one of his films, I’m like, I should find myself another husband and get married just so that Ben.
Can make me one of these films. Ben, good morning. Welcome to my podcast.
Ben: thanks thanks for having me, Colie.
Colie: I mean, you know, your wedding films are amazing. And guys, the funny thing is I’m starting with the wedding films, but we’re not even really going to talk about wedding films that much today, but Ben, just because I’m curious and I’m nosy and now that you’re on the podcast and I’m recording, I can ask you, how did you start in wedding films?
Ben: Chow. Okay. So, what had happened was, that’s how you start every good story, what had happened was. So, in college, of course, I attended the University of Pittsburgh. And so, some of my good friends from there happened to be getting married. Actually, let me backtrack just a bit, because it actually starts way before that.
I’ve been doing, web development, graphic design, all that type of creative work for a while. Since people knew me since back in college and so, I started doing some work for a restaurant in the city of Pittsburgh and they had a video guy, but there was a couple times where he couldn’t make it to do some shoots.
So, I started doing some, taking like all the footage we already had, chopping, screwing it, doing some edits, because we were doing like television commercials and advertisements that would play. At Heinz Field, well, formerly known as Heinz Field for the Steelers and things like that, for this restaurant.
So, they kind of knew me from doing that type of creative work already, and because this isn’t their zen of, you know, their zone of genius, they figured, Oh, you edit video, you must be able to make videos too, right?
Ben: Yeah, it’s the same, right? Uh, not quite. So, so they were getting married and they said at the week before, Hey, we need a, we want to get a wedding video.
We got everything else. We didn’t get a video. We didn’t think about it. So, they called me BD. That’s how all my college friends know me. They was like BD. , don’t you do videos? I was like, uh, I think so, a little bit and then, uh, it was like, well, you know Can you come do our wedding video? I was like, yeah about that.
That’s probably not my testimony That’s probably not gonna be a good idea. It was like, well, just just come try something. Something is better than nothing I was like, well, I don’t got no cameras, you know, I mean like, uh, I’m supposed to shoot this on my phone Right, this is like iPhone 7 type age, you know what I mean?
so, they was like, nah, we got like 500, you know, is that enough? I was like, I have no idea, but give it to me, I’ll figure it out. So I rented a bunch of stuff, probably nothing that all went together. Um, heh, real talk, right? Googled everything I could find, me and my wife, I hosted my wife. I was like, get in the car.
What are we doing? Doesn’t matter, we’ll figure out when we get there. So. Hustle my wife and we’re youtubing like the whole drive there. It’s like a five hour drive. So we’re on youtube We’re trying to figure this out watching all the videos we can find We show up with cameras. I kid you not. Can’t make this up.
We had to be the most unprofessional looking people we’ve ever saw. Like we had cameras in like a laptop bag. Like we didn’t know what we was doing. Like it looked really bad. We had tripods from like Best Buy. We couldn’t figure out how to put them together. Like it was bad, but we showed up and we put together a product and they really loved it.
They really enjoyed it. And then, I think we put together like a highlight video within like a week, within the next week. All our friends was like, oh my gosh, you guys make amazing videos. In my mind, I was like, no, first of all, no, this is not it. But, that’s kind of how it started. And we’ve been doing it, for the past seven years, ever since.
Colie: I mean, Ben, clearly it is your testimonial and clearly you got your shit together because I mean, I’m listening to you tell this story and I’m like, when we stop hitting record, I want to see this video. Cause does it
Colie: or have you hidden
Ben: It’s, it’s, it’s in the interwebs somewhere. In a hidden link that only me and Baby Jesus can find.
Colie: Okay. But so that is so interesting, Ben, because I didn’t realize that like you got your start because you were doing this work for the restaurant and then you, you know, you shot a wedding as like a favor and now you are doing both. So at the end of the day, what is your love language? I mean, do you prefer the corporate work or do you prefer the wedding films?
What’s, what’s your favorite?
Ben: You know, that’s, I ain’t gonna say that’s a hard one. So I think early on, I really enjoyed the weddings because it was new. It was refreshing. We started doing it because we got hustle. We kept doing it because it was something that me and my wife enjoyed doing together. And it was something that, you know, we became extremely passionate about because it just gave us.
a unique way of having quality time together, right? In a way that most husband and wife team, if you’re not a husband and wife team, you don’t really understand the fun, the fights, the fancy that come with working together with your spouse. So I think, after doing that. You know, we, we loved it. And then it got to a point where our kids got older and understanding the value of time became very important to us.
And so people say, Oh my, oh my gosh, your kids are 10, your son, you know, he’s going to graduate from high school in eight years. That’s great. Eight years seems like an insurmountable amount of time until you measure it in the amount of moments that you may not be there for. And when we started changing the lens in which we.
Did our business. We started to make a shift in the amount of commercial and corporate work we did.
Because weddings happen on weekends and corporate work happens during weekdays.
Yeah, I wanna be with my kids at the playground, right? That type of thing. So, the more we started doing more corporate work, the more we actually fell in love with it, to be perfectly honest with you.
Not the same… It’s not a we love one more than the other. They’re very different in their approaches. They’re very different in their storytelling. They’re very different in the way you do business. And so for us, We actually enjoy corporate a bit more these days because it allows us to flex our creativity just a little bit more.
Colie: The season of your life. I mean, I love when my guests come on and they’re talking about their pivot. Cause I mean, I’ve had a lot of people on this podcast, including myself talking about pivots and most of us are making the pivot based on what’s happening in our outside life. I mean, like, I don’t know if you’ve heard, but right now I am Chloe’s personal Uber driver.
Ben: you too girl?
Colie: three times a
Colie: I pick her up from what I drop her off at one school. I pick her up midday. I take her to another school. I pick her up at the end of the day. I got to take her to volleyball practice.
Ben: You sound like
Colie: I, got like two hours. In, in between when I can actually work. So, I mean, I was doing VIP days.
Can’t do those very much anymore. Cause I don’t have a solid day where I get to sit in this office and just work. And so I love that you have made this pivot so that you can spend more time with the kids. I mean, cause they got gymnastics, they got football. I don’t think the little one’s doing anything yet, but you know, bless you.
When she finds something that she loves.
Ben: Yes. Yes. So, I mean, I think the corporate work allows us a little bit more flexibility. To be parents, but also to be married, right? That that’s important at the end of the day as a, as a husband, as a father, the best gift I can give my family is being present. And so there’s no amount of money that I could replace with moments in time.
Because those are the things your kids will never forget. So for me, it became. Not a love-hate relationship with one over the other. It just became a priority over choosing my family and myself and my mental health over everything. So, honestly, I enjoy the corporate work just because it allows me to be a lot more creative than I can be on a wedding day.
On a wedding day. I have to be very reactive. I have to get the cars that’s dealt to me. I don’t really have a say in much. I’ve learned to become a very good. Puzzle, I don’t know what you call it. Puzzle, put it together person. But sure, those guys, whoo. I’ve learned to become very much good at that.
And that’s really what you’re doing on wedding day. You’re, you’re taking puzzle pieces and you’re figuring out how to put all these pieces together. And I think as my engineering background, it helps me to see things a little bit more holistically. But in the corporate world, it allows me to really geek out on being the creative junkie that I am.
I get to. Proposed things that my wedding clients would never want to do. I get to shape stories. I get to ask questions. I think one of the main reasons why a lot of companies hire us is because. I’ve, I’ve been told I’m really good at, at hosting interviews. I’m really good at asking the questions to push the buttons, to get people to say the things that I need them to say to create amazing storylines.
And that’s an art that takes a lot of practice. And I really pride myself on, on doing that. And so, I enjoy being able to go, you know, shoot Monday in a factory, shoot Wednesday in the middle of a field. And then on Thursday, I’m on the beach and swimming trunks, shooting something else for the same story.
Like that brings me joy because it’s very different. And it allows me to see the organic side of people who just being completely transparent weddings have become very much more fanfare than they have been a show of love and affection. At least the ones that I continue to get at this point. And so I just needed something different.
Because authenticity is really, really important to me and Natasha.
Colie: I mean, it’s really interesting that you use the word reactive because the one thing that I was going to ask you, and I think you’ve already alluded to this, but I’m going to ask the question. Anyways, I feel like your wedding work is a lot of post production, like you’re there. You’re documenting it as it happens.
As you said, you don’t really get to influence much in your frame other than like the angles that you’re, you know, you’re capturing. You don’t get to tell people what to do on their wedding day. But when you do your, your commercial work, when you do your corporate work, is that a lot more like pre production?
Are you spending a lot more of your time planning the shoot versus figuring out how to put it all together after?
Ben: So, what’s, what’s crazy is I tell most people who try to get into the commercial world, if you want to become a good commercial filmmaker, start in weddings, right? And it’s for a few different reasons. One, you have to learn to shoot in situations where you have no control. Can you still capture moments, stories, soundbites when you don’t have control for a dang thing that’s happening?
That’s A. B, shooting weddings helps you to become, learn how to be more efficient in how you move and how fast you move and being able to do less with more. There are things that my team can do with a two man team that sometimes it might take a team of eight to do. because we’re so used to doing it, it’s second nature for us.
Right. So we do a lot of pre production for weddings and people don’t really understand what that means. Right. And so that gave us a lot of practice going into the corporate world to be a lot more prepared for situations where most people wouldn’t be.
I mean, You know, we’re going to venue because we travel so much for weddings. We’re not shooting in a lot of the same venues over and over It’s a lot of showing up the day of and figuring out. Oh, okay. This is nice or oh, this is this is gonna be tough Right. This is exactly exactly so it takes a lot of research before we show up scouring the internet for pictures photographs, videos of things that have been done, calling the venue, asking a million questions, but also showing up the day before and walking the grounds and talking to the people that work there, right?
These are the things that people don’t understand that when you say you charge this amount, this is why we’re going above and beyond. We’re doing the things that probably. I mean, we cost about, you know, 7 plus three carry the one, right? That type of thing. But we’re going above and beyond to ask these questions, to do these things, to scour the locations, to talk to the venue managers, to talk to the electricians, to talk to the lighting guys.
Like, can you do this? Can you not do this? Tell me about these things, right? So when we walk into the corporate space, all of those things come into play. It’s just amplified, right? Because in the corporate space, people are spending a bigger dollar and not only do they want something pretty. But they want something that’s going to help them be profitable, right?
It’s the two P’s you got to be pretty and they got to be profitable. So it’s, there’s gotta be an ROI. We’re just not making pretty things. It needs to serve a purpose. So every, every decision that we make. And our filmmaking process for corporate and commercial needs to equal a dollar amount. If we turn the lights on, it needs to be a reason.
If we turn the lights off, there needs to be a reason, right? If I tell you to wear blue and not red, there needs to be a sound reason behind it and not just because you look pretty in red. Like, that’s not it. That’s not God’s plan for our life. No, we’re not doing that, right? So, when we talk about pre production, it’s, uh, a lot more intensive.
We literally just finished a project this week. where we planned a production for a product for a company from the ground up. I’m talking about from concept to execution. We hired the models. We had the set built for it. We had to hire the gaffers, the grip guys, right? These are things we’re not doing the weddings.
You’re not hiring grip guys. You’re not hiring gaffers. You’re not writing scripts. You’re not writing, the messaging for the pieces. You’re not doing product shots. You’re just literally showing up and shooting whatever’s there. So in corporate, there’s a lot more expectation on things that have to happen, right?
But also they’re not asking you to deliver 45 minutes of something. 20 minutes of something. It needs to be two minutes of wow. Right. Two minutes of wow. Like, you know what I mean? And so it sounds, it sounds easy until you have to do it and to fit so much information that has to be impactful on brand.
Perfect messaging in such a little bit amount of time can be a bit of a challenge. And so I think having a sound pre production process allows us to make sure we dot all our I’s and we cross all our T’s. And that everything is where it needs to be. Now, me, I’m not an organizational type person. That ain’t me.
Like, if you look at my sock drawer, if you look at my sock drawer, ain’t no socks match. This National Diabetes Awareness Month every day in my house. I wouldn’t mention match socks. It’s just, it is what it is, right? But my wife, she’s the T. So, every sock has a match. And like, in our wedding business, in our corporate business, she’s the one who dot ties, crosses T.
She’s calling clients, she’s making sure all the paperwork’s filed, she’s making sure we got permits. That’s a whole nother meeting. You got permits and you got model releases and you got permissions, all the things you don’t have to do when you shoot a wedding. So I think like pre production is really what differentiates the levels of filmmakers that you have, because that attention to detail is what’s going to take you from greatness to excellence.
Colie: Let’s slightly pivot. I want to talk about marketing. Cause the funny thing is, I mean, Ben, what, what’s the best marketing that you’ve ever done for your wedding films? Like how do you get your clients?
Ben: Honestly, I would say over 50 percent of our business comes from wedding planners,
Ben: another 25 from referrals, another, the other 25 from. Nah, I won’t say 20. The other 20 from SEO and I will say 10 percent from referrals. Not saying we don’t get a lot of referrals, but when most people see they refer their friends and then they see what it’s going to cost, they were like, Oh, Oh, I know you paid that.
Oh, you must got a good job. You must got a good job. Like, you know what I mean? That’s and so, so we don’t get a ton of referrals unless like they have friends who were in that same circle of,
So, yes. Boom. so we put a lot of, we, and we knew that going in that the wedding planners would be the gatekeeper to the clients that we would like to have.
So we work very hard in a establishing relationships and not just 1 side of relationships, but making sure that whatever planners need, we could offer. Hey, you need, you need content. I will give you content from every wedding as long as you do me a favor of a giving me the opportunity to film it without rushing me out the room.
And B, just keep sending me more friends, more friends of yours, and I will keep providing you beautiful things for yourself, right? So that was A. and you know, we do like, I do random stuff like call planners and be like, hey, what you doing? Nothing? Cool. Where you at? I’m at the house. Cool. Let’s do DoorDash lunch for no reason. Just, you know, we’re virtual now, so we can have a meeting like this and enjoy a salad or a burger or whatever you like to eat. And build relationships, right? We talk about the kids, we talk about things. So they were always at the top of mind. The other thing people don’t really put a lot of stock into is SEO.
SEO is really big. And when you take the time to do it right, it yields amazing dividends. There are clients who find us from all over the United States, which is why we travel so much because of Google, because we took the time to really optimize our pages and be intentional about the words that we use.
And showing up intentionally. So that’s really how our wedding business, the marketing, has worked very well for us. I mean, we did, attach ourselves to some wedding industry organizations like Monoluchi Bride and, Monohari Weddings. That’s South Asian version of that. and some other, you know, some other collectives like that, which has helped, but that was more about building relationships, right?
It’s really about… Not organic relationship building. It’s manufactured relationship building. Oh my gosh, you want that? Me too! Yeah! Let’s work together! That type of thing, right? And that’s helpful and it has its place, right? But at the end of the day, you have to be a people person. You have to be able to go out there and build those relationships.
You just can’t live behind your website and think you’re going to get clients. Uh, no, don’t work like
There isn’t. You know,
Colie: All right, Ben, here’s my next question, though. So how is it different in the commercial world because there isn’t a wedding planner? So what is your commercial version of a wedding planner?
Ben: After about 4 or 5 years of working in weddings, Natasha said to me, you know, these people that we do these weddings for, they probably got really good jobs. I was like, you know what? You’re right. That’s a good idea. Maybe we should target, retarget them with non wedding work, right? And so we took all our wedding clients and we put them in an email list.
And so now every month we send out non wedding related stuff and wedding related stuff in one email. Like, Oh my gosh, we just shot this wedding. It was beautiful. If you. Yeah. If you have any couples or any friends are getting married, Oh my gosh, we would love to shoot their wedding and send you a bottle of champagne as a way of saying thank you for referring them.
But look, outside of weddings, Oh my gosh, we just did this amazing shoot for the CDC about this. And then we less, we list things that they, we know they understand KPIs. We talk about metrics, right? People like to save money, know how much money they would have made. And then they take these things and they bring them to their boss and their boss be like, Oh my gosh.
I heard you guys do weddings, and I saw you guys did this amazing stuff. We’d love to have you on this project because we love your storytelling. So we love to bring it all together, and it always ends up coming back to storytelling. People are not hiring us because we have amazing CGI work or our drone work is Like that’s not it.
Colie: is pretty on point
Ben: at practice. Um, but People keep coming back for the same reason, the same reason why they hire us for weddings, or the same reason why they’re hiring us for corporate, and it’s for the storytelling. So we made storytelling our niche, so we use our past, our past couples as a way, as gatekeepers.
and then second,
yeah, yeah, and then, and then secondarily, the beauty of attending a university is that, you create those networks, you create those relationships, right? And so in creating those relationships, we, we have longtime friends who are now becoming heads of marketing departments are becoming now VPs are becoming now executive directors, directors.
So they are now the decision makers. And because we have nurtured those relationships over the past decade, where they’ve watched the transformation, they’ve watched the growth. Now they know when I’m at a place where I can bring in people that I trust that will help elevate my brand and my position within my company, there’s somebody I can trust.
I’m going to bring somebody I know because I don’t have to worry about hand holding or the end product. I’ve watched it over the past few years. So it’s a lot of times people think it’s a, all of a sudden I meet somebody, we’re going to get this job. It’s going to work out like, no, you have to nurture
Colie: got to put in the time
Ben: Yeah, over years and years and years. I mean the project that we just did might have been the biggest budget project we’ve ever done, but it took five, six, seven years of shaking hands, kissing babies, smiling, nurturing, showing up to get that project, right? To get these type of projects. And so that’s the part that people don’t understand is business relationships, B2B, is a lot about nurturing, but also about being at the right place at the right time with an answer.
For their problem in corporate. They’re only hiring you if you can fix their problem if you can’t fix their problem And it’s just pretty on to the next person. So
Colie: So I want to talk about pricing, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to tell you to tell everybody what you make, cause everybody has a lot of money. I’ll just tell you that. I think, I think what I’m most interested in asking you, when we think about your wedding work and we think about your commercial work is, do you have standard fees for your wedding films?
And then you kind of customize them based on travel or is everything that you do a custom quote. And if it is a custom quote, how long And what’s your process for putting together the quote that you are giving the commercial clients and then perhaps your wedding phone clients?
Ben: Sure, so I’ll start with weddings and I’ll transition to corporate that cool. Okay, awesome
For our weddings we used to do everything custom and then I was driving us crazy It took too long to get proposals out and we said this is not God’s plan for our life. So then we move more to a Buffet model where we give you a plate That’s the base price.
And everything else you add on there becomes the a la carte. So if you want chicken wings, you can have chicken wings. If you want, you know, chicken tenders, you can have chicken tenders, right? Using that analogy. So we have different variations of different products that we offer, and then we allow customers to customize those within reason.
Again, there’s variables that we control. But we’re giving the semblance of option. People like to have options. And so we’re kind of more of a base price with an a la carte system. That’s worked very well for us. It’s been extremely successful. It’s allowed us to, maximize our time and our profits.
We also study a lot what photographers do. Photographers charge for their time and everything else you want. You gotta buy. Wait, what you mean? I don’t get prints? No, that’s not how this works. So we was like, wait, if they can do it, I can do it too. Exactly. So it, it took a while for it to kick in for, for people to, to buy in.
But we made sure that we produ everything we produced was at a very high level. So that way when we asked, when we said that this is the way we did business, people didn’t flinch. They were like, okay, that’s fine. So, Send me the bill. Cool. Send me the bill. Right? So that’s worked very, very well for us over the years.
We have, we have a rule on how we decide when to increase prices and when we need to decrease prices, right? Based upon the number of bookings, based upon the amount of money we want to make that year based upon the actual events we have. I will say this, and I’ll throw this out as a mind grenade for people.
If it’s a major holiday, Wedding vendors tend to just go out and work it just because it’s Labor Day. That’s the busiest holiday of the year. I need to go out and I need to book all these weddings. What? That’s goofy. Everybody else on a wedding day on Labor Day is getting paid time and a half, right?
Or they’re off or they get paid time and a half. How come you’re not getting paid time and a half? Because you don’t value yourself enough to ask for time and a half. So on major holidays. I’m getting paid an extra fee to not be with my family. Does that change the fact that I’m not going to be with my family?
No, but at least I’ll feel a little bit happier knowing that I might have missed Labor Day with my son on his only day off before he starts school. But you know what? All his school supplies is paid for because I got paid extra today, right? That type of thing, right? So, and that’s a big deal, right? And so, sorry, that was a mind grenade.
I had to throw that out there.
Colie: It’s all right. I remember that New Year’s Eve wedding that you shot. That now I got a different mind frame about that wedding that
Ben: Yeah, like I’m not, I’m not leaving my house on New Year’s Eve unless it’s financially In my favor and sometimes, you know We’ll throw outlandish numbers like anybody about to pay that I am not trying to go on new year’s y’all tripping out y’all mind though. Hey Tasha get in this ridiculous number ever see what they say She’d be like they paid it.
What? Right, that’d be that’d be That’d be
Colie: like, Oh, we can celebrate New Year’s Eve
tomorrow. Cause I’m going to make this
Ben: Listen, I bring the kids with me and a nanny. Ain’t nobody got time for that, right? That type of thing, right? So, need I digress. But, so, so, being able to price so that you’re profitable is very, very important. Don’t price yourself so low that you run yourself ragged.
I don’t care if you’re shooting corporate or you’re shooting, weddings. And it’s much easier to run yourself ragged in weddings because people will shoot four weddings a weekend and wear it like a badge of honor rather than… Think that maybe I’m not doing my physical and mental health a good service So now when we talk about pricing for corporate, that’s a whole different That’s a whole different monster
It really should be based off of value the value that you’re going to provide your customer so for example if you’re going to do a a video for say per se for a mom and pop shop, right They’re probably only doing maybe a million dollars, maybe 2 million if they have the best now and laters ever on the planet, right, or, or Huggy juices or quarter chips, right?
So you have to understand you can’t price them the same way you would price ESPN for a shoot because their return on investment is not the same. The value that you’re providing them is not the same. So you have to understand and go in asking the right questions. You know, what is this going to be used for?
How is it going to be used in what marketing channels is it going to be used? so that you don’t end up shooting yourself in the foot one, pricing yourself too low, because if you price yourself too low, they won’t take you serious. Learn that the hard
Colie: had that
Ben: Yes. No matter how good your work is, if you price yourself way too low, it’s going to raise a flag.
Like why are so cheap? Some must be wrong, right? So that’s a, but B. Also, when you start doing commercial work, there’s a lot more permits, licenses, releases, agreements, things that need to be signed. There’s a lot more admin work that has to be done. Licenses cost money.
Ben: You gotta get paid for the admin work.
There’s a lot that comes with that, like chasing the city for a permit to shoot at a park. Child. I chased the city for three weeks for a permit. That’s a lot of work. Like anybody got time to keep calling Becky, like, Becky, pick up, gimme the permit. Right? But also when you, when you have to get music licensing, right?
People are so used to going the music bed or art list or whatever, your royalty free music place of choices, and just downloading a song, paying that $49, $16, whatever you pay. And being gone. But when you’re doing commercial work, those licenses aren’t 49. Like those licenses are thousands of dollars depending upon the company, the corporation and the project you’re working on.
So you have to take those things into account. And if you don’t, you’ll end up doing a project and making negative 3, 000. Right. Because you didn’t ask the right questions on the onset. So pricing from commercial, it’s, there’s not like a formula. I really say go in asking as many questions as possible.
Figure out what the value is going to be. Figure out what the KPIs that that corporation or that company or that business needs, and then figure out what you should price based upon that. I say, figure out what your staffing costs is going to be, what your overhead is going to be, what your post production and your license is going to be.
Add it all up, then multiply that times 0. 3. So you make a profit and then, uh, and make sure you pay yourself in there before you multiply times 0. 3. You need to get paid. Your business needs to get paid. Let me say that again. You need to get paid. And your business needs to get paid, right? Cause new claimants ain’t free and that shouldn’t come out your household budget.
Boom, right? So, add all that up, multiply that times 3, 4, 5, whatever tickles your fancy. So you have a profit margin, and that’s what you charge.
Colie: So if someone, because I mean, I know as I, as I just admitted, like the first time that, I mean, and it was a big, like, huge corporation and I didn’t really think about how big they were at that point. And later it was, I realized I really, you know, shot myself in the foot by putting forth like a budget that was really, really small.
’cause I was basing it off of like my family work. I didn’t do that the next time a big corporation came to me. But for like that very first time, Ben, You probably don’t understand how much time it’s going to take you to do the admin work. You probably don’t have a number in mind. Like if they give you this KPI, you don’t really know how to take that number and make it something.
So if someone is trying to land their first commercial gig, and let’s say that it’s not for a mom and pop show, let’s say that it’s like, you know, Fortune 500 company, like something really big. And they’re coming to you. How is it that you, in your head, try to figure out what you should charge this first time?
Because when it comes to like, family work, or I guess weddings, or anything that’s on a smaller scale, I’m always like, you know, If you end up setting a price and it’s not enough, you just raise it the next time. Do you know what I mean? Like you have room to make a mistake, but I feel like in commercial there is like no wiggle room.
Cause like you said, if you don’t quote them enough and it comes in the back end and your licensing costs so much more than you thought, you can’t be in the negative trying to produce this, you know, work for this corporation when, you know, they make tens of millions of dollars a year and all this. So how can someone avoid that when they have their first opportunity?
Ben: first things first, research. Before you send a proposal, research. If you don’t research anything else, research what music licensing is going to cost. Because that’s the thing that normally, shoots people in the foot. They have no idea how much it costs to license a song with worldwide use. That can be used for broadcast, advertising, and social.
And can be used in subsidiaries, right? That’s a whole different beast. Then I’m just going to do a family film or a wedding film. And we’re just going to show it on YouTube.
Colie: So, can I ask you a question, Ben? So, like, is, why, okay, so why would you include that in your upfront quote? Why wouldn’t you just add an addendum or something? I mean, I’m making this shit up as we go. Why wouldn’t you just, like, separate that from your budget? Because that is something that is going to be paid directly to someone else for the licensing rights and not necessarily, you know, to you and you don’t really have any control over that.
So, is there a reason that you would fold that in? Thank you. To your initial budget versus leaving it as like this addendum where it’s like, okay, you know, this is my fee. And then when we come together, and we choose your music, this is a range of what it’s going to cost, but it will be determined at that time by the specific music that we choose.
Ben: So what I’ve learned is. Most companies don’t care about the details they’re paying for a solution, right? Okay. How you get the solution? Just get me to the solution, right? So when you tell me it’s going to cost me 10 to get to the solution, I expect it’s going to cost me 10. If you’re going to tell me it’s going to cost me 25 and you can explain why it’s going to cost me 25 as long as I understand the reason why I will pay you 25 as long as you get me my solution.
Cause I know that. That I know that result is going to make me X amount of dollars on the back end. Right? So just in generalities here, hypothetically speaking, right? we’ve done 40, 000 projects before, right? Where I knew that this 40, 000 project would make this company two, three, 4 million, right?
So when I asked for that number, I knew That I would have to pay for the licensing for music in there. But I also, I went out and I did the research on how much would these licenses cost me before I bid for the project, right? Before they asked me for a final number. So I kind of have an idea of what things cost.
So before you start, you know, before you do your proposals, really like reach out. If you have a team of people you want to work with. Ask them what, what, what’s your rate going to be, right? Whatever rate they give you, add an extra three, 400 on there just for wiggle room, right?
Just to cover you, you know, bill for miscellaneous expenses, things you don’t even think about memory cards, hard drives, you need data recovery, you need redundancy system.
So don’t have it on one hard drive, put it on seven hard drives. That sounds crazy. It sounds crazy until you get paid 40, 000 for a job. They don’t, they don’t
care. They don’t care. They don’t, they don’t care. They don’t care. So I have seven hard drives, four SSDs, two spinnings and put it in the cloud. Like you don’t need no smoke.
If something happens, it sounds crazy, but that’s real, right? You gotta, you have to build for this type of stuff. You have to think about all the what ifs and then you need to build for those things. What if you show up the day of and your camera don’t work? What are you going to do? Uh, you better have four cameras in your bag.
Do you have four cameras? No. Well, you need to build a rent cameras, right? Just because you own a camera, right? Most people don’t bill for equipment. In their commercial work, right? You need to bill for your equipment somebody pay for those cameras those lenses those lights you did Well, you rent them to yourself and then you bill for it And then you get paid because if you didn’t own it, you would have to rent it Anyway, right these movie studios don’t just don’t walk around with 15, 000 movie cameras in the back of the truck.
Like they rent this stuff and they rent it indefinitely for however long they need it. So you need to build the same way they build. They build for their time. They build for their equipment. They build for their expertise. You need to build for all of those, those three things because those things are very, really important when you’re building out your quotes.
And then on top of that, make sure again, you’re building in profit for yourself on top of
business for everything else. Pay yourself first.
Colie: Guess what, Ben? I ain’t got no more questions
for you. Like I’m, we’re going to end it on pay yourself because that is the perfect place to end yourself.
Colie: All right, Ben, if these people in this listening audience want to check out more of your wedding films or your commercial work, where should they find you on the
Ben: so you can find me on Beyonce’s email@example.com. That’s Y A M E A N. Studios films.com. And on social media, we’re at Yin Studios everywhere. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, TikTok. I think that’s the only places we
Colie: You know what, Ben, do you have a LinkedIn?
Ben: We do have a LinkedIn,
Colie: go look.
Ben: but it ain’t that good. Okay, listen, first of all, we are redeveloping our LinkedIn.
So, you heard it here first. We are actually working on separating our Wedding business and commercial business to have two separate
brands As of now especially because there’s a lot more commercial work Coming up and people be like every time I Google you all I see is weddings. Well, here’s the non wedding stuff I need non wedding stuff to come up when I tell people when I tell it to so So we’re working on separating our brands.
Now. The new brand is called Mickey place actually, uh, where I did my first design work in college, the street I lived on in my dorm. So, we’re working on doing that now. That will be on LinkedIn, on and poppin big time, soon as we get that. we’re finishing up that website now. And just, another mind grenade for people, when you want to do corporate work and you want to like have a website where you put your work on there, don’t just put pretty stuff, right?
Make it into case studies. So people, because people will read the case
Ben: they want to know that what you made actually had a result. You know what I mean? Here was the problem. Here’s what we did. Here’s the result. Here’s what the testimonial was. Oh my gosh, they must be amazing. Let me hire them.
Take all my money. That type of thing. Right? so we’re working on developing a very thorough, yeah. business website where, all different types of videos that are follow case study format, because that’s what gets people in the door. That’s what gets people to keep hitting your buy button book button and give you all their money.
Colie: Ben, amazing. Everyone, I feel like this needs to be a part two, so stay tuned. But that’s it for this episode. See you next time.