Things Are Getting Better

This past year Tweedee Productions has done work at several manufacturing companies throughout Wisconsin.  We’ve crisscrossed our great state from Fennimore to Green Bay, Milwaukee to Rice Lake for various clients.  Most recently we shot at a plastics manufacturing plant in Baldwin.  The news that we’ve been hearing is that “things are getting better.”  Companies are hiring, working multiple shifts and cranking out products.  The owner of the plastics company told us that they have been working 24/7.  In some cases, employers cannot find enough qualified workers to fill the jobs they have.  Not a bad thing in the short-term.  Nationally, recent economic reports have been encouraging.

It’s been interesting commiserating with other business owners over the tough times we’ve all gone through.  Many have told us that 2008-09 were the bad years which was also true for us.  In some cases business virtually ground to a halt and many of us wondered if it was wise to keep the doors open.  In our case, I’m glad we did.

During what has been called the “great recession” the thought occurred to me that the companies that are able to weather the storm will be stronger in the end.  When operating in a bad economy, you learn real fast what works and what doesn’t.  You learn that all major decisions are critical and that there’s not much room for error.  Ultimately, you learn to have faith in your skills and that things will get better.

Fortunately for us, our business survived.  The lessons learned over the past few years have paid off.  The last two years have brought us great success as we’ve experienced sustained growth for the past 30 months.  We’re now able to do the things that I love to do like rewarding our employees and giving back to the community.  I realize that many folks have suffered, careers were lost and companies closed.  I’m grateful we have been able to continue on.  I feel the best is yet to come!

CEO/Founder, Tweedee Media Inc.

“So, how much will that cost?”

We get that question a lot!  Usually it comes after a brief, five-minute phone conversation with a third level office assistant charged with “getting a number” for his or her boss.  The caller typically has very limited information as to what production elements are needed for their video.  Yet, they expect us to spit out a number that we will have to live with moving forward.  At times I’m tempted to say, “Good news!  We have a web video special running today only.  For the low, low-cost of only $1995 you get the web video, a thirty-second TV commercial, and…”  These jobs usually do not go well.

Our business development guy, Mac Chorlton, recently sent me a link to a LinkedIn discussion about production rates for web videos.  It was interesting to read about how other companies deal with the tricky issue of asking someone to pay a fee for what we do.  After reading the string of comments, I concluded that others in our field have similar problems dealing with this issue.  Obviously, there is no easy, one size fits all, answer to this question.  However, it is reassuring that Tweedee Production’s rates and the way we charge for our time are in the “video production ballpark” as compared to other video production companies around the country.

When it comes to giving a client a ballpark number for producing a video, some providers use the “per finished minute” concept in pricing.  This number typically ranges between $1,000 and $1,500.  I don’t like pricing projects this way because there are way too many variables in what we might have to do to produce a successful video.  Jack Trammell of Dallas/Fort Worth contributes this brilliant observation on the LinkedIn discussion, “Paying for a produced video by the minute is like paying for a car by the pound.  There are just too many variables that make that equation unrealistic for most productions…”  A post by Scott Frangos reads, “Rates in Portland, Oregon range from $1500 per finished minute to $4500, depending on size of team, scope of concept, and production values.”  Quite a range!

Our approach here at Tweedee Productions is to ask a lot of questions.  So, before you pop the question on cost, have a good understanding of what you are trying to accomplish with your video.  Be specific, usually the “one size fits all” approach results in a watered down, ineffective, generic video.  Once we know what the intent is for your video we will prepare a detailed budget based on fairly standard market rates and pricing concepts.  We structure our pricing the same way that Rich Dubek’s company does in Phoenix, “We bill based on set rates for full day or 1/2 day, and hourly rates for logging, script writing, and editing.”

Most of the story-based, interview-driven web videos we produce are in the $5,000-9,000 range on average.  Again, even within this narrowly defined video category, there can be a number variables that will determine the ultimate cost.  So, if someone tells you after a five-minute phone call that they can do your video for $1995, ask yourself if you will be getting a video specific to your needs.  Lauri Oliva of Miami confirms what we all know, “I always refer back to the old adage, you get what you pay for.”

Producing a web video.

Gregg Schieve

How’s Bidness?

Business has slowed down a bit for us in the last few weeks.  After a fairly robust spring for Tweedee Productions, I fear that the lazy days of summer are upon us.  You know how it goes.  The client who says they’re moving forward with a project doesn’t get back to you for weeks because they’ve been on vacation and their boss has been on vacation and the guy making the ultimate decision has been on a remote island in the Pacific “finding” himself. 

When business is slow I unfortunately and unfairly tend to blame myself.  I start to think about unrealistic things like we should be “doing something” about business being slow.  We should react…how?  We need to…what?   

In reality there’s not much I can do.  Business usually happens on its own schedule regardless of when we need it to happen.  Obviously, all businesses need to react and adapt to a changing economy.  If they don’t they won’t be around for long.  But, some experts will tell you that it’s easy to over-react for the sake of “doing something”.  In our last economic downturn many well-known corporations slashed their workforce in response to a bad quarter, laying off talented and experienced people, only to find business improve a few quarters later. 

Believe me, we have felt the effects of the great recession of 2009 here at Tweedee Productions.  I’m not minimizing the economic events of the last couple of years nor our response to them.  But it’s easy to over-react when business “gets a little slow” given the backdrop of the financial world in 2009.  I have to remind myself that we’re in this for the long haul – keep a steady hand on the rudder. 

We’re fairly lean at Tweedee to begin with.  We’ve got the “right people on the bus”, to quote business guru Jim Collins.  The talented team of individuals we have in place is essential for providing our clients with the high degree of service they’ve come to expect.  We need to be confident that our approach is the correct one, that there will always be economic storms, and we will be able to ride them out. 

I just need to relax and enjoy the summer.  Besides, business will pick up.  Right? 

Oscar knows how to relax.

Gregg Schieve, CEO and Founder Tweedee Media Inc. 

when something old is new again

it’s the time of year when the world starts anew…. and many of us look back at what we’ve done.   new year – it either gives a a sense of

sandy kowal - looking forward to.... something.

“better things to come” or “oh, no, not more of the same.” me, i tend to be melancholy. introspective.      each year its different for me.   this year i worry. what usually worries me is the sense of dread over things i can’t control…. like the economy, war, is God really listening to me? i do realize that worrying about stuff i can’t really control is probably not the best way to spend my time…  but i guess that’s what makes me who i am…   human a small business owner.

Don’t get me wrong i do feel blessed… by my relationships (yes, honey, i mean you), my fantastic job and the many gifts in my life.    life IS good.

i stumbled across this website last year… it’s like heaven for old discarded photos from a million years ago. when i get mucked in my melancholy madness i like to go look at these oldies but goodies. i like to look into the eyes of the proud parents with a newly hatched baby or the fancy ladies with fashionable hats or the fresh faced lovers on a date. they make me smile. they make my heart swell with hope. they make me look forward to better things coming in the new year… knowing that whenever i need to i can look back at this website, when something old is new again.   happy new year.

And the Winner is…

If this blog were one of those fancy award shows and Tweedee Productions won a statue,  two things would be true.  Number one: our staff would look swell standing around the podium. Especially Gregg.  He’d be wearing black leather high-top Chuck Taylor’s with his Pierre Cardin formal wear. Number two: I would thank the internet for performing CPR (or, CCR as we recently learned) on concise video storytelling.

Sure, there’s a lot of goofy (and fun) short videos on the web – pet tricks galore, humans getting attacked by pets, and an abundance of automobiles getting crashed by humans whose pets do tricks. But, I digress. My point is – with the boom in video on the web and, increasingly, mobile platforms – more of the people we work with value a well-crafted two- to three-minute visual story. That’s perfect because it’s one of the things we do best here at Tweedee.

I’m talking about unscripted, true-to-life storytelling. At the core of the story, one, or a few people, talking about their company, their organization, or their latest adventure –  in their own words. Interwoven with those words: real life action and engaging graphics produced in a compelling and thought-provoking manner. Internet and mobile viewers expect a video

Dan Presser basks in the glow of internet video

Dan Presser basks in the glow of internet video

to get to the point and show them something REAL. They don’t want another marketing pitch.

Don’t get me wrong. There’s planning before the shoot. Locations, ideas and themes are discussed. But, when it all comes down to it – the internet has given the people we work with the right to share their story like no one else can. And, they can tell it with an economy of words and money. (That’s another blog altogether)

So, the winner is…your story.  We’re just thankful to be at the podium to help you share it.

In This Economy

     These days, “in this economy”, we’re all searching for a little positive economic news, a light at the end of the tunnel perhaps. I ran across an article in The Capital Times by columnist Mike Ivey a few weeks ago that was at least a little encouraging for those of us doing business here in Madison, Wisconsin.
     In it Ivey presents some interesting information about our city in one of his recent Business Beat columns. Ivey highlights an article in the March issue of The Atlantic by author Richard Florida. According to Florida, “the driving force behind any economic strategy is talented people. Madison has always been successful at attracting and retaining some of the brightest minds in the Midwest,” Florida said. Ivey points out that Florida “has long argued that communities that offer a stimulating working environment for creative people will thrive in the 21st century. This includes towns that embrace the arts, pop music, gay people and ethnic food.” Sounds like Madison!
     Florida maintains that “creative class cities will flourish while the suburbs lose out and the Sun Belt fades.” Florida says, “Madison will survive the recession but must work to increase its connectivity to the Chicago-Pittsburgh ‘mega region.’” According to Florida, “economic activity is concentrating in a select group of mega regions…worldwide there are just 40 significant mega regions.” Florida ranks the Chicago-Pittsburgh mega region as “third in the world for economic output and eighth for innovation.”
     Here’s hoping that Richard Florida knows what he’s talking about.

CEO-Founder, Tweedee Media Inc.

CEO-Founder, Tweedee Media Inc.