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Keeping Up With Jones: The Face of Time
Posted Nov 9, 2010 Print Version     Page 1of 1

I have rarely heard wedding filmmakers wax more eloquent than when they are speaking of the power of artistry and how the drive for perfection is the impetus behind their habitual 6–12 month delivery times. As an industry, we have made it a badge of honor to endlessly season and savor our films, often concluding within our own filmmaking community that those who deliver faster must not be meeting the high artistic standards of those who keep their clients waiting longer.

When challenged about the bride’s satisfaction in delivering at such a length, we prate that we need to educate brides about how long it takes to create a solid production from start to finish. After all, they wouldn’t complain if they knew the gallons of blood, sweat, and tears that we pour into their films. They need to understand that artistry takes time!

Time is being taken, all right. But the longer we delay our deliveries, the more time is being taken away from us. There are a few reasons for this outcome, but let us first look at what is going on behind the scenes with our clients after the wedding.

In the first few months following their wedding day, the couple will invite friends over but will have no video to share. Having almost instantly seen a truckload of media from the wedding on Facebook—from photos to guest-shot amateur video—family and friends will initially ask, “When do we get to see your official wedding video?” However, once they’ve sated themselves with the guests’ imagery for a few weeks, family and friends will find it difficult to reignite their interest to watch your creation months later.

Also, with media consumption via the internet becoming such a part of our daily existence, the expiration date on fresh content is much shorter than it once was. From viral videos to well-produced “web television content,” the wedding video has to compete for attention before it becomes “old news.” The couple knows that the clock is ticking to keep most of their acquaintances waiting and interested. Hence, the couple becomes less enthused about the service you are providing, and that costs you time.

When our couples begin to lose interest in us, we have to do marketing that clients could have otherwise provided for us. Imagine shooting a wedding on Jan. 1 and delivering it 6 months later. Until July 1 arrives, the bride isn’t going to be as aggressive in referring your services, but she will refer you nonetheless.

Now let’s imagine you deliver at 3 months, on April 1. The bride will be able to start raving about you 3 months earlier than if you delivered at 6 months, and she will continue raving until the end of time. You will have garnered 3 more months of exuberant referrals in the life span of this client versus the client who received her video at the 6-month mark.

Therefore, if you are shooting 20 weddings a year, and if you get 3 more months of ardent referrals out of each client, then you are getting a total of 60 months in additional enthusiastic referrals from 1 year’s stable of clients. That’s 5 years of extra referrals amassed in 1 year’s time!

Over the course of 20 years, the extra months of referrals will provide a significant boost in marketing that you would not have received in delivering months thereafter. With your clients doing a lot of marketing for you, you now have more time to devote to other aspects of developing your business and to pursue your other interests in life.

Secondly, in delivering earlier, you are challenging yourself to get the edit done while you’re more familiar with the footage. With familiarity comes speed: You can find the best shots more quickly and start building the story in much less time. If you’re backlogged and cannot get to your full edit in the weeks after the wedding, then spend the Monday and/or Tuesday following the wedding sorting through footage and picking out the best shots, returning to the full edit at a later date. Let’s assume that by acting while the footage is fresh in your mind, you save 3 hours per project. If you shoot 20 projects a year, that’s 60 hours of editing time saved annually.

Finally, you will save more time per assignment in delivering early because clients are less likely to feel entitled to request more changes. Clients sometimes act as if they should have more control over the final product when it’s delivered long after they have missed many opportunities to enjoy it. Deep down, we empathize with their unmet anticipation, and it’s hard for us to refuse them. Thus, we spend more time needlessly working on projects that could’ve been closed out if delivered months earlier.

In conclusion, it’s not the clients who need to be educated on how long it takes for artistry; rather, it’s we who need to be educated on how long it doesn’t have to take for client satisfaction. Determining our delivery time should not be so much about budgeting enough time for artistry as it is about maximizing how we’ll spend our time running our businesses.

While a 3-month delivery helps to ensure clients will work more on your behalf, there is an additional goal that you can achieve that will get them working even harder. It is fast, simple, and possible for all skill levels. Next month, I will share this challenge with you.

Chris P. Jones (jones at masonjarfilms.com), an Austin, Texas-based EventDV 25 All-Star, has been shooting weddings for nearly a decade and is a co-founder of the wedding filmmaking educational gathering IN[FOCUS].

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