In this election year, "change" is the one promise that every candidate is touting. Everyone is claiming that they will be the one to change things and make things better. It is open to debate whether some changes are better, but change is inevitable! There are few constants in life, and change is one of them. As videographers, as business owners, and as individuals, we must learn to embrace and even welcome change in order to be successful.
All companies need the ability to change. My first professional camera was the Panasonic AG-450 (a shouldermount S-VHS camera). Along with that, I purchased a Panasonic editing deck (AG-1960).
About 10 years ago, while attending WEVA Expo, I found myself talking to a major camera executive about what I wanted in a video camera—something lightweight and easier to carry. I said that as a woman, I found it difficult to carry my camera around on my shoulder all day. He kind of laughed, and I got the impression that he wasn’t taking my concerns seriously.
One year later, I came to WEVA Expo and purchased the much smaller, lightweight Sony VX1000. Today I run a total Sony studio (cameras, editing deck, televisions, etc.). I switched to the company that was able to change and meet my needs first.
Another major change for me was going from linear to nonlinear editing. My final product improved tremendously when I had the tools to create a better finished product, but my editing time went up tremendously! To still make a profit, I had to change my pricing to reflect my increased workload.
Learning to use the computer wasn’t easy for me, as I didn’t grow up with a computer in the classroom (unlike my kids, who were using computers in preschool). But I didn’t fight the change; I went with it. Today, I love my laptop.
There are so many changing marketing strategies. I remember launching my first website in 2000 and wondering how it would really help my business. Now, a website is a must-have if you want to be taken seriously. You used to be ahead of your competition if you had video on your website, now—with sites like YouTube having made online video commonplace in the consumer world—you are seen as old-fashioned if you don’t. Meanwhile, blogging has become the newer way to market yourself and differentiate your business online.
Perhaps the biggest change currently affecting our industry is the emergence of high-definition (HD). There are some early adapters who embraced change and jumped into it several years ago, shooting and sometimes editing in HD but in the vast majority of cases, still delivering in SD, just like the rest of us who shoot in SD.
Others in our business are taking the wait-and-see approach. Others still are wating for the consumer market to choose a delivery format. Just like the Beta versus VHS wars back in the ’70s, the HD DVD versus Blu-ray Disc format war has seriously slowed the adoption of HD disc formats, and kept some people from stepping up to HD on the shooting end as well. When Toshiba withdrew HD DVD on February 19, Blu-ray emerged victorious, but with the high price of players, it will still take time for most of our clients to take the Blu-ray plunge.
Unfortunately, like so many things in life, how soon our clients adopt HD isn’t up to us. While you can’t always change the world, there are changes you can make to improve your business and personal life.
Zig Ziglar, best-selling author and motivator (whose books on selling I suggest you read) says, "You might not be able to change the world, but when you change your world, you have taken a major step in changing the world. And when you change your world for the better, you have positioned yourself perfectly to change the world of those around you."
Some changes will come out of the blue. For example, editors and second shooters may leave to start their own businesses; office managers quit unexpextedly. It can be quite devastating. In order to make an immediate change, you can change the way you view things. You may not be able to control what happens to you, but you can change how you react to things.
When change happens that you don’t like, ask yourself, "Is this the worst that can happen?" The answer: probably not. Learn to embrace the inevitable changes that are bound to come your way, and you—and your business—will reap the rewards.
Kris Malandruccolo (kris at elegantvideosbykris.com), owner of Chicago-based Elegant Videos By Kris and Elegant Storybooks by Kris, is an award-winning videographer and writer. She is a master wedding vendor, an EventDV 25 honoree, and WEVA Hall of Fame inductee. Kris is an international speaker and public relations chairperson for WEVA. She is president emeritus of the Illinois Videographers Association.