Are you ready to tell your story with video? Use our five discovery questions to begin planning your production.

Production Setup

Question 5: What’s your timeline and budget?

After all that work defining your audience, goals, approach and distribution, you need to take a realistic look at your calendar and your marketing & communications budget, and set a timeline + budget for your project that is appropriate for

Video production costs can range from a few hundred dollars (with a smartphone camera, a tolerance for low-quality and plenty of time), to tens of thousands of dollars if you hire a freelance filmmaker, video production company or creative agency. Here are some questions to ask yourself to inform your timeline and budget:

  • What’s a realistic timeline to create this video?
    You’ll need to decide whether to do-it-yourself, hire a freelance filmmaker, production company or creative agency, and consult with those people about how long their process takes.
    1. Make sure to calendar ample time to develop your creative concept, secure locations and permits, shoot, edit, get feedback, and prep your video for distribution. Our typical timeline is 4-6 weeks to produce a high-quality mini-documentary.
    2. If your deadline is soon, be prepared to pay a premium for a quick turnaround.
    3. If you choose go the DIY route, be prepared for a steep learning curve, and for each step to take longer than you thought. Who will be responsible for developing the Creative? Shooting? Editing? Distribution?
    4. How much staff time will this take? Is it worth it to take staff off of other tasks while they produce, shoot and edit a video?
    5. Video production is a LOT of work – which is why most brands choose to hire a professional filmmaking team that can deliver high quality content – on time and on budget. Many marketers underestimate the value and efficiency of working with a professional team, and don’t realize until they’re far along in a DIY project that’s spinning out of control.
  • What’s a realistic budget to create this video?
    Regardless of who produces your video, it WILL require a budget. Ask these questions to think through unforeseen costs.
    1. Do you need to hire actors or extras for this project?
    2. Will there be any location fees or permit applications to shoot in the locations required?
    3. Do you need production liability insurance to shoot in the locations required?
    4. If you or your staff are going the DIY route, how much staff time will you have to pay?
    5. If you’re working with a freelance filmmaker, production company or creative agency, what are their rates?
    6. Will you use advertising to increase your video’s reach? Which platforms will you use? What are their rates?
    7. Remember – a professional team can help you achieve stay within your budget and timeline while delivering high-quality results.

This post isn’t meant to scare you away from using video to tell your story – it’s meant to help you be realistic about what it takes, how long it takes, and how much money it takes. The results from producing a video can be astounding if it’s done right – so make sure to bring on a team that’s qualified to produce your project. There’s nothing worse than spending time and money taking shortcuts – do it right the first time!

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