Questions About the Video Agency:
- How long have they been in business?
- How many explainer videos have they produced?
- What is your team structure for this project or who else will be involved?
- What is their company culture like and does it mesh with yours?
- How do they decide whether a video they’ve completed is a success or not?
- What video in their portfolio are they most proud of and why?
- What do they think is the most important aspect of the client relationship during the production process?
- What’s one of their biggest mistakes during a project, and how did they deal with it?
- When can they start the project?
- What timeline do they propose for the project?
The typical animated or live-action explainer video will take 6 – 8 weeks to produce. If your project needs to be produced in a shorter time period, have your potential video production team produce a revised timeline for you. Once you start your video project, make sure you keep track of your timeline so that you meet your video release date!
- What potential hold-ups could there be?
The response that your potential video partner gives you will vary depending on whether your project is animated or live-action. In live-action projects, the list can be lengthy, with hold-ups including location permits, weather, or talent hiccups to name just a few potential problems.
- How will communication and edit requests be handled?
We recommend hiring a video partner who has a formal project management tool (which also gives you the added benefit of tracking requests in writing) that they use on all projects.
In addition to a project management tool, you should set up formal expectations for a kick-off call, regular check-in’s, and a project debrief at the end.
- How well can they write?
The most important element of any explainer video is the script. Whoever will be writing the script for your video (sometimes an internal team member or even you!), needs to be a talented and accomplished writer.
- Does the creative understand your business?
Just as important as their general writing ability, is their ability to understand your product or business and explain that to your potential customers. If your potential video partner can’t identify the elements that make your business special, how will they translate your business into sales for your company? By the time you are finalizing your proposal and video concept idea with a creative, they should understand your business.
- Ask to see samples of previous script work
Ask your potential video creative to provide a couple examples of scripts that they’ve produced, from the first draft to the finished product. Just like with this blog post, scripts go through revisions and collaborations, taking a look at different versions of the script will help you understand how they evolved.
- Ask to see examples of assets they have built for other clients, including characters and design treatments.
This one is animation specific and very important. Take a look at the different styles your potential animator uses and identify an animator whose body of work fits the style you are looking for.
- Will the designer be using stock characters or custom designs for your project?
The answer to this question is frequently tied to budget and timeline. On projects with shorter timelines or smaller budgets, animators will generally draw from stock characters that they have already created or have purchased. If this is the case with your project, find out how frequently they have used those characters in the past and if they were used in videos that were created for your competitors.
- How many voiceover options will you have to choose from?
And, if you have specific ideas or target customer locations, be sure to ask the next question.
Rights & Ownership:
- What is the fees schedule?
Typically you will be asked to pay a deposit of 50% of the total video projected costs up front. That helps cover any up-front costs associated with producing the video including licensing, location fees, and talent fees. The balance is due upon completion of the video.
- Who owns the final video files/assets?
In general, you should expect to hold full ownership of the video once your final payment is made. Most creatives will retain rights to use the video as part of their demo reel and portfolio. For animation, the individual character assets can be negotiated over, if you want to make sure that the characters are never used in future works (and they were created specifically for your project). With live action projects, you can negotiate over the rights to unused footage for use in future projects.
- What if there are changes that need to be made after the fact?
Nobody gets it 100% right the first time. Other times, things happen that are outside of our control. Find out what your video partner will charge to update your video in the future, from fixing typos, to changing a phone number, or anything else that could come up!