Do Big Budgets Equal Better Films?
It's the million dollar question (pun intended) isn't it? Since man first picked up the camera to capture images and realised he can money in the process, budget vs production value have been at each others throats. But now with social media influencers being all the rage, cheaper film equipment, and (free) online tutorials on everything from lighting and sound to screen writing, has this changed the balance of power? Perhaps, but mostly for commercial films that end up on social media. Which is about 99.99% of all films made by a production studio today. So I'll ask myself again
Do big budgets equal better films?
Yes. And No. Actually screw it. The answer is no. No they don't. Not today. Today, the better video is the one that :
A. Had the brilliance of coming up with a good idea B. Had the courage to stick to the idea, without brands diluting it to make it safer, more generic and generally the same as what their competitors are doing.
But videos still cost money right? We have to pay the creative, the crew, post production etc. Yes but I still believe that the production houses job is to allocate the clients resources in the best way possible. We don’t expect them to understand the different camera formats, or which software to use when color correcting footage. It’s our job to see which tool we need to use and prioritise. So while every production costs money, a good producer can help the creative team and the brand, figure out the objectives of each production, and then try to allocate the budget set forth in a way that gets the brand the most value.
“You know what they say. You don’t pay the plumber for banging on the pipes. You pay him for knowing where to bang.” #Suits
One of my mentors told me that his greatest job on a production was to ensure that the brand and the agency understood that he was only interested in getting the most value for their money. Every allocation of resource was based on that one reason alone. But you have to have an open and honest relationship with your production house for that.
Today, we live in an environment where clients are reducing video budgets because “it’s digital” right? And I’m not going to have this argument because I might blow my brains out explaining why that’s a convoluted notion. But the fact is, budgets are coming down for several reasons. With social media, brands are expected to produce content monthly, if not weekly instead of the “one big tvc” they would do every quarter. So now they have to split up the budget to accommodate all these new films.
The only way to make that happen is for agencies to have content teams that come up with creative ideas that fit the brand personality. Red Bull is an excellent example of content, fitting a brands personality. And Red Bull has in-house content teams. This role cannot be done by traditional creatives. No, it needs people who understand both the craft of film, entertainment and marketing. And not every production house is suited to create content either. If you’ve always produced big budget tv commercials, you will never understand how to produce something in less than $10,000.
This is the answer to the question. A new breed of production house. A new breed of talent. And a brand that understands the difference between good content, and just video that is going to be put up monthly without any outcomes.
Don't kill me. I'm just the messenger.