Business Advice from The Creative COW Magazine|
Paso Robles California, USA
©2007 Cowdog and CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.
In this business article from The Creative COW Magazine, Bessie gives some great business advice answering a question from one of the members.
"I live in a market glutted with production companies and so there are few moneymaking jobs available to me. What can you recommend besides the advice to `Go intern somewhere for free?' Is there a way I can make some money to pay off some of the tools that I have already bought? I don't mind spending a little more money but I don't have a lot of money for Digibeta decks and other expensive gear. Any advice for me?"
Sarkus Takesian, Chicago, Illinois
hat's a great question, Sarkus. And big thanks to you for giving us the idea to start a "Dear Cash COW" column. We hope to turn it into a regular feature here in the COW Magazine, if people like it.
One way we've used to create quick cash flow when things were tight, was to look for local companies that might want to commission a commercial. Most local commercials are so badly done that there's a great chance you'll deliver something better.
To be profitable, think of it in the same manner as you would many other jobs, using templates and saving these "steps" so that they can be used over again. If you craft things "modularly" and "library" them - so that you can save time and not always find yourself starting from zero - you'll increase both your productivity and profitability.
One of the best ways to begin making good local spots is to use stock footage and animation files as your "starter" backgrounds, etc. If you have a client who is willing to buy cream, look to Artbeats. com where it's all pure cream.
Other options are sites like revostock.com and istockvideo. com, where you can find some nice stuff but you'll have to pour out some skim milk to find it. It'll take more time but there are some good things there. Look around.
Don't use these backgrounds, stock. Play with them. Try laying them on top of themselves and seeing how various "blend mode" settings affect the images. To begin to understand the modes, layer an image on top of itself and then apply various modes and see how they change what you see.
The secret to nice motion graphics is "layers." Make your audience feel as though they are participating in an environment of dimensionality. Without learning a 3D application, you can mimic much of the 3D nature using layers that move and are integrated and blended using the bland modes.
If you use Adobe After Effects
or Premiere Pro
, explore the text effects and titling features for ideas of presenting text. If you use Final Cut Studio
, take a look at LiveType
. All three of these programs have great text effects that you can accomplish.
Remember: Many people own After Effects but if you really dig through the Cow tutorials and explore the techniques, you will blow Uncle Phil out of the barn. He doesn't know After Effects.
Now that you have your backgrounds laid out and have some nice text effects, you will want to tighten them up with some good audio. One of our favorite ways to do this is with Sonicfire Pro which quickly creates an audio bed that is cow spot on with the mood you want in your audience. You set the timing of the changes in your music and with it, you can build an audio file that is exactly the length you want - with the "hits" and "jabs" right when you want them. You can milk this one for years to come. Like Artbeats, this one will cost you but it's also a great tool.
Adobe just announced their new Soundbooth
audio program. If your money's tight, this is a great solution as it's in beta and is free at this time. There's not much music available for it right now but people are creating music files for it at the Adobe Labs site.
If you practice and practice and get out into the market, you'll likely find not only a few spots to produce - but you will almost surely find a company or two that likes your work enough to give you other jobs. They may even refer you to friends. Remember the old saying is true: Cows of a feather, spend time with one an udder.
Lastly, don't look too hungry as it comes through when you're pitching. Munch a big bowl of grain, look into the mirror and tell yourself: "I am one bad bovine."
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