Monday, December 11, 2017

Are you stuck for a video project idea? I can’t imagine!

July 10, 2008 by  
Filed under All Posts

Often, when I’m speaking to groups of videographers about what I do – producing special interest videos (SIVs) – they get stuck at “what should I produce?” I understand this question, but I can’t relate to it.

Yes, you do have to choose intelligently so that your project has a good chance of being profitable, and I talk about how to do that in my DVD “Make Money Selling Your Own Videos.” That is a very important aspect of the SIV business and I’ll be writing more articles about it soon. In all honesty, my decisions are based on research, experience and blind faith. I keep my production budgets low, my expectations realistic and my eyes and ears open to feedback from the marketplace in order to maximize returns from my video productions.

The subject of this article, however is how to get ideas for potential projects, which has always been too easy for me. In fact, I drive myself crazy with so many projects on my plate that I get overwhelmed. Ideas for videos seem to just come out of the woodwork for me. The majority never come to fruition once they work their way through the filtering system, which is as it should be, but enough do pass the tests to get to the production stage.

Let me tell you how it happens for me.

The other day I posted my guitar for sale on Craigslist. One interested potential buyer was a man who makes fine handmade acoustic guitars but who recently felt the strong pull to take up electric guitar. Now he may not decide to buy my guitar but when he found out what I do for a business, the wheels started turning in both of our heads. The projects we bantered around were a video on how to set up a guitar (adjusting string, pickup and nut height; adjusting the intonation, etc.). These are all things a serious guitar player should know in order to take care of their instrument, so the potential market is quite large.

Parties are a rich source of project ideas. At one gathering I met a yoga instructor. Now yoga videos abound, so I would not pursue a generic yoga topic, but she has a unique specialty of healing injuries with yoga. Now that is a specific niche that sets this idea apart from the sea of yoga videos out there.

At another party I was telling a landscaper friend of mine about the video I’m producing on growing cacti and succulents. He said he was doing a complete new landscape installation with succulents. I thought, “Hummm, I’ll bet a video on landscaping with succulents would go over well, especially since out west where I live there is a water shortage and people are encouraged to landscape with drought tolerant plants.” So that’s another idea on my plate.

These are just a few examples of how I winnow out ideas. For me to consider an idea it has to be unique, but fit into a well defined niche. I need the ability to clearly identify the market and have a means of reaching them with marketing and publicity efforts, at a reasonable cost

Look around you. What is in the news, on television, in everyday conversation? The price of gasoline is changing the world economy. People are looking for alternative fuels and ways to reduce the amount of fuel they use. People are concerned about global warming and their own carbon footprint. Many people are looking for ways to be “green,” whether that is buying local food or composting the yard clippings. These are all strong trends that are ripe with unlimited potential topics for videos.

A key piece of advice I share and adhere to myself is to pick a topic you personally care about. If you are interested in the topic you will have more motivation to stay the course through script development, production and marketing. Marketing is an ongoing aspect of this business, and if you enjoy the topic then your interest will open many doors. You’ll read related magazines, join and post to online forums, attend and exhibit at trade shows, speak at conferences, meet the movers and shakers in that industry.

And yes I do enjoy growing succulents, I’m interested in healing with yoga and I’m far too interested in guitars for my own good. I’m interested in producing multiple titles in these areas, and I’m definitely open to producing topics that help the environment. I’ve learned from experience that I have to enjoy the topic to really engage with the project.

A lot of how I’d sum up my approach is to develop a way of listening to people and the media in terms of “could I make a salable video out of that, and why would I want to?” If you have interest in the subject, can define you topic fairly precisely and identify the target market, then you’re on the right track. Your next step is to do some research to determine the potential demand for the proposed video and find out what the competition is like.

I’m just getting into this social networking, which I think will have an increasingly powerful cultural and social impact. I don’t know exactly how it will work for me but if you are reading this and want to see my profile on Facebook click here and/or on my LinkedIn network, click here.

Watch for future articles on doing research before taking that final plunge, and many articles on marketing, social networking and the specifics of producing special interest videos.

That’s it for now. I’ve gotta get busy producing my new topics.

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