Why working in-house is best

How we work is a question that always comes up, whether that’s purely in conversation or part of a tender.

And it’s something that’s been core to our ethos since day one.

It also seems like a rarity. We can’t speak with absolutely certainty as to how other video production companies operate internally, but from what we’ve seen directly and heard from our clients it seems like we’re the minority, with most using freelancers on an as-and-when-needed basis.

One reason for that is that an in-house approach is a terrible, terrible business model. I mean, if you’re starting a video production company from scratch and your goal is purely to make a profit then an in-house approach isn’t going to help you get a bank loan. Because one thing using freelancers does allow is scalability, and I don’t just mean upwards, but downwards too. What are your five full-time camera operators supposed to do when you have no shoots booked in on that particular day? Using freelancers allows you to drop crew as quickly as you can send them a call sheet.

Our in-house approach doesn’t allow for that, naturally. We can’t make crew redundant on a daily basis or at the drop of a hat, and we have to pay our team for their time whether they’re working on a shoot or not.

But that’s pretty much the only negative aspect. And it’s one that we’re happy with, and more importantly it doesn’t effect our clients.

The benefits of an in-house approach to video production, however, are extensive. It’s been part of our ethos since day one because, on day one, that was the default. Our founders Adam and Russell were our film makers, editors, account managers and coffee makers. We’ve grown organically from there and we didn’t set up with a handshake from a bank manager and pound signs in our eyes. In fact, in the 7 years since our official formation, we haven’t used a single freelancer once.

Now that there’s 7 of us our approach hasn’t changed. Each successful project allows us to recruit the next member of the team and our requirement here is that everyone is multi-disciplined. Our Account Manager is a former Producer/Director, and both our camera operators are former business owners themselves with deep skillsets. For us this means that when we don’t have shoots on, there’s another duty that everyone can fall back to, and when we do, we can shift roles and scale up.

For our clients it means that everyone has talents to offer beyond their immediate roles. It also means every single member of the team has a deep and vested interest in the success of a project. They know who the client is, what we’re trying to achieve and how to do it. Equally, our clients know us. They can call our office and speak to the same people that they’ll meet on shooting days, as opposed to Joe Bloggs who got emailed a call sheet the day before who they’ll never see again.

Without banging on too much, we can also be flexible, adaptable, creative and, importantly, sustainable. If we could have it our way our team would be with us forever, but even if they’re with us for a few years we’re happy that we’ve been able to provide a sustainable and stable role for them to develop in.

And of course knowing your team almost better than your other half leads to some fantastic lunches, drinks and holidays.

We’re always on the lookout for talented individuals to expand our full-time team, whether that’s now or a few months down the line, so simply drop us an email and say hi.

By Russell
General + Video Production

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