Posted: Mar 29, 2021
Category: The Musician Business
**Guest post by Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan of MakingMoneyWithMusic.com.
"In the last part of our DIY music business series, we cover the tasks required to get your videos created, recorded, edited, produced, and made ready for distribution.
You may be an independent musician, but being independent should never mean that you're alone. In fact, the list of people credited for being part of each release you do will probably get longer as you grow your career and level up the music, art, and entertainment that you release and perform. We've covered quite a few areas in the previous articles in the series which you can read here if you haven't seen them yet:
Today, in our last of the series, we'll tackle video creation, recording, and production roles. Video continues to not only grow as a medium with sites like YouTube being the #1 music search engine in the world, but a more integral part of music promotion and revenue generation (through adshare). There are many tasks, skills, and tools you need to make good quality videos, and if you're looking to create MTV-like music videos, behind-the-scenes footage, animations, video blogs, or more you can produce more videos and better results when you use the services and sites that are within your reach. Sometimes, you'll need to pay a fee, but, surprisingly you can get many for free.
If you want to make music videos the following roles each have services you can find people that can handle the role, or services that empower yourself to take on the task.
Who: The person with the vision for the video that will be created and who is responsible for bringing it to life, as well as who directs the talent and crew.
Why: Whenever you create any video one person needs to drive the vision and get it created — whether it’s a full production, animated video, behind-the-scenes, or more.
When: Whenever you create any video — a music video, vlog, behind-the-scenes, etc.
Hire/Service: You can hire a director for your video project, especially if it's a bigger production. Directors are key people to work with since they need to play two critical roles. First, they need to create a vision for your video (which can include the story) that’s aligned to your music and persona. Second, they need to work with you, the video production team, and any actors and extras to get the video made. As such, picking a director you trust and respect to represent you and your music, is critical and similar to the decision to picking a music producer.
To find qualified directors use any of the networking techniques discussed above. Keep in mind local film and media schools and colleges are good places to network or advertise. Sites such as Videopixie, Viedit, Veed (which is now part of Fivver), and many other talent matchmaking services can help you find and hire any video-related talent, including directors. You can also use sites like Upwork, Fiverr, and TaskRabbit as well. Additionally, you can post an ad at the above sites as well as Musician's Wanted, Musolist, or Craigslist.
How to DIY: You can direct your own video. This usually involves significant planning, creating the vision, storyboarding, getting the resources and talent together, and more. To learn more check out classes like Indie Filmmaking: Get the Blockbuster Look on a DIY Budget.
Who: The person or people who sequence the recorded video output, add effects and color correction, and create the final cut of the video aligned to the director's vision and input.
Why: To take your video footage, shape and polish it for release. Given the amount of video content uploaded and made freely available on the web today, editing your video down without losing the vision or compromising the story you’re trying to tell as well as making it look and sound its best is generally table stakes.
When: Anytime you create a video some degree of editing and post-production is necessary.
Hire/Service: Editors and post-production specialists can be the same person, but often are different. This is analogous to hiring a mixing engineer versus a mastering engineer. Both roles need to work well with your director and understand the overall vision of the video.
To find qualified editors and post-production specialists, use the same networking techniques above (local film and media schools, specialized message boards, etc.). Video talent matchmaking services like Videopixie, Viedit, Veed as well as more general services like Upwork, Fiverr, and TaskRabbit can be used. And, you can always post an ad at Musician's Wanted, Musolist, or Craigslist.
How to DIY: You can edit and post-product your own video using Adobe creative cloud products like Premier or After Effects, Final Cut, iMovie, or other more dedicated video production software. Mobile apps like LumaFusion, KineMaster, YouTube, and others can help turn your mobile phone into a production studio. For a general overview on editing and post-production check out YouTube's Creator Academy or online classes like Video Editing Techniques: A Practical Guide to Creating Visually Appealing Edits.
Who: The person or persons who create animations and graphics for the video.
Why: Whenever you create an animation video one person with the expertise needs to get it created.
When: Whenever you create a video that relies heavily on animation or graphics.
Hire: Today there's no distributors to hire. Distribution is a service.
Service: To find qualified animators, use the same networking techniques above (local film and media schools, specialized message boards, etc.) as well as video talent matchmaking services like Videopixie, Viedit, Veed. You can also use more general services like Upwork, Fiverr, and TaskRabbit can be used. And, you can always post an ad at Musician's Wanted, Musolist, or Craigslist.
How to DIY: You can animate your own videos by using software such as Adobe creative cloud products, Blender, Poser, or other animation software. In addition, there are pay sites like Toonator, Powtoon, and Vyond. Plus, there are free or freemium sites like Animaker, Animatron, and MotionDen with drag-and-drop tools and ready-made images. Keep in mind some of these are generally angled more toward business or education, but there are more options appearing for this all of the time, including mobile apps.
Who: Other talent in the video production beyond the artist or musicians.
Why: Depending on the video you're creating, you may need talent beyond yourself and other band members.
Hire: If you want to go beyond bribing friends, family, and acquaintances with pizza and beer to be extras, to find actors, use local film and media schools, acting-related message boards, acting schools, colleges, theatre groups, etc. You can also use specialized sites like Backstage and GigSalad as well as more general services like Upwork, Fiverr, and TaskRabbit. You can also post an ad at Musician's Wanted, Musolist, or Craigslist. Note that if you decide you want to use well-known talent, you will quickly learn the difference between a union shoot and non-union, since union actors cannot attend non-union jobs. It helps to research how organizations like SAG-AFTRA work with articles like these.
Although we broke down the video production work above into specific roles, keep in mind there’s also a one-stop-shop option: you can always hire a video production service to create, film or animate, edit, and complete your video from beginning to end. There are too many video production services to list, but a simple web search help you find services near you. These services usually charge a flat fee for a package, but may include additional expenses that can add up.
While this option is typically the most expensive option, typically it will require the least amount of work on your part and ensure a quality video. But, as with every role we mention above, always do your due diligence in vetting any production company. For example, check out their references, videos they’ve produced before, the length of time in business, etc. to verify its reputation and ensure quality.
Using roles as a way to think through all the activities you need to do for your music business is an effective way to think through all the options you have in delegating out the work. And, like we've said in our other articles in this series, don't forget that to the extent you take on these roles, you are building up skills that are marketable and can earn you money if you end up performing them for someone else. In other words, the skills you acquire to promote your music and build your business is good for your non-music resume as well."
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Authors of the critically-acclaimed modern classic, The Indie Band Survival Guide, Billboard Magazine call Randy Chertkow and Jason Feehan “the ideal mentors for aspiring indie musicians who want to navigate an ever-changing music industry.” Their latest book, Making Money With Music (Macmillan) and free Making Money With Music Newsletter, help all musicians - from startups to pros - build a sustainable music business and make money in today's tech-driven music environment.