In the last thirty days I’ve talked with two actresses who have formed video production companies to bring products to market. In one instance, the product is for aging women and the other is for women getting married. The content is as far apart as it gets, but the process of partnering with sponsors bringing the end product to market-be it a DVD or a video to sell to a TV distributor is nearly the same.
Let’s look at the idea of creating a video to sell to a studio. You (the production company owner) needs to come up with a business pitch that is compelling-but you have limited funds. So you need to get partners that will help support the progress from concept/idea to initial product. This product can then be sold. Let’s take the idea of weddings. A HUGE market. Instead of focusing on one element of weddings–the dress–the location–combine all of the elements to create an entire storyboard.
I’m going to break it down…first define the orgs that surround your idea.
1. Those that can be consistent regardless of theme or location
2. Wine and Liquor (also the biggest spenders)
3. Stores for Wedding Registrys
4. Wedding Registry Products
5. Dress designers
6. Stationary (Crains)
9. Hair stylists, products and jewelry, shoes (accessories)
Then, look at a way to draw in local elements if this is integral to your business plan. This means that once you get to the filming location, you also draw on local talent. This gains necessary press, equipment and/or services for your production (for free!). Those groups/individuals participate because the show might be picked up, and national attention focused then on the early participants. At the very least, they invest some time with the possibility of addition business.
Some Local Service Providers/Partners:
1. Destination travel services
2. Chefs, store owners, local manufacturers (non-conflicting with overarching sponsors)
Before you follow the process at the end of this blog, stop and clarify the partner pitch. It starts with a national sponsor that partners with you on money, materials and promotion to get the idea off the ground. The WIIFM (What’s in it for ME) is first. The WIIFT (what’s in it for Them) is second, and the WIIFBOF (What’s in it for BOTH OF US–A Sarah original) is last. That’s part where you describe the vision for the future-as in, how far can we take this idea?
1. Take a national sponsor(s) together with a local celebrity chef for each location/destination. The entire bridal "package" can be turn-key for the viewer, from dress, flowers, jewelry, food etc. So in fact, you "stage" the entire wedding idea, not just the location.
2. The national sponsors pay for travel, food, all elements, but you bring in "local color´ by having a celebrity chef create the entire food line (or, the destination caterer-whatever is easier).
3. Looking to the future, shows can be sold (a´la Oprah does with her financial independence series) in bridal shops, amazon.com, your own website etc. The sponsors will know where the source of the lead comes from and perhaps give special discounts or package promotions.
The Pitching Process:
1. Create the Package/Proposal
d. Soft close
2. Pitch the deal to local/regional and national
3. Hard close the sponsors
Notice how the pitching process doesn’t vary too much from other industries we’ve explored. This is simply tailored to the production-to-TV world.