✎ In this video, we will discuss how to get started with a video production company starring Jeff Johnson. If you are a creative story-teller, filmmaker or even just starting a video production company- you can learn how to be successful and make money in the video production industry.
Jeff: Here's a video production company that's
working in the area so it feels local. It feels like something that people would
Jeff: So, you're all it's almost like you're building up like like a
character or an identity that rise your business.
Dick: Right! personality that they want to work with because that it doesn't give that corporate concrete rattles
Jeff: Right! and it's like that works, but if you're not that don't try to
pretend to be that
Dick: Awesome! So I'm here with Jeff Johnson the one and the only
Jeff: No! that's not true my dad's name is Jeff
Dick: oh! the younger
Jeff: There are many Jeff Johnston's out there. Not all some of the Jeffs out there,some of them are making a bad name for the rest of us.
Dick: It's a good thing that you're
one of the good way. At least! I think you are...
Jeff: I try to be. Yeah! Yeah!
Dick: Awesome! she got I thought Can you just talk about yourself
a little bit.
Jeff: So this past summer I started my own videography company. It's called ocular proof productions. The other Jeff Johnson my dad helped me name it. And at first this was really slow and I was like what am I doing wrong I think , I have the skills I think I have what it takes to be a guy, I feel like it made a
good product cuz I've been working with video before. So let me backup first,
Jeff: I started to the videography when I was
much younger when I was in high school I was probably 16 when I got my first
camera because my dad was a teacher, on also an English teacher. Regular, that's
my day job. basically for now!What gonna happen?
Jeff: so I started making video lessons for him because everything was going online he needed some let's and lessons for his online classes. He became a professor and a teacher at a two-year Community College. what's okay! video is gonna be a fastest and easiest way for him to deliver you know content to his
students. And so, that's where I started at sort of, July! like I've just a canon rebel, just the most base model DSLR and it it's it spurts something in me that I wanted to keep going I wanted to keep keep doing video and so that kind of that passion working I stayed with me throughout college where I started working on
documentary team here at st. John's.
Dick: where I am extending the link,right?
Jeff: extending the link.. yeah, so I did two documentaries with them over the course of my senior year last. loved it..
Dick: and so it looks like you went to Kenya
for one once! alright..
Jeff: I didn't go. So,there's like it was a documentary. There's 12 people ish on each team. It's the group of six of them went to Rwanda for the first one who is documenting women in agriculture it's both in Minnesota and abroad. So, we've meant to connect the two and then oh and then the second one was electronic waste.
So that was electronic waste here and in Hong Kong so those are the two documentaries I made in college with present mine and my girlfriend. was a blast.. loved it..
Jeff: and I was like okay now college is ending what do I do..
Jeff: you know so so I was like well I think I still want to keep going and also I didn't have a job at that summer so this summer after senior year so I was like okay because I have student teaching next. And I'm like I need to do something during the summer I could just get a job somewhere to pay the bills. whatever! but I wanted to try making my own video production company. So I did I called it ocular crew productions and for the first month and a half like I said things were really slow I didn't have a whole lot of business and then things started to pick up. Part of it was using sort of like getting some online stuff going getting a website up just add some credibility you know. So that, I could have something to show I had a way to link to my YouTube videos and show people what you know.
Dick: Right!Show them the work that you have done. You know.. I actually build websites and I can tell you that your website is awesome.
Jeff: okay! well! it's Squarespace like this way I was like I don't know how to build a website like how do I do this but I know you got to get something up there so..
Jeff: I did that and it'll route the colors probably for too long..
Jeff: maybe like the font or whatever right yeah! it was it was a blast! it was fun! So I did that and that started it started to build some leads for me so I could get it kind of start getting some clients and I also used to play so
Dick: you're telling me you just built a website and then traffic just came right
Jeff: no!no!you know if there's still like kind of debt and for in terms of SEO and all,that stuff right right just learning about your means I know what I'm talking about.. I don't! you probably know you know way more than I do. So, no so traffic didn't
comes. Then yeah other people what and I built this beautiful website, no one's
coming try it no one's looking at it. So I am like okay how do i how do i do this , started looking into it one of the ways that i started to branch out there was
the is it was like okay well I built the website it's still gonna serve the
purpose of giving me credibility when someone does visit me, so I'm like right
I must must be still like traditional cold calling, cold going to businesses ,I
did that for a while, Still didn't worked! like I was I was going around the local
businesses they're like, well video! like !why do we need that and I'm like that's
a good point I have no idea...... why would you need this?
Dick: because I need to get paid man
Jeff: yeah you're like ! like I've started this company I thought you would like it yeah I don't know beyond that!
Dick: like mom look at this documentary!
Jeff: yeah I said if you like it
like you see how this could work for you..? no! they don't and I don't, and so eventually it was it was a combination of like Facebook because Facebook Ads you can be very targeted whereas right and
Jeff: and you can create a Facebook page you can create this whole like persona
around yourself and half of it is that. like okay.. we've got a here's a video production company that's working in the area so it feels local it feels like something that people would like all right so you're almost like you're building up like like a character or an
identity that rise your business right
Dick: personality that they want to work with because then it doesn't give it that corporate concrete
Jeff: right all right and it's like that works but if you're not that don't kind of pretend of you that right
Dick: so especially in your case and when you're in a creative
Dick: industry I know you want that more of a colorful character like used to call it yeah instead of that you know like machine
Jeff: yeah! absolutely absolutely! you can't refer to yourself as like this big corporate entity if you're not that and if you're just gonna be offering you know a service that is you know basically you coming in to helping them. So helping business so then it was it was Facebook and it was like ads apps like thumbtack. So thumbtack is basically you someone out there what's in a bid for a job and they say it's sort of likeshoot or else like homeadvisor.
Dick: so it's like it's??..
Jeff: like a job it's like a an
Dick: ebay for jobs?
Jeff: ebay for jobs kind of thing yeah so that and then you as as a as a company come in and bid on different you say okay
Jeff: this is how much it would cost this is my pitch etc etc and then there's up to five people who can bid on the same job and then, so then, they have to kind of wait out and sometimes they just disappear on you,they goes to you and you're like... okay well! I just wasted ten bucks payments,bid or whatever right but sometimes it pays off in the end up working with like an independent television producer in the Twin Cities or an entrepreneur or whatever, and and slowly slowly you can build up sort of on my reputation but
it's always like even even if you don't you can't drive traffic your website in like other ways you can you can use that website as like on portfolio
Dick: absolutely! that's like one thing that I really liked about your website is when I went there you had like I just kept scrolling it. There was just an example after example
of like not only just like I kind of made this five minute video like yeah so
some of them are like an hour some of them are a half hour..
Jeff: yeah yeah! you don't watch it all right.. it's like yeah
Dick: I know all your worries.yeah!
Jeff: yeah yeah and that's that's part of it you have to really show you know the
different sides some people you kind of carve out a niche. like an nich, how do you say that?...
Dick: I've heard like every other way
Jeff: I've read both ways.
Dick: yeah! I have heard banana .. it's pronounced
Jeff: So, you have to carve out that that special track or or you say ...hey I want to try doing this I've done this.., I've done this.., I've done this and at this stage of my
career it's like I have to just point everything. because I don't know what I
would necessarily spending times and maybe someday it'll be documentaries but
I don't have enough experience any one of those fields to say this is for sure..
Dick: right! how would you know unless you write how would you try
Jeff: I've never tried real estate videos for example..
Jeff: love to...
Dick: you know so I look I noticed you did like an interview with like a band but like a music video
Jeff: yeah! exactly exactly... so actually I was working in a music video I should put that up on my website,Thanks for reminding me that..you go ..
Dick: yeah! yeah so so do you do everything from like getting the camera, filming to directing to writing if there's a script involved. It's a one-man band..
Jeff: right! handsome yes yeah and I would love to bring in more people but the thing with the video production industry and it's especially true like here. It's is that it's it's like the margins aren't really there. It's not Hollywood.
Jeff: So you can't really just say like okay I'm gonna be.this huge there are companies there are companies there's one in st. cloud that has like five people on staff but the vast majority of companies around in this area are are small you know they have to be they have to be really lean , in order to you know make any of their yeah right right and for people to pay them. Because it's really it's a value-based proposition whenever you enter into like a meeting with any business it's always like okay what is this product gonna do for you what is this video gonna do for your company and if they can't think of that or if your price is too high it's like.. yeah we'd love that
but your pricing is not gonna make it feasible here right so it's all about
that margin right day-to-day whether or not they're gonna hire you
Dick: and like what I found in my industries is actually those margins in those price points change according to the exact client
Dick: all glaze a might be able to pay you yes 10x what it costs you right client B can't even afford your minimum
Jeff: right and right and and there's and there's ethics there too because you're like okay at the end am I gonna charge you know what it's worth to this company or am I gonna charge what it cost me in terms of time and what cost
me to just have a standard of living that I have I'm willing to appreciate
you know and so for right now it's like well I just want to do other
Dick: I don't want to do something to stay busy..
Jeff: yeah yeah and it's like it's like this is my summer job and I'm you know just a fresh out of college so if I can have a lower margin and provide a relatively high level of quality still right and I hope that's what you know but it's like it's like that's so paper in right now but it's also like I would like to grow that eventually so that's also factored into that you like thinking about providing a quote it's like okay I need to have a certain percentages go towards growth
Dick: future interest potential all ..
Jeff: right yeah!
Dick: heading whether it's marketing.. getting new equipments like a huge thing in your..
Jeff: huge yeah!
Dick: right exactly exactly and just just covering what I've got already because it's right here depreciates it's just it's like every three years or
Dick: It comes to irrelevant anyway
Jeff: yeah! it's like well like why would you hire me on my camera sucks
Dick: yeah yeah...I got this little camera
Jeff: yeah yeah and also your phone has better camera than my cameras like why am I here you know..
Dick: right right!
Jeff: and I don't know that it's always about the equipment but that's obviously a huge piece to it
Dick: When we look at like even there's some Hollywood movies that are shot from a phone like you don't Blair Witch Project yeah I mean that's just kind of like deciding or the kind of what you're trying to get across and I mean that authenticity that's what you're looking for I mean we're Greg because we're like real professional yeah friends on the game.
Jeff: yeah and it does and the other thing is that's really bizarre about it you say you could always rent you can always like it. If I could somehow pitch to a company that I have the skills that you need and there's no reason to hire James Cameron I can still use the same camera as James Cameron hired next production I can be there with the the read you know the new one like the the yeah thirty-three megapixel whatever monstrosity they've got going on or
Dick: Sure sure!
Jeff: what they shot stranger things with yeah whatever yeah
Dick: it's exposed a little bit
Jeff: yeah that's like I can't even lift it off the ground yeah yeah but I'm not there yet you know so like you sort of you're always building towards this end game it's like it's always the horizon is always moving away from you buddy
Dick: So, who are people that you look up to like in that niche in that industry
Jeff: that's a great question... um I got that direct absolutely like absolutely what's weird is that it's not even like the famous ones that everyone's heard of or that make like the Hollywood movies I
like watching like the YouTube DIY video channels so yeah there's this guy who early on I discovered in his name is Philip Bloom he is a videographer in
like England okay and all he does is he mostly does educational content or camera reviews I get addicted to the gear.
Dick: oh yeah
Jeff: I review videos or whatever and but he's got this accent he's kind of pretentious my church I just got addicted I was like I was watching him. everyone every video he he got out there and each of us and I watch it
Jeff: because just his style and everything about it and I was like that's something that someone I could aspire to be something or something I can i can use bits and pieces of what he's done to kind of build my own thing
Dick: and even near because i look at you know content that I like on whether it's Facebook right or even a businessman you know like Steve Jobs the way you know I don't like how you manage people but I like but then was a vision you had yeah Zak right I try to emulate that when I'm building my own career yeah I mean you can do that too with whether it's video or a teacher episode you know
Jeff: absolutely !yeah and then , and then all is suddenly there's always that nagging feeling back in mind like oh maybe I could be that person for someone else
Dick: right!right !
Jeff: no but it's yes or not the things that your thing is I can't find too but you mean it you can always develop a small audience on YouTube or something and just pander to that
Dick: or even just like that one teacher that impact do you know I mean you even impact one student the way they did you yeah you'd feel like it's worth it..
Dick: um what's one piece of advice you can give to aspiring videographers of how they can maybe get started?
Jeff: okay! so in in particular on YouTube or just in general
Dick: just in general if they won't have a business that whether they're pitching businesses or whatever
Jeff: what you have to realize going into it and there's a whole book on it you can look it up it's called zero to one..if you're entrepreneur I'm sure you grab things like that
Dick: Peter Thiel?
Jeff: all right! I think so! and so I don't remember the.. yeah! that is the hardest number to get to from 0 to 1. It's not just economics it's not just you know, like money.. how we always think of money..
Jeff: It's any product any anything for YouTube in particular it's it's that one that first subscriber, if you get grinds 0 to 1 that was now that guy's gonna share
Dick: right! yes right!
Jeff: It's the same thing the economy of money is is very similar to the economy of audience it's a capture your audience making that transition from going from 0 to 1. That's ..that's the moment you want to look for and that is the hardest thing to do. So. if you get there you're wealthy way to
success I guess so!
Dick : the way to kind of translate that is once you get one client that client if you do have a job..
Jeff: as you're doing a business same deal right or I gotta have that one client if it's if it's a service rendering that first service and that means that even if you have to do it for free if you give to your first job to your first couple job
Dick: so that's all you just master how do you get that Bill's client
Jeff: yeah ! so sometimes it's going to be your friend and you're like hey man your guitar skills are minimal but we could make a music video. I'm sorry. let's spend a weekend or making a music video just with my iPhone don't let the gear wheel you back. Don't let anything like your friend sport guitar skills hold you back I just
make stuff you know make stuff and that will build on itself so I started out making you know lessons from my dad YouTube video like when they were super minimal at first and we slowly built that up and eventually now I start making documentaries in his business and I never couldn't started that unless I've gone from 0 to 1 in it and that first little bit..
Dick: Right! So I'm kind of branch off on that one thing I think of is you have to put out a ton of like what you said to pre content first because no one's gonna pay for someone
who's never done it before..
Dick: so whether you're like look at any
professional athlete you know Michael Jordan didn't get pain when he was 6 years old they play basketball right now. He spent 18 years of his life or whatever it was when we asked everyone for free ..
Jeff: For fun....
Dick:yes enjoy it
Jeff: absolutely and and you're never gonna make money on something you don't love. I do I mean You can just by sure luck but all right... you got to be happy.
Dick: yeah and it's a lot more sustainable because you know.. Someday when you're old you're gonna look back and you're gonna smile your anything you know it's not working you enjoy it right yeah..
Jeff: right !!
Dick:cool ...so what's one thing that they can reach out to you on is it your Facebook in..
Jeff: facebook? you can check out my website www.ocularproofproductions.com that should bring you there
Dick: I'll put a link to..
Jeff: so yeah yeah.. that's it!
Dick: awesome. I appreciate it...
1. Zero to One by Peter Thiel : https://www.amazon.com/Zero-One-Notes-Startups-Future/dp/0804139296
2. Jeff's Website: www.ocularproofproductions.com
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