I remember the first time I missed a deadline in my professional life. I was working for NBC in Phoenix and I had just returned from shooting a beautiful story. Back then, I thought everything I did was extraordinary, because I really thought I was something. Long story short: I sat down to edit this masterpiece. The clock ticks away. I miss getting my story on the 10 p.m. news.
Now, I only missed it by two minutes, but that meant everything, because it didn’t make it into the newscast.
One of the seasoned photojournalists walked into the edit bay right afterwards and said, “Hey, what’s up, Manley?”
I said, “Man, I just edited this beautiful masterpiece and I missed my deadline. But, take a look, it’s great.”
That was over twenty years ago and I’ve taken that experience to heart almost every day. When I started Manley Creative more than ten years ago, I made meeting and beating deadlines one of the cornerstones of our customer service experience. But, to meet deadlines, you have to have a few other organizational procedures in place. Here are five ways we work with our clients to ensure that deadlines are met and the outcome exceeds their expectations.
Before we even begin a project, we ask a lot of questions so everyone is on the same page. What is the most powerful impact possible from this video? Who is the audience? What ROI are we expecting? How can we maximize the footage we’re gathering and editing? These are just a few of the many questions we ask to achieve the clarity everyone craves.
No matter how big or small the project, we work very closely with our video clients to create a solid production calendar. This calendar contains dates for pre-production, script writing/storyboards, client feedback and changes, shooting the video, editing the video, more client feedback and changes, and dates for the final deliverables.
Bi-weekly Equipment Checks
One thing that can derail a good plan is a curveball like equipment failure on a shoot. So, at least once a week, we take an hour or so to test and clean our cameras, cables, batteries, tripods, monitors, and anything else we feel needs to be tested and cleaned.
As I sit here writing this, I’m listening to two Manley Creative Teamers going over the project checklist for an upcoming commercial we’re shooting in Miami. Again, no matter how big or small the project, we go through the exact same process and the exact same checklist every single time. Things like: are there insurance considerations? Do we need hair and makeup, talent releases, props? Still photography, social media opportunities (for our client and for us)? Water, food, craft services, food allergies? These are all very important things which need to be addressed well before we shoot or edit video.
The Manley Creative Protocols
We’re sticklers for protocol. On shoots, we have a dress code, a neatness code, a “no cursing” policy, a “be nice and always use good manners” policy and a “don’t freak out” code. Most importantly, we have a “take tremendous care of our clients” code. These are not made-up things. We have them, we live by them, and we take them seriously.
The bottom line is this: what we do is fun. It’s also very important to our clients, to their bosses (if they’re not already the boss), and to their companies. And that makes it extremely important to us. So, all of these preparations, protocols, and systems are put in place to ensure that our video production clients get the most powerful impact possible from the video content we produce for them. Therefore, we must we deliver exactly what they need when they need it: on time, as promised, and in keeping with our personal code.