A million years ago (ok, back in 2014) Noam Kroll wrote that corporate video production companies in Los Angeles were lazy sloths who didn’t bother to keep up with the times, didn’t deserve to get the work they got, and mostly did utterly crapola work. OK, I’m paraphrasing. A lot. You can read what Noam really said here (and you should, as Noam’s not just a smart guy- he’s also much more polite than I am).
Done? OK, cool. Thing is, Noam has a point. In the land of 2,000 video production companies, Los Angeles is exceptionally lacking in high-quality corporate video companies. Here’s why I think most corporate videos in Los Angeles suck:
The Greater Los Angeles area covers 600 square miles. It’s HUGE!!! Not only is Los Angeles so big, there’s far too many companies competing in the video production space. While some may say “Great! The more competition, the better” it’s not so. The fact that LA’s so big and so crowded with production companies means it becomes very hard for clients to find the right company to work with. Even if your work stands out head-and-shoulders above the competition, your prospective clients have to wade through dozens and hundreds of listings to find you.
At the same time, 99% of the companies doing corporate videos in Los Angeles don’t take it seriously. Noam’s probably right that most of them wish they were doing Hollywood stuff. Thing is, whatever you do you should take it seriously and do your best. It’s shocking to me to see over-exposed, poorly-composed footage and flat-out lazy storytelling in 2019. I don’t get it, because to me you’re only as good as your last job. And fairly enough, most of these fly-by-night video production companies go out of business quickly. But they clog up the system bigtime, and make the rest of us look bad.
It’s kind of like dating. You go on two dozen dates with total duds? Your expectations get lowered and you settle for less than you should.
Therefore, finding a great corporate video company becomes insanely hard for clients. They become fatigued during the search. I’ve been there: it sucks looking at hundreds of (mostly crappy) reels. So you know what they do? A) they just look at the companies spending the most on GoogleAds and pick a few to talk with, B) they say to hell with this mess and hire an advertising agency instead of going direct to a production company, or C) they give up and stay with the aforementioned lazy sloths who don’t bother to keep up with the times and really do not deserve the work they get.
Evolve the Corporate Video
One of the more interesting bits Noam’s article suggests is that the low quality of Los Angeles’ corporate video production companies has resulted in not only bad videos, but in companies without the vision to do something great. He suggests that clients need to be brought into the now, and they need to embrace corporate videos that use storytelling and entertainment to get their points across. He points out a few examples, and they’re worth checking out.
Noam basically feels it is past time for the production companies and the corporate clients to evolve. I think he’s right. There’s so much “noise” in the corporate video world that to stand out and get your ideas out there you need to change things up. Some of the bigger companies (Fortune 500s, brands you know) have embraced this approach. And it’s working for them.
For corporate video production companies, this means changing how you do business. You need to start seeing yourselves as creative agencies, not just button-pushing video monkeys. And probably you need to understand that part of the job is educating clients about the possibilities video offers when done right. I’m not sure many production companies are set up to do this. I think most of them can’t do it at all, actually. Certainly the aforementioned lazy sloths cannot.
So do I think all is lost? No. Not at all. I think there’s a huge opportunity for smart video production companies and corporate videos in Los Angeles. The question is, are you as a client or production company willing to evolve and demand more?