43 Questions To Ask A Freelance Videographer Before Hiring Them
Videographers are emotional creatures.
The best videographers can tap into their emotions to craft incredible content.
That’s the upside. The downside is that sometimes their emotions block them from creating the type of content you--THE CLIENT--needs.
The best thing you can do in the very beginning of the relationship is to acknowledge that they’re creators and artists at heart.
Use these questions to discover if your project is going to bring the best out of them.
10 Questions About Their Inspiration and Motivation
What sort of content excites you most to create?
What would you stay up all night to edit because you wanted to edit it?
Whose style do you imitate most?
What would you say is more important to you in the next 6 months, money or exposure?
Note: Money might not be their main motivator. Sometimes they’re working to grow their portfolio by working with you. While I think you should always do your best to pay your videographer, keep in mind that there could be other ways to “pay” your videographer that would mean more to them.
What sort of moments during production / post-production make you fist pump with excitement?
Where do you find the most resistance in the production / post-production process?
Are you trying to build your personal brand or a bigger business? How are you doing that?
What sort of reputation are you trying to create?
What has been your most daring project to date?
What’s your dream project?
How good is this videographer?
It’s tough to distinguish one videographer from another, especially if it’s your first time selecting a videographer.
How do you know which one is more skilled technically than another? More creative than another? Better on set than another?
Personally, I like to think about videographers like chefs.
The chef that makes THE best pappardelle with sea urchin and cauliflower (which I’ve never ever had) likely isn’t the same chef who can surgically prepare a Broadway sushi roll topped with gold leaf and caviar. (Also something I’ve never ever had.)
I found both of those after a quick Google search for “super fancy dishes.”
Anyways...at the risk of offending all chefs everywhere, sometimes we just want to go to a good old fashioned diner with a cook who presses the juice out of a tiny burger.
Find the chef best for your project.
13 Questions About Their Technical Expertise
May I see your reel?
How long have you been creating videos?
Have you had mentors along the way? What did they teach you?
Will you be doing this project by yourself, or will someone else be helping you?
Note: This is important to know because 1) it will affect your budget, and 2) you may want to interview those team members too.
How would you go about getting another helping hand for the project without slowing down our timeline?
What equipment will you need to create this video?
Note: Ask this even if you don’t understand anything about video equipment. Their answer to this question can show that they know what they’re talking about.
Do you own all the equipment you need, or will you need to rent?
Note: Again, the budget!
Can you send me a list of the equipment and team members you’ll need for the project?
Where do you store the footage while you’re working on it?
Note: There’s a correct answer to this question. They should say something like, “I’ll keep your footage in AT LEAST two places at once.” You need to know that your footage is safe.
Do you have insurance on your clients’ footage to protect against cyber threats?
Note: Most freelancers will say, “No,” which is ok. And most projects won’t require insurance on the footage. Here’s a general rule of thumb: The more footage you’re creating and the more sensitive that material is, the more we encourage getting some sort of insurance. But I’m not a licensed insurance salesman or lawyer or even the tooth fairy for that matter, so think about asking those types of people.
How do you deliver the final video to me?
Note: If you’re a larger organization, you’ll likely need to talk to IT or compliance to learn about your company’s security protocols.
Do you also know how to take photos?
What software/tools do you use throughout your entire process?
Finally, what will this videographer be like to work with?
Working with a freelance videographer is different than working with a full-on video production company. And both are different than working with an in-house marketing team.
Full companies are almost forced to have solid business processes in order to stay in business.
Freelancers, on the other hand, have the flexibility and freedom to operate without tight processes.
Regardless, your videographer should still be able to answer (or get you answers to) these basic business questions.
20 Questions About Business Details & Operations
How do you determine your pricing?
Note: If it sounds like they’re pulling numbers out of their ass, then they are. With that said, be willing to work with them if they’re working on a new type of project they haven’t had to price out before.
What payment schedule do you recommend for a project of this size?
How will you be invoicing me, and what are the payment terms?
Note: You, as the client, can dictate the answer to this question if you’d like. Production houses typically have a standard payment flow. Freelancers often don’t.
Do you have a master services agreement or any contract of that nature?
Note: A Master Services Agreement is a fantastic document to have if 1) you plan to work on multiple projects with this videographer and/or 2) you’re in an organization that requires people to sign off on every project. The MSA establishes 90% of the working relationship. The remaining 10% would cover all of the projects that follow. Again though, we ain’t lawyers.
Can you walk me through the MSA / contract?
Do you provide a confidentiality clause or a non-disclosure agreement?
When does ownership of the video transfer fully to me?
Note: Unless the MSA / contract explicitly says otherwise, the default understanding is that the videographer legally owns all of the content they captured until you make a final payment.
Will you give me the raw files at the end of the project? Is there a cost attached?
Note: You might be surprised at how often a videographer will refuse to give you the raw footage unless 1) you ask for it, and 2) you pay for it.
Are you asking to retain any usage or licensing rights?
Note: “Usage” typically allows the videographer to include your footage in their reel, website, and in promo material. When a videographer has a “license” on your work, then they can get paid directly for the footage in a variety of ways. Most clients will allow certain usage rights, but will often revoke licensing rights.
Do you plan on uploading any of this footage to a stock footage website?
Will you provide media release forms for the people in my video, or is that my task?
When and how often do you give project updates?
What are some boundaries you wouldn't like for me to cross as the client?
Note: This is a rare question for a client to ask, but will help you understand how to get the best out of the videographer. They’ll respect your even more if you ask this.
How many edits / revisions do we receive? And what do you define as an edit / revision?
What’s your process if we want to completely change direction on the project?
Note: You / your team / your boss might change the entire scope of a project for a variety of reasons. Be sure your videographer is 1) accepting of that, and 2) has a process for handling that. Handling this change is much easier when you’re paying them by the hour instead of by the project.
What do you suggest as the timeline on this project?
What happens if you don't meet agreed-upon deadlines because of issues on your end? What about if it's on our end?
Who is the main contact person for this project on your end?
What's the best way to communicate with that person?
Finally, what are the next steps?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember this…
You don’t have to ask all of these questions all of the time (unless you want to).
While the creative process can be messy, it’s still a lot of fun.
If you put the work in at the beginning of a creative relationship, the rest of the process tends to fall into place.
I owe you a MASSIVE thank you for letting me guide you through these questions.
Remember, create like you mean it!
CEO of CreatorsGroup
PS -- If you know that your brand needs more (or better) video content but don’t exactly know how to get it done, then CreatorsGroup could be the perfect fit for you. Get ahold of us!