3VIDEO PROJECT PROPOSALSIntroductionWhether you are a staff video producer or an independentfreelancer, you probably will need to write proposals to get productions approved and funded. In this chapter we focus onproject proposals and show you some examples of written proposals. Budgets are covered in detail in Chapter 4.When a department wants to produce a video, they contactyou. Your role is to flesh out the details of the video so you canestimate the amount of time needed to complete the process.They may not have thought through the details, and most likelythey have not visualized the project scene by scene.In my experience, many clients describe their idea for avideo as if it were only a written document. They give littlethought to the visuals and little regard to creating an engagingprogram that grabs the audience and maintains their interest.Their project description might include something like “John isgoing to talk about the history of the company. Then he is goingto explain the features of the product. Finally, he will show aspreadsheet of sales projections.” Talk about boring!Businesspeople who have had little experience producingvideos don’t know how they can use the medium to enliven thecontent and motivate their audience. As part of your proposal,you can suggest frameworks to present the material in adynamic and captivating way. Perhaps you can suggest that inone scene actors are hired to dramatize the hardships of nothaving the client’s product. You could introduce the concept offilming a host in front of a green screen with a virtual background. Show an example of how motion graphics with datarevealed in layers could substitute for a spreadsheet.Corporate Video Production. 2011 Stuart Sweetow. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.37
38Chapter 3 VIDEO PROJECT PROPOSALSCorporate managers view video producers as creative types,and they expect innovation from us. Go beyond a mere budgetproposal to include some of your ideas that utilize AV media.Your imaginative approach could help sell your proposal, andyour novel ideas will make the video much more interestingand effective.In addition to developing a budget estimate in the proposal,the producer needs to specify the functions for which he or shewill be responsible, as well as what is needed from the client.For example, you could write, “The client will provide a contentspecialist to supply information for the scriptwriter. The producer will send the client links to audition clips of proposedon-camera spokespersons for the client’s input on talent selection.” The proposal may also include an estimated timeline thatshows approximate dates by which each phase of the production will be completed.The freelance video producer, especially when he or she maybe working for the client the first time, will need to providesamples of some of his or her own marketing materials to helpsell the project. These include descriptions of the producer andcrew members, contact information from past clients, andsometimes even a cost-benefit analysis. Businesspeople lovecase studies, and you can include brief descriptions of similarvideo projects you have worked on. If your proposal is in anelectronic form, such as a PDF, you can include links to videoclips from your website. Let’s examine some actual proposalsthat I wrote when my company was responding to RFPs(requests for proposals).Sample Proposal: The Metropolitan TransportationCommissionHere is a proposal to produce a series of video clips and to be a consultant for live webcasting. TheMetropolitan Transportation Commission coordinates public transportation and vehicle traffic in the San FranciscoBay area. The RFP stated that the cover letter—what they call the “transmittal letter”—and the other elementsmust be included in the proposal.(Date)(Individual’s Name)Project Manager
Chapter 3 VIDEO PROJECT PROPOSALS39Metropolitan Transportation CommissionJoseph P. Bort MetroCenter101 Eighth StreetOakland, CA 94607-4700Dear Ms. (Last Name):This transmittal letter is part of Audio Visual Consultants’ (AVC) proposal to be the video production servicescontractor for both Part I of the RFP for the video production of MTC’s Excellence in Motion awards and for Part II ofthe RFP for on-call webcasting, video, and editing services. AVC will be able to provide the services as indicated inthe RFP by August 13, 2008.I, Stuart Sweetow, am the owner of AVC and will be the person signing the contract and managing the videoproduction. I will be your contact person and will make sure we adhere to the production schedule. I will directlysupervise AVC employees and subcontractors.The AVC Advantage Audio Visual Consultants recently produced the awards video for the East Bay YMCA. This was very similar toyour video in that we interviewed CEOs and other executives in their offices and homes. We also produced threeyears’ of awards videos for Summit Hospital prior to their merger with Alta Bates. These included production andpresentation. AVC has experience projecting completed DVDs at presentations and projecting live video of the talks as well.We use a special lens for live projection. The University of California, Haas School of Business uses AVC to produce tape-delay webcasts of the Business PlanCompetition. We produce eight videos for Haas each year and have been their regular contractor for over 12 years.We also incorporate speakers’ PowerPoint slides and digitally zoom into them during the video editing process. AVC is only five minutes away from MTC. This will allow for quick and frequent viewing of footage andsupervision of the editing process. AVC specializes in corporate and public sector informational videos. We do not produce entertainment films orvideos. We have experience working with company staffs on camera.This proposal includes the following: a production treatment plan, AVC company information, experience of AVCand key personnel, description of equipment to be used, client references, signed price proposal form, and AVCsample DVDs.Please let me know if there is any additional information you need. Should there be irregularities in this proposalor in the cost and price analysis form, I will be happy to make corrections.Sincerely,Stuart SweetowProducer DirectorEncl.: Proposal to Produce “Excellence in Motion” Awards Videotape(Continued )
40Chapter 3 VIDEO PROJECT PROPOSALSSample Proposal: The Metropolitan TransportationCommission (Continued)I created a title page (not shown) that would serve as the cover for the bound proposals. The RFP called for anumber of duplicate proposals. I added the single transmittal letter to the stack of bound proposals.Table of ContentsTransmittal Letter Page 1Title Page Page 3Overview and Summary Page 4Work Plan Page 5Production Equipment Page 6Approval Stages Page 7DVD Production Page 7Supervision of Subcontractors Page 7Managing Resources Page 7Estimated Timeline Page 8Company Description Page 9Description of Personnel Page 9Description of Similar Projects Page 10References Page 11AppendixCost and Price Analysis Form (2 pages)“AVC Advantage”“Our Clients Are Talking”Resumes of Key Personnel (6)Reference Letters (5)California Levine Act StatementScript for Kaiser Permanente Video (15 pages)DVD (2 videos): Disaster Planning at Kaiser Permanente and Mission PossibleIntroductionPart I Excellence in Motion AwardsIn October 2008, MTC will host the Excellence in Motion awards program. AVC shall produce approximately 13presentation clips, each approximately three minutes in length, that highlight the people, programs, andorganizations that will be honored. These clips will be composed of interviews with the honorees and withnominators or others close to the winners. AVC shall get shots of the work they performed when available, as wellas shots of the location of their worksite or the location of the activity for which they are being honored.
Chapter 3 VIDEO PROJECT PROPOSALS41AVC staff shall coordinate with interviewees and MTC to record the interviews on broadcast-quality videotape,edit them appropriately, and assist with their presentations at the awards program.The individual award clips shall be combined in a finished compilation video, together with an introduction byMTC’s executive director or his/her designee. The running time shall be approximately 30 minutes in length.Part II As Needed/On-Call Video and Webcasting ServicesIn addition to producing the Excellence in Motion videos, AVC shall be an on-call contractor to provide suchservices as webcasting, videotaping, and editing of workshops and meetings, and producing video news releases.Approach I, Stuart Sweetow, serving as the AVC producer, will meet with the MTC project manager and otherappropriate staff members to assess their particular needs. I’ll review previous awards videos and will ask theproject manager what MTC likes and doesn’t like in the videos.AVC is client focused, and we do all we can to assess client needs and preferences. If appropriate, we willconduct a brainstorming session to develop ideas for the interview segments and for the voice-over narration.Preproduction I will create a written treatment for MTC approval. The treatment will be a description of thevideo project and will serve as a blueprint for the script. The treatment for the interview segments will describesuch details as interview questions, B-roll video clips to be shot, photos, and other graphic elements that MTC willprovide.The treatment for the compilation video will describe such elements as the opening shots, how the director’sintroduction will be incorporated, what the voice-over narrator will say, how transitions will be developed betweeninterviews, and what will be in the conclusion.The project manager and I will meet to discuss what elements need to be included in the video and whatresources are available.Upon approval of the treatment, I will then write the draft script. The script will include all the visual elementsand will include the wording for the voice-over narrator. It will describe the interviews and the order in which theywill be compiled, and it will provide details on the opening, the introduction, and the conclusion of the compilationvideo. Upon approval of the draft, I’ll write the final script.While the project manager is reading and approving the script, I will provide samples of male and femalenarrators with whom we work. The project manager will choose the narrator.The project manager and I will collect photos, TV news clips, video clips, and other visual elements frominterviewees and MTC to provide visual support to the interviews and narration sequences.Upon approval of the script, the project manager and I will work together to coordinate scheduling thevideotaping of interviews. We will try to combine interviews to minimize the shooting days. We send eachinterviewee a link to a guide on our company website that suggests appropriate clothing, makeup, and jewelry.We also send a location filming guide to the facilities where we will be filming. It covers the logistics of bringingequipment in and out, and it discusses such issues as having a quiet area and locating interesting backgrounds forthe interviews.The project manager and I will meet to discuss the best approach to filming MTC’s executive director or his/herdesignee for the introduction. We will also discuss the room setup of the awards ceremony and options to(Continued )
42Chapter 3 VIDEO PROJECT PROPOSALSSample Proposal: The Metropolitan TransportationCommission (Continued)videotaping the ceremony. We will consider audio, lighting, and possibly projecting the live camera signal onto thescreen.Production I will compile the shooting crew and will be responsible for working with outside video contractors.We will determine the appropriate equipment and will arrange to bring backup cameras, lights, and microphones.I will be briefing the filming crew on the project and our policy to have minimal adverse impact on workers at thevideotaping locations.I’ll direct the crew to set up the lighting equipment to best flatter the interviewees and to create aestheticallypleasing compositions with the backgrounds. I’ll supervise the crew to make certain they capture the best-qualityaudio and video. I’ll be watching the clock to make sure the interview segments that we plan to use don’t exceedthe allotted time lengths. If necessary, I’ll coach the interviewees to help them relax on camera.Some interviews will take place at MTC, and others will be at the interviewees’ office locations. When ourproduction crew is shooting at those locations, we will shoot B-roll of the facilities and processes to provide visualsupport to the interviews.We will make window-dub copies of each day’s video. The project manager may review the copies to select themost appropriate portions of the interviews.Once the project manager has selected the narrator, I will schedule a sound studio to record the narration. I’lldirect the narrator to speak with proper inflection at appropriate segments of the narration. I’ll also direct the studiotechnician to maintain proper audio levels and to provide audio editing as necessary.Postproduction I’ll supervise Mitch Silver, AVC’s in-house editor, to create a DVD with a menu for the awardspresentation video clips.The production manager may visit AVC at any time to supervise the editing process. We will provide musicchoices for the project manager’s approval.When all the audio and video elements are together, I’ll supervise Mitch to piece together the scenes into a roughdraft video for client approval. Upon approval, the video will be finished and distributed on DVD or over MTC’s website.Videotaping and Presenting the DVD Videos at the Awards Ceremony The AVC staff will provideprofessional video production services to videotape the speakers at the awards ceremony and other relevantactivities. Whether the ceremony will be at MTC or a remote location, I will contact th