In the era of modern technology, churning out a video or film project from start to finish in record speed and quality has become a standard. But despite the technology, one major bottleneck during the post production process is getting feedback and the final work approved by clients or creative teams.
If you’re a production team or a freelance filmmaker, you understand how crucial it is to secure client approval so you can move forward with the process. A slight delay is often enough to throw an entire schedule or worse, scrap the project, because the results weren’t what clients expected.
When working with clients, it’s important to know how to get a client’s feedback the right way. Here are some tips to follow.
Set Expectations and Provide a Timeline
As a video producer, whether you run your own production outfit, a freelancer or a beginner, it’s best to always provide expectation and a timeline for your clients to refer to. It’s good practice to do this for every project. It’s possible to have 5-6 deadlines within the project, depending on how extensive it is. Speak with the client beforehand on how you would like to do the review/feedback process so they know. In each stage of the process, it’s your job to inform the client so they know when to step in and when you expect them.
Inform Your Clients About the Process
Dealing with a difficult client or getting poor feedback results from uneducated clients. They often don’t know how to give feedback or they misunderstand the process. As a professional, it’s your job to inform them every step of the way. Give them an outline of the stages, the reviews stages and how many they can expect, feedback on the rough cut etc. The more they know about your process, the more they’ll be comfortable and help in collaborating with the project.
If you’re dealing with a group or creative team, identify who has the last say in the process and make sure you deal with them. It would be a waste of time talk to everyone and go through a rigorous feedback process only to find out they don’t have the authority to make the final decision.
Be Specific with the Feedback You Want
Always provide specifics on the type of feedback you are asking for as it’s related to the current stage of the project or film. Provide precise questions and break them down to the simplest possible so it’s easier for clients to digest and answer. Never hand clients a rough cut or video for review and say, “tell me what you think?” You’ll only get vague feedback or too detailed yet completely useless. Being thorough and specific might take time on your part but it will save you the hassle and lessen the client’s confusion of providing feedback that may not be relevant at the current stage of the project.
Be Open to Constructive Criticism
During feedback, criticism of your work is expected. If it looks like you’re not listening to the client’s feedback or if you are reactive, dismissive or acting out in unprofessional ways, your client will get frustrated and act accordingly. To keep everything smooth sailing, start by acting professionally. Listen and be respectful to what your client has to say and thoughtfully act on it.
If at some point you disagree with the client’s opinion on where the video or film project should go, don’t just roll over and do what your client demands if you know it’s not going to do them any good. You’re the professional. Listen to them and find a way that both of you can be happy. If you resist against any change they ask, explain yourself clearly and why you think it might not benefit their project in the long run.
Point to Deadlines If There Are Client Requests or Revisions
Doing a review and feedback can only work properly if you have deadlines to go with it. It’s easy to get stuck in this phase of back and forth if you aren’t careful or don’t have a deadline set up. Having a deadline will help you and your client prioritize what is important.
With a deadline, it’s easy to accept a request then explain how many more days it will add to the working days. This means pushing back their final release date or other pertinent dates set up beforehand.
Running your video film production company, whether in Hollywood, New York or right from the comforts of your home, it’s essential to understand how to deal with clients to gain useful feedback and to move the project forward with ease.