don't hire us for a video

seeing bands as brands


Josh Emerick | entry no. 25

We're a music video company, right? We've produced over a hundred music videos, so on the surface, you'd probably say yes; however, that's not why bands hire us. At first, it's typically "hey, we need a music video, and we were recommended your way." From here, we give intro's and decide if we're a good fit or not, but a band shouldn't be hiring us to make a video. Why? Video doesn't solve the problems of a band. Strategy does.

The problem is most bands aren't putting their goals, mission, or purpose as the real priority. They've heard and seen every band they love make a video and think it's just something "they have to do" instead of " something to aide their brand, story or goals." Bands usually want a few simple things from their music. They want fans to connect with them, listen to their music, dig into the meaning, see them live, buy their merch, support them, and share in the story they are telling.

So instead of hiring someone for a video, hire someone who understands these goals and start sharing what you want these videos to do. We get hired when we solve these problems, and we take jobs with artists who support us trying to help solve these problems for them. A video doesn't make a band, but it can harm them or help them. We don't want to make a music video simply, but help tell a large part of the story at hand. A start to all of this is treating your band as a brand and building that brand with story-telling. This is where problem-solving begins.

Most bands, unless your just writing music for the fun of it, are actually brands. A brand usually has a story or some sort of meaning behind why they believe they should exist. Like us, it's not just to make music videos, but impact artists using story-telling. So what does your brand stand for? Who do you want to connect with? What's the meaning behind your music or this specific track? These questions all weave into the story you are telling and filters for what should be in your music video, photography, or design pieces as a whole. These all create good limiters because they let you know what is on-brand and what is off-brand.


When you understand your brand as a whole, you can begin story-telling. One music video does not fulfill your audience. Long-term goals of growing and developing your story take time and content. It's a band mindset to think, "this video is what will make us" or "we're set after this video." Honestly, you're setting your fan base up to expect it and need to be prepared to show up more and more consistently after you take the plunge. This is where narrowing ideas and planning budgets can go a long way in serving long term goals and efforts (that's another subject in itself though).


In story-telling, consistency is essential. Bands often want something next level or flashy. We love big budgets and challenging problems, but if it's off-brand, it isn't helpful. We'd rather build a practical project that's in-line with a body of work because that's healthy, and healthy bands continue to grow and continue to work with people like us. Flashy is typically short term. 


So when we design the strategy for a project, we need to ask what story are we trying to tell? Once we know this, we can decide on a format. Music videos are really just big experiments. They're fun, but they do have a purpose. So a new band focused on playing out to new fans, needs a few things in a music video to achieve these goals. Their performance and character are essential, along with anything that makes their performance unique. They are giving their audience a sample of what to expect. This needs to be authentic.


That's one example, but getting to the plan is the most critical part. This starts in a meeting. Here we listen deeply, ask qualifying questions, and work to gain alignment on their project. Bands should be heard, but often we help them realize a lot of their own goals vs. talking about cameras and a "sick video." We want our clients to be successful and understanding their needs and wants; lets us tell their story. Once we know the grand picture, we start to build an executable plan. When we create the Plan is when we get hired.

A band should hire us to help them see their story, further that story or design, and plan for a project. This is part of our process of serving a great experience. We work hard to earn our client's trust and see relationships as the leading variable in creating repeat business as well as word of mouth. We're passionate about building bands, love getting on set and playing with cool toys, but we know this is meaningless if we don't provide value.

If you're considering hiring us, what are we looking for? We're looking for clients who want more than a video, respect the time and care we have for projects, and want to grow together, long-term. We know we provide value to our clients, but it's only the ones who get to know us, that fully understand this.

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COLUMBUS, OH                 |           |         Copyright J.Emerick Cinema & Photo 2016