A blog about our production partner, Ohio HD
entry no. 32
Over the years, I've learned how dangerous assumptions can be. Being direct, precise, and well-intentioned goes a long way. This starts by understanding that clients hire you to be their expert, even if they don't always treat you that way. It's easy to assume they know you're high quality, but I work to educate and help breakdown each project, setting proper expectations. For years, I have been questioned in one area repeatedly. Why rent gear instead of buying?
Even I struggled with renting gear for years. Why rent when we can own? I hope to shed some light on this aspect and how renting has positively impacted our business, client's projects, and creative community. Renting is more like a relationship than getting gear.
I'll start with my assumptions. When we tip-toed into renting, it was about trying a new camera body or lens mostly, which was okay, but it didn't elevate us. I'm primarily a technical person who uses that information to solve creative problems. Camera bodies and glass add production value, but I found myself learning on the spot or getting gear from profit-focused rental houses that weren't experts in production. My viewpoint on renting changed once I met the team at Ohio HD in late 2015. Why?
I thrive in personal relationships. I've built the business off teamwork and value the memories from production more than the final deliverables. This relationship-first-focus was apparent the first time I met Scott Handel, owner of Ohio HD, and that attitude trickles down through everyone there. I was welcomed not strictly as a customer, but they dug into my business model, our pain-points, and where we wanted to grow as a business, similar to our approach with artists. The more we have worked together over the years, the stronger that relationship has grown, the more in-sync we are, and today, we view Ohio HD as our production partners, making our client's projects possible.
Ohio HD (OHD) is ushering in the best tools for filmmakers in Ohio, letting production companies, Directors, and Agencies compete with "bigger" cities like LA and NY. JECP can't afford to own it all, but OHD consistently brings new tools to the table and implements different approaches and ideas to our clients' vision. In the last few years, I know we've crafted more ambitious ideas and better projects for our clients, and we've seen the same for many other filmmakers in the Ohio area.
Having the tools needed is one facet, but we saw a real leap forward in education. At some point, my technical know-how and research reach a limit, or my time runs out. Having the OHD team to ask questions, pre-test gear, and inform ourselves has saved us time on production, solved some of our most challenging problems, and brought us five years ahead in our careers. This education alone is where we've added the most value to our clients in the past five years.
I love learning, but I can't understand it all, and our artists come to us to bring their vision to life. Knowing I don't personally have to know everything allows me to spend more time with our artists, cast better vision, and trust we can pull it off with the assistance of OHD. Working with better tools has increased our quality of work, increased efficiency, improved our teams on set experience, and feels like JECP is contributing more to the creative community.
The word community is vital to JECP, and I've found the same to be true for OHD, which is why I think we became such a natural fit. They have great gear and two top-notch studios, but what seals the deal for us is their care for the production community. They grow creatives in many ways. If you need to rent gear or the studio, they make sure you get that gear, know how to use it, and are a phone call away. Additionally, their internal team or freelancers' list has been a crucial resource for our projects and referrals to other directors or agencies in solving problems. They build great teams, and you can trust you'll have the industry's best practices in place. They put on gear shows, connect creatives, and see each client project's success being a success for them.
With all of this, it can still feel tricky selling rentals to clients, but what's helped us is transparency. We aren't camera guys, but most clients assume that, and it's okay. We take on projects to make creative ideas possible for our clients. We may get a few gear questions occasionally, but ultimately clients want a complete project. We earn a client's trust by asking the right questions, setting clear expectations, and when that's done correctly, we can more effectively quote a project. It all comes down to collecting enough information to make effective decisions. Budget, creative treatment, location, timeline, workload, and many other variables play a role in building a project. Having a production partner like OHD makes a considerable part of the process smoother and gives us the confidence to provide our clients' the best solutions.
OHD has built much of the JECP brand in the past five through great gear, a good friendship, and an inspiring business model we fully endorse. I encourage any creative who's been on the fence about renting to view it as a partnership more than gear. Look for how it elevates you, your clients, and reduces energy put into things that aren't moving you forward. Better yet, if you're in the Ohio area, we encourage you to see the studio or start that relationship with them. OHD has the best people practices, gear, and facilities.