Thereís nothing wrong with establishing a supply relationship with a trusted video producer. But sometimes there is a requirement for creative alternatives and price competitiveness that a bidding situation can provide.

From our experience, here are ten crucial "secrets" of writing a more effective request for proposal (RFP) document that are certain to increase the quality of a video producerís response.

Give a budget range
Include an approximate budget or range in your RFP. Price competition will not be lessened and it will be easier to compare bids. And it eliminates a far too common misuse of the process. You see, it is possible for a production company to give extraordinarily great value for your program as both a $10,000 and a $50,000-level video. But if a prospective client is secretly interested in a video with production values worth about $30,000, many bids will be automatically ignored. In an eye-blink, a video companyís time-consuming creative efforts have been trashed, and the client has lost additional relevant proposal submissions.

Shortlist interested bidders
A short list should be exactly that ó no more than three or four companies need be invited to propose. This will keep the invited production companies highly motivated and minimizes wasted time by everyone.

Plenty of details
Describe your videoís main objective, sub-messages (in support of the main objective), audience, and how and where it will be seen. If possible, state the age group and educational background of the viewers. Will the video be viewed individually from a laptop computer? Or experienced by a sizable audience as part of a larger presentation? Indicate, perhaps, creative approaches (humour, for example) you strongly wish or wish not to see. Giving details in your RFP will short-circuit a barrage of repeated inquiries later on- or worse- erroneous speculation by the producer.

Use a point system
To help guide the bidder and assist you to make an objective decision, consider breaking down your proposal requirements into scored or weighted point or percentage components. The categories could include Profile/Track record; Approach & Methodology; Proposed Personnel, Demo Tape and Pricing.

Publish enquiry answers
Have bidders submit any questions in writing. Provide answers to significant questions simultaneously to all bidders via fax, e-mail or web posting. This will keep all the bidders on an even playing field and save you from answering the same query over and over.

Specify rights and territories
Stipulate the media (broadcast, in-house), distribution (sale, loan), geographic areas (Canada, the world) and time-frame (years, perpetuity) that will be valid for your video. Producers can often give better rates if they are purchasing talent or stock rights for something less than "in all media, throughout the world, in perpetuity."

Indicate later versioning
Specify if it is your intention to later re-purposed or language versioned the program. If so, request separate unmixed music and effects audio tracks. State if you expect to post part of your video on the internet, or as a digital business card. Their low-resolution requirements may call for additional special shooting.

No storyboards
Donít ask for a storyboard in your proposal request. This is fine for a thirty-second ultra-planned television commercial but makes no sense in a program with, perhaps, one or two hundred still-to-be-determined shots. The script will provide clear descriptions of the scenes. And even these will change as location, artistry and client dictate.

Plenty of response time
Give lots of time- preferably at least two weeks- for the video producer to respond to your RFP. The producers you want are likely working. Donít spend so much time contemplating and writing your proposal request document that it significantly minimizes the time allotted for a response.

Never, Never
(Please) never request a proposal from a video company with the intention of sending it to the boss simply to see if there just might be some interest. Wonderfully imaginative proposals require a lot of effort and the above sin is likely to drive a good video producer into some other line of work ó like being a hitman.


Bravo Zulu Productions, Inc.

Mailing address:

5383 Esperanza Drive
North Vancouver
British Columbia V7R 3W3 CANADA

Edit Suites:

Harbourview Park Tower
#100 - 588 Broughton Street, Vancouver
British Columbia, CANADA

Tel: 604.960-1050
Fax: 604.960-1051