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Can you spot a pro?

Updated: Jan 24, 2022

It's easy enough for someone to say you they are a pro, but what really defines someone as a professional? Can you spot the difference between someone that says they and one that really is?

In the field of content creation there is no shortage of people today who claim the title of 'professional.' And without any verification or certification, there's just really no definitive way to establish who is or isn't until you hire them and sometimes find out the hard way. So, what do you need to know to feel comfortable that you hired a real professional? Is it the amount of education your prospective freelancer has? Is it the the expensive looking camera he or she is using? Maybe it's their slick website or the quality of their reel? Are these the things you need to know to determine if you are hiring a pro? The answer to all of this is a resounding "nope."

Money can buy most of that and I've seen many a young filmmaker attached to a project as a production assistant claim the video on their site as something "they worked on" even though someone else really made it. It can be deceiving and difficult to ascertain for certain who is a pro, but it is possible...if you know what to ask.

Last minute need for a client's shampoo brand in a shower sequence meant thinking on the fly and using stock footage along with some creative thinking to get the shot.

It's important to dig a little deeper and find out the level of experience your pro has before trusting them with your brand and your dollars. Ask them to tell you a moment when they had to think quickly in a tough situation, and when they provide links to videos, ask them what they did on those videos. Did they shoot it and edit it, write it and produce it? Can they provide any references that can vouch for their professionalism on past projects? Most importantly....are they asking YOU the right questions? A professional will ask you what you are looking for in new content. They'll ask you what you'd like to accomplish and who your intended audience is. Did this prospective hire do their homework on your company before you arranged a face to face meeting? The answers that they provide will help you determine if they are a right fit for you and if they are indeed the pro they claim to be.

Also factor in their cost, as this can go a long way in determining their level of proficiency. A pro is worth the money they ask for and not afraid to tell you what they charge. Their investment in high quality equipment is expensive, but their experience is where their value is and they'll likely have completed other projects similar to yours and will have a better idea on where you can save time and money to get the best bang for your buck. If an aspiring "pro" is charging you $50 per hour and taking 9 hours to shoot your project then maybe you should have hired the more established pro that is charging $150 per hour but can get it all shot it in 3 hours. In this scenario you've spent the same money but would get better content and have a better experience with the more established pro.

By now you may have even discovered that there's no shortage of aspiring film makers who will work for experience, especially as good gear is more accessible. It can be tempting to let someone cheaper to take a shot at your content creation, but keep in mind that your brand image is very important to your success....if you want to be seen as a pro in YOUR field, you need to be sure your content looks professional too. The best way to do that is to hire a real pro to help you make the best first impression for your new potential clients, patients, or customers.


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