So, you want to make a Video?
By Pam Archer
doubt that there is an instructor in the industry who hasn’t wanted to
be in or star in an exercise video. Evidently, from the burgeoning store
shelves, just about all of us have tried! Having produced 5 videos myself,
starred in seven and been the creative consultant for two more, I write
this article from a wealth of experience and will share with you a
realistic view of the process and what it entails. While many “sales”
people in the industry will pump you full of hope and the promise of
becoming famous, I will tell you the REAL truth of the matter and what you
can expect to happen should you decide to pursue your dream of having your
Before you dive headfirst into some very deep waters, there are some questions to which you should give serious thought:
You might be furrowing your brow at some of these questions and asking the question ”What does this have to do with anything?”. Let me go through the questions, one by one, and give you some insight:
is the monetary investment in this project going to be?
is my time investment in this project going to be?
I spent hours soliciting sponsors for clothing, shoes, steps, hair & make-up, even the carpet that was used on the set of the first video and the plants and flora in the background of the studio that I teach in on the last four. This saved considerably on production costs. I also approached a local TV station and they gave me a flat fee quote for rental of the entire studio for two days (between news broadcasts), including their engineers, director, producer, sound person, camera operators, the whole kit and caboodle. The price also included 21 hours of editing and two master copies. The price was ridiculously low, something like $1,200!
are my expectations of this project?
If you are counting on your friends and family and fellow instructors to buy enough videos from you to offset the cost of production, you are living in la-la land. Your friends and family expect you to give them a gazillion copies of your video BECAUSE they are your friends and family. Your fellow instructors might buy one copy and then they make copies of it for all of their friends!
If your goal is to make a name in the industry, then a video will do that for you…if you get it to the right people. It can open many doors for you. My “Step 2 Step” video won an invitation for me to present at World Fitness IDEA for two years, without even making application to present! I had a unique idea, because I am the creator of partner double-stepping and a pioneer in the use of multiple steps and they wanted that new idea presented at the conference.
I sent the last four videos to a magazine, just hoping for a review. The fitness editor passed them along to the producer of Crunch Fitness, because they were doing a new TV show and thought that I was the perfect person for the job! That’s how I landed the fitness pro spot on “Jenny’s Fit In 15’ on The Health Network. That one contact paid for the production of those videos! I should add that I have never, and probably will never, recover the cost of making “Step 2 Step”, but I have to consider it well spent advertising money.
is my target market?
Instructors are always looking for new choreography and are great customers, but there are many more video selections out there than there are instructors to purchase them. “Step 2 Step” is no longer in production, but I have some fabulous, creative choreography and strength training ideas on “Step In Line”, “Getting High On Low”, “Wrap Up Warm Up” and “Assistance with Resistance”. In fact, I have a whole garage full of ideas! You can get my great ideas for only $5.00 each, plus shipping and handling. I would love to be able to park my car in my garage. I would also love to get out of debt on these things so that I could replace my 200,000-mile Mitsubishi! Are you getting the REAL picture of video production now?
am I going to market this project?
What I am saying is that you had better have a buyer and/or sponsor for you product before you invest in producing it. There are some companies who will listen to your ideas for projects and even fund them, but it is difficult to get an audience with them without an inside contact.
I have a unique edge or idea for a project?
My goal in writing this article was not to discourage you from pursuing your dreams, but to enter into it with your eyes wide open. I am a firm believer in shooting for the stars, and I am also a risk taker. I have paid the price (and so has my poor, literally, husband), but I made it to the top in my field. At least I can go to my grave knowing that I did it and not wondering “what if”. The deciding factor in making my first video came from a statement that my pastor made in a sermon. He said, “Many great poems, books, paintings and other art forms have been buried in East Lawn Cemetery because people were afraid to follow their dreams.” After the sermon, a friend said “Pam, don’t let your ideas be buried in East Lawn Cemetery.” It was off to the studio for me! My industry has also been my ministry. I believe that when I see my Lord in heaven, one day, that He will say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant, well done.” That’s all I really care about, the rest will be edited!