I’ve been in the business for almost 3 years now. I’ve started as a small screencaster about 8 years ago, and made this my main business in 2011 with only a couple of clients. My main focus also changed from screencasting to motion graphics with some other video disciplines, and I also focused more on neat design. The company expanded and we were about 3 people here, then some unfortunate circumstances forced me to work alone again. Gladly those circumstances also came with some fortune. I was able to get a clearer view of what I want to do with zCasting 3000.
This piece should give an overview where I’d like to be heading with zCasting 3000 in the next couple of years. The core values of this business.
I never imagined zCasting 3000 as a one-man project. I always wanted to create a place where people can go to, and work creatively. Some days I was inclined to create videos that would fit in the smallest budget. But I was always holding onto quality.
For an explainer video company it’s tempting to create some sort of templating system many many clients would fit in. The reason I never went this way was… my clients simply didn’t want it.
I get most clients through word of mouth or direct contact. People know me and what I’m doing. When clients approach me they generally want something so custom that it’s impossible to come up with stencils to fit their needs. My clients want me to work on their stuff. They want me to check out their company and understand their goals and intentions fully, before I even create the first second of animation. My clients want to build a deep connection and feel understood. I wouldn’t be able to understand my clients, if I wouldn’t spend much time with their problems. One of the core values I want to hold high with zCasting 3000 is quality. Quality goes over quantity. Always. Period.
My aim for quality flows through all my workflows. When I go with you into a first meeting, so we can start to negotiate, I am fully engaged. I listen to all the information that is important and I write it down. I don’t take your things lightly, because I think it is important to listen to details. (So that I can “sweat on the details”. Makes sense, doesn’t it?) Then I think about it and present some first ideas how we can realize your project.
Just recently I discovered that I seem to spend more time than other freelancers on simple things like an estimate. It takes me a considerable amount of time to write an offer, because, again, I need to think things through. Of course it becomes easier, but at the end you get a very well worked out and thought through offer. Containing all the information I collected at that point. You get something that sets your project on a solid foundation. I think this is important. It shows appreciation and respect for my customers. It’s one of my core values.
Another thought that follows me through the years are women and their “place” in our world. Ever since I started my professional work, even back when I was an audio engineer and musician, I worked with a lot designers who just happen to be women. Purely coincidental. I’m interested and show my support in things that I think support this idea that men and women should be treated equal in this world.
From an entrepreneurial perspective I am 100% aware that zCasting 3000 needs to innovate in more than just one sector to be successful in the market. If my main goal would be to build a video production company, well then, that company would be average, at most. zCasting 3000 needed a bigger idea, so that we can make a difference with this thing.
Mahatma Gandhi once said:
Be the change that you wish to see in the world.
Frankly, what I miss in the world is a place where creative women can go to get their work done. A place where a motion designer can go and doesn’t need to worry about gender issues. A place where people are treated equal. A place where people work together.
As a media production company this approach makes the most sense to me. If 80% of your workers are male, and only 20% female. How would anyone expect those 20% to give 100% at work, when they are hindered by their coworkers, because of some stupid issue.
I looked at the video production market. There are not many work places that approach women and men alike. And why is that? I don’t get it. Why would I want to hire someone who then doesn’t feel 100% comfortable in my company, so that they can give 100% at work, so that we can produce better videos, in less time, and take on bigger projects. Innovation doesn’t happen when people can’t give their fullest at work.
After I realized what a competitive edge I could potentially create by fully approaching men and women, I started to chat with local mentors about this idea. We agree that we want to have a culture where women are allowed to do the same things men are allowed to do, and get paid the same. But we have to start smaller. Our company culture needs to be the beginning. Because when we create a company culture that embraces equality, that culture eventually radiates into the general culture. We have to live what we want to have. Only then will it become reality. The more companies join, the faster we can reach this goal.
What makes me slightly angry are two things. On the one hand there are woman who work in the market, who create beautiful things, but never let themselves pay well enough. Colleagues have a lot of guilt. Self worth is so low, that people don’t charge enough, so that they can make a sustainable living. We don’t need that.
On the other hand there are befriended managers of small companies and startups. Most of the time with one complaint:
I’d hire more women, if only they would apply for a job.
Well, if your company doesn’t scream that this is a place everyone (men and women) would want to work at, why would someone apply for a job? If it is not clear what sort of vision I can support working at your company, why should I apply? People don’t just apply for a job, they apply to support an idea and bigger goal.
After discussions with professionals, one of the main reasons why women do not apply for a job is: “the job description didn’t sound like they meant me”. Women read job offers different than men, I learned. So, in conclusion, if something as simple as a job offer already divides the genders, think of all the other things that do.
So this is not just a matter of vision and goals of your company, but also a matter of thoroughness and quality. I say we get 100% of the creative juice a person has to offer, when they can give 100%. We have to build companies that scream equality from the deepest of their cores.
Elegance is another principle I hold high for me and that I would like to hold high for zCasting 3000. What video students learn at uni is mostly “cool CGI”. Explosions, lasers, etc. Not a lot of teachers and students go for “style”. Style is what’s needed to make great looking, and understandable explainer videos. Some other verbs I associate with elegance are understandability and minimalism.
All of these things are worth a lot for the videos we create. The big visual effects don’t sell a product nearly as good as the most minimalistic solution we could come up with, after we tried for 15 times, and failed. A media production is best when it contains just as much as it needs to. Not more. Not less. It is the elegance that makes customers’ products appear as effortless to use, as they are. A better explanation is easier to understand for a wider audience.
There are more values that I think are important, but those are the main three.
I believe that zCasting 3000 has a competitive edge and innovates in its field when it follows a great goal people can support with the work they do. This is a start.
photo credit: kevin dooley