If you’re searching for a TV production company in NYC or the greater NYC area, you are sure to come across a multitude of options from full agencies to independent producers and crew members.
After all, NYC is home to many people and thriving companies of all shapes and sizes; it can be overwhelming to choose the best lunch spot in NYC, let alone a provider to help you with a TV production and the investment that goes along with it!
In helping you understand what TV production may cost, I’d first like to point out the different team or crew members that may need to be involved with a TV production in NYC, hence contributing to the investment. Then I’ll explain some additional variables that contribute to cost throughout the production process.
Team + Time = $$$
Much of the cost involved with any type of production has to do with the number of people working on the project and how many hours they are working. Straight up, it’s all about TIME.
Your TV production could be a: TV commercial, documentary, TV show pilot, interview segment, the list goes on! Depending on your project, you may potentially need anywhere from a few of to all the following team or crew-members:
- Producers to plan, cast, coordinate, and potentially script or provide other direction.
- Creative Director to oversee scene or style elements or uphold particular styling or brand standards.
- Writers if your piece is not yet written or requires some additional fine-tuning.
- Project Managers or other Coordinators and Assistants to handle a variety of tasks.
- Production Crew including a Director, and any of the following: assistant director, camera operators, production assistants, a hair and makeup artist, wardrobe stylist, script-supervisor, prop-masters, and more.
- Post-Production Crew including editors or special effects and graphics designers.
Which team members you bring on-board depends on what your needs are. For example, if you already have a script you don’t need to hire a writer. If you want to handle all casting, coordinating and production details yourself then you may not need a producer, or you may wish to hire an experienced producer to co-produce a portion of the time.
Using a production company or agency that has experienced professionals on staff or in their network can allow you to easily integrate with their team at whatever level works best for your project.
In addition to understanding what team or crew members may need to be involved, it helps to understand the phases of the production process. You can learn more about the three main phases of production as they relate to budget, in this recent post about video production costs.
There are also a variety of items that contribute to the costs of production outside of basic time and staffing. Here I review a few of these items that come with their own price tag:
Talent and Casting
Your project may require hiring a voice-over talent or on-screen acting talent. Costs of talent depends on their level of experience and demand, so there is a great range.
Professional Actors typically cost more, but they also come with experience that helps ensure a great performance. If the success of your video relies upon strong talent, ensure your talent budget remains a priority.
You may benefit from holding a live casting session (or multiple sessions!), allowing you to see many people, hear them speak, and film them to evaluate how they look on camera. In NYC you can rent a casting space, with a waiting room and a main room large enough to set up a camera to film the auditions.
A casting session can run anywhere from a few hours to a full day, and it helps to include a camera operator to film, your producer to facilitate the session, and an assistant to coordinate the waiting room area and applicants who are arriving and departing.
Websites can be used for virtual casting, but time is still required for you or your producer to look through applicants, review their reels and resumes, perform virtual auditions to whittle down to the best candidates.
Location Scouting and Rental
Consider the setting needed for your production. Does it simply need a professional looking space, or an interview desk? Or, does it require a fictional setting, a home, office, or public space? Can it be created in a studio?
Securing the right location can require a producer’s time to find and secure options, or potentially hire set builders to create the setting you seek. A rented location or studio can bring it’s own range of hourly or daily fees.
Props are everything from accessories, to technology items, dishes or table settings, objects and books, to cars, plants…the list could go on forever! The right props are important, because a viewer can pick up, even sub-consciously, on a setting that doesn’t look realistic or complete.
Accurate props can really help communicate the right mood or vibe to the viewer, and pull them in. You can easily get an idea of what some props cost, but some may require a taking time to locate them (or versions of them that can be borrowed or rented for lower cost), purchasing them, or having them made, built or styled.
Music and Sound Effects
Let’s not forget about the uber-important detail of music, not to mention sound effects! The right bed of sound can make a massive difference in any production.
Music sets the tone what it being conveyed or the story that is being told and helps accentuate moods, changes, and areas of importance that you wish to be perceived by your audience. Sound effects are important details that help keep your viewer submerged in the story or accentuate important actions that you want noticed by your viewer.
Music can be purchased from various sources, such as stock music companies. When purchased, the license allows you to use the track without incurring any royalty fees. The total cost for music will depend on how many different tracks you need to acquire for your production.
For example, a short film may use ten to fifteen different music files, while a short interview segment may use just one that fades in and out at the beginning and end of the segment. If you do not like stock choices that are available, you can hire a musician to score an original piece.
This may be a greater investment, unless your old college buddies are willing to get the band back together and make some sweet, FREE tunes!
These are just some of the things to think about when working with TV production companies in NYC. If this all still seems drastically overwhelming, I advise that you reach out to a production agency with great experience who can help you talk through the details of your project or vision, and help you understand which of these variables are included in an estimate for your project.
The great thing is that with so many moving pieces, an experienced production company can help you decide what your most important needs are, and help you find the best way to achieve your goal with your budget range in mind!