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10 Questions to Ask an Art Producer Before Crafting a Bid

By October 22, 2020 No Comments

From a production standpoint, working with an art buyer/art producer is all about getting to know a given job in as much detail as possible before actually being hired/awarded the job. While the agency may already have specifics spelled out in the job RFP/RFQ (Request for Proposal/Request for Quote), asking the right questions can help manage expectations and clarify details. Here are our top ten questions to ask right off the bat (though we ask many, many more!) when considering a job.


How many people will be on set?

This is important as we’re trying to estimate for catering, as well as accommodating a production space, parking, and workspace. Though, most of our clients now opt to attend the shoot virtually.

Are there any shipments we need to receive? Will we need refrigeration? What is the return delivery procedure?

It’s always important to anticipate the costs for labor, trucking and shipping. Example: Once we received an entire pallet of charcoal. And as you might imagine, logistics were tricky. (Thankfully, we have a production studio with a loading dock).

Do we need to arrange client transportation? Or parking on site?

If they want a shuttle, do they prefer a sprinter van, or individual black cars? We need to be prepared to cover the cost of a car service and/or fuel, driver and potential OT for crew transporting clients back and forth each day. Plus, it is always nice to make sure there are snacks for travel times. If using a sprinter, we always rent from airports with our corporate rental so we can pick up or drop off 24 hours a day. Production is unpredictable, so it’s best if we’re not confined to the hours of a business — especially if we are flying out the next day.

Does anyone who will be on-site have food or pet allergies?

This is especially important if we’re shooting in a home that may or may not have animal dander deep within the carpeting and couches. AND, bonus: we always have parents sign a waiver for their kids to eat anything as part of the creative (like this giant plate of spaghetti!).

Do we anticipate needing to shoot overnight, or on a holiday?

This would add OT for crew and the location. It could also increase the lighting rental if we need to shoot overnight, thus potentially needing more assistants. These aren’t costs the client wants to be surprised by, and they expect us to ask since we know how it will affect the estimate.

Who will be paying the talent? Is there exclusivity involved?

Because of usage and labor laws, it’s always cleaner for the client to pay talent directly. But, if they ask production to handle talent payment, we always have to payroll talent as it is a messy, messy legal game otherwise. Make sure to account for the time to handle payroll, and the 25-29% payroll tax for talent.

Can we cater from an outside vendor?

Say you’re shooting at a client’s location (or a museum). Do they have a list of vendors they require, or that are pre-approved vendors? For instance, we once shot at a museum, and their preferred catering came in 3 times higher than our regular catering costs — but we had to use them. The same is almost always true with using a hotel location: you have to buy F&B there.

Will anyone be attending the casting?

Especially if the client is interested in attending, you’re going to want food, parking, workspace, extra monitors, etc.

What is the range of age for talent?

After all, there are labor laws mandating how long minors can work. We had a shoot in Philadelphia that could have been shot in one day, but our hero actor was limited to a few hours a day, so we had to break up her scene (and account for the additional time for her on-screen parents). Additionally, vice clients (alcohol, tobacco, etc.) often won’t cast anyone who doesn’t “look” at least 25, even if they’re over the age of 25 on paper.

Does the client have any stylists/vendors they prefer to work with?

Again, you’re trying to anticipate the client’s preferences, and accommodate them wherever you can. Food brands often have a very distinct look for their food, and it may be expected for production to handle travel arrangements for their star stylist to attend the shoot. And brands that work with kids and babies often have handlers who come on every production.

All productions require a unique approach. We’d be delighted to discuss options with you for your next job. Reach out anytime!