Visually Estimating like a Treatment Champ
Question: After the initial creative call, what can I do to stand-out from my competitors? I’ve heard of artists providing an estimate and a treatment. How would I go about creating a creative treatment, one that shows the my creative vision while fitting in with the art producer’s vision?
After a creative call, every photographer or illustrator sits, waits and imagines every scenario. I can’t tell you how many times a week I hear from a client who just finished a bid or a creative call and asks me: “When should I call back?” “It’s been a week, what should I do?” “Should I send a follow-up email?”
Here is my advice on how to stand out from your peers, while staying calm in the mix. To do that, here are six steps to follow to enhance your success, starting before you even make the call.
Note: A creative treatment is usually only required for very large scale projects, but many photographers or illustrators use this as the icing on the cake when trying to land a project and differentiate themselves. If the budget is not large, but you feel inspired to submit a treatment, go for it!
6 Steps to Creating a Treatment
1. START A PROJECT FOLDER
Assuming you just received the call and have not submitted the estimate, I recommend getting a folder or binder started. Start jotting down your thoughts, questions, ideas and even doodles. Afterwards, you can review your thoughts and put together a cohesive list of questions to help guide you on the call. You will also use this folder to keep notes from the creative call so everything is in one place.
There is a very cool website, Pinterest, which allows you to show your vision with a collection of images by creating a vision board. On the flip side, it can help you find a direction when you don’t have a solid one: by using keywords, you can be inspired to find a solid path to help guide you.
Ask for their deadline and when you should deliver the estimate, along with your creative treatment.
3. DIGEST and PROCESS
After the call, digest what was said. Ask yourself why are you the perfect person for the job? Write those bullet points down. Then start producing the job visually to create a creative treatment. A creative treatment should show your work in the capacity of how you would shoot this specific project, along with verbiage that sells your points. Pull images that represent the lighting you want to use, show model energy and look, locations, styling, etc … You will not have the exact shot or illustration obviously, but you should have work that matches what they are looking for.
Gather those images or sketches together and prepare a PDF, JPEG or landing page presentation that can be delivered via email. Remember to include your branding on the deliverables, so it CLEARLY speaks your name. The creative treatment should include the following:
- What you are going to bring to the project to make it dynamite
- Visual examples that show you understand the project
- How you envision producing the project
I prefer a short and sweet treatment. But remember; don’t skimp on the verbiage if something needs extensive production and needs explaining. This is your moment to shine. Show how you would produce it and knock their socks off. Ask someone you trust to read your treatment to ensure that it is easily understood.
Once you deliver it, go get a coffee and breathe. Don’t expect to hear back for at least a week. If you hear back sooner, great … if not, follow up in 1-2 weeks. Sending a simple “just checking in” email will suffice.
GOOD LUCK. And remember this: to be asked to bid a job means you have something they are looking for. Use that to your benefit and capitalize on it.
Amanda Sosa Stone is sought after from clients all around the world: Germany, Moscow, England, Mexico, Spain and her homeland, the United States. She has been praised for working on talents like Jim Krantz, the 2010 International Photographer of Year, Nick Onken and National Geographic Assignment Division (with co- consultant Suzanne Sease). She works with clients from all genres, Commercial to Consumer. With her editing being her true passion and love, she has also worked hard to develop many marketing approaches that are proven effective. Nothing feeds Amanda’s creative soul more seeing results and seeing her clients reach their goals. Joining forces with Agency Access in May of 2010, Amanda is their in-house marketing and industry consultant as well as continuing to work with her own clients. Amanda Sosa Stone
1. Creative Collision: How Clients Wish You Would Estimate
2. 3 Steps to Win the Client Over After the Initial Creative Call
3. Creative Collision: The Other Side of In-Person Meetings