Courtesy of David Fuller at Airstream Pictures
So, you’ve decided you want to make a video. You have a budget, and you have an idea—or maybe just the germ of an idea—and you’re meeting with a producer. Here are seven questions a video producer should ask you at your first meeting. If they don’t, you just might want to speak with someone else.
Who are you talking to? This is one of the two most important questions a video producer should ask. The answer affects every part of a video—the message, the language you use to deliver the message, the visual style—everything. The clearer you are about who you’re talking to, the better you’ll be able to communicate.
What do you want to happen? This is the second of the two most important questions. It puts your objectives in focus and lets your producer fine-tune the video to deliver on those objectives. It can expose objectives that are unclear or overly broad. The answers can help a good producer suggest directions you may never have thought of; once they know where you want to go, they might have routes that will get you there faster or less expensively.
What does your audience need? Communication in business is almost always filling a need or solving a problem. And understanding your audience’s need will enable your producer to craft a video that better speaks to that need. The answer to this one will be a lot different if you want to make a recruiting video than if you need a sales presentation, and different still if you’re planning an instructional video for users of your product. Being clear on the audience's need is the best way to ensure that the video answers it.
What is your brand culture like? Style matters. A video should reflect your brand. If it doesn’t, it will work against the brand you’ve worked so hard to develop, so make sure your video speaks in a voice  that is consistent with and enhances your brand identity.
Who is going to have final approval? The approval process can make or break a video. Good feedback at key points is critical to its success, and a changing cast of characters at review/approval sessions can lead to frustration, delays, and chaos. It is vital that the people who will sign off on a production are involved periodically in the review process so that their concerns can be heard and incorporated into the work. One of the surest ways to make a video go over budget is to show it, at the end of the production process, to a key stakeholder who has a great new idea they want included.
What resources (other than money) can you bring to the table? The cost of a video depends in large part on how much of the material in front of the camera the producer is responsible for. For example, if your video is about food products, and you have a chef on staff that you can make available to the project, you can save a lot of money vs. bringing in a chef or food stylist from outside. Or if the video needs a home setting, and someone in your company has a well-suited home, you will save on both the cost of location scouting and location rental fees. But be careful. If the resource you have available isn’t really right, it can really compromise the end product, so be sure to let your producer give everything a good, hard look before you commit to using it.
What’s your budget?  It’s important to understand that bigger budgets do not necessarily mean more success. Some of the best videos have tiny budgets. The key is for a producer to design a video that can be executed for the money + other resources at hand. The one thing you don’t want is a concept that can’t be done well with the resources that are available. It always looks under-produced, and that reflects badly on your brand. Being clear about your budget and communication goals allows the producer to design a great production that both fits your budget and achieves your goals.
If you're not being asked these questions, Contact us.
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