90% perspiration, 10% inspiration. Ready to produce a video? Roll up your sleeves and get ready to get your hands dirty. Moving pictures have become such a large part of our everyday lives that it almost seems like they happen spontaneously. (And, yes, of course, they often do. 15 years ago I couldn't imagine an HD camera in my pocket, now I can't leave home without it). I'm not going to argue against impromptu video - it's a great tool for connecting, engaging, promoting an authentic experience. But, let's face it, if you're considering only using impromptu video for your business, you're leaving everything to chance. Including, well, your business.
The production process contains two very important stages before anyone ever shows up with a camera, and those are often misunderstood or overlooked. Whether you plan to produce video in-house or hire a professional (hey, like us!) , understanding these stages will help your project tremendously.
Stage One: Development. This is the stage where the producer makes the decisions that will drive the direction of the whole project. It can take weeks, months, or even be accomplished in just a few hours. (Not in Hollywood, where it often takes years or decades. Just ask Orson Welles). For a business, these decisions center on defining a goal (increased awareness, greater sales numbers, increased profitability), identifying an audience (business owners, existing prospects, employees), and creating a message (we are the best, this product works wonders, this is how you fill out your work order). Out of these decisions a concept is developed (an animation, onscreen talent, a documentary, a screen capture), and a script or storyline written. And this is all done prior to budgeting.
Why? Because in that next all important stage, Pre-Production, that same producer or, in some cases, a production manager, is going to take that script or storyline, breakdown the elements that are needed to accomplish that goal, and make a line-item list of all of those elements (illustrations, music, 2 cameras, a soundstage, etc). An accurate budget, both of time and expenses, and a realistic schedule is then created, equipment, locations, and personnel booked, and you're finally ready to shoot that first frame or create that first illustration. Whew!
Ok, so how does this pertain to YOU? Well, you might be using video already, but finding that it isn't hitting the mark the way you expected. Look at these parts of the process first. They likely hold the answer. Or maybe you'd like to start using video, but don't know where to start. Try the development stage, and you'll have a better understanding of why you should or shouldn't take the plunge. Thinking about hiring a production company? Ask questions about how they approach their process, and make sure they don't skip development (many do, expecting the client to provide that work. Yes, clients provide a great basis and must be involved, but an experience producer should make that process much simpler). Not at all interested in video? Well, why did you read this so long! Go do something productive.