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How to Plan for a Video Project: An Evil Video Production Guide for Clients

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Video production is hard, that’s why you bring in the professionals! Even though you may be hiring a production company’s minions to create your video, you’ll typically still need to be pretty involved in your evil master-plan.  Some of the things that are frequently needed from clients are are not intended to be evil…

Here’s the short list of typical production issues that may require some client involvement:

  • Strategy: As producers, we know how to communicate in an engaging way, tell stories visually and produce quality content, but your depth of knowledge of your business is essential.
  • Messaging: You know the background, tone and vocabulary of your industry and brand better than we ever will.
  • Scheduling/Coordination: Ever hear the term ‘herding cats’? Production is where it comes from.
  • Staff: We frequently need your help to get the right people from your company on camera for interviews or just action shots.
  • Location Access: Determining where, when and how that a video shoot can occur can be deceptively complex.
  • Assets: Getting the right text, photo, video, graphic and prop assets from clients frequently is stickier than expected.
  • Approvals: You’ll need to make sure you have designated “approvers” who have time to provide any  needed feedback and sign off on deliverables…which can take weeks or months in a large organization!
  • Delivery: If the video is going on your website, social media channels or You Tube, there are usually a few surprises getting log-ins/access and format information. try and determine where it’s going to live and who ‘owns’ access from the start.

Every project is different so some of these might not apply, but the feedback/revisions/approvals need is always there. The part of production that seems to be the biggest issue is (when video is a ‘special project’) it needs to be squeezed in between all the other things you need to do! If you’re stressed out and busy, it’s hard to switch gears and think critically and give feedback that’s thoughtful. That’s why I try and schedule feedback sessions during or after lunch, it tends to relax and refocus people, pulled from the slipstream of the normal work day.  It doesn’t hurt that people are frequently in better mood when eating too!

More Pro-tips:

  1. When creating your plan, make sure you evaluate the business ecosystem that this video project takes place in: “what is the business goal?” Only then can you measure success.
  2. Projects go much more smoothly when you can appoint one point of contact to liaison with your producer and internal team.
  3. When creating a production schedule, build in a couple “schedule re-evaluation” milestones. Because video production is a complex creative process ripe with unknowns at the start, this allows the project schedule to change to more realisticly to account for surprises.
  4. For budgeting, plan waaay ahead, more than you’d expect. It makes much more sense to have a goal and plan in place before you determine budget. In other words: wouldn’t you rather know where you need to fly before you determine how much jet fuel it’s going to take to get there?
  5. Lunch, water and bathrooms: Yeah, people need those.
  6. You want sharks with lasers mounted on their heads? Sure, but we’ll need a tank of water, sharks, lasers…

I think the biggest take away is this: PLAN. It’s hard for busy clients who don’t do much video to anticipate what is going to be required of them for a video production. The best inoculation for such an ‘information vacuum’ is planning, especially when you can anticipate that you probably don’t know what you don’t know. The projects that have plenty of lead time tend to have the best outcomes, especially those with a clear goal…y’know, like world domination. Mu-hahahahah!!
I hope these evil tips help you and your accomplice bring your evil video production plans come to fruition!

If you found this helpful please share with your evil empire, ‘like’, and follow below. Really, please do!

Dane Frederiksen
Digital Accomplice

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