Probing before production

featured-probingThere’s many steps to producing a compelling video.  The very first step you take should be to ask yourself why you are making the video.  The answers to this question and the ones below will determine a lot of factors.

If you selling services or a product, you’ll need to keep the length under two minutes.  Perhaps you are making a video to inspire people to donate to your organization for a worthy cause.  In that case you’ll want to juxtapose the urgency of your cause with the success stories due to past support received.  If you have a proven record of great customer service or 5-star reviews of your product, you’ll definitely want to employ powerful customer testimonials in your video.

Below are the first five questions I ask to get a better understanding of the business we will be featuring and the video message.  A good production company will want to, at least, know the answers to these questions before going into production.  If you can answer these questions on your own first, you’re ready to searching for a production company.

  1. For which audience is the video intended?  Identifying your audience will help you with your creative elements.  It will also influence color, music and the voice-over gender.  If creating an ad on social sites, it will also help you target an ad demographic.
  2. What are the compelling aspects about the story?  Video, is storytelling. Determining a compelling aspect about your business allows your audience the opportunity to learn specifics about you and your business.
  3. What do you feel separates your business from your competitors?  What should people know about you that would make them choose you over of a competitor?
  4. Is there a face of the business tied into the brand (i.e. Papa John, Frank Perdue, Colonel Sanders)?  If there is a face of the business and it’s part of the company brand, you should consider featuring them in the video.
  5. Who can best testify about your business?  No one can argue with an honest customer testimonial, but remember that testimonials do not only have to be given by customers.  You should consider the customer, employee and CEO perspective.  Testimonials are used to drive home specific points regarding all aspects of the business.  For example, when discussing the construction of an outdoor classroom for a school in Haddonfield, NJ, the message was more effective when including testimonials from not just the students, but also the teachers, the Principal and even the builder.

Depending on the project scope, there are other questions to answer like budget restrictions, custom animation, using arial or stock footage, etc. In any case, if you start with these five questions, you are more than halfway to completing your pre-production.

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