Business Videos: Part 1

Most businesses have toyed with the idea of creating a video to showcase what they do.  Some have gone as far as to actually put together a video while others have been reluctant to do so.  Today’s entry walks readers through the steps to better understand the process.

First Steps First:  You Need A Strategy

Not unlike military maneuvers, you need a strategy before the cameras start rolling.  You need a strategy before the script is written.  You need a strategy even before you come up with a concept.

The dictionary defines strategy as “a high-level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty.”  In the case of a video for business purposes, the strategy is the perfect blend of who, what, why, and how.  A wonderful example of this concept is found in the children’s movie, “The Master Of Disguise” starring Dana Carvey.

Before you do anything else, define the who, what, why, and how of the video.  Who are you targeting?  Why are you targeting this audience?  What do you want this audience to do?  And how do you plan on getting that message to your audience?  Once those questions are answered, you’re ready to work with your creative team to come up with a concept.

It Starts With An Idea

Once you’ve got your strategy, it’s time to apply that strategy to the ideas that are presented.  The idea that fits the strategy is the concept — a concept that will help sell or publicize your service(s) or product(s).

Coming up with a concept won’t be as simple as you think.  Many ideas will meet most but not all of the criteria set out by the strategy.  If no idea meets all of the criteria set out by your strategy, keep looking.  There’s no sense in going with a concept that’s almost 100% when a bit more work will yield the concept that’s exactly what you need for the project.  At that point, you can move on to the scriptwriting phase.

What A Script Is

Nearly everyone knows what a script is but what most people don’t know is that not every author or writer can write a script.  Scriptwriting is the art of writing well for mass media.

The Definition of Mass Media

Mass Media is the how technology communicates with a vast majority of the general public.  It’s movies and video games.  It’s hard copy and online newspapers and magazines.  It’s even video games.  But it doesn’t end there.  Whatever the medium, if it communicates with a vast majority of the general public, it’s mass media.

Mass Media Scripting For Your Demographic

Knowing what you want to do and knowing what components are necessary to bring the concept to life.  If you have gotten your strategy right, the concept and scripting will align with your strategy.  In other words, a well-defined strategy will lead to the right concept and when you hire the right person to script your concept, the script will also work as intended.

When you get to this stage, choosing the right person makes a big difference to the final product.  If you choose someone who is great at creating awesome scripts for showy theatrical productions but your concept is for a barebones YouTube commercial, it won’t matter how incredibly talented the scriptwriter is.  That scriptwriter isn’t a good fit with your concept.  Go back to the drawing board and find the right scriptwriter to fit your concept.

Assembling The Assets

Once you have your script in hand, it’s time to assemble the essential assets for your video, and that starts with a detailed storyboard.  A storyboard?  Yes, a storyboard.

Storyboards are visual organizers that create the continuity your video will need to succeed.  Each panel will have technical information included along with a visual representation of what is happening at this point in the video.  In other words, it’s a shot-by-shot call-by-call representation of everything that might be included in the final product.

Final Note

Next Tuesday, I’ll be writing about each of the assets leading to the final product:  The video.  In the meantime, take some time to figure out what your strategy is.  It sounds easy enough, but it may not be as easy as you think.

Elyse Bruce

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