In Part I, we offered an extended definition of profession and professionalism. In Part II we’ll look at the things working with a professional provides when producing business video.
There is no right way to produce a video, just effective and ineffective practices. Let’s look at some of the major phases and see how a professional might thoughtfully map onto them.
|What. Tone. POV. Audience.
Seldom discussed. Critical.
Social Media Plan
Some of the above are self-explanatory; some need clarification. But, all need a professional’s touch to be competed effectively.
Let’s start with the phase no one either ever talks about or gets collapsed into Pre-Production and that’s Development. Theatrical producers of broadcast and feature films usually have development personnel or entire development. What is it? Well, without getting super-detailed here, it’s the phase and the individuals who locate a project to produce.They might buy something from the outside world (a script or a pitch) or they might hire writers and producers and create it from the ground up. They deal with legal, casting, distribution, attaching creatives (directors and stars), in service of the development of a deal.
In the business video world, development is the process of clearly articulating what the project is, what audience it is going to serve, its budget, its timeframe/critical paths, its look, tone, style, length, distribution channels, and in general, all the decisions that need to be made to create the totality of the project long before it ever goes into production.
So what would the consummate professional add to this phase? Well, first they’d acknowledge that such a phase exists! And, then they’d have created their own way to develop an idea into a script, asking the proper questions of the client, perhaps doing market research or running focus groups or interfacing with an organization that manages those tasks. They would carefully document each conversation, each decision and shape the idea into a script or take an existing script and tune it for production.
During Pre-Production a pro will carefully schedule out the entire project, hire cast and crew as appropriate, deliver scripts and script revisions, show sketches for any animations or graphics, and provide change orders for modifications.
The Production phase is usually the most hectic, because there is so much detail to be coordinated and tightly scheduled, in order to save money. Professionals will make sure that everyone involved has their call times and places, permits will have been executed for exterior shoots, hair and makeup artists will arrive on time, lunch will be served when it’s supposed to be, and all the myriad of details will be managed accordingly. But, perhaps the most important aspect of production is that the set is quiet, calm, and a pleasure for all and that’s possible when the details have been meticulously managed.
Post-Production is often the most contemplative phase, but no less intense in so far as there are many details to be tracked and many choices to be made. A smart producer will likely shield the editing and finishing crew from the client and send links to interim pieces of the project. Editors, audio mixers, and people who do color correction, titles and graphics often work best alone and without interruption. One of the most critical aspects of post is to manage the myriad of changes that might be required or requested by the director, producer and the client. A professional will constantly communicate these changes or choices to the client and make clear any additional costs associated with them. The last thing any client wants are costly surprises.
In Distribution the producer may only have a limited responsibility, such as formatting files for upload. But a great producer will take the time to provide alternative copies of masters on tape or other media and go the extra mile on behalf of the client to ensure that files are properly compressed and test prior to upload.
During each phase a professional will take time to articulate their process, provide documentation, and ask for feedback to ensure that the conditions for satisfaction that you as the client expect, are being met. Because in the end, a professional wants you to come back again and again and to have that happen you must be completely satisfied.
Remember that second heating contractor from Part I of this post? He did come back with a bid and followed up with a phone call. However the bid was nothing more than three lines of misspelled, unintelligibly worded text and in the follow-up voicemail he badly mispronounced my name. Do you think I’d work with this contractor after all?