12 Tips For Writing A Winning Video Brief

Before writing a video brief, it’s useful to understand the process involved in producing video content. Video production moves through four key stages; Development, where your ideas are formed, Pre-Production where all the logistical aspects of your production are considered, Production, where your videos are filmed and Post-Production where your films are then ultimately made.

To give you a head start, we’ve put together some handy little tips to get your creative juices flowing and to help you write that all in important video production brief.

1) WHAT TYPE OF FILM ARE YOU PRODUCING?

Video is a highly versatile medium. If you can tell us whether you’re seeking to make a corporate film, an infomercial, a television commercial, a music video, a promo film, a viral video or alternatively a documentary, then we will immediately understand where your film sits. If your film is for commercial purposes, you might want to give some thought to where your video fits in the purchase funnel. 

2) WHO IS THE AUDIENCE FOR YOUR FILM?

The most effective films are tailored to their audience. It’s critical to know who your films are aimed at because understanding who we need to reach will shape everything from the the script and the tone of the film, to where and when your videos should be published.

3) CALLS TO ACTION

What you would like your viewer to do once they have watched your film? A good video should end with a compelling call-to-action (CTA) and leave a positive impression. On YouTube this CTA might be to invite the viewer to subscribe to your channel or alternatively you might ask your viewer to give you a call, make a donation or visit your website. If you intend to use an alternative hosting partner for your videos, then you might well also be able to add a form to the end of your film to capture leads directly from within the video content.

4) WHAT IS YOUR FILM ABOUT?

It’s usually a bad idea to cover too many subjects within a single video. The most effective videos are usually quite succinct and address one subject in sufficient detail rather than diluting the message by paying lip-service to too many topics. The issue with films that try to take on too much, is that they can easily become too long. It will fail to retain the interest of the audience and simultaneously fail to go into enough detail to satisfy the enthusiastic viewer or fan.

5) WHAT VALUES DOES YOUR BUSINESS STAND FOR?

The most effective films possess an interesting or moving story. This is as true for B2B comms as it is in B2C projects. In order to have a compelling story, there has to be either a conflict or a challenge to overcome. By over coming the hurdle presented within the film your audience will be moved emotionally. Understanding which emotional triggers to pull is really important as these should reflect the same values as those your brand stands for. 

6) WHAT TYPE OF STORY SHOULD I TELL?

From Shakespeare to Spielberg, there are only seven basic story types which include Overcoming the Monster, Rebirth, Quest, Journey and Return, Rags to Riches, Tragedy and Comedy. Understanding the seven different stories is a comprehensive subject so we’ve produced a more digestible blog post on the subject entitled ‘How To Add Style To Your Story’ which is designed to help you pick the right story type for your needs. For some worthwhile reading on how to tell a story, we recommend Robert McKee’s excellent book ‘Story’.

7) WHERE ARE YOUR FILMS GOING TO BE SEEN?

How you intend to use your film will impact upon the final budget so it’s important to clarify this information early on, to avoid any nasty surprises. Usage covers everything from which channels the films will be seen on, to which territories the film will be made available in. Letting us know where your films are going to be seen informs everything from the running time of your films, to the cast, crew and equipment required to produce your content.

8) DOES YOUR FILM REQUIRE ACTORS?

If your film isn’t driven by interviews then it is quite possible that you may require either professional actors, some employees or alternatively a voice over artist to propel your narrative. We can source any actors you may require however depending on the type of film you’re looking to produce then the rates for enlisting such actors can vary. Actors for a television commercials in the UK are covered by Equity and even with corporate films, an actor will typically earn a fee for their work in addition to a buyout which protects their image rights for an agreed period of time.

If budget is an issue, then you might consider using staff or friends within your films however it is unlikely you will obtain the same results from an amateur actor as you would from a professional and it will almost certainly take longer to produce.

9) LOCATIONS

Are there any specific locations which are pertinent for your production? This is important to know as it can help us locate local crew. It is also important for other logistical considerations such as calculating an appropriate call time and coordinating movement orders. If you need any help with your location recce then you might find our other blog handy ‘6 things to look out for on your location recce

If you know your production will have to be shot in a specific location please do let us know when submitting your brief.

10) DO YOU HAVE ANY EXAMPLES OF SIMILAR FILMS WHICH YOU LIKE?

Visual references can be tremendously helpful for conveying your ideas. Send your reference films our way and we will make sure the final product gets as close as possible to your intentions.

11) KNOW YOUR BUDGET

An understanding of your budget can really help us focus when developing creative ideas for your project. Lots of people find themselves feeling a little uncomfortable when asked to be so open about the budget they’re prepared to spend on their videos however the question isn’t intended to catch you out, instead it’s about making sure you get the best production values possible for your budget. At Element 26, we’re a highly creative and extremely resourceful bunch meaning we always strive to put as much of your budget on screen as possible.

12) KNOW YOUR DEADLINE

It is essential that we know your key dates. Whilst the production schedule will vary from production-to-production, we typically recommend you allocate between 6-8 weeks for your film to go from proposal sign-off to completion. We will obviously do our best to accomodate any key dates you have in mind, for instance if your production relates to a live event, then the shoot would have to take place in conjunction with that event.

If you’re thinking about producing some video content and would like to benefit from our experience, then why not jump on a call with one of our producers. We look forward to hearing from you.

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk

8 Tips For Coming Up With Killer Video Content Ideas

Thinking up ideas for videos ideas isn’t easy, especially when you have to do it on a regular basis. Here are 8 tips to help you unleash the creative genius within

If you are ever required to come up with creative ideas you can no doubt sympathise with Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale. “Blank pages inspire with me terror,” she said. We feel the same way about blank screens.  

Unfortunately, the need to feed the machine, in other words social media and the internet, means waiting for inspiration to strike is seldom an option. The chances are, you are under pressure to think of a killer idea for your next video sharpish, followed by the next one and then the one after that.

So how do you come up with great ideas when the clock is ticking louder and louder? Here are 8 ideas:

1) Set up a content calendar

Every industry has its own natural cycle. For designers it revolves round London Fashion Week, florists obsess over Valentine’s Day and Christmas tree sellers… you get the idea.

Think about what happens every year that has an impact on your business, what the key annual dates in your sector are and what is coming up that is specific to your business – a product launch, new premises or whatever. These will be the pillars of your content calendar and should spark a host of ideas to get you kick-started.

2) Listen to your customers

Annoying isn’t it when clients or customers all seem to ask the same questions? It happens in every business and is a vital clue to your clients’ pain points. Videos that answer these questions are great topics. Riverpools has built its whole marketing strategy around answering customer queries, including this video about the Pros, Cons and Cost of Fiberglass, Concrete and Vinyl Pools.

3) Track what your customers are engaging with

However you host your video, (and our White Paper How To Use Video Marketing To Win More Business has a section on this), you will have an army of statistics that tell you what your clients are engaging with.

You should use these statistics to inform the types of videos you make. By all means play around with different types of videos but if it becomes obvious that certain types create better responses than others, ditch the poor performers and put your efforts into the ones that work.

4) Use the power of teamwork

One of the joys of working in video is that it is a collaborative effort. Author Steven Johnson says in his book Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation that the “sole inventor working alone” is a total myth. If you want to be creative, work in a group, throw out random ideas and have fun. Johnson describes how many of the cultural innovations of the 1920s arose largely as a result of artists, poets and writers meeting in Parisian cafés. To save you reading the book, watch Johnson’s TED talk on Where good ideas come from.

5) Go for a walk (or take a bath)

If a group discussion is out of the question and you’re on your own, get away from your desk and do some exercise. Activity invigorates the senses and if you’re really lucky, like Isaac Newton, an apple may clunk you on the head and give you the jolt you need. Or, do as Archimedes did and take a bath. Your eureka moment is sure to follow.

6) “Take inspiration”

Who hasn’t, umm, “taken inspiration” from one of their competitors? Newspapers and magazines do it all the time. They even copy and recycle their own ideas. (If Men’s Health has told me once how to get great abs it’s told me a hundred times – to no avail, sadly.)

If it works for someone else, don’t be afraid to use the same idea. We are not suggesting you lift an idea wholesale, far from it, rather that you take something you like and add some spin to make it your own.

7) Use an idea for more than one video

With a little bit of lateral thought you may find that you can use the footage shot for one video elsewhere.

I know of one journalist who every time he interviewed someone famous would ask them what their favourite song was and why. Over a period of years he had enough material for a lengthy article for a music magazine.

While you’re shooting your main video, how about doing a spin off at the same time. Last summer, a behind the scenes teaser was released for the latest Star Wars film, The Last Jedi, despite it being a closed set. If it’s good enough for Star Wars, there’s no reason for you to be shy.

8) Don’t be afraid to try come up with a crazy idea

Some of the best ideas start out as seemingly insane. Gary Dahl came up with the idea for the Pet Rock in a bar (unsurprisingly) in 1975. Despite being nothing more than a rock on some straw in a cardboard box, it made him $15m in six months.

This should serve as proof that there is no such thing as a bad idea. Except, of course, that since then someone came up with the idea for The Emoji Movie, so maybe that’s not completely true. If you are in any doubt, here’s the trailer.

To discuss how you can turn your ideas into great videos, please contact us.

 

About the Author

Nathan Haines

Nathan is the managing director of Element 26 and an expert in video production and video marketing. Nathan enjoys supporting companies to grow their businesses using video. Get in touch on Twitter @element26uk