What are three critical pieces of advice on educating potential clients on creating videos for them?
From when you first are in contact with the artist and are in the beginning stages of working in the pre-production process, be very open and honest about what goes into the conception, planning, production and costs of the vision the artist has in their mind. Pre-production is the stage where you develop your relationship with your client and get a sense of what they expect of the end product.
A good practice when brainstorming with your client is to ask them to send you examples of the style of the music video they want. The difference between what they send you and the way they describe their vision can be surprisingly substantial.
2. Under-promise and Over-deliver
I once saw a quote by Mark Wilcken, an independent producer in Little Rock, Arkansas, that describes this well:
“I usually give them more than what they paid for. In the end, it's my name and reputation attached to the final product. I'll scale back and compromise, but I won't deliver something I can't stand by.” Mark Wilcken.
Never try "winging it" when making pitching your ideas. Take the time to understand your concept fully: the characters, the setting, the atmosphere, everything you can think of. The more you've thought of beforehand, the less you'll have to make-up-as-you-go during the pitch.
Additionally, it is entirely OK to have a small sheet of notes when pitching, no one will judge you.
Know Your Audience
It is just as important to know who you're pitching to as it is to know what you are pitching to them. Do some research. If the particular producer or production company primarily makes and is known for comedy movies, you may have difficulty in selling your romantic horror.
Your pitch should be short and sweet (reasonably) depending on your idea. Try to shoot for under 15 minutes so you'll have time afterward to go over any financial information and receive questions.
What are some difficulties you've had with pitching your idea's so far?
So far, I've found pitching to be incredibly intimidating. However, making sure I'm prepared, knowing who my audience is and keeping the pitch short has always helped me in my presentation.
"Most people think Video Production is a glamorous business leading to fun gigs with celebrities every day." -Patty Mooney
As video gear gets cheaper every year, the video production industry continues to get more and more competitive as more young entrepreneurs do work in the field.
Many who join the industry have the perception that it will be a "party every day" with celebrities, award shows, flashy and adventurous gigs. This, however, does not take into account much of the reality.
Working in the film industry means working 10 hour days, continually lifting, setting up, hauling and tearing down equipment and working multiple positions. I mean knowing who you need to know, and knowing who they know.
At the same time, however, video and film production is one of the most creative industries and communities to be a part of, and one where hard work always pays off.
What are six things to keep in mind when preparing for a shoot? Why are they so important?
What is the call time? What is the Wrap time? Being well aware of the schedule when shooting is essential to shooting efficiently and effectively. Keep in mind that you and your crew should always arrive about an hour early (before talent) to begin setting up before the day's shoot begins, as well as before wrap time.
Your crew will likely arrive by car, and production vans/trucks can take up space. Be aware of parking availability and inform your crew before the day of production.
In addition to the fact that people need to eat, you cast and crew will perform and operate at their best when well fed. Make sure a plan is set in place and that everyone is informed about when and what food is provided.
In addition to food, people need restrooms. While it seems obvious, arranging and locating restrooms is often overlooked.
Where will gear be stored? In a truck? An adjacent room? It is important to set aside space to store equipment to keep the set organized, prevent tripping/falling hazards and to keep things out of the shot.
This is an essential step for your talent. Should they arrive wardrobe/makeup ready, or will you be providing these services? If you are providing, you may want to have their call time set at at the time the crew arrives to allow time to get ready to shoot.
Communicating your story effectively to your audience is one of the most important things you must do as a filmmaker. This can be accomplished while writing the script and shooting, but most of the final decision making for the story is done in the editing room.
How do people learn?
Understanding how people an "learn" your story and how they learn from your story is critical for an editor. Some people learn from hearing, while some learn from reading and some from doing. While an editor can't have his or her audience do actions, they can show them how things are done.
Most people learn from a combination of these things.
To use these insights practically, while editing you should always consider how the audience might understand the information you are presenting that will further them into the story.
When creating online content (on YouTube for example), using a video script can help to make sure you deliver your intended message correctly in order and in a way you can easily edit. Also, you won't have to worry about missing anything.
What are the four parts of an effective video script? What does each of these elements do for your final video?
1. The Hook
The hook is the first segment of your video where you convey everything your video will be about in a way that grabs the audience's attention and compels them to continue watching. You'll want to keep this short (10-15 seconds) to ensure the audience is "hooked" before they consider clicking off.
2. The Introduction
The introduction is where you introduce yourself, any other subjects, quick branding elements or additional information that would be important to the viewer.
*This is step is not required, but it can be useful in improving the structure of your video.
3. The Body
The body of the video is where you will share the bulk of your information and unpack the content you foreshadowed in the hook. This is the most critical part of the video.
4. The Call to Action
The call to action is merely telling your audience exactly what to do next. Examples can include telling the audience visiting your website, buy your product or subscribe to your channel.
The purpose of the "Title Safe" is precisely what its name implies: a safe place to put titles, text as well as other graphics. Title safes were essential as television first began because of the variety of cropping different old TVs had. Now in the 21st century, many have disregarded the importance of the title safe because of the modernization of most screens people use, however, using the title safe is as important now as it was then.
Why is understanding title safe areas so important even during the era of modern televisions?
The use of title safes is still vital to the post-production process because while most viewers in modernized areas will use a screen with a 16:9 ratio, many viewers don't. Many viewers across the world use screens with either different aspect ratios, or have displays capable of 16:9 that is set up differently (4:3, for example).
As a disclaimer, I want to state that there are many different types and styles of scripts. However, these abbreviations are fairly universal within the film industry.
When writing a video script, you will never write out the full name of a shot, but instead, use abbreviations. You will primarily use these three shot types: the Long Shot as LS, the Medium Shot as MS and the Close Up Shot as CU.
Some variations to these shots include the Extreme Long Shot abbreviated as ELS or EXS, the Medium Long Shot or MLS, the Medium Close Up or MCU and the Extreme Close Up, abbreviated as ECU or XCU.
Camera movement such as panning, tilting, boom/dolly, handheld or zooming would also be listed.
Also, video sources will also be listed on the script as Original Video (b-roll), Archive Video, Graphics, Animation, and Talent.
Within talent, there are talent sources that must be noted in the script. These are Voice Over or VO, Voice on Camera or VOC, Sound on Tape (interview subject) or SOT and Dialogue.
Why is it important to know these abbreviations when writing your script?
It is essential to know these abbreviations not only because it saves time, but because everyone else in the industry relies on using them on a day-to-day basis.
A video script can be hard and take lots of practice to master. Even something seemingly simple like a thirty-second commercial can require extensive planning and consideration for an effective deliverance of the company's message.
A video script is a story and message translated into a scripted format usually used for documentaries and commercial work. It is a blueprint for the work you will be exporting. The script will include everything the audience sees as well as a dedicated section for everything they hear.
I also want to mention that there are many different types and styles of video scripts. This form of video script -- referred to as an AV script -- is commonly used in the industry. I will focus on it for the remainder of this article.
How should a video script be laid out? What are two key factors to keep in mind when creating a video script?
One key thing to keep in mind when creating a video script is to make sure you note EVERYTHING: who the subject is, what they are saying, what they are doing, what time of shot to frame for the scene.
Second, keep audio and video separate. The left column should list all the visuals for the specified shot, and the audio for the shot should line up horizontally in the column on the right.
Two-Column or AV Scripts are as their name implies: as script split into two columns: the first for everything visual, and the second for everything audible. AV Scripts are typically only used for multi-camera productions as well as advertisements, corporate and instructional videos.
What are three key things to remember about formatting an AV script?
1. The Header
The header of each page should begin with the page number followed by a period, and then any relevant information to the client. This information can include titles, slugs, names, dates and so on. I also recommend listing the version of the script in the header and keeping an archive of old versions, in case a client wants to return to a previous AV script.
The columns, as stated earlier, are split into two categories: audio and video, audio on the right and video on the left. Each column should begin with an "AUDIO" and "VIDEO" video above them, and the shots and corresponding audio should always be aligned horizontally.
The video column should contain the shot size, the subject, action or blocking notes, special camera movements and other descriptions for each shot. The audio column should contain any dialogue (with the characters speaking it), music and sound effects. All text other than dialogue should be written in capital letters.