Strategy. When building out your planning documents, you need to begin with your high-level strategy. What do you want your video to accomplish for your company? Are you merely seeking to strengthen your brand, or are you looking for your viewers to take some type of direct action as a result of watching your video? What tone should the video take? What audience(s) are you looking to engage with? The list of objectives could be endless, so be sure to be very specific with what you are looking to accomplish.
Preparation. Once the strategy is set, the next step will be to perform the necessary preparation to ensure the video shoot is as well thought out as possible. Thorough film prep will include a shot list, a schedule for each day of filming, a list of interviewees, interview questions, and sample talking points. Other questions that you should be thinking of include:
- What do you want your high-level messaging to be?
- What emotion do you want your video to evoke?
- What questions can you ask the interviewees that will provide you with the answers that will help you meet your video objective(s)
- What props might you need?
- Do you need actors or voiceovers to supplement your footage?
- Do you need a teleprompter or paper scripts, or will your subjects be more candid with an informal arrangement?
Contingency Planning. Once you’ve completed your hard work up front to prepare you will then need to be prepared for contingencies. It’s more than likely that your schedule will fly out the window come shoot day and you’ll have to make many adjustments – to accommodate for the weather, your subjects, unexpected public at your shoot site, etc. Make sure you have a plan that can adjust to changing circumstances.
Communication. This may sound simple, but having all participants aware of the plan you’ve worked so hard to put together is just as important as having that thorough plan to begin with. Make sure you send out the schedule, shot list, and interview questions at least 2 days ahead of time (ideally giving a full week) for anyone involved to review and prep. Make sure participants know to wear solid colors and avoid patterns.
Film Day Cheat Sheet. Lastly, ensure you have everything you need the day of by compiling a list ahead of time. Here is a sample cheat sheet for your briefcase on film day:
- Shot list (this is a must – always print out your shot list so you can have it accessible at all times and cross things off the list throughout the day)
- Messaging doc
- Scripts with sample talking points
- Interview questions
- Backup batteries for your filming equipment
- Appropriate shoes/clothing for your filming environment