Creative Issues to Consider When Hiring a Vendor for Content Production

In the first two posts on vendor created content we looked at the legal and quality issues that can come up on a project. The final area of concern is probably the most variable of the three, and that’s the creative side.

Generally speaking corporate videos shouldn’t look like cheap local TV commercials (you know the ones I mean – wooden actors, often the owners, speaking like robots about how much they can save you), but they don’t need to be Hollywood blockbusters either. In the case of websites or text content, there’s the gap between a PhD thesis and the kind of text fourteen year old kids send out. There’s a lot of distance between the extremes, and it’s important for vendor and customer to agree before the project begins on what the end result will look like.

This won’t matter when the vendor is brought in to record and/or broadcast a live meeting – for the most part they just need to make sure the right subject is captured, that switching happens as planned, and the signals are delivered correctly. It’s the studio/location shoots for formally developed video projects that require a lot of planning and discussion about the tone, style, and final product. If you’ve hired the production company because you just don’t have the staffing, you will obviously be able to lay out for the company exactly what you want.

If, however, you don’t feel comfortable laying out the creative vision on your own, here are some things to consider:

  • Know your company and its culture. If you’re in a button-down, formal corporate environment (never mind the casual dress code), your executives will want that reflected in the video production or website. If you’re in a very casual environment, use that tone instead.
  • Know your performers.  If you’re hiring actors, it’s more a matter of picking people that reflect the message and have whatever “look” you’d like to see. But a lot of corporate video pieces involve shooting real employees and executives, and it’s important to know how those people perform best. One exec is great sitting down one-on-one, and the other may need an audience to deliver a strong performance; tailor the creative vision of the piece to those strengths.
  • Match your vision to the powers that be. Make sure everyone is on board with the direction of the piece – especially those who will sign off on it – before putting scenes to SD card.
  • Get your message across crystal clear. Long before the production company is hired, you should know what you want to say. Spend plenty of time on the script or key messages so that everyone agrees to what you’re trying to get across.
  • Don’t lose sight of that message. Equally important is that those messages are not lost in the course of production. It’s all well and good to have an artiste create a brilliant, award-winning edit of a Coppolla-esque video, but if your message gets lost in the process it doesn’t do what you needed.

The heart of your web project is your creative thinking behind it. Call me and we can help refine it and prepare you to work with your vendor to deliver the best story you can.