Clients come in all shapes and sizes. For some of our video projects, we simply shoot and then turn over all raw footage to the client so they can edit it themselves. Some businesses we work with have their own in-house marketing team. They create the concept, write the script, and hire us to produce the final piece. Other clients will lean on our expertise to conceptualize, write, shoot, and edit their marketing videos. Every client is different. They have different needs, different expectations, different ideas, and different ways of doing things. Your job as a video producer/director is to listen to their needs, respect their opinions, and advise them when they need guidance throughout the production process.
A friend of mine recently sent me an email asking for my advice on a particular situation. She is currently working on a video and her client has some great ideas, but there is one problem: the client is trying to put too much into the video.
I’ve been in creative meetings when the client throws a lot of information at me. But that’s not a bad thing. When you first get started on conceptualizing and writing a video, you want as much information as possible. The biggest challenge comes when you have to narrow your focus and sculpt that information into usable material for the final script. If you’re having trouble convincing your client to reduce the amount of info that he/she wants in the video, here’s some advice:
- Listen and Take Notes – during those creative meetings, pay attention to everything they say and take notes as you go. The act of physically writing down your client’s ideas tells them that you value their input. By engaging them in this way, you will earn their respect and trust and they will be more receptive to your creative suggestions.
- After getting all the information, it’s time to trim the fat. Ask your client a few follow-up questions. These questions will encourage your client to narrow his or her focus and concentrate on those elements of their business that are most important: a) How do you want the public to perceive you?
b) Using one sentence, how would you describe your company’s identity/mission?
c) What is your mission statement?
d) What are three key selling points for your business?
e) What objections do people have when it comes to making a purchase? i.e. what prevents them from buying from you?
- Explain the process – As politely as you can, explain the process of creating a video. Emphasize the importance of creating a video with a strong, central theme and a simple message. Bombarding the viewer with too much information will only confuse the audience and will result in more questions being asked than being answered.
- Make Comparisons – Show the client samples from your reel and walk them through the case study of each project. Show them through these videos how a simple approach is usually the best approach. You might also ask your client to think of their favorite commercials or favorite long-format videos. Walk through those videos and ask your client, “What makes these videos so memorable? Why do you like them? Why are they successful?” Usually, it’s because the director boiled everything down to a simple concept that an audience could easily digest.
And remind your client of that adage, “The simplest solution is the best solution.”