How to Write a Brief for your Video

So you need a video or you think you need one to add pizazz to your conference or more traffic to your website. So where do you start?

The first thing you must ask yourself is who is the audience for this video and next what message do you want to send out to them. You can’t squish everything that an organization does into 30 seconds but you can give a flavour.

Here is a ten point plan to get you started.

1. Think about what you want to say, who you want to say it to and write it down.

Start off with post-its, a white board, blackboard or the back of an envelope. Some of the best ideas start there.
Type it into a document onto your desktop or laptop. Think about the one vital thing you need to convey in this video. Label the document and save it.

2. Chop and Change.

Take time out away from the subject. Go for some exercise, a walk, a spin, a swim or make some soup and then come back to it. It is amazing the ideas you can get when you chop vegetables.

3. Revise

Go back and look at the brief you have written with a fresh perspective. Change it, edit back or add to it and clarify what you want to say. The clearer you are in your own mind what you want your video to say the better job the video producer is likely to make of the project. Leave it to the producer to come up with ideas and ways to tell the story.

4. Who, Where and When

Decide who the audience is and where and when the video will be used. For a conference it can set the scene and show in a series of images and sound bites that would take much longer to say. If it is for the web, the video will help you reach a much wider audience than you ever dreamed possible. This way you can gain new supporters, new customers and new friends. Write all of the ‘who, where and when’ into the brief.

5. Duration

When you know where you want to show your video you will have a better idea of the likely finished duration. If it is for a conference you might like to take use the opening 1 to 3 minutes to give a background of what you do. You can also make it longer 5 to 10 minutes even. People are not as fickle as you think especially if they are interested in your topic to begin with. Footage once shot can always be packaged into shorter or longer pieces but you must capture what you want first.

6. Budget

Decide how much you want to spend. The clearer you are from the beginning about what story you want to tell, the tighter the reign you will have on your budget.

7. Timeline

A deadline focuses producer and client. Allow time to set up the video. Scheduling should be tight but realistic.
All productions have three phases, pre-production (planning and scheduling), production (recording/filming) and post-production (editing, sound mixing, revisions and graphics).

8. Story

Be open to telling a story in your video. Think of telling stories to engage your viewer and listener. This means a beginning, middle and end and if possible a little surprise near the end. Leave wriggle room for your producer as sometimes the best ideas happen after a shoot begins.

9. Remember everyone is unique

We all absorb media in different ways. Some of us are primarily sound people, while others prefer visual. Most of us are a mixture of both. A video can convey sound and vision and can suggest to all senses. We all respond to emotion so use the passion for your own subject to connect with others.

10. Hold something back

Sometimes when people think about making a video for the first time they want to spill everything that is good about their company or product or organization and squish it into one short video. Remember a video is like an opening line in a courtship or dance. Go gently and leave them hungry to hear more.

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