How to manage the scriptwriting process
The script is more than likely to be the toughest part of the entire production process. After all, the script is really an invention. It’s a solution to a problem, whether sharing a technical insight, conveying a solution that only a particular product can provide, or putting a brand head and shoulders above the rest.
“We need a script. So, who writes it?” Hopefully an experienced video production company or producer will take the reins before a client has a chance to ask this question. But this is not always the case. Long before consulting with a producer the client may move forward with the scriptwriting process internally: “Isn’t this something that we can do in-house? Who knows the subject-matter better than us?”
Thus begins the process of handing off the job to an internal product expert with an already busy schedule. And the days turn into weeks, and the weeks turn into months. Then we come to find out that the job was handed off again to a newly hired admin who’s even more overwhelmed by this request. Most people have never written a script. But how hard is it?
In most cases, everyone will know the importance of a well drafted script. However, despite the best intentions, the client or inexperienced producer may prolong the writing process for a number of reasons. These include a failure to collaborate or share in the writing process. On the other hand, sometimes the client or producer will seek the approval of dozens in an effort to share responsibility. In the right hands this could be a good thing. In the wrong hands this could lead to more delay and a loss of quality control.
Consulting numerous opinions on the script does not have to be a sign of weakness or indecision. Multiple stakeholders and subject matter experts (SMEs) should be consulted for their valuable opinions. However, rarely does everybody agree on every word in the script. A responsible project manager will consider conflicting opinions and also avoid the “kitchen sink” approach. This is where everything but the kitchen sink is thrown into the script in a democratic effort to please everyone. The result is usually a watered down, lengthy and monotonous video that fails to focus on the real story.
The job of the video production company is to guide the client – to help them define their objectives and write the script. This begins by finding their comfort level. Suggest ideas that perhaps may seem crazy at first but may be an actual solution to their message. Once the objective of the film is well understood, it is time to gather the information to write the script. Take ownership. Be of service by coordinating with the company’s SMEs. This can begin with a request for existing marketing and technical information, including white papers, technical bulletins and marketing resources. It all depends on how much information the company has on hand. Schedule a meeting with the SMEs. Interview them. With enough time set aside, take this opportunity to ask a lot of questions and work through obtaining good answers to begin writing the script.
The video production company must manage the scriptwriting process and help educate the client throughout all phases of production.
We’ve been filming in Orange County and Los Angeles and all over the world for nearly two decades, and one thing never changes: The client experience – our commitment to the little things that matter. This includes making filming at your office or location a smooth and enjoyable experience. Of course, the mission is to always shoot the best footage possible and produce a great film. But one should never overlook the client experience.
When a production company prepares and films at a client’s location, the crew needs to be considerate of not only the client’s time but the space they occupy. Thus, the idea of “leave no trace” comes to mind. “Leave no trace” is a term coined years ago and refers to a set of principles for minimizing or eliminating a person’s impact on the wilderness.
Well, the same can be applied to your office location. Think of the cable television installer or refrigerator repair person that trampled into your home with muddy boots or showed up late. Production companies are subject to the same expectations of caring service.
Much of our filming takes place in private spaces, including corporate offices, homes, businesses and other properties. Our filming begins days before with a phone call to remind the front office staff of our arrival and a quick conversation about logistics, including the area to load in our filming equipment. Days before the filming, we also organize our equipment, test the cameras, check our list of required accessories, and secure our backup equipment so that everything runs smoothly.
We also lock down our filming schedule. For example, if we are filming an interview, 1.5 hours is normally sufficient time to bring in the gear, light the shot, setup the cameras and audio, dress the background and solve any problems.
At the location, a table or chair will most likely need to be repositioned, as well as objects in the background, including pictures, plants or paperwork. Leaving no trace also means returning everything back to where they were originally found.
Safety is the top priority. This includes securing the lighting and stands with sandbags, taping down cables in walkways, and moving obstacles to allow a clear path.
Rolling the cameras on time is key. Yes, think about the client experience. The talent (interviewee) and the client depend on the crew to complete the filming within the time promised. Staying organized allows everyone involved to do their job and not overlook important elements, such as straightening the interviewee’s tie. Staying on schedule puts everyone at ease and gives us time allow a noisy fire truck to pass, for example.
Then we wrap. We check the recording and load out the equipment the same quiet and efficient way we loaded in. One final check of the space to make sure nothing is left behind. One final look to see that we left no trace.