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A checklist of 7 questions for the perfect brief

1. What’s the purpose of your video?

You need to communicate the goal of your video to the company. Is it to launch or support a specific campaign? Is it an attempt at solving a particular problem? What are the key messages about the company that you want to come across in the video? The more of the context that the production company can understand, the better.

If the video is for online use as most are nowadays, then you need to consider what your online marketing aims are: are you making the video for brand awareness, to build trust in your brand or to acquire new customers, supporters or donors in the case of non for profits. Each purpose will require a different approach to both the video production and concept.

2. Who do you want to see it and how will they see it?

Who will your audience be? What do they know about you already? Explain what your intentions are in terms of the distribution of your video. Is it for conferences or training? Or are you planning to have it online? Maybe it is for TV?

3. What do you want it to include?

It helps if you have some ideas about what content you want in your video. Also, you should explain to the production company what you can already bring to the table e.g. locations, contributors or maybe you have hired a celebrity for voice over. You may have archive footage that you would like to be featured in your video or it might be a necessity that the video includes an interview with your CEO. If so, make it known!

4. How would you like it to be narrated?

Do you have a preference about how your video will be narrated? Do you want voice over? Text titles? Talking heads? It is good to have an idea about this before you start because each option gives a very different feel to a video. A video production company can walk you through the pros and cons of these options if you are not sure.

5. What style would you like it to have?

Do you want the video to be like a documentary? Would you like lots of talking heads? Maybe you want to create something impressively cinematic. If you can draw on examples of videos that use styles that you are aspiring to, it would be really useful to share them with the production company.

6. What is your budget?

Have an idea of how much you want to spend. The production company need to know what they are working with and you need to know your limits.

7. What is your deadline?

It’s obvious, but best to be clear. Specify a deadline at the beginning of the process.
Also, how do you want to take delivery of the final product?
Here are some key tips to keep the working relationship happy and effective:

  • Don’t be too rigid – If you hire a production company, they should be armed with creative skills. If you don’t want them to be creative, you might as well hire a camera operator and a professional editor and coordinate the project for yourself.
  • Be realistic – Your ideas need to have some congruence with your budget. Don’t expect the production company to create a cinematic masterpiece on a mobile phone!
  • Communicate – Communicate clearly and simply when writing your brief. The communication doesn’t end there. Keep in touch with the production company throughout the process and be accessible to them if they need to talk to you.

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