If disenchantment suddenly struck you as you read those words, or you're feeling the on-set of panic at the mere mention of transferring your thoughts to paper in a meaningful way that will actually look good and communicate things in a format you'd be happy with, I can guarantee that you're not the only one.
I originally wrote a welcome blog post. However, it mainly comprised of me mainly saying “Welcome to the blog”, so I deleted it and dropped it in here instead. I'd had a thought, you see. I decided I would write about the guidance process, and how I help clients get the most out of their idea.
The very first thing you need to know is this: although it's always helpful, you don't have to have a finished idea. There's no reason you have to wait for 6 months while you figure out every single detail of what you want to do. You don't have to do it in isolation, on your own.
That said, there is one thing that I absolutely need from every client or would-be-client.
You need to know what you basically want to achieve, and the core reasons as to why you're doing this. You should be able to write it in one sentence, and when you say it out loud, you shouldn't stumble or find it particularly difficult to articulate.
Are you looking to create lots more awareness about a new service you're offering? Is the new video going to be a fun promotional film about your new shop, product range or recently imported items? How about the tone and how you want to make people feel as they watch it? Have you considered if video is actually the right way to go about achieving your main objective?
I can't argue with the fact that video is very cool indeed, but, first things first, what you need to know is that when you start your project, there must be an objective. A clear goal. Know this and, usually, the rest will follow. The objective will remain the same throughout and this is the thing that is difficult to change.
So, let's say that you know that you want to increase interest about a new service you are offering. There are other objectives but this is your main priority. This is a solid objective that will not change. We can do a lot with that.
A pen and paper might be handy at this point.
Next, a good idea would be for you to check out what, in terms of video, other people have done before you (if you haven't already). But not just that, of course. You may be working on a video, but that doesn't mean that your influences have to be limited to this medium only.
Look at magazines, go to galleries, watch people and watch bad films. Watch music videos and commercials from the 1980s and listen to what marketing professionals from across the board have to say, even if people have vested interests which make things confusing.
Watch all kinds of things. Watch YouTube videos and look at old catalogues to see how it all fits together and how colour has been used. Discuss the idea with co-workers and talk about style, how important dialogue is and what is expected of you. Discuss the idea with people who you never normally would and people who have absolutely no idea about video or the specifics of what you're doing, but who do know what it is they, as consumers, want – those are the people who won't be so involved in your industry that they can see the wood for the trees.
This is red-hot information.
So then, the goal at this stage isn't to work out the fine details. The idea is still raw, so allow it to expand and contract and develop and explode. Consider the possibilities and consider what your customers really want, and what your competition is doing. Or not doing, as the case may be. Sometimes, that's the most important thing of all. And just because it hasn't been done, doesn't mean it can't or it shouldn't be (although there is a fine line here! Sometimes, there's a reason nobody has done something).
There are all kinds of different ways to look at this, and sometimes complexity isn't the answer. But sometimes it is. Keep an open mind at this point. The confusion will give way to clearer thoughts soon.
As mentioned on the site, I offer a free initial consultation. Or, if you're some way away from me, we can have a chat on the phone. When you come to me for a video, I am happy to offer my opinion and input and I'll try and listen to you first without jumping in with what I think. During the consultation we'll talk about what's been on your mind, and I'll elaborate on the technical specifications that affect budget and deadlines. This is familiar ground to me, and something I've done a lot of over the years, as a freelance copywriter.
Generally speaking, this initial free consultation is only an hour or so. While this is barely the blink of an eye in terms of creative time, it does give us a chance to put forward and consider the strongest ideas we have at this point, and, hopefully, load you with enough information and inspiration to go back to your colleagues with something a bit more tangible than you had before.
For most clients, this is enough to allow them to go away and work on their idea a bit more, feeling a bit calmer, knowing that the support is there as and when they need it. In many cases, by this point, we have a working idea that can really go somewhere and do the objective the justice it deserves.
After the meeting, I'm not going to abandon you. The idea of the free initial consultation is that this gives us time to consider what's best for your project, and although I can't consult for free following the first meeting, I am happy to give basic guidance via email, as your project progresses.
Sometimes with these things, there can be a feeling that every single detail has to be there before any kind of preparation can take place. In reality, this doesn't always happen, and often, it won't be until the first day of shooting that everything falls into place and new ideas reveal themselves. Sometimes, something will happen at the second shoot to change things for the better. There's no way to know this before it happens. The trick is to remain open and flexible and be in a position to not be derailed by the unexpected.
So the point is: don't panic. We will get there. As a videographer, I will ensure that whatever we are shooting, we have a plan for it and we are not wasting valuable time. Every time the cameras come out, I'm thinking of the editing and the end result, the objective, so that we get enough coverage to produce something that will do your company or service proud.