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Concept to Script to Shoot: Producing Corporate Identity Videos, Part 2

To storyboard or not to storyboard? Should the story drive the interviews or vice versa? At what point in a corporate project do you set video length and budget? These questions and more are discussed in Part 2 of our Producing Corporate Identity Videos series.

Last week in our first installment of Producing Corporate Identity Videos, we introduced four streaming media producers known for their work in this area—Rochelle Morris of Preface Films, Keith Kelly of Innovative Communications, Ryan Koral of Tell, and Dave Williams of Media Wave—and discussed how they approach each project. This week we'll learn how they develop a video's concept, storyboard, and script in preparation for producing a short piece that hopes to convert a company's website visitors into eager customers.

Teasing Out Client Expectations

Ryan KoralEven after Ryan Koral has earned a client's trust that his production company will create a piece that fulfills their vision, the questioning that began with the first phone call continues with a creative brief. In this follow-up meeting, Koral teases out a client's specific expectations, requirements, and projected scope. Their answers help determine how long the piece should be, whether the video should be one part or several, and what the budget might be. Once scope and budget are settled, Koral presents a proposal in which he pitches a few different ideas he feels will take the production to the "next level." Rarely will a client ask for a revision of the concept, and approval is granted.

His next task is to determine whether the video requires a storyboard. If a storyboard would benefit the process, "we'll brainstorm through that," explains Koral, before presenting it to the client "to make sure we're on the same page." In other cases, the key elements to capture will likely be obvious once on location, eliminating the need for an explicit play-by-play.

Interview-driven videos rarely require formal storyboarding, for example. When planning these, he and his team start by "dreaming up specific questions." In the identity video Tell recently produced for the Lafayette Place Lofts, a green-focused urban living space opening in 2013 in Pontiac, Michigan, these questions included prompts such as "What do you love about Pontiac?" "Where do you see the city going?" "What do you do here?" and "Where do you work?"

The goal for this video is to draw people to Pontiac, a city on the outskirts of Detroit currently undergoing revitalization efforts. One idea Tell had was to ask interviewees to sum up Pontiac in one word. "Pontiac is...blank." For example, "exciting" or "future." Tell knew that the final product might not incorporate this idea, but why not get some extra material as long as you're there, Koral reasons. "It's easy for us to collect those during interviews, so we can play with them if we want to use them, or not," he says.

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