New Client Guide: Do This to Get a Killer Video

You want a great video. We want to make you a great video. But we can’t (and don't) do it alone, and taking a few extra steps can make a huge difference to success. Here are some simple things you can do to make the process go smoother, faster, and ultimately get you a better video. Shall we begin at the beginning?

1. Be prepared. It’s crucial to start the project on firm ground and keep it there. Know all about your product/service/update, what you want your audience to learn and do, and whose approval and input you need and want. In short: your message, your goals, and your stakeholders. We build everything around those foundations and rely on you to have them set and solid. If they shift along the way (like, say, if the CEO’s first input is on the final draft of animation), things tend to fall apart. So, as we move forward…

2. Stick to priorities. If everything is important, then nothing is important. Make the difficult decisions around what is essential and what is merely nice to have. Ask yourself, “What is the one thing this video must accomplish?” Give that thing preference. Be willing to let other stuff go. But if something truly clashes with it…

3. Suggest direction. Feedback like, “This doesn’t work,” often doesn’t work for us. While it eliminates one possibility, it leaves everything else on the table. Instead, articulate a solution to help us understand why something has to change. Then we can find the right change intentionally, not through luck. Speaking of feedback…

4. Consolidate feedback in advance. Two aspects to this. First, if your feedback has contradictions or gaps — like if Bob asks for green hats and Shelly asks for red, and the CMO’s thoughts are still yet to come — it’s literally impossible to handle. Consolidating it ensures that there’s a coherent, consistent list to work with, that it has the input of key stakeholders, and, most importantly, that it’s aligned with your priorities. Second, if it’s assembled and delivered in advance, our review calls can be used to solve problems and find solutions together. Otherwise, we have a tangle of comments and thoughts that we have to figure out on our own. See, we really do want your help! And, yes, we admit it: sometimes there are problems. So please…

5. Speak frankly. “Brutal” feedback is good feedback. It pushes us to sacrifice stuff that kinda does the job in favor of stuff that truly serves your goals. No, we don’t like how it feels, but that’s because we want to get everything right. Direct disapproval does that better than feedback cushioned to protect our emotions. Let us know we’ve missed the mark; we’ll fix it. We’ll get there. And as we get closer…

6. Remember your expertise. Throughout the project, lots of decisions will be made — some about story, some about business. And we know which ones we’re here for. So, when we say that, for the sake of story, we can only mention Feature X or Feature Y, we rely on you to make the business decision about which one is more strategic. We’ll take care of story. You take care of business. But don’t forget to…

7. Have fun! We know we’re trying to achieve an important goal. But we’re making a video! It’s entertainment! The more you enjoy the process, the more excited we are to bring everything to life. Sometimes the best results come from joy.

Story Lead Team, Epipheo 

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