Why Your Videos SUCK!
Yes, it's true. Your videos are probably sub par. Music Videos... commercials for your business...event promotional videos... they SUCK. Keep it real. This is how you bought your video:
"Hi, I'd like to shoot a video for my (music video/commercial/event)"...."Yeah, I want it to be really good. I'm going to get people to notice me and this video needs to represent me properly. How much do you charge?"....."WHAT?! No, that's way too much money. I just want to spend $400-$500. Thanks."...BEEP.
You shopped with price. ANY time you shop with price for anything other than a car, groceries, quasi-legal drugs, or gas is probably going to be a bad idea. Video is an extremely potent, highly effective, vastly desired medium for communicating a message. When someone plays a video on the internet they are seeking out information. People click play, pay attention, and want to understand the message being conveyed. That message can be told in a story, flashy imagery, or through a person speaking. If it's good, people will pay attention. How that message is received is YOUR responsibility.
That's right, you are responsible for conveying the messages your video needs to express. If your audience receives it wrong, it's your fault. Here are some of the positive messages that can be conveyed through video:
"This business/person/product is professional, informative, knowledgeable, trustworthy, entertaining, highly valued, reliable, honest."
If this is what they think of you after watching your video, do you think they'll want to go with the someone ELSE?!
However....here are someone of the negative messages that can be expressed through video:
"This business/person/product is cheap, doesn't care about their image, doesn't convey their message properly, is boring, isn't trustworthy, doesn't value themselves."
If this is what they think of you after watching your video, they'll probably want to go with someone ELSE! Wouldn't you? If I don't think you'll invest in yourself for how you are perceived, then how do I know you've invested in the services or products you're selling to me?
I know that for business owners money is tight. However, it's not tight for the things you want to spend money on. At the end of a long week, you might want to go to a bar, or the club and money isn't an issue there. You're big ballin' at karaoke, or at the ball game. You pop tags at the mall. You don't want to go to any old raggedy place. You want to go somewhere nice, and have a good experience...even if it means spending more money. The same perspective applies to video.
You've got to understand that your audience is about to experience you. That's what a video does for people. Millions of people every day spend 2-3 hours watching a movie, because of the experience. It doesn't matter if it's in a theater or on a cell phone. People want to experience something GREAT. For 3 hours, or 2, or 30 minutes, or 30 seconds, people want to be swept up in the story, the image, the ambiance, the sounds, the textures that a great video provides. What they spend is even more valuable than money...they spend time and attention. You'll never replace either of those things and no amount of money is truly worth time or attention. Now granted, not everyone spends time or attention in the wisest of ways, but if someone saw a film for MY business I wouldn't want them to think "That was a waste of time."
You also have to understand that we've all been watching tv shows and movies for over 60 years. Many of us have grown up watching films our whole lives. We are experts at what good video looks like. We may not be able to articulate the technical aspects of what makes a good video, but we are positively sure that we know when a video is bad.
When you spend the least amount of money on a video that you can, we all can tell. Shooting it on a nice camera, or in 4k is cool, but we can tell that it looks really cheap. We can tell that your audio isn't in sync with your lips, that shot was too "shaky", the colors look weird, the angles are jarring. We picked up on all of that stuff. Most people don't say every one of those details. We just say "That video sucked!"
If that's how your marketing material represents your business, then I might have to look to someone else for those goods or services. I can't trust you to deliver on my needs for my hard earned cash if you're not willing to spend yours on some good content. Don't take for granted the opportunities you have for people paying attention to your videos. That person may never want to watch your content again. Realize that you may only have one shot in your whole life to sway that person's mind into considering your company for their next purchase. The LAST reason you'd want them to deny you should be the VIDEO.
In most cases, some video is better than none. If you truly don't have the funds for a big budget production, I understand. Get the best that you can get at this time. If you do have the money to invest in a videographer then consider the largest investment you can make into purchasing the best video you can produce to give you the best foot forward when someone decides to pay attention to you. You will feel SO proud to send that video to a potential client, or run that video as an ad. You'll know, without a shadow of a doubt, that once anyone sees your video, they've got the utmost confidence that you can deliver everything you said you could. A great video should do exactly that. If someone watches it and doesn't think "this kind of looks like a movie", then you chose the wrong person.
I've been beating up on you from the beginning of this article, so from here on out I'll play nice and give you the blueprint for making sure you get an awesome video to represent you.
First things first. You need to make sure you provide a quality product, service, or image. If you make music, your music has to be good. If you sell tires, your tires have to be good. If you bake cakes, your cakes have to be good. NO VIDEO will change the way you do business. Having an above par video for a sub par product is a great way to vastly disappoint your clients. This will build a wall of mistrust for you & your company. It is an awesome way to get yelp reviews calling you a charlatan.
If you know you provide great quality at your price points, then you need to find a film maker that can do the job. If your budget is less than $2000, good luck. This should be the end of the article for you. If not, then you need to find a guy or crew or company that has some really good videos to show you on their website or social media. Once you find some folks who are really good at what they do, reach out to some of their clients. Ask the clients what it was like working with them. If their work is what you're looking for and their clients' reviews are great, then it looks like you're in the right place.
Start with budget. This time tell them the most you are willing to spend. This lets the film maker know you are serious, honest, and that you trust them to do the job. Remember that video is an art form, especially when it comes to your business. It's much easier to make something that just has to be entertaining. When we have to make something really boring, like your dentistry, into something someone's willing to sit through for 2 minutes of their life, we're going to have to get creative. Getting price out of the way helps us determine just how far we can go with the vision.
Next you'll want to talk about this question. Use this question word for word. It is the most powerful question you can have in your pre-production meeting:
"What do I want someone to think or do after watching this video?"
Think about it...
I know you said "buy my stuff"...We get that! But WHY should they buy your stuff? Remember that part earlier in this article about positive and negative messages? If you convey the right positive messages about your business, then customers will want to seek you out for their needs. They want to work with someone who is great! Just like when you shopped for the right videographer. You weren't looking for price, you were looking for quality. Think of your customer base in the same way.
Trust your film maker. Once you've got the messaging down, the videographer will reverse engineer the film to convey the exact message your audience wants to hear. Don't make the mistake of thinking about what YOU want to see. It's not about you. It's not about your company. It's about your client. It's about what they need to see in you to do business with you. Trust that your film maker is keeping that in mind.
Listen. You may not always agree. That doesn't mean the person you hired is wrong. This is art with a purpose and an effect. It takes technical proficiency, creative vision, logistics, and most of all, experience. If this is your first REAL video, then relax and take notes.
Respond to the film maker. If you are asked about certain details regarding the production, answer them. Get on a call if you need to. Don't leave them hanging. A film is only as good as it's pre-production. Once pre-production is over, there is a literal limit to how good your video can actually be. Get those ducks in a row.
Production should go as scheduled, but be ready for some hiccups. No production is perfect. It's the film maker's job to overcome those imperfections to deliver the product. Now if you called in some favors from your friends or family, and they flaked on you that day, DO NOT look at the film maker like he or she is supposed to fix this. This is on you. I've done quite a few productions where we stretched the budget and an uncle's Porsche, or a cousin's model girlfriend, or the mini-mansion my neighbor said we could use was all of sudden unavailable. It happens all the time. If you didn't pay for it, don't count on it being there.
Once we get to post production you should have an opportunity for a round of revisions. Some film makers include this in their fee, others will require you to pay for them. Clarify this before hand. If you did all this right, and you followed the steps, and you didn't cut any corners, you should have a video that you're proud of.
For more tid-bits and content like this, email me at Shoot@CaravanFilmCrews.com, DM on all social media @caravanfilmcrews. Keep following SoFn Dope Magazine for more stuff you love.
Thanks for reading!