Monthly Archives: April 2016

corporate video teleprompter

The Corporate Video Soundbite

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You’ve been asked to be in the company video.  You’ve read our blog on what to expect and what to wear here.  There are a couple of different ways you will be shot and included in the company video.  In this article, we will discuss these different methods and how you can best represent yourself and your company.

Most company videos are shot documentary style, the subject being interviewed by someone off camera.  Another method is to do a “stand up” looking straight at camera, like a news reporter.  There isn’t a best way, because all these are “tools” and sometimes you need a hammer, and other times you need a screwdriver.  So it all depends on what job you need the video to do.  So let’s discuss.

Documentary Corporate Video ShootDocumentary Style

You will usually sit down (occasionally you might stand), and someone sitting right next to the camera will ask you questions.  This person might be your corporate communications specialist for your company, or it might be one of us.  The video is not going to use the interviewer– so the audience will never see or hear them.  When you answer, try to incorporate the question into your answer.

Don’t worry about messing up.  Just take a pause and pick up just before you fumbled.  Try not to get self-conscious.  Slow down.  Avoid saying “as I said before,” because we probably won’t use the other take.  You can say the same thing over and over, just using different words.  It’s okay.

There are two schools of thought on having the questions prepped before you begin.  Yes it’s good to be prepared, but coming across rehearsed might be counter productive to the corporate video goals.  But being totally cold might not work either.  I recommend for most to have bullet or outline points.  You can write them down, but don’t read anything when answering (and don’t look down at cards or a note pad).

And for this style, I strongly advise against teleprompter unless you are a professional actor.  I had a client insist on doing documentary style interviews with all the corporate leadership.  Then we ended up redoing it later– it came across very poorly.

The Stand Up

This is where the teleprompter actually works really well, and where I advise using it.  The corporate spokesperson looks right at the lens and tells us what he or she wants us to know.  Scripted truly is the best way for this.  It’s hard to keep looking right at that lens and it feels very uncomfortable for the people not used to doing it.  You don’t want to be searching for words.

Relax, and enjoy.  Most people will do just fine in the corporate video and the production team wants you to look good.  We’re going to make you look as good as possible.  If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.

Corporate Video Production Dallas

Building a Freelance Career in Corporate Video Production

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Corporate Video Versus Movie Making

corporate video puppetFor all those film students who are graduating from different colleges and some film schools, one of the first choices you have to make is money or art?  (It’s a trick question we’ll address below).  You’ve just spent two or four (or six) years studying film and video.  You’ve learned to shoot and you’ve learned to edit.  You might have learned how to work with a crew.  You’ve problem-solved and you are now looking for that job (career) you’ve invested so heavily in both time and money.

If you’re driving goal, you’re burning obsession is to make narrative feature films, then really this article is not for you.   This is for the film and video professional who enjoys shooting or editing one person corporate stuff, or working with a three to five person crew in the corporate buildings of America.  I graduated from a University with a BA degree in Radio/Television (technically a degree in Communications with a major in RTV).  I wanted to be a filmmaker, but didn’t understand the difference at that time.  My first job after college was as a “field producer” (a catch all term meaning I was that one man band traveling all over the country shooting).  But more often than not, I found myself shooting in company offices, making marketing videos for corporations, or doing training videos.

About five years in, I still wanted to make a movie.  So after a few more years of getting ready, I left my corporate video production job and made the leap to feature films, which I did for over ten years (and five movies).  BTW, those were ten hard years as I starved myself and my family to chase it.  I returned to corporate video with a new found passion (where I could combine the “art” of movie making, with the projects my corporate clients were looking for).

BTW– I’m not as keen on hiring freelancers who are frustrated filmmaker wanabee’s.  If the corporate video job I’m hiring for you is a “bummer” or something that you”have” to do, I’m not as interested.  That lack of passion will permeate your work.

So this brings us to you.  How do you get started making a living in video/film production?  You’re still reading, so I’m assuming that you’re not the one saying “feature films or nothing!”  Here are some tips to getting started.

Freelancing in the Corporate Video World

When I graduated and started fulltime with a company, I didn’t know you could freelance.  I accidentally fell into freelancing and before long was making pretty good money.  My biggest client (production company) realized they could save money by bringing on someone, offered me the fulltime job.  If I said no, they’d find another person and I’d lose that significant freelance work.  So I said yes and took a huge “pay cut” and increased my hours.  So today, there are many production companies looking for freelance people.  We hire PA’s, Audio, Camera Operators and DP’s.  Occasionally make-up artist and other specialists.

Corporate Video Freelancing Tips

  • corporate video production attitudePut yourself out there.  To get started freelancing, you need to get known.  Go to networking opportunities.  In Dallas, there is a Dallas Producer’s Association– the perfect place to shale some hands.
  • Volunteer if need be.  The whole point is to get yourself known.  Volunteer.  Get on the set.
  • Shine.  Here’s the most important part.  When you do get on the set, you need to shine.  You need to have a great “can do” attitude, whether it’s getting coffee for the client or lugging that equipment up two flights of stairs.  I can tell you about three or four out of ten get my attention on the set.  And when they do, I can promise you it’s not necessarily ability, but attitude.
  • Appearance.  You’re working in corporate USA.  You don’t need to wear a business suit (it will get snagged and dirty).  But your clothes need to be nice business casual and clean.  (Visit our Facebook page here and scroll down for the “Dear Freelancer Article).  If you’ve have a lot of tats and body piercings, just know it might be a little harder to get established in corporate video.  That image is great for the feature film work, not so good for the boardrooms of the corporate video world.
  • Don’t Say No Too Often.  If we call you and you’re not available, that’s okay.  By the third or fourth time in a row, we will probably stop calling you.  When corporate video production companies are crewing up a shoot or project, we usually call people that come to mind first.  So be on our minds.  Which brings us to…
  • Followup.  It’s okay to send emails out to production companies reminding them that you’re available.  Once a month is fine. Once a week is overdoing it.
  • Lots of Baskets.  It’s always a good idea to not put all your eggs in one basket.  Have several production companies giving you business.

The corporate video freelancing world can be highly enjoyable.  You can actually earn more money than a staff job and work less hours.  You have freedom and flexibility in your schedule.  It can be very rewarding.