Four Production Tips for Successful Client Collaboration
From initial concept to final edit, creating an impactful brand video is a collaborative sport, requiring both the training of a savvy crew and the passion of an engaged client. Equipped with years of combined experience, the team at Chicago’s Bottle Rocket Media has learned how to build trust among all “players on the field” and inspire a winning outcome. Here are four tips on making the video collaboration process positive and balanced.
TIP ONE: SET CREATIVE EXPECTATIONS
No getting around it. With every shoot, comes a million creative questions and concerns from the client. Do your best to “head them off at the pass” with a clear roadmap of how the production will unfold, and how you envision both parties working together on the story. Publish a mutually agreed upon calendar, ASAP, with scheduled brainstorming sessions and creative meetings – or launch a shared online document for a rolling list of ideas. Be sure to let them know exactly where, when, and how they can contribute – and when your team will need its creative “safe” space.
Setting this boundary from the start is the best way to get content, while ensuring a friendly, appropriate collaboration in which no creative-toe gets stepped on.
TIP TWO: BUILD TRUST
It is practically impossible to hold a smooth video production without trust from the client – trust that you will take care of their brand as if it were a newborn baby. It starts with a good attitude and a solid first impression. From there, it is vital that everyone on the project get to know (and hopefully like) each other— by the end of the project the brand spokesperson should know the camera operator’s first name, and the director should have a sense of all the personalities involved. To get comfy with each other fairly quickly, there are many trust-building exercises online that can help. We’re not saying you have to fall blindfolded into a stranger’s arms, but it couldn’t hurt.
To build upon a good start, it is best to stay on schedule, on budget and meet any deliverables along the way. That’s why, at Bottle Rocket Media, we never agree to an overambitious blueprint just to appease the client – it’s a recipe for disaster. Talk it through and you will find a solution that works for everyone involved. Meanwhile, if you’re answering every phone call, text, and email, quelling every concern, and treating people like people, the trust will only grow.
TIP THREE: DESIGNATE A POINT PERSON
No matter what day of the week, or time of day, there should be one person always available to handle calls, texts, emails, or Skype requests from the client. Throughout any given video production, there is so much evolving information going back and forth, it can be hard to keep up: schedules change, brand messaging gets altered, on-camera participants drop out, locations move, and budgets fluctuate. By funneling every update through a point person on the production side, you can avoid incomplete, conflicting or confusing communication.
At the same time, it is super helpful (when possible) to request a point person on the brand side of things, someone that can answer your questions quickly as to avoid a wild, time-consuming, goose chase in the middle of a shoot or edit session.
TIP FOUR: PUT THE VIEWER FIRST
When working in a collaborative environment, where everyone has a different opinion or idea, it can be tough to stay on message. By using the audience as your “North Star” from the very beginning, you’re much more likely to stay on common ground along the way, develop compatible visions, and avoid senseless ego trips. Countless days, months or even years may have been spent cultivating the product/service, and that can make it difficult for brand creators to let go of creative control or stay open minded to the ideas of others. When things start to veer away from the game plan, a patient and seasoned creative can remind all participants of the ultimate goal: making a connection with the customer.