Concept Academy Masterclass CA-002: How to get staff onboard and participate in your company videos.
How to get staff onboard and participate in your company videos.
Break the fear barriers and build confidence in your video project with clear instructions for your colleagues.
In my experience, when staff are asked to be filmed, they feel hit not only with the fear of being filmed, but also the unexpected work demands of creating their own content. You don't want them to start writing reams of scripts anyway!
Even if they do create excellent word-for-word written content, then presenting will be almost impossible without a teleprompter. We do have those, indeed I'm using ours right now. But it's better if they work from cues. So create that structure now. Make sure you've got a clear beginning, middle and end call to action that fulfils the objectives of your video.
Remember, fewer words that are to the point, is worth more in the world of video content. You should plan your video as a method of inspiring initial engagement with your viewer. You don't want the video to give your viewer everything they need, otherwise they'll not have a reason to start contact with you. And you need that contact to become aware of them and to bring them into your sales process.
I've produced other classes on video content design and filming techniques, but these quick tips will help you get the buy-in of your colleagues. So, how do you get your staff to confidently speak in your video? Let's talk about how to write script prompts.
Write a Prompt Scripts – not a book!
Start by breaking the content you want down into bite-size chunks with a simple structure page for the whole video. This lets your people know who's saying what, and gives them a clear view of how they fit in. Then create a simple bullet point script for each featured person of what you want from them. Don't tell your employee how to phrase their sentences, and especially don't create long, full written scripts for them. That is the single biggest cause of retakes and discontent or walk-offs with people in front of the camera.
Your staff already know the answers – after all, it's their field of expertise, so trust in their experience. Indeed, letting them do their thing will be far more convincing to your viewer than them reading a script of your corporate idealisms.
Your script should look like this. A quick intro including their qualification to speak – for example their job title should provide sufficient confidence in the mind of the viewer that they are an authority on that subject. Then a list of topics with intended focus, similar to this example. Finally, if there are more than one or two points, a summary bullet point with the topics revised to focus your viewer will help. You'll be on the same page with your colleague and ensure you get the content you're looking for, from them.
Create a calm filming space – be ready to film before they arrive.
Be ready to film before they arrive. Make sure the camera is in focus, microphone on and working, sound clear and crisp. Do a test countdown on yourself or a helper first. You don't want your colleague building up anxiety whilst you fiddle with the equipment, or dwelling on their performance after you've filmed. Get them in, get them filmed, then get them away as quickly as reasonable, so they feel positive about the experience, enough so you can ask them to do it again!
Get formal consent from anyone that is filmed for your videos.
When filming, get signed and verbal consent just before they go on camera. Always get your releases from anyone in your video. It may be impossible to get a signed release after filming. Editing them out later due to a release technicality may be expensive at best, or impossible at worst.
Stand behind the camera and on first press of the record button, ask them “Please say your full name, job title, and confirm you're happy to be filmed and recorded by COMPANY “X.” Get a written release signed too.
Inspire confidence – be the Director.
Get their confidence in the moment by asserting yourself as director. This doesn't mean come in all Hollywood and arrogant. It's about you being focused on the process of getting their content on camera. You are the person that can make your colleague feel empowered to be filmed, and in doing so, you are more likely to derive strong content from them. Be the director using this approach.
Firstly, a word of warning, everyone likes outtakes and laughter. But that will be incredibly disruptive. And you really don't have time to edit an outtakes video. If you did, use that time to make more valuable video content! When your subject faffs a line, do laugh briefly with them, then quickly refocus their thoughts to another take. Body language and counting does this best. Hold your hand up with three fingers, then count down 3, 2, but don't say 1. mouth the word silently and then tap your hand in mid-air to signify 1, then flip your hand over to direct them to begin. For example, 3, 2 …
Your silence in those last two steps will communicate to your colleague that now is the time to be serious again and will help them focus. That technique will also give cutting space to your editor. Try to stand behind the camera and maintain an interested face and eye contact. Nod on key points to show interest and keep energy up and to keep their eye direction in-line with the camera.
More takes = Practice.
I don't often tell the person in front of the camera this, or even fully trained presenters and you shouldn't either, but I'll almost always re-record the first thing I've filmed with them again at the end. In the first few takes, they'll find their comfort and relax in front of the camera. I won't get them to re-record it immediately, that may feel demoralising. And we'll skip through the first piece, and with their found confidence, they'll deliver the next content pieces smoothly with fewer retakes. You then just tell them the truth, something like “Hey, you really got into that, let's just do the opening again!”. Don't ask, just direct, and although they'll wonder why, that last take will probably be the one your editor uses.
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