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Feb '18 | Preparation Allows for Flexible Thinking

And being flexible, especially under pressure, is the job of a great event video producer.

At Patina, we plan. We script. We ask numerous questions. We have check lists and tick off boxes. But we’ll be the first to throw all preparation out the window if we discover a better path. Which is precisely what happened during the filming of AppDirect’s keynote videos.

After months of discussing event themes, talking points, and video style we headed into production with a clearly outlined script and several sets of talking points. But kids are kids, and CEO’s are, well, CEO’s– so halfway through the interview process we pivoted and instead of one great video, there were suddenly two.

The Challenge

When filming real people, especially kids, sticking to the talking points is never an option. Preparation allows you to make smart, insightful decisions in the moment. Without preparation, you’re stuck with the script. Even when the script is no longer serving you.

For Marketers Who Skim:

  • Script your soundbites, but remain flexible during the interview
  • Pay attention to the tenor of delivery
  • Pay attention to your transitions

San Francisco Production Company

To Script or Not to Script

Some people believe too much preparation yields stale or overly rehearsed soundbites and the key to great interviews lies in just having a conversation.

But at Patina, we are big advocates of preparation and scripting. Because even if 95% of our interview subjects don’t even look at the talking points until they’re in the room, at least we’re prepared. And preparation is really more about us, and less about them.

Because unless you’re Oprah, or highly skilled in the art of the interview, most interview subjects will suddenly be too distracted by the 2 cameras, 7 lights, and make up artist in the corner to remember their talking points anyway. Which means a great event video producer not only needs to know the questions, they need to know the answers. And they need to know them so well that when people get flustered, they can calm them down, switch up the tactic, and get everyone back on track without anyone knowing there was a derailment.

And the biggest value to scripting is that it gives us the foundation to pivot when answers aren’t coming as planned. Because we have a strong foundation of knowledge, we can suddenly make informed decisions in the room and manipulate the conversation as needed.

It’s Not Just About What They Say, It’s How They Say It

Pay attention to the tone of the room and style of the interview questions asked. Often times your interview subjects will mimic your style without even knowing it. Or if the tone of the room is serious, your answers might feel a little stifled. If you need playful answers, make sure you set up a fun environment and ask your questions in a similarly playful tone.

However– as was the case with AppDirect– sometimes this doesn’t even work. No matter how playful we were, our kids were taking this interview thing very seriously! But because we were well prepared, we compensated and took the conversation in a new direction.

During Improv, Get Scripted Transitions

Often times we’ll ask our subjects to repeat the question within their answers. But when you take the interview off-road and start improving, pay close attention to how each segment will cut together in post.

For example, you might have to say– that was great, can you just say that bit one more time but start with “When I first started working for AppDirect…?”

Even if you don’t ultimately end up using this transition it’s smart to grab it. Because the moment you have two amazing soundbites yet no way to connect the thoughts together is the moment you’ll kick yourself in post.

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K'Dee Miller is the Founder & Creative Director of Patina Pictures.

Her feature films have premiered at Sundance Film Festival, AFI Fest, Newport Beach Film Festival, among others. Her corporate video clients span from technology companies such as Microsoft, RingCentral, DocuSign and Adobe, to Bay Area nonprofits such as Team4Tech and Hamilton Families.

She's studied her industry from every angle, receiving production training from The Juilliard School, an MFA of Writing from University of San Francisco, and a BFA of Acting from Marymount Manhattan College.

She is currently in the process of writing a memoir about growing up in the wilderness of Alaska.