Premise: The client should know what he or she wants.
Last week, I began this series hypothesizing that clients owe video producer a modicum of money and respect. It is based on my experiences with clients over 40 years, but perhaps as importantly, situations I've experiences more recently.
I began my career as a media producer on the script end. Writing was a hallmark of our firm, and we preferred to only produce what we wrote. We were offering a turnkey experience, and pretty much guaranteeing success, and controlling the script was the heart of that promise. A good script visualizes the end product, even in the non-glamorous world of corporate video.
But that doesn't mean we walk in the door knowing the clients needs, products, personnel, marketing, or goals.
Even after heavy research, things will show up in the script that will strike the client as not right, which is why every writer and / or production company budgets for revisions.
The client who knows what he or she wants eliminates a lot of guesswork. Otherwise the producer may experience revision after revision, even far into production. That's scary.
How do clients know what they want?
- They put the right person in charge. The right person is as close to the ultimate decision maker as possible, or is the ultimate decision maker. This is easy with smaller companies, but much tougher in larger companies. I worked with one large company for 20 years, and watch the levels between my client and the president (direct, 1 to 1) grow to layer after layer of bureaucracy. By the time I did my last assignment for the company, some projects had 5 layers of management approval between my direct client and the president (different president by then).
- They can visualize their success. They can see the reaction of their audience and the achievement of their general goal, be it be training, motivation, pride, etc.
- They know the general premise of their video, and they can provide the proof. We're not asking for a creative plan, or even a creative concept, but we do need ammunition. For instance, "If we can just convince our team that adhering to OSHA rules can impact our bottom line, we'll be in good shape."
- They are free with access to other experts in the company who can provide needed details. Sometimes, your client may want to protect you from other parts of the company for "competitive reasons". I.E., you often make him / her look good and have been a part of his / her success. You as a producer may not like this, but if you are loyal to your client (the individual) and they know it, this shouldn't be a problem. If it is a problem, you may end up playing "telephone" with aspects of the message that may lead to messy creative reviews.
- The client doesn't vacillate in his / her goals during the review process. This is a clear indication that the client doesn't know what he or she wants. Which is the proof to the premise of this article!
Next week, we tackle the next point: the client must be committed to obtaining a successful finished product.