At a meeting with a client recently, while discussing a new project I found myself having to double-take the reason I was asked to produce a new movie for them. "I've a conference to attend and speak at and I can't use Powerpoint". I've produced a lot of Powerpoint content in my time and have felt for an even longer time that the software had missed a trick as a cure for insomnia. I've seen the same template designs used to demonstrate the deficit in onion producing states in Argentina to the parts list for a cold water filtration tank both sending the poor audience into a mexican wave of nodding heads.
So here was the deal - my client had five minutes to speak and would have to fit a traditional 15 minute, 30 slide presentation into a creative, engaging and upbeat movie that he would play and do a quick question and answer session after it played. Great!!! I thought, I love a challenge but I wondered - did they fully realise the change in culture this represents? I've seen speakers alter Powerpoint Decks seconds before walking up to a podium. Financial numbers that were miss calculated - important dates that were incorrect - removing a strange photo of a cat dressed as a Barack Obama that was funny at 2am when the presentation was being worked on but now... not so much. What would they do if the movie was set in stone and required re-rendering by it's designer back in Ireland when they are standing in Lima, Peru?
Like the song goes - "It's all about the prep, bout the prep... no trouble". Yes, I know that's not the song but you get the point. Preparation is key. The stress and pressure will be moved from 5 mins before you walk to the podium to two to three weeks before when you have the time to make changes. Nothing focuses the mind like a deadline I find. I just hope all of the 'Powerpoint Powerusers' can adjust.
Okay!... here we go. There are overlaps in approach to both Powerpoint design and video scripting but in essence the video must have a start, a middle and an end, a story, and get from one to the other quicker. When giving a Powerpoint based presentation the speaker can slow down and concentrate attention on certain points by introducing pauses. In video the main way of concentrating attention is to strip away the detail and making the message clearer and less cluttered. Pauses in video add to the duration and with a fixed running time that means less time for something else so that is something to be aware of. The best tool for writing a script I find? - Powerpoint. Yes the delivery method being killed off is being used to plot it's demise. Sad but through. Using the platform where the speaker is most at home on allows us to craft the story faster and you get a sense of pace and tone easier when you can accurately time going from slide to slide.
The complicated bit... the video production. I won't bore you with the details but there are many many styles and production choices you can make when deciding how to produce a video. Animated text, cartoon characters, filming real-life situations that illustrate your message, perhaps using stock video footage available from an online library. The choice seems endless but the important point to consider first is your audience. What do they need to hear and how best to deliver it to them. Too many times have I seen videos that look amazing but viewers don't have a clue what it was all about afterwards. Concentrate on who your audience is and the story you want to tell them, the rest should fit into place following the identification of both of these. Time constraints in production is also a factor - generally the fastest route is to film live action be that a speaker addressing the camera or basic shots of people acting out what is being spoke about. Animation can be time consuming however there are new tools that cut down on time needed once you get the notion of making your epic movie in the style of Pixar or Disney right out your head. Set a deadline and work back from that. I've seen amazing work created in three days. I've also seen horrendously poor work that took six months... but I have cut those ones out of my showreel.
The point? : moving out of your comfort zone is always challenging but with the help of your friendly neighbourhood video producer you can stop putting people to sleep and get your message across in an engaging and memorable way.
- Published in Industry