Video 101: Who is your target audience?

English: Director of Photography Mark Schulze ...

English: Director of Photography Mark Schulze videotapes Revolution 20 at Belmont Park in San Diego. Photograph by Patty Mooney

For any message, you need a specific target audience in mind. Not multiple audiences. One cohesive audience. We writers and producers depend on a one audience to tell our story.

Your might think your audience is “the general public,”  but whose business or interest do you really want to attract? Is it your top funders? Decision makers? Homeowners? Single fathers? Physicians?

Define:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Education level
  • Geography (e.g., North Dakota? A region? The entire United States?)
  • Career e.g., do they all work for your company? Are they welders or engineers?)
  • Current knowledge of your topic (e.g., a little or a lot?)
  • Nationality (e.g., if it bears on your topic or requires language captioning)
  • Special needs (e.g., a video for a low-income veteran may require captioning for the deaf)
  • Socioeconomic status

Some seemingly disparate audiences are actually a single audience. A video about landscaping, if done well, can include clients who are very rich and not so rich.

A video about the importance of breast feeding also might well speak to all women in their child-bearing years, regardless of socio-economics, age, education, nationality, or career status. Or maybe not.

However, a video that tries to address both physicians and patients will fall on its face. Experts and non-experts each require information just for them. One audience, please.

I know you’re thinking, “What about commercials? Commercials have more than one audience! Not everyone buys the same products!” OK, point taken, but (with all due respect) it’s not a really great point.

Consider what commercials are selling: underarm deodorant, laundry detergent, cars and trucks, energy drinks, beer, and so forth. Good commercials try to draw in more customers. Same audience base: people who drive cars or who will drive cars one day.

Definition of a single audience: an audience who wants or needs the same specific information.

If you need a video for more than one audience, consider a “master” video with alternate versions. Alternate versions are a cost-effective way to make your video more flexible.

Yes, with alternate versions you will have to record a separate voiceover and perhaps other material, but that voiceover may not cost any more than the original alone, if you include it in your planning — another reason to hire a seasoned producer to help you manage your budget.

If all versions are produced at the same time, you can reach more audiences for less money than you might think. You’ll require some tweaking in the script and in the editing, if all versions are created at the same time, but that’s it.

BIG SECRET: Corporate producers and directors work very hard to spend LESS of your money. Yes, we want to be compensated fairly for our time. But good producers, writers, and directors have an aversion to spending money unnecessarily. It runs against our grain. We’re a thrifty lot by nature, AND we’d like to curry your favor for future projects. We have no interest in disappointing you or creating change orders. But we’ll do so if we have to.

SECOND BIG SECRET: Out of the three production phases: pre-production, production, and post-production, the most important is pre-production. We can only help you get your message right and save money in the first phase. Planning is everything.

Seventy-five percent of every production’s success is in its planning. Production (shooting) and post-production (editing) make up the remaining 25%.

In short, good producers, directors, and writers are like the proverbial Greek Chorus. We’ll warn you to navigate away from the shoals. But, AFTER pre-production, if a new current heads your boat for a big rock, we’re powerless to prevent the wreck.

We will, however, do everything we can to keep your project on track and within budget.

Video 101: Do I need a video?

Video crew, Virginia State ParkYou’re about to spend a significant amount of money.

Did you first ask yourself, “Do I need a video?”

Why are you doing it? Everything begins with understanding the goal — the purpose—of your video or other media product.

So, what’s your video goal? (more…)

Video 101: Why make a video?

English: Mark Schulze, Videographer and Direct...

A typical corporate production

Why make a video?

Video and television demand attention. People actually prefer watching video to watching the real thing. If you videotape a speaker and a place a video monitor nearby, eyes will gravitate to the monitor. The medium is the message.

Why do videotapes and film work? Most of us are visually oriented; that is, we rely on sight more than any other sense for at least 80% of our understanding of the world outside us. We keep photo albums, watch dozens of hours of television each week, typically remember what we see in our dreams rather than what we hear or smell or taste. We also enjoy a good story—a package with a beginning, middle, and end. (more…)

"How can I get a job in video and film production?"

Through-the-Back-Door-photo

Through-the-Back-Door-photo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Every year about this time, I get a slew of emails and phone calls from students looking to get a job in video and film production, which is a big part of how I make my living, and has been for 30 years.

I have to say, the video and film world hasn’t changed much over the year in terms of how you break in — this despite an ever-increasing number of video and film undergrad and graduate programs.

Few of us can afford to hire someone full-time these days, plus we’d be reluctant to hire an untried worker. Once, I hired someone for the summer who ended up falling asleep during an interview. Yes, it was hot; yes, the interview was long.

(more…)

Video 101: Think you can’t afford a video? Think again

Camera crew of Radio Bremen in Munich, Germany...

Image via Wikipedia

Think you can’t afford a video? Think again

OK, I won’t taunt you with lines like, “But you can’t afford NOT to make a video.”

When you don’t have enough money, you don’t have enough money.

However, you may just have enough money. Although it often costs $15,000-$25,000 for a typical corporate video, you can get a perfectly good 5:00 (five-minute) video (nothing very fancy, few if any actors and other bells and whistles but still perfectly respectable) for $8K-$9K — if you know how to shop.

So I’ll help you plan a video that won’t break the bank. Here are five steps to a video production you may be able to afford.

  1. First, you’ll get a script, probably $2,000 if your topic doesn’t require additional research.
  2. Then, you’ll hire a producer and ask for three days — one preproduction, one production, and one post-production day. $1,500-$1,800. This producer will guide your video through each step.
  3. You’ll only use one shooting day with no more than two primary locations not far from each other. On that day, your camera crew (a videographer, an audio technician, and a producer) will get footage and interviews. That will cost you around $2,100, including meals and snacks during the day. (Be prepared to have your producer work with you to streamline the script so that you only need that one shooting day.)
  4. You’ll have the project edited, which will include any additional graphics, music, photographs, and so forth. Let’s say two days at $1,200 a day. $2,400.
  5. Narration will cost around $350.

If all goes as planned (and, really, I have to say that every video is different!), you will have great video for $8,650. That’s a bargain.

There are ways, obviously, to spend more money on a production, and there are a few ways to spend less. Plus, there are ways to stretch your footage, so that you’re creating several videos instead of just one.

Remember: you can afford a video if it pays for itself and then some.

If you think you have enough money for a video, get in touch. We’d be happy to chat about your ideas and how we can stick to the budget you have. Call Susan Branch Smith @410.404.5559.

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