With the ever-increasing use of video in meetings and presentations, here are some basic principles to ensure that your film is successful.
Let video do what it does best.
Video is best at telling stories and providing your presentation with a human dimension. Use video only to offer something the rest of your presentation can't.
Start with a working title.
This will unify the entire development and production process and guarantee that your film is focused and coherent. The working title doesn't have to be witty or clever. Just simple. It can be a question, a fact, a belief, a theory, a feeling. In short, a unifying concept.
Simplify your script.
You'll probably start out with loads of great ideas that you would like to include in your movie. Pare them down to the essentials that support your story. If your film includes interviews, make sure the questions you pose will lead to responses that reinforce the central idea.
Now comes the good part.
With a working title and simplified script in hand, you're now on solid ground to begin production. Even if you only shoot what you've already planned, you're guaranteed a good film.
But you want a great film.
Let the magic happen. When shooting, remain open to the spontaneous and emotional moments, even the mistakes. It's the unexpected that often turns a good film into a great one.
Review your footage with an open mind.
Now that you have actual footage, determine whether or not your working title still reflects the best story you have to tell. If not, adjust your title to fit the reality of what's before you.
Cut to the chase.
When editing, make sure that every element, every shot, every word, even the music, supports the story you've now decided upon. Be prepared to forsake great moments if they don't reinforce your central idea. Remember: A shorter, more focused film will be far more effective than a long rambling one, no matter how beautiful the shots or compelling the performances.
Have a good time.
Making movies is a challenging but fascinating process that calls upon a whole host of skills and insights. Allow yourself to enjoy it. And allow your cast or interviewees to have fun as well. Those good feelings will come across on camera and ensure that your movie and your meeting get a glowing review.
Originally published March 1, 2009 by Successful Meetings
David Intrator is president at Strategic Documentaries