Writing a production brief
With the explosion of YouTube in the last decade, video marketing has become more and more effective for large and small companies worldwide… And now you’ve had that Eureka moment, that thunder bolt of inspiration, the idea that was so good, it woke you up from a deep slumber in the middle of the night – you’ve come up with the idea to promote your business with a video!
But hold your horses, as compelling, brilliant or unique the idea may be, you need to sit yourself down and write a production brief so your business, the production company and most importantly, your target audience have a clear vision of your brainchild.
Writing a production or creative brief essentially needs to answer all the questions we all learnt at school – the who, what, why, where and how. Without knowing your audience, the film’s purpose, the duration of the film, the film’s style and why you are producing the film, your production will lack the direction it needs to make your great idea really stand out.
Also, you’re going to need to get a cost for this project and decide on a reliable video production company to work with. Creating a detailed brief ensures production companies can submit their budget proposals accurately, allowing you to make like-for like cost comparisons and assess proposed creative styles, which should hopefully avoid any nasty surprises along the way.
So now you know why you should write one, here’s how to put together a production brief….
What’s the purpose of your video?
First and foremost, the driving point which needs to be addressed is why you want to produce the video.
Knowing what you aim to do with the end product is essential – have in mind where you’re going to show your video. Is it for an event? Will the video be shown on your company website? Is the video promoting a new or already established product to your customers?
The purpose and aim behind the video needs to be clear, so that the message is at the forefront of the production team’s minds throughout the production and editing to achieve a film which will pack a punch.
Who is your audience?
Then you need to address your target audience. Knowing whether you’re targeting your staff, clients, customers or shareholders will motivate a lot of producing and editing decisions. The audience will dictate the style and production process especially when it comes to the message that the film wishes to convey.
What is the message of the video?
The message can make or break the success of film. Ensure you outline and define the message so that everyone clearly comprehends the purpose of the film. Keep it simple and stick to one or two messages. This will avoid any confusion, make the message(s) stand out and have a big impact on your viewers.
How long will the video last?
Bearing in mind your audience and your intended message, how long does the film need to be to convey your message? You will need long enough to build a convincing and persuasive argument to convey your message, but also bear in mind that your video should be as short as possible to retain your audience’s attention. Generally, web videos tend to be 2 – 3 minutes, videos for exhibition perhaps 1 – 1.5 minutes and training videos are often better if they’re broken down into short modules of 4 – 7 minutes to ensure maximum effectiveness.
What ‘style’ do you want for your video?
If you have an idea of a specific style that you’ve seen, or you think will work well, then it needs to be covered in your production brief. Is it going to be a video with actors or a professional presenter, or is an animation more suited to your audience? This will make an impact on the planning, production and editing of the video, so ultimately the cost. Having a clear idea of the end product will facilitate the production process and enable production companies to provide like-for-like prices, but if you’re unsure what style will be most effective, then we encourage clients to call us for a chat before preparing a brief.
Where will filming take place?
If location filming is needed, a large portion of the overall budget will be made up of crew and equipment hire and travel costs. If you’re able to give details of filming locations, this will enable production companies to work out their costs more accurately.
What is the timeframe for your video?
You’ll possibly have a deadline – perhaps a conference, presentation or new product launch date. The brief should allow a timeframe to include a date for receipt of tenders, a date for award of contract, any key filming dates – and of course any deadline.
Ask the production companies to include a production schedule within their tender response to allow for the planning, production and editing processes individually, with leeway to allow for any amendments that you may wish to make to ensure the production team has enough time to produce a slick, high quality film by your deadline.
So how will your budget be spent?
Make sure you request a full breakdown of costs in your brief – how many days filming have been allocated? How many cameras will be used? Is any special equipment like camera tracking or drone included? How many people will be in the crew – and what roles? How many hours of editing and post production have been included – and does this include any allowance for client amendments? If additional filming or editing is required after sign-off, how much will it cost? …. all this information will help you to make like-for-like comparisons when assessing the proposals that you receive.
How much will it cost?
Stipulating a budget – or at least a budget-range is very useful for production companies when you’re asking them to propose creative ideas for the project. Styles, and consequently budgets can vary enormously – without a tight brief and budget guide you run the risk of proposals including things that you either can’t afford – for example a professionally written script, a presenter, actors or filming in a studio. Or proposals for a programme that wouldn’t perhaps meet your expectation or be as dynamic, sophisticated and engaging as you need for the proposed audience.
So, now the real work starts. Luckily, however, thanks to a slick production brief and a clear message to take you through every step of the production process, it should put your film and your business in good stead for a roaring success.