There’s no richer information than straight from the source. That’s one reason why interview-based videos are so powerful. Content experts are in the driver’s seat, telling their unique story, based on real-life experience. There’s also the power of emotion. Interviews allow you to capture human emotion, whether it’s happy, sad or frustrated, all of which lead to a more compelling story.
On-camera interviews are one of my favorite video gigs. You get to connect with a person in a short period of time. Learn from them. Make them feel important. And above all, get them to a comfortable place where they can naturally share their wisdom. Through the years, I’ve found that if you follow these basic interview guidelines, a powerful story will soon be yours.
Choose People Wisely
Your client is the best resource for determining who should be in a video. Work closely with them to find content experts who don’t mind being on-camera, have a bit of a personality and know the most about your subject. And, if possible, interview more than one person. It gives you more content to work with and a safety net if one of your interviewees struggles in the chair.
Do Your Homework
You’re working with content experts. Make sure you understand the content before the interview starts. Research the person and the topic, so you can develop logical questions. Ask yourself – how should the video open and close, what content needs to be covered, etc. It is after this that you can then develop open-ended questions that flow from topic to topic.
Develop Rapport Before, During and After the Interview
You have a very short amount of time to connect with an interviewee, so it’s extremely important to figure out what makes them comfortable. Talk with your subject before the interview, or at the very least, a few minutes before the camera rolls. Ask them if they have any questions or concerns about the interview. If there are nerves, consider asking an interview question for practice. If you know something about your subject, such as they’ve worked at the company for a long time, you might ask, “How did you start with the company?” to break the ice. These types of interactions before the interview help reduce nerves and develop rapport, so everyone is more comfortable and doing their best work.
At the beginning of each interview, ask interviewees to put your question in their answer. For example, you might ask, “What’s your favorite color?” The interviewee would answer, “My favorite color is blue,” instead of, “Blue.” Comments stand-alone, so this helps provide context. It’s also a good idea to ask a few throw-away questions at the beginning of the interview to get them warmed up.
During the interview, pay attention to and move at the interviewee’s pace. If they want to hold notes on their lap, let them. If they need some water, get it. If they want to relay prepared statements, listen. Once they’re on a roll, try asking them a few questions, so it’s more natural. If your interviewee says, “That was much easier than I thought it would be” at the end of the interview, everyone wins.
If an interviewee had a rough start, you might ask some questions again at the end. By this point, they’re primed for delivering a better answer.
Your last questions should always be something along the lines of “Anything else?” Nine times out of ten you get a winning soundbite. They either wrap up the topic in a concise way or bring up some new nugget of information that adds to the story.
After the interview, follow up to share the final edit. That’s the least you can do for their time and effort. If it went great, he or she will appreciate the positive feedback. If there were areas to work on, the interviewee will appreciate constructive feedback for the next time.
Listen for Keepers
Listening is key to interviewing success. I’m always listening for a good soundbite, otherwise known as a keeper. Sometimes it comes at the end of a long explanation. And sometimes the interviewee makes a fantastic point, but it could be said in fewer words. Simply ask them to say it again in a few sentences.
Remember, your list of questions is a starting point and rough guide, but you never know where the story will take you. My favorite part of the interview is the left-turn, where the interviewee says something that leads to a question off the list. Listen closely and follow the story.
Have Fun with the Edit
After the interview, the fun continues in the edit room. I listen to each interview several times, cut down the comments into bite-size soundbites, organize them and reorganize them again until the story flows.
My litmus test for a successful video has always been tears and/or goosebumps after watching the first preview. I’m not talking a straight-out sob, just a little wet in the corner of your eye that says, this story moved me. Now, that’s powerful.
Planning your next live event? There are details both big and small that contribute to the production of a successful event – some more obvious than others.
We at Impact have produced hundreds of events in our 40-year history and know a thing or two about all the details. From booking enough venue time to looking at load-in and load-out access, the following list of seven live event production tips will prove invaluable as you sit down to the planning table.
Event Production Must-Dos
- Make sure the space you are booking is big enough to accommodate everything you want to do. Many hotels and resorts publish maximum seating capacities in their event specifications. Those capacities don’t generally take into account your stage, back-stage equipment areas or front of house positions for technical team members and cameras if you’re using them. Every event setup is unique, but it’s not unusual for a rear projection setup to consume 20 percent or more of the available space.
- Put the space you are using on a 24-hour hold. It is important to share your timing needs with the venue to avoid any double booking. For instance, you may need the ballroom one afternoon and again the next morning, but technically not that evening. If not clear on your setup, the venue may book another event that evening, not accounting for the setup you still need in the space. Similarly, you will want ample time on the front end for setup, rehearsal time, etc. and on the back end for strike and load-out. In other words, don’t just account for the event production time, think through the entire project from start to finish.
- Provide all details to the crew. If you are working with an in-house crew or one that you have not previously dealt with, it is important that you provide a detailed queue sheet. This document should highlight direction for audio, lighting, graphics, music and everything in between. Providing a clear understanding of what is needed and what is expected will go a long way toward audiovisual success for the live event. Think about how major these components are – you do not want any errors to arise on event day due to a miscommunication.
- Review load-in and load-out accessibility prior to booking the venue. This not-so-obvious event production tip is important to ensure that the items that must get into the space will in fact fit. For instance, do you expect to drive a car onto the floor? Chances are you need access that will allow for this. Don’t make the mistake of assuming a major (or not so major) venue will be able to accommodate your access needs. Be sure to do your homework before booking.
- When hiring talent, do your research! Make sure you have a clear understanding of what the full performance will entail. How many people will be involved and on stage? What do the costumes look like? It’s best to work out any kinks (hello, wardrobe malfunction!) during a full-costume rehearsal to ensure the live performance works for your audience, there are no snafus, etc.
- Think about your access to electrical power. Depending on the amount of audiovisual technology involved, the right access to power is essential. It is important to note that in many instances, you will have to pay for any electricity you use above and beyond basic wall outlets. That said, you should never assume that because the room is relatively large, there are ample circuits of power available on the walls. Also, in some venues (like Convention Centers) the norm is to shut down auxiliary power overnight. If you have equipment that needs to stay on, you will want to confirm that your power is available 24 hours a day.
- Think about temperature. Depending on the size of the room, audience, and the amount of equipment in use, a meeting room can easily get uncomfortably warm. You want your guests to feel comfortable, which translates to better engagement. Work with your venue contact to ensure the room is cool (okay, downright cold) before the audience walks in. Most HVAC systems are much more capable of warming a room up than cooling it down once guests are in place.
Keep these tips in mind when your live event production team tackles its next meeting or corporate event. These seemingly small details can make a huge difference in how the final production comes together. For related information, visit our blog to learn about ideas that impress and why your event production company should wow you.
Today is a great day! Your boss has just put you in charge of producing and staging the annual company meeting. The venue contract has been signed and now it’s time to dig in and get to the execution. You’ve come up with a staging design that is a unique concept and matches the creative for the event perfectly. You have reached out to a staging vendor and the wheels have been set in motion. The rigging however—all the behind-the-scenes equipment responsible for supporting the sound system, video screens and lighting, is carried out by the venue’s in-house audiovisual (AV) company. Frequently, they own the exclusive rights to any rigging that will take place within the venue.
As a meeting and event producer, you and your team understand the importance of the rigging – it is after all, the glue that holds many of the event components together and its successful execution is critical to the safety of your presenters, your team and the audience. Unless your Production or Staging company handles this for you, it is your responsibility to get the ball rolling and secure a quote.
This process is sometimes not an easy one. In lieu of a conversation to describe your plans and get your questions answered, many AV companies point you to an online form to fill out describing what you need. Depending on your knowledge of the science of rigging and local rules regarding staffing, it is not unusual to get a quote that is higher than anticipated or doesn’t include everything you need.
Fast forward to setup day. Your hope is that the head rigger comes to the job informed and prepared. Unfortunately, sometimes the head rigger will instead come to the job having not been briefed on the setup or the needed equipment. This is the time to get the venue AV director involved to get the job details in order and pave a clear path for the setup that lies ahead.
Despite best efforts, this scenario plays out time and again for even the most experienced meeting and event production companies. The best way to plan – knowing the venue always dictates which AV company will lead the charge on rigging, is to follow these simple guidelines:
- Be sure to connect with whomever you will be working with onsite BEFORE setup day. Ask the Director to setup a prep call in advance so everyone can be on the same page before the clock is ticking and you have a schedule to adhere to. This simple step can set your team up for success when it comes to rigging.
- Hold the vendor accountable for a superior product. All equipment should arrive on event day in pristine condition and ready to be setup. They charge a premium price so you should demand a premium product.
- Keep the venue’s Convention Services Manager (CSM) involved every step of the way. The in-house AV provider is now an extension of the venue and it is important they are aware of any issues that could affect the client experience.
- The venue benefits financially for every service the in-house AV company provides so if your team or the client is unsatisfied with the service or the end product, it is okay to ask for a refund or a discount on behalf of your client.
The bottom line is the rigging experience – even under the most optimal circumstances, is often not the easiest piece of an event to navigate. Understanding possible challenges that may arise and addressing them in advance will go a long way toward ensuring minimal stress and ultimately, the overall success of the event.
For more on event production, video production, interactive media and more, visit the Impact blog.
A recent survey by Robert Half titled, “It’s time we all work happy: The secrets of the happiest companies and employees” reveals there are several factors that drive happiness with pride (51%), fairness and respect (51%), and feeling appreciated (50%) as the top drivers.
When employers host company events and recognize the efforts of their employees, this gesture drives happiness and, in effect, productivity and results.
Company-wide inclusion is seen as an investment in their people and does not go unnoticed. Fortunately, today’s corporate events are not like those of the past, where dry speakers go on and on in a less than lively boardroom or rented meeting space. Company event ideas today are much more energetic and larger in scale and are created for employees, so they feel appreciated and engrossed in the company’s overall mission and vision.
Now that you know the benefits of hosting a company event, read on to learn how to elevate your next corporate gathering.
On Trend Event Concepts
From a theme to talent and branding, even the smallest details will make an impact. If your concepts align with current trends, you are sure to up the wow-factor. Some of the hottest company event ideas leaving a lasting impression on today’s attendees include:
1. Taking it back to the 80’s: A great theme party can make the whole event. Transport your guests back in time with some simple neon. Think glow sticks and 80’s attire with a great DJ playing top hits from that decade. Before you know it, you have a party! Go a step further by bringing in a glow makeup artist to help your guests really “get into the groove” a la Madonna circa 1985! It may seem simple but carrying a theme across every aspect of the event can help tie everything together.
2. A scavenger hunt: Break guests into groups and let the healthy competition begin! A scavenger hunt around the city, or even around the venue, is a fun way to make the experience immersive. It’s also a great teambuilding and networking activity!
3. Escape Rooms: Escape Rooms are a big hit for groups and are now popping up in most major cities. Your company can even opt to design your own escape room with a unique theme that can link back to the corporate message. Clues, for instance, can tie into an earlier keynote that was delivered at the event. Activities like this promote engagement and allow different groups of people who might not always engage with each other, to work together on the same team.
4. Food trucks: Food trucks are all the rage right now. This delicious trend is a great way to customize your event with food that’s outside of the typical “ballroom” fare. With this option you can feed a large group with a variety of choices – including vegetarian, gluten free, etc. And, it’s perfect for an outdoor event!
5. The pampered guest: Everyone enjoys feeling pampered in addition to being entertained. Bring in a manicurist or chair massages. Offer shoe shining. Guided meditation or yoga offerings also allow guests to focus on health and wellness – something they might desire but not always have the time for. Treat your guests to some “me time,” because we all need a little of that!
Impact Communications excels in crafting winning company event ideas that bring a level of value that goes beyond pure entertainment to promote team building and growth for your employees. From event conceptualization to branding, video production and talent, our team can handle every aspect of your next company event. Check out our portfolio for a sampling of some of the unique events we have produced for our clients.
Impact President Bob MacDonald recently had an article published in Forbes titled, “A New Way of Looking at Your Company’s Mission Statement and Core Values.” In it he states that, “In recent years, it’s become the norm for companies and institutions to develop mission statements, which are often supported by vision statements and occasionally some core values. These are valuable tools intended to help employees and other stakeholders in an organization understand its purpose and what it stands for.”
Bob goes on to say that, “The mission statement, vision statement and core values are only as effective as they are ingrained in the culture of your organization. It is one thing to post the words and images on a website, digital signage or in a video. It is another to live and breathe the mission in each and every task. Every member of the team must understand how valuable their role is in the success that is required to achieve the mission.” In his article, Bob highlights many different business environments and roles in which each and every member of the team plays an important part in executing on the mission and vision of their company. For instance, “The production assistant in a video production team is just one player, but their ability to manage multiple concurrent tasks and maintain many small details plays a crucial role in the overall success of the production. In this example, one element of the producer’s role is to make sure everyone on the team has a clear sense of the “mission” and how their contribution lends to the success of the show.”
The Forbes piece goes on to highlight some of the key approaches Impact Communications takes to reinforce the importance of each and every role as it relates to the company’s mission. Maybe some of these same tactics will work for your organization.
To learn more about how you can reinforce your company mission at each level, read Bob’s article here.
Interactive media interprets museum objects and ideas in a playful and emotional way, allowing museums to shift from imparting information to creating dialogue with visitors, who can now be active contributors.
The goal of museums is to make personal connections between visitor and content. Technology itself is not the objective, but it is a versatile vehicle to engage a wide demographic with knowledge, artifacts, ideas, and other people. Museums are beginning to center around innovative ideas that change visitor behavior and the way museumgoers explore. So, what are some of the top tech trends you can expect to see during your next museum visit?
- Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality
- Social Media
- Escape Rooms
- Artificial Intelligence
1. Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality
AR and VR are technologies that continue to grow in cultural organizations, standing out because they have the power to delight visitors as they are transported to other places and times. AR allows museums to virtually overlay educational and entertaining content without changing the integrity of the physical space, creating another way to connect with visitors. While AR overlays the real world with the digital world, VR replaces it. VR adds a new dimension to museum exhibits and will likely grow with the less costly headsets that are wireless and less bulky. Mixed Reality is using AR and VR along with other interactive programming to provide a rich visitor-directed experience.
2. Social Media
Museums have been successfully employing social media for marketing, letting visitors know what’s going on and recounting the excitement of it all. Social Media also provides the capacity to bring people together, contribute to local communities, and change people’s lives. Now is the time to proactively shape the role of museums as living institutions that amplify unheard stories, acknowledge differences, and bridge divides.
3. Escape Rooms
Escape Rooms are a playful and immersive trend where visitors use clues and elements to solve a series of challenges and “escape” within a certain amount of time. What a natural fit for museums with their incredible stories to share! Visitors know they are expected to explore, touch everything, use their skills, and become part of the story. It is these types of experiences that create a lasting memory.
4. Artificial Intelligence
Emerging Artificial Intelligence technology is where machines learn to perform tasks better than a human ever could. We already see chatbots simplifying interactions, providing information, and performing basic tasks. AI plays a noteworthy role in all phases of content development and sharing. Imagine AI as an evaluation tool, collecting visitor reaction of lips, eyebrows, pupils, nostrils and forehead and then calculating how they feel about an exhibit.
Museums are embracing these trends and visitors are coming to expect these new technologies as part of the experience.
Please check out Impact’s demo reel to see some of the creative immersive exhibits we have developed for our museum clients.
Imagine this: Your company needs a video communication that will be issued company-wide. The video needs to be short and concise but also creative. It must also be completed and ready for distribution in a mere three weeks. Oh, and did I mention that you have a limited budget? You have helped with video projects in the past, and because you once assisted a colleague in editing a script and appeared in the company orientation video 10 years ago, your boss charges you with leading the project.
Where to begin?
What you need is someone who is dedicated to getting the job done. That person can’t be you because you have your own job, complete with all the usual duties and deadlines.
The clear solution is to bring in a producer. A good producer has the communication, organization, leadership, and administrative skills needed. Most importantly, the number one thing a producer is responsible for is delivering the final product to a client—a product that meets their goals and objectives and does so on-time and within budget.
Jack of All Trades or Production Specialist?
Some may say that a producer is a jack of all trades. However, a producer worth their salt, as they also say, is really a project manager extraordinaire. As your strategic partner, the role of a producer is to make your job easier and to ultimately help you and your company shine. On the front-end a producer will work directly with the client to understand and establish goals and objectives. They also develop budgets and creative treatments, create realistic production timelines, assist with scriptwriting, storyboarding, shot lists, and determine if graphics will be needed. Producers cast talent that are appropriate for your project…and working with talent whether professional or non-professional, can be a lot of work in itself. Whether it’s on-camera or voice-over talent, your producer is involved in rate negotiation, directing voice-over sessions, directing on-camera shoots, selecting wardrobe, securing props for every scene, etc. Before the video shoot, a producer also secures extras, researches the appropriate location(s), secures permits and insurance, secures, approves and manages payment of freelance talent and makes sure that everyone on the team knows where they’re going and what they are doing at any given time during the shoot. Producers are tasked with handling all travel arrangements for the crew, talent, and extras. Every detail is managed and often executed by a skilled producer.
On the day of the shoot, a producer will supervise the script on set, direct the shoot, and manage the crew and talent. And when all of these tasks and details are taken care of, the producer even feeds the crew. If you think any of the other tasks on this list are important, think about working a 14-hour day with a hangry crew!
Then it’s on to post-production…and a producer’s job is far from over. It’s the producer who needs to ensure that the original objectives, look and feel of the video, and most of all, the client’s important messages are clear, concise and creatively executed. Post-production includes hiring graphic designers, editors and audio engineers to complete the job. A producer works directly with these team members by negotiating rates, scheduling and setting deadlines and supervising the edit and audio sessions.
Throughout this entire process, the producer is also keeping the client abreast of each and every detail, and ensuring expectations and budgets are being met.
In short, bringing on a producer means you are effectively hiring a decision maker, coach, spend thrift, creative problem solver, planner, scheduler, budgeter, negotiator, casting agent, interviewer, director, writer, and even caterer. A responsible producer will wear many hats and will do so while being flexible, focused, and driven. In the end, the decision to hire a producer should make navigating the process of a communications project much easier and make you look good too. After all, that’s what we do!
This year Impact Communications attended the American Advertising Federation (AAF) Cleveland ADDY Awards and were fortunate enough to take home two Silver trophies for our 2018 Holiday Video and Cinematography Reel, both in the “Advertising Industry Self-Promotion” category. It was a great honor to be recognized alongside all the best creatives in Cleveland’s ad community. The AAF ADDYs receive over 40,000 entries every year so to standout and be recognized is rather humbling. Both videos will now have the opportunity to compete at the district level of this three-tier, national competition.
About our 2018 Holiday Video
When you have a staff full of creative, funny people, you open the door to a very imaginative concept that’s assured to get some attention. The Silver Addy is a testament to the artistic efforts of the entire group. We filmed our 2018 Holiday Video over five days and the hardest part was just getting everyone’s schedules to allow blocks of time for shooting. We shot it all on our Red Helium with Sigma lenses and mounted on the MoviPro. Great concept by our Impact designer / illustrator Kate Triantafellow!
2018 Cinematography Reel Highlights
Our latest 2018 Cinematography Reel is a culmination of our best footage from clients such as Aspen Dental, Signet Jewelers, and Junior Achievement of Kentuckiana. We’re so grateful to be a part of video shoots that provide opportunities to create beautiful visuals. The Impact team handles video production from start to finish, including content development, scriptwriting, project management, lighting, talent casting, and post-production.
If you want a laugh make sure to check out our holiday video outtakes!
No one company can be a jack of all trades. For many companies, there are often not the resources or the internal expertise to pull off a flawless event.
Whether a large corporation or a smaller business, hosting a live event can be daunting. That is where a seasoned event production company comes in. It is beneficial to rely on professionals that specialize in understanding your business goals and who can then create an outstanding event experience that aligns with those goals, and will resonate with both the hosts and guests.
Whether it is a sales or training meeting, a leadership meeting, or a large-scale launch event, the end goal should always be the same: move the audience to action.
What Are the Risks of Producing Your Event Internally?
While internal resources may have company knowledge on their side, there is so much more that goes into producing a top-notch corporate meeting or event. For starters, there are literally thousands of details to coordinate. For employees who already have other responsibilities, simply finding the time and expertise to plan and execute a live event can be one of the biggest challenges.
Finding the right mix of creativity is also vital to making that lasting impression. From the psychology of a custom theme and graphics development, script and speechwriting, and live entertainment to the little details like set design, technology specification and collateral materials, a creative spark is necessary across every aspect of the event. Without an experienced production team on your side, your event is not likely to achieve your goals.
Now that you are inclined to contract professional support, what wow factors should you look for when outsourcing your next live event?
What the Best Event Production Companies Do Well
There are many factors that should be taken into consideration when selecting the “best” event production company to handle your next event, but a few really standout:
- Understanding the audience and the objective: A solid production team will ask the right questions in order to really understand who the audience is, where attendees are coming from, what their perspective is, and most importantly, how you want them to think or feel differently once they step away from the meeting or event. Answering these questions all begins with listening and relationship building with a client.
- Accurately telling the story: Every meeting or event has a unique story to tell and it is the job of a production team to tell that story in an engaging and motivational way. A story is not just spoken on a stage. It is told through theme selection, live entertainment, snappy graphics and the right video and music at the right time. A motivational story has many different components and the best event production companies have the resources and expertise to tie every aspect of an event in, leaving attendees invigorated and wanting more.
- Bringing the right resources to the table: There are many components involved in successfully producing a large-scale meeting or event. Bringing a production team with the right mix of expertise and capabilities to the table is a game-changer. A team that offers the whole package from soup-to-nuts (think script and speechwriting to talent casting, video production and even staging management) will ensure consistency throughout the event.
What has worked well for your events? Have they fallen short? We would love to hear your story and explain how we can build on what you have done in the past. Take a look at our most recent portfolio of work here.
Years ago, a local ad agency handed out little buttons that read “Eschew Obfuscation” to pitch their creative services. Eschew Obfuscation means avoid confusion. This button remains one of my favorite business promotional items because those two words together capture the essence of good writing. If I had been in the market for an ad agency, I would have hired them on the spot.
Those of us who write for a living – actually, those of us who write anything, period – can fall victim to filling scripts or presentations or e-mails with clutter words in an attempt to sound more authoritative or wittier. Readers or viewers get bogged down searching for the message in the quagmire of unnecessary descriptive terms. You lose them and you don’t achieve your project’s mission.
I’m asked what I do to shift between writing for different media or for different audiences. There are cardinal rules, such as knowing your audience, identifying the objectives of the work and using those objectives to meet the end goal. Right up there is also writing to make each sentence count. This is the case no matter what I’m writing.
Someone even asked me “how do you write for millennials?” as if there had been a generational evolution in comprehension I might have missed. I had to look up how because quite honestly, I did not know the answer. Turns out I’ve been doing it all along: No matter what the audience demographic, people crave clarity.
Whether for a video production or corporate event production, using crisp, clean and precise language is my goal with every script I write. It is okay to get illustrative – when it appropriately adds personality or color to the piece. I self-edit and I also have others provide feedback, which reminds me not to fall in love with my words. I’m not writing for me.
A lexical fact: The average active vocabulary of an adult English speaker is around 20,000 words. Promise yourself not to use them all in the same work. When writing, use words sparingly and judiciously. Eschew obfuscation. Get it? You will. And so will your audience, quite clearly.