THE A-Z OF CREATING CAPTIVATING CONTENT – PART 2

Welcome to part 2 of our easy-to-swallow A-Z of creative content. You join us here at the tail end of the alphabet just in time to receive more golden kernels of our 15-years-in-the-making knowledge of digital filmmaking. Imagine we are some kind of affable media grandmother, make yourselves comfortable and gather around our voluminous skirts….

N is for…

This is another way of saying “small-scale” or “streamlined’. Ben-Hur this isn’t, basically. Using small shoot teams of multi-skilled people, combined with the best technology on offer, can get results that 15 years ago you’d need a team of 20 to create. Obviously for some projects you have to go big to get the look you want, however what is achievable now with a super-talented, streamlined team, would give the producers of yesteryear embolisms. People are making films on their freaking phones for flip’s sake. *

(*We are NOT suggesting you shoot your content on a phone…. unless it fits the project….)

O is for…

We don’t know if you’ve heard of the “world wide web” yet, but it’s quite the place to see new and exciting film. We love what online content has done for the world of advertising; increasing the scope, ambition, quality and reach of what brands can create, whilst taking them far beyond the bounds of the 30-second TVC. Films like Kenzo’s World by Spike Jonze, successfully blur the lines between ad, indie-cinema and music video; redefining what advertising is and what it can do for audiences. It’s much more democratic and talent led and there are no longer any boundaries of length and content to squeeze out the interest and individuality of the pieces.

P is for…

When you get a new project in, as a production company it is all about getting involved as early as possible from a logistical, financial and creative perspective. We can then figure out how best to maximize on what is going on; often this comes down to inter-linking moving image and stills campaigns to ensure uniformity and to get as much bang as possible from a client’s buck on shoot days; carrying campaigns further whilst saving on the production expense. We realize we sound kind of like Patrick Bateman there, but it really works!

Q is for…

Following on from our previous point, there’s got to be some trade off between maximizing shoot days and getting the best standard of work done. That dude on the high street playing all the instruments at once doesn’t sound like The Beatles for a reason. That’s why it’s really important to communicate with a client about their exact needs, expectations and the hierarchy of importance on a shoot day. Are the stills the hero asset? Or the TVC? Or the online content? Which needs the most time to breathe, which is an added bonus? Are we giving ourselves time to do everything to the standard it needs to be done? It’s possible to play the banjo and the harmonica at the same time, but SHOULD you? We’re not up for sacrificing quality to volume, so it’s important that a balance is struck in pre-production to maximize the content without sacrificing the quality of what we’re producing.

R is for…

There is absolutely no point in giving birth to your beautiful content if you’re just going to wrap it in a blanket and leave it screaming on the heath. It needs to be looked after, monitored and most importantly, it needs to be seen. We advise our clients to always put aside a portion of the content budget for amplification and distribution. The right eyeballs need to see it at the right time in order for the content to do its thang and reach it’s full potential.

S is for…

No amount of amplification will help if you don’t have a good story. Any idiot can shout their gibberish through a microphone; it doesn’t mean people will listen (as our incredibly harsh but pragmatic mother always told us.) The story thing is rapidly becoming an industry cliché, however storytelling IS pivotal to creating successful content. We are humans and we love stories, they’re what make us listen watch films all the way to the end. Ignore at your peril!

T is for..

We say, ride the zeitgeist all the way to the top with camera in-hand! However it’s equally important to know when to get on and off the ride. Always’ #LikeAGirl and Sport England’s “This Girl Can’ campaigns were amazing. The million proceeding adverts that attempted to tenuously link their product to feminism and capitalize on the message, not so amazing! A concept has got to fit and feel natural to work, not be shoe-horned in on the back of a trend.

U is for…

Make sure your strategy allows for proper planning but also includes budget for some reactive content. Those pieces of content that brands put out immediately to respond to changing situations are the things that make audiences feel listened to and communicated with. Part of having a nimble crew is that you CAN go out and create things at a moment’s notice. #ThisCrewCan (see it feels wrong!) To be zeitgheisty you’ve got to be reactive.

V is for…

“Viral” became a dirty word in media circles. There was a time a few years ago when every client was asking for a ‘viral’ video, which is a lot like asking the doctor for your child to be born with a unicorn horn. It either will be or it won’t be, but it probably won’t be. While one-hit-wonders may peak an audience’s interest temporarily, you need a strong content plan with narrative arcs over time to keep people coming back. One off pieces of content don’t build audiences, formats do. (The lesser known but non-the less still catchy rap lyric.)

W is for…

Watch EVERYTHING. That’s what we do, that’s how we know what can be done, we know about new filmmakers, what our old favorites are doing, what is possible, what is happening at the festivals. EVERYTHING. We are the watchers. We know how incredibly creepy that sounds.

X is for Xylophone
Y is for yo-yo
Z is for Zebra

Every production needs a xylophone a yo-yo and a zebra. Everyone knows that.