How to write a video production brief
So you’ve decided to make a video. You and your team have spent hours workshopping how it might look. Who it will feature. Where it should be published. And (quietly) how many views it might gain.
You’ve Googled a few video production houses in your local area. Reviewed more showreels than you’d like to remember. Sent a few emails, made a few calls. You’ve talked your idea through so many times, you’ve got it down to a succinct but compelling soundbite now.
Finally, you’ve found a group of filmmakers who get you and what your brand’s all about.
Now it’s up to them to take your idea and turn into a world-changing, viral video …right?
Oh. If only it was that simple.
As excited as you might be to dive head first into the production process, there is something you need to do days, weeks, maybe even months before you roll camera. And that’s writing a detailed brief for the creative team.
When you commission a video production company to make your next video, you need to give them an outline of what you’re trying to achieve and what needs to be delivered. Sure, meetings, emails and phone calls all have their place in the pre-production phase, but nothing compares to a brief. It’s the best and most transparent way to get everyone on the same page.
To write an effective video production brief, there are a few key points you need get clear on. And that’s what we’re breaking down for you in this post.
Let’s get into it.
Video production brief tip 1: What is the purpose of your video?
Getting clear on the objective of your video is super important. Dp you want to boost brand awareness? Increase sales? Educate? Or simply drive more traffic to your website?
Having measurable end goals will help you and the production crew decide on the type of video you need. A strong purpose will also serve as an important cornerstone for establishing your call to action, which we’ll get to soon.
Video production brief tip 2: Who is your video for?
Understanding who your audience is critical for anyone preparing to create a video. And it’s likely one of the first questions any good video production company will ask. If you don’t know who you’re making your video for, then it’s going to be really difficult (maybe even impossible) to make something that anybody will want to watch.
Working out who your audience is will ensure you not only create terrific and engaging video content, but also content that speaks directly to your audience, answers their pain points and establishes you as an authority in your industry.
If you need a little extra help in this department, we’ve just released an online course which is all about defining your ideal audience for your next video project. Talk about good timing!
You can learn more and sign up over here.
Video production brief tip 3: Who is your messenger?
If you’re familiar with our content, you’ll understand instantly what we mean by the term messenger. In short, it’s the person who is delivering the key messages in your video (more about key messages later).
When thinking about who to cast in this role, it’s essential to make sure that the person you choose is able to carry your message effectively and in a way that will generate the impact or result you’re looking for.
They also need to be someone your target audience can relate to. This could be a staff member, an expert, an actor or even yourself. You may need to weigh up a few options before landing on the right fit for your video.
If this has got you a bit stumped, you can check out these previous articles called Who is the Messenger and How to Cast your Talent to help demystify the messenger for you.
Video production brief tip 4: What are the key messages you want to communicate – and what’s the call to action?
Your key messages are the core ideas you want your audience to take on. Try to keep them short, concise and specific– and stick to 1 or 2, especially if you’re creating a short video.
You also need to indicate the type of action you want your audience to do once they’ve watched your video. This might be subscribing to your YouTube channel, signing a petition or contacting your for a quote.
Video production brief tip 5: What style are you looking for?
Defining the type of video you want will go a long way to help your video production company capture the right footage. By type, we don’t just mean genre, like action, drama or thriller, although it does play a small part. What you really need to drill down on is whether you need an about us video, a case study video, a testimonial video or something else entirely.
You’ll also need to give some thought to where you’ll publish your video. Will it just be simply going on your website or do you need something for LinkedIn and Instagram too? Maybe you’re making a feature-length documentary with view to have it end up on a streaming channel. All this information will be useful to your production team, so try be as clear as possible.
To learn more about video types, we dive a bit deeper in this post over here.
Bonus tip: You should also give some thought your call sheet
Ok. So you’ve written an excellent creative brief and everyone’s on board with your kick-arse video idea. You’ve found a location. Picked a date to shoot. Surely, it’s it time to hit record?
Not so fast!
There’s one final thing to do to ensure filming goes as smoothly as possible. And that’s creating a call sheet – which outlines everything your cast and crew can expect to happen before – and while – the cameras roll. It’s the who, the what, the when and the where and without one, your video wouldn’t happen at all.
Why are call sheets so important? Because they detail the game plan for your cast and crew on shoot day. In most cases, your video production company will pull the call sheet together, but it’s a good idea to have an understanding of what a call sheet includes incase it ever ends up on your to-do list.
Your call sheet should include:
Date and day of the shoot. If there are more than one shoot days, you should label each as ‘day 1 of X’ and so on.
Call time. Make sure your cast and crew know what time they need to be on set, ready to start work.
Locations. List the address (there may be multiple) as well any specific rooms filming will take place in and at what time. You might need to include any parking information here too.
Shooting schedule: Outline the scenes that will be filmed, the cast and crew are required for each scene and the location. You’ll probably want to include lunch time and the expected wrap time here too.
Key contacts: Add the name of the director, the producer, the assistant director and any other key team members here, including their phone numbers.
Let’s go over that brief once more …briefly
We know you’re itching to get cracking on with your video. But we want to ensure you make an amazing video that wows the pants off everyone who watches it.
It all begins with a great creative brief. Here those points to get clear on once more:
• Define the purpose or objective of your video
• Figure out your target audience
• Pick your talent or messenger
• Lockdown your key messages and call to action
• Pick a video type or style
And hey presto! You’ll be on your way to having an awe-inspiring video that achieves exactly what you hoped it would.
For more helpful video tips, don’t forget to subscribe to the Moonshine Moonshot YouTube series over here. New episodes every Tuesday! And did you know there was a podcast version too? It’s great for you multi-tankers out there. Just search Moonshine Moonshot in your favourite podcast app and hit subscribe to know as soon as new eps land.