How to Be Really Successful Producing a Crappy Video

on July 31, 2014

The big secret of video production is that success isn’t just about the final product. A successful video effort also includes each aspect of the voyage to produce the video. That can include the research, reaching out to people for interviews, interviewing people, getting advice from industry experts, building industry relations, the release of the final product, and then the follow up with participants and other interested parties. If you’re mindful of capitalizing on opportunities throughout that journey, then it’s actually very possible to gain professional success even if your final video product is sub par.

I don’t actually recommend that you create a crappy video, but even if you aren’t a good video producer and make a few missteps producing your first videos, the mere act of having a video camera as a foil and then producing a video, even one that’s not so good, will afford you opportunities and access that simply wouldn’t be possible if you weren’t shooting a video.

Want to make the most out of your video effort? Follow these steps:

An interview is a great excuse to get access to influencers

crapvideo_06If you ever just wanted to get connected to an influencer, don’t ask them to join you for coffee, or just “ten minutes of their time.” In both cases you’re asking them to do you a favor. If you’re interviewing them, yes they’re doing you a favor, but more importantly you’re doing them a favor by featuring them in a video. And one of the ways influencers stay influencers is by others acknowledging their influence and publishing their wisdom. By asking them to be interviewed, you’re providing that service.

Quickly and easily initiate conversations on your topic of choice

crapvideo_03Most people will say the great advantages of attending a conference or trade show are the conversations. Problem is it’s hard to initiate those conversations and quickly get to your topic of choice. When we meet people at conferences we must go through the song and dance of formal introductions, exchanging business cards, finding out what each person does for a living, then we discuss topics at the conference, and then eventually, if we’re lucky, we can get to our topic of choice.

A video camera allows you to cut through that routine. Simply walk up to anyone and ask, “Can I ask you a question about ____________?” No warm up necessary and you’re immediately onto the topic you want to discuss.

Qualify candidates quickly

Assuming they agree to be interviewed, the subject’s answer to the question will immediately let you know if they’re qualified for further discussion. Keep the camera rolling and ask more questions, or continue the discussion off camera.

A refusal to be interviewed can still yield positive results

crapvideo_04Sometimes people are nervous about being interviewed or can’t be interviewed because of a stringent corporate communications policy. Regardless, they may still be interested in your topic and want to discuss the topic with you off camera. Even if you don’t have them on camera, you may have an interested party in your topic and the final product. Make sure you collect their business card and follow up.

Have lots of conversations

crapvideo_05Ending a conversation is not easy. But if you have a video camera in your hand it’s extremely easy. After the interview is over, it’s up to you if you’d like to keep talking or move on to the next person. The interviewee won’t be insulted if you quickly move on as it’s understood that you have a job to do and need to get to the next person and ask the next question.

A camera indicates you’re not there to have a long conversation, but rather a substantial conversation, and you want to have it quickly. People understand the “video camera” dynamic and are usually good about delivering the goods.

With a video camera you can simply talk to more people. If you don’t have a video camera you can’t get away with a 30-second conversation.

Touch more people with your brand and message

As you walk around the show floor conducting a round robin series of conversations, you’ll be able to expose your brand and message to more people. A trade show booth requires people to come to you.

Get feedback on your topic

Want to know what people are thinking about a specific topic? You could spend weeks and a fortune hiring a research firm to find out for you, or for a lot less you could get a quick pulse by asking a lot of people on camera, “What do you think of __________?”

Or say you want to know how attendees feel about your product versus a competitor’s product. Go ahead and ask them. You’ll be surprised how honest they are. We pulled this very technique at Cisco Live! when we asked attendees “What do you think of Cisco vs. Juniper?”

Maybe you ask a competitive question and the responses aren’t ready for public consumption. That’s OK. You can still produce a rough cut of all the answers (AKA a “crappy” video) and show it to the marketing department. That information alone will be very valuable, and much cheaper than hiring a research firm.

Shadow the cameraman

crapvideo_02Even if you’re not shooting the video, you can still experience all these additional benefits by simply shadowing the cameraman. Continue the conversations you find valuable or move on from ones you think are useless.

When Spark Media Solutions is shooting videos at trade shows and conferences, we highly recommend our clients shadow us to take advantage of all the networking opportunities.

Now you have an excuse to follow up

crapvideo_04How many emails have you received that simply said, “Great to meet you at the event. We should get together for coffee sometime.” And then how many times do you actually get together for coffee?

A produced video is a clear follow up. The recipient will most definitely look at the video, especially if they’re in it. Assuming it’s not horrible, they’ll respond with a nice positive comment. It’s up to you to continue the conversation.

If it didn’t come out the way you wanted it to, it’s not the end of the world. If it’s passable, go ahead and publish it and let them know. If not, admit that it’s not your favorite video, and apologize that they won’t be able to see it. Regardless, you had a positive connection and you can still follow up on the discussion at hand.

CONCLUSION: You need to have a video production plan

This whole process doesn’t happen purely by accident. A production crew that is in tune with your content and marketing strategy can extract lots more value throughout the entire process.


Creative Commons photo attribution to Nathanael Coyne, Neil Moralee, Frank Gruber, Watch Mojo, The DEMO Conference, and Mike Schinkel

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