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Directing can be Fun & Rewarding as long as the Right Steps are Taken

#Directing can seem like an easy or daunting task, depending on how you look at it. In actuality, it is neither. Directing is complicated because you will want something different out of virtually every #performance. And yet, if you have the right attitude, and know what you are doing, directing can become a very fun and rewarding task.

The coveted Directors chair

While some may think directing #talent is only needed in #scripted scenarios, this is far from accurate. Our corporate clients need and want our direction at almost every #shoot we do. Whether a professional address to camera by a CEO, or an emotional #testimonial for an informational piece, every individual we put in front of our camera requires direction.

That is why we have a talented roster of #producers and #videographers who work together to create a dynamic, informed, and professional directing team. There are steps that you can take to ensure you are providing your talent with the appropriate amount and style of direction for your project at hand. But first and foremost you need to do your homework and have enough information to fully understand these three points listed below.

Understand the Background

The first thing that you should know before you step on-set, is who the company is that you are filming for. Figure out that company’s style and personality. Are they a more formal company? Do they like to put off a more fun and relaxed image? This will guide you in knowing (generally) what type of style they will lean towards, and will help you in knowing how to go about directing the talent.

Understand the Content

If you show up on-set to direct an interview and know you are filming for a young and lively company, yet the content happens to be about employees telling personal stories, some which may be more emotional, then you need to be aware of this. While the company’s style may be one thing, the content at hand could potentially be very different. Therefore, you need to have a solid concept of not only who the company is, but also what the content is about, and how your client wants this video to be perceived by audiences.

Understand the Talent

We have worked with, and directed many people over the 25 years Key West has been in business. Not every CEO reacts the same to an interview. While some may be more formal and pressed for time, others want endless amounts of feedback and critique. You need to take things on a case-by-case basis in understanding who you are working with, and what they want out of you as a director.

Now that you have a clear understanding of the style of the company, the direction of the content, and who the key players are, you can focus on the direction itself. Here are a few things we have learned over the years, and active steps we take depending on the circumstance.

*Make your talent feel as comfortable as possible with you. We suggest striking up a conversation unrelated to the video before you start filming so you start building a relationship with them right off the bat.

*Maintain eye contact at all times during an interview. It is my biggest pet peeve when interviewers don’t do this. If you need to take notes then do so once the interviewee is finished speaking. You need to make sure they feel like you are interested in what they are saying, and eye contact is a quick and effective way to do this.

*In combination with my point above, when conducting interviews also make sure to show interest through facial expressions as well. You don’t even realize how important what you do personally affects the talent. Simple things like nodding your head, smiling, or expressing concern when appropriate. These small acts can go a long way.

*The above points also resonates with Joe Lamachia, who on his article 20 Tips for Directing Talent, stresses how important attentiveness is to directing. He says, “Listen to the concerns of your on-camera subjects and be sympathetic. You may need to assure one subject that he looks good, and another that her response doesn’t sound silly. If someone isn’t saying what you want or need, you may have to help him find his words”.

*When it comes to interviews I also prefer not to give the subject the questions in advance. You can tell them the general gist of what the video is trying to achieve (ex. Recruiting video to bring in new talent). But providing the subject with the questions in advance can make them pre-plan their answers, which often ends with them sounded very scripted. I would prefer them to take a moment to answer the question on the spot, or do a second take to clean up their answer. This way at least the response is authentic and more natural sounding.

*Just like with scripted content, with interviews you may want a different vibe out of the performance. If your subject is coming across a bit shy and calm, when you know the company wants to put out a fun and exciting message, then you need to let the subject know that.

*If you find the talent is not giving you what you need, then you need to go about a different way of directing them. For example, instead of just explaining what you want the outcome to be, try re-wording the question, or provide an example of what you would say in their position. I have found in the past that what might work for one person doesn’t for another, so you need to be flexible in discovering what works best for the talent at hand.

*Most of all have fun with your talent and be complementary. If you tell people they will do amazing and not to be worried, you may help calm their nerves. Of course this doesn’t always work, but it is worth the effort.

Directing corporate videos goes far beyond just telling people what you want out of them. Often you need to extract a good performance due to the fact that the talent we often work with is untrained and maybe hasn’t even ever been in front of a camera. Stick with the basic rules outlined above and you are guaranteed to receive a stellar outcome.

Any questions or things you want to add? Give us a shout!

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