At The Marketing Café we often produce client videos in London and elsewhere that involve interviews with key members of staff. Every time we do this we come across a key challenge – making the interviewee look natural, friendly and engaging on camera.
It’s not every day that you sit in front of a video production crew with multiple lights bearing down on you and a clapperboard snapper just beyond your nose. Of course, it is an unnatural situation, but one that we all find ourselves in more often these days as video marketing takes off.
When pressed interviewees will start to forget the script and think more from the heart, delivering lines of passion that are all so rare in the world of corporate video.
In our experience clients and interviewees tend to overcome this difficulty through advanced preparation, which typically involves scripting. It’s a good idea to be prepared. You wouldn’t stand up in front of an audience to give a speech without first preparing some sort of script. Likewise, if appearing on live television it would be sensible to have it clear in your head what you want to say beforehand.
However, filming a corporate video isn’t the same as giving a speech or appearing on live television. It’s an opportunity to be more natural and conversational in style. Millions of pounds are spent each year on producing corporate videos, yet it is a fact that few of them truly engage the audience. It’s not that the subject matter is of no interest as videos will be selected and played by people who are keen to hear about that subject. The question is once they start to play a video are they captivated and moved to action? In the majority of cases, they are not entertained and switch off very quickly leaving marketers with a very low ROI.
Most people are passionate about their subject matter, but this doesn’t always come across when there is too much scripting. I am not suggesting that video scripts are abandoned altogether. You need to make the most of the short time you have in front of the camera. What tends to work well is a list of key points written down that you want to discuss or get across. These can act as a reminder or prompt during the interview process. Try and step away from brochure copy and if at all feasible fellow colleagues may be better leaving the room. If you are being interviewed by someone who knows and understands your business then it should be possible to ask questions in a way that encourages an emotive and passionate response.
For instance, very often we will ask a question such as “what makes you different?” and get a scripted answer, which does the job on camera and fulfils the message. However, we like to challenge the answer and push the interviewee in a way that draws out a more natural response. “What you just said sounds great, but your competitors say the exact same thing – come on what really makes you different. I’m not convinced?” When pressed interviewees will start to forget the script and think more from the heart, delivering lines of passion that are all so rare in the world of corporate video.
Every video project is different and you have to develop a plan accordingly. Generally, I would recommend the following approach:
1. Prepare a list of questions designed to extract the answers you want.
2. Study the questions before the interview and either have an idea of what you want to say or take some notes that you can refer to.
3. Once the more scripted interview is over, throw the script away and ask the questions in a more conversational and provocative style.
The Marketing Café is a video production company in London with strong marketing credentials. If you have a video project coming up that depends on strong and engaging interview footage then we can help. It’s our job to ask questions in a way that brings about natural, authentic and entertaining responses.