Whether a film project is crowned with success in the end and contributes to the satisfaction of all stands and falls with the briefing. Often the customer himself does not know exactly why a certain video should be made at all.
Mostly the cause is the reason: There is an event coming up and for that we need a video. Communication goals and target groups? None. I have already experienced many clients who did not know who their target group should be, or which message should be conveyed. We then have no chance to develop an idea of what the video should look like, because we do not know what it is supposed to achieve.
Or else – the customer wants a film that should be everything at once. For example, there is an event where new employees are welcomed. Then it should also be communicated that there is now a new division and a merger. Also, one of interviewees should say something about sustainability, diversity and inclusion. Speaking of original sound: In order not to offend anyone, also an interview with Karl-Heinz Meier as data protection officer must be made. Oh, yes, there is also a Smart to win, the vehicle should, if possible, please also appear somewhere in the movie. And while we’re at it, we can have 12 interviews with 12 new employees in addition – and put them as individual snippets on our social media channels.
Quite often too many factors determine the design of the film, which then no longer give room for a clear line or message. There is no clear briefing beforehand, rather, the client wants to play it safe and the film crew to cover as much as possible.
Fair enough – but what is the essence of a good briefing?
A good briefing is based on reciprocity
First of all, you have to know what you want to achieve with the film and who you want to address. You need to take your time and maybe talk to the management or the people in charge again. Gather as much information as you need to give the film service provider the opportunity to understand what you are all about and share your vision. You do not have to know how the film should look like, you can discuss this with your service provider. But a good briefing includes two: A good service provider also asks questions and identifies information gaps. Therefore, a briefing is always a give and take.
Information exchange in advance
It is important that there is already an exchange of information before the first kick-off call or kick-off meeting and the service provider has already received the most important information in advance – so he can already do a little research and ask questions or prepare suggestions for the kick-off.
Do not cut off any slices
A briefing should not be held between doors and the information should not be delivered bit by bit. During the briefing, everything that needs to be clarified should be clarified in order to prepare a working concept to present to the client.
Communication is the key
A briefing is a matter of communication. Therefore, it cannot be emphasized enough that it is important to listen thoroughly and to understand. It is equally important that the client takes the time to provide the editor with the information he needs as well as that the service provider always asks about anything that is still unclear.
An important point to talk about is the expectations that the customer might have of a project. Often they are very high, although the budget is very small. Then frustration and disappointments on the client’s and on the part of the service provider are inevitable. Therefore, it makes sense to clarify in advance what exactly can be done with what budget. And here lies the responsibility rather on the side of the service provider.
Overview of the work steps
Another task of the service provider and part of the briefing is to provide an overview of the work steps within the framework of a project plan. Only then, the customer can also be prepared for what is needed of him at which point, when he must take the time for feedback and when he can expect a final version. Buffers should be scheduled to allow enough time for the unforeseen.
Also important: Self-knowledge
The moment you prepare a briefing, it is important that you become clear about what you want with the film project. If you don’t quite know that yet, you can find it out by preparing the briefing. If you still don’t know what the goal of the film you want to make is, you can get some inspiration in our article 8 good reasons for a corporate film.
Conclusion: Only with a good briefing and clear objectives can the best results be achieved. That’s why it’s worth preparing the briefing as well as possible.
Zarah Ziadi, mmpro editorial team