This past week has been full of working on brand videos, and I’m excited to get to share my latest video telling what my company, The Headshot Studio, is all about.  I’ll be doing a blog post on The Headshot Studio’s blog digging into the content of the video a little more, but here I just wanted to share a little bit of the behind-the-scenes ideas for the process I use to create these ideas.

1. Don’t try to say it all at once

When I started putting this video together, I wanted to get across one core concept.  Something Rich Mullins once said about songwriters holds true, in my mind, for marketers as well.  He said that one easy way to know if a songwriter is a beginner is if they try to pack everything they believe into one song.  I remember doing marketing pieces early in my business and I would try to make a list of everything that I thought everyone needed to know about my photography, and get it all in there somehow…and it was a mess.  Now, I’ve learned to take just one idea – in this case, how long it takes to make a first impression, and make that the focus and the takeaway of the video.

Not only does that cut down on clutter visually – which makes my little heart sing – it sends a clear, cohesive message to your viewers that has the potential to resonate with them in a way that a barrage of messages cannot.  I think of all the car lot commercials that shout about half a dozen different deals, all at the same volume, all with some numbers pertaining to financing, miles, MSRP, APR, and other acronyms.  Four or five seconds into a commercial like that, I’ve completely tuned out.  An Apple commercial that focuses on how thin the new iPad Air is, however, can keep my attention fixed for the full 30.  Is it because I’m an Apple fanboy?  No. (Maybe).  It’s because they’re showing me all the benefits of one feature, not all the features of one product.

2. Audible white space

In design and photography, we use composition to draw focus to certain parts of an image.  In my headshots, and in a lot of the photography that I do, I intentionally leave a lot of “white space”, or areas without anything of interest, in order to force the viewer to hone in my on subject.  I’ve started doing that with audio as well.  Rather than taking the old radio ad approach and filling every possible second with fast-paced speech, I’ve taken to giving my words some breathing room (pun…unavoidable).  If I’ve got words on the screen that aren’t summarizing the voiceover, I think it’s important to give the viewer time to follow both storylines without feeling overwhelmed or consciously ignoring one.

3. Tell good stories

This plays over and over in my head, and it used to make no sense to me.  I’d get critiques on my photographs saying that they were nice, but there was no story…the viewer didn’t leave knowing anything about the subject.  Now, when I shoot headshots or create promo videos, I try to always keep storytelling in mind.  Every person in this video has a great story, and I wrote my script with the intention of baiting just a little bit of interest in a few seconds for each face displayed.  A story doesn’t have to be long, and it doesn’t have to be complex, but it does have to frame information in a way that’s easier to digest than simple facts.  Imagine if that video just said, “Pink background, tattoos”, or “Grey background, smile” – the facts aren’t the same as the story.  Good stories connect viewers to your information in a way that is impactful and memorable.

Go tell stories or come let me tell it for you!