When I produced the 2 min video for BuzzGain, the first thing that surprised me the most was how quickly 2 minutes flies by.
There are 3 important things I learned during the process of creating the video, which will help you put together the outline of your video before you actually produce it. I still cringe at my first video produced and made so many mistakes (voice clarity, etc), which I wish I knew before.
1. The outline needs to be clear about the only ONE outcome you can achieve – e.g.to get people to understand what your product does or to show them your demo, and ONE call to action – signup for your service, signup for a newsletter, subscribe to your blog, etc.
Most entrepreneurs forget this important item. There’s only ONE thing you can achieve. You might as well figure out what it is and focus on that alone.
2. For a 2 minute video the maximum number of sentences you can comfortably speak and have people understand is less than 40. This should force you to choose your words carefully and ensure that you dont over engineer the demo video. Dont try to cram too many ideas, concepts or topics in your overview video.
Speaking faster than normal does not count, and it makes the video difficult to watch.
3. The best way to put an outline is to follow the Say this, Show this approach. In this approach, you have a 2 column word document where you will write exactly what you will say (audio) and on the right column what will be shown (visual) on the screen.
The alternative scrip format that I followed above uses a 3 column format with the optional 3rd column to show the text on the screen to go with the visual.
Here is the set of steps I took to write and produce the video:
1. Writing the goal: Time taken 15 minutes to write and 3 days to refine. I had to test the goal and understand who the real audience was for the video. There were 5 things I had to be absolutely clear about:
- Who was the right audience for this overview video? – was it the PR Associate, the PR manager, the owner of the PR firm, or the communications manager at the large company?
- What was the goal of this video? – to tell them about our product, to give them an overview so they know what it does
- What was the desired outcome and my call to action? Did I want to have them sign up for BuzzGain? Did I want them to subscribe to the blog – since the production of the video happened before the product was ready or did I want them to take the next step – which was to view the next video on BuzzGain’s technology and how it worked.
- What was the desired flow? What problem did I have to surface (based on my audience)? What pain point did I have to mention? How did I have to show the solution? Did I have to show the differentiation?
- What were the assets I had to produce to make the video happen? Besides the flow what were the screen shots, the text, the logos, etc. that I needed to have ready?
Here is the original BuzzGain_Flash_Demo_Script_v6.
You will notice, that it has the 3 column format and actual screen shots.
2. Practicing the story telling (audio) and ensuring I hit the key points before the visuals
- Speak into a microphone and record the entire script 3-4 times before you go and produce it with the video.
- Play that to 10 people (without the visuals) to get feedback on the script and the voice, tone, key points etc.
The key reason for this step is to ensure that your story can be told even without the visuals. That way you can use the same script when you meet folks at networking events and dont have the visuals to go with it.
3. Going to the studio to actually record the audio in production quality.
4. Putting together the screen shots or PowerPoint slides that go along with the video.
5. Producing the video by mixing the audio and visuals. During that time (2009) I had Camtasia Studio and Jing project as tools to help produce this. I loved Jing project, but migrated to Studio since I found it more feature rich. There are many other tools you can use as well.
6. Uploading the video on YouTube after refining it multiple times and producing 7 useless videos which I did not like. Today I’d use a high quality HD video hosting site like Vimeo.
7. Embedding the video on our front page of the website using YouTube embed.