Having a film produced for your company is a tremendous opportunity to showcase what you make or do to the rest of the world. Nothing accomplishes this better than a polished, entertaining “mini motion picture,” which we in the business call the corporate video. Even when your personal delivery is off, the corporate video never fails to deliver. Creative visual imagery combined with the right voice and emotionally stirring music is a hard act to follow for even the most talented of salespeople. And the best part is it never needs a day off, requires no expense account and can even do meetings at 2 am. without the double Scotch.
For over 35 years, I’ve been shooting films and videos for a host of clients. I’ve had my dramatic films aired nationally on television, and I have also taught film as well as shoot it. This teaching experience eventually led me, along with my partner, to open Casson Studios and Casson Film School some years ago. We then changed the name to Victoria Motion Picture School and added an acting program. We had the pleasure of teaching production techniques to students from all over North America and the World.
Through my production company Casson Pictures I’ve had the pleasure of being the camera operator and director of photography on a number of dramatic films with a few Hollywood stars. Prior to this I spent many years honing my craft as a TV News Cameraman.
As well as shooting dramas, however, I’ve shot, directed and produced more than fifty corporate videos. My clients include the Ramada Inns, Canada Employment and Immigration, National American Video, the Canadian National Railway, the CBC, CTV and countless other organizations. I’ve produced videos for small startup companies and large corporations, and I’ve received my share of awards from all the major film festivals in the US and Canada. I’ve also been nominated three times for Best Cinematography by the Canadian Society of Cinematographers.
Today what I love most is sharing this knowledge through hands-on workshops and speaking seminars about the film industry. I’ve provided these seminars throughout Western Canada to universities and high schools, film commissions, employment organizations and service groups.
The way I see things, there are two very important points to keep in mind when having a corporate video produced. The first is exactly that: have it produced. Don’t try to take a video produced in Alabama and expect your clients in New Brunswick to buy into the message just because it “kind of works.” The second point is don’t think your next-door neighbor with his little HD Handy-cam or iPhone is going to save you a bundle by coming in and shooting video of your business on his days off. Trust me, it never happens!
In the following pages, I’m going to take you step-by-step through the process of getting your business a great corporate video. Many of the techniques I’ll outline are used in the making of multi-million-dollar motion pictures. Though I’ll refer often to the phrase “corporate video,” this is meant to include all exhibition media.
Together we’ll cover everything from that first germ of an idea to that first phone call to a producer. We’ll delve into the script-writing process, including the translation of the written word into compelling visual images. In novels we think and feel but in digital video we must see and do. I’ll walk you through the pre-production planning steps and, believe me; it’s all about those planning steps. We’ll strip away the glamour and facades that reflect the average person’s view of film. You’ll experience the hard work and dedication that goes into a great corporate production. You’ll also get a look at the humorous side of the business and the crazy things that happen on shoots that make digital video production so much fun.
I’ll also answer the most frequently asked questions in this business. Should your video be a half hour long or will ten minutes be enough? What tricks of the trade will allow the production to stay alive in years to come? How much should you pay for a good video? What’s the best way to ensure the production won’t interfere with the running of your business? How can you take full advantage of trade shows and use the video to increase company sales? How can you assess the producer’s qualifications and is he or she the right producer for your kind of video? Together we’ll look at these topics and many more. By the end of this book, you’ll have an entirely new awareness of how films and videos are produced. We’re going to pull back the veil and peak into that magical world of smoke and mirrors. “SHAZAM.” Let’s get started.