I covered the most common question (cost) in my last blog, so let's move on to other issues. One question I often hear is, "How does it work? Who does what?" Certainly all of the technical and aesthetic concerns are handled by the video crew, but what about the script, the location or the "actors?"
I say actors in air quotes because sometimes you need people to simply be in the shot or operate a device; they're not really acting, but they are being directed. The production company can book those people - and the peace of mind is usually worth the cost. If you don't want to pay for "actors," just keep in mind that it's a process to manage them -- and you may want to pay them for their time, even if they work for you. The production company should be able to provide you with a talent release form.
The script is a relatively complicated aspect of video production. Most producers don't want to
move too far until they have a "final" script. There are those air quotes again. I don't think I've ever pressed the red button with a final, final script - but you want to be very, very close before you commit the resources to gathering assets. One of the first things I ask my clients is, "What do you think your video will look like and sound like?" In other words, who is speaking, what are they saying, and what are we seeing? That answer can be the beginning of a script. Often, a script is simply an outline - a rundown of the content to be covered, chapter headings, bullet points... whatever you want to call your clear idea of what the video will contain. I feel the creation of that guideline or road map should be a collaborative effort. The client points the way, the producer turns those ideas into on-screen elements.
The locations for shooting can be vital or not important at all. That's usually something that doesn't take long to figure out, but it can have a grand effect on production management. Obviously, the most convenient locations are the ones you can control, but if the client is providing the location, they need to be educated on the extent to which a crew "invades" and takes over the work space. Sometimes, paying for a studio is well worth the expense.
Whether it's these three aspects of production - or all the other parts for that matter - a key thing to consider when choosing a video production professional is their level of attentiveness. Are they listening to you? Do they have suggestions? Aspects like locations, actors, script development, and even shooting style should be things the client provides input on, and the production company should be able to not only adapt to the client's desires, but communicate the ramifications of those choices.