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Prep 4 Pro…

Great – you’ve chosen an animation studio — and you are raring to go!

What can you do to make sure the project goes smoothly and that the video you have produced not only meets your expectations, but exceeds them?

FUSS then TRUST

Your animation studio will be excited about getting started, here are a few things to consider before your first meeting, your selected studio will be able to get off to a running start. Best practice in project management suggests that it is best to get a full understanding of the project (“scope” the project) before starting. By taking time to do this at the beginning, you will be handing over the materials the professionals at Illustrate iT (or your selected animation studio) need. They will synthesize all the information into a visually-powerful video.Before your first meeting, you may want to work with your team to agree things like:

  • branding elements
  • the video’s “job”
  • target audience
  • required content

Branding Elements

What branding elements are required in the video? Logos are your signature and many companies adopt rules about how it can be used. For instance, is it company policy that the logo is not to be altered in any way or can we have a bit of fun with it (draw it, have it morph into something else)? Do you have a corporate color palette? Or, perhaps there are colors that you do not want in the video; for example, I would expect that Coca Cola may not want a particular shade of blue to be prominently featured in any of their promotional materials!

…Is there a catch-phrase, slogan or concept that you feel is key to your messaging? For example: in a video production for Kawet, we created the tag line “puts the app in ‘snappy’ “. By knowing this ahead of time, we can work this into the design.

Keep in mind that less heavily branded material gets shared more than heavily branded material. So if you are hoping that the video goes viral, less is more. Going back to the Coke example, using your key colors throughout and then having a well-placed logo in a limited number of frames may be enough to subtly brand your video and maintain its chances of going viral.

Know Your Video’s “Job”

It is helpful to know the reason you are doing the video in order to select the key messages — even if you are thinking of it as a simple placeholder for that spot on your website. That’s a job too!

For instance, is the purpose of the video to grab attention and draw potential customers into your website or is the video to be used as an tool by your sales people? Is the video to make a complex product or service clearer or is it to highlight user benefits? Is the key reason for the video to gain more customers or is to ensure that “signed-on” customers have a better experience using your product or service? Maybe its for internal training or a way to enable investors to visual the future of your business? Knowing the “job” of the video will make it easier for you to ensure that the video is successful.

Plus, if you can set a goal for the video project you can also measure ROI. For example, if you are expecting the video to increase leads by 5% or get people to spend time more time on website, you can build this kind of tracking into the video right from the start.

Knowledge-Level of your Target Audience

Perhaps your service is an add-on to a specialized field where use of jargon is one way of showing that you have the required expertise; or maybe you are educating new customers about how much your product or service can improve the way they work. Knowing the level of understanding your target video audience has about your service or product is essential to creating a script which will hold your audience, and thereby get your video noticed.

This includes some thoughts on the tone of the video. Witty and/or funny videos are more memorable but it is important to decide if this suits your audience. Once the creative team gets involved, they’ll be able to advise you how they will use the combination of script, voice over, music , SFX and animation style to create a tone that will work for you and your audience.

Required Content: KISS

The natural tendency is towards summarizing your company’s whole existence, mission and catalogue of products and services into a 1.5 minute video. RESIST! The best videos are simple in both script and animation. May we invite you to KISS? Ahem, that is to Keep It Simple Sam!

You don’t want to jam your video with lots of competing messages or detailed instruction — this will turn your viewer off. After all, your video (or its landing page) can highlight and direct viewers to more information available elsewhere, for example on your website or blog. A video full of too many bits and pieces of information becomes distracting and confusing; therefore, it may not leave a positive or lasting impression.

Situations where each stakeholders is grabbing that red pen to add words here and remove phrases there can quickly turn a great script into a mediocre one. You know that saying “too many cooks spoil the broth” or even “a camel is a horse designed by committee”? They are classics for a reason!

Figuring out what is essential is something that your scriptwriter will help with; however, It is best to start this discussion with your own team as early as possible. This is one area that can derail a project and take the video in a direction that ultimately no one is happy with. This will be a dialogue that will continue to the first few meetings with your animation studio. A great example of material that should be FUSSED over with in the beginning of the project, then you can TRUST your scriptwriter to pull it all together in a script.

Time to FUSS together, then TRUST us to get on with it alone
Now you are truly ready to meet and you are far more prepared than most. Great!

In the first meeting, your animation team will meet with you and describe the next steps. You should also have your team available for this meeting and describe each of your team members’ role in the video production process. In particular, you should mention who is the key sign-off person and who is the point contact – they may or may not be the same.

During the initial meeting, you should go through the background work you have done with your own team and ensure that these key items (branding, content and tone) are thrashed out in the beginning. Then you’ll be comfortable taking a step back to allow your creative team to get to work.

With these steps, your scriptwriter will be able to produce a script that requires minor tweaks followed by a storyboard where again you’ll be invited to FUSS over art concepts. Then once again, TRUST your animator to produce a video which is likely to need only minor tweaks once presented.

So as you can see, it is important to select an animation studio that you feel you can work well with as this will enable you to stand back a when required and trust the animation team. These days, it is the relationship that builds business, and we find that being abe to work blah blah hope that you will select us . . . fix this

We look forward to working with you.

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