An Insider's Look at Prepping for a Brand Film

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I talk a lot to my clients about what they need to be doing to get ready for their brand film, but I don't think I've ever sat and written out what I do to get ready. And while I like a little mystery and intrigue, I thought I'd share the secrets today.

1. Read the questionnaire

Every client gets a questionnaire that has to be filled out before I will begin working on their film. Answers to who their ideal client is, what their brand values are, and what one message they absolutely have to get across in the film give me insight to where we are going.

2. Look over their inspiration

Either through videos that they send to me or a mood board created on Pinterest, I can get a feel for what style video my client is looking for. Sometimes clients will send me two videos that, in my eyes, are completely different, so I'll make them go back and tell me what it is exactly that they like about the video. Lighting, colors, music, etc?

3. Read the script

By this time, clients have usually sent over a script for me to look at. I'll read it and be sure that what they are trying to say makes sense. It's hard to explain things, sometimes, when you know everything about it. We assume that because we know, everyone else knows. That isn't always the case and this is my chance to clear up any confusion the script might cause. The brand story needs to be told in a clear, concise way, while still creating an emotional connection.

4. Make sure it all meshes

Now is when I sit down and make sure that everything goes together. Does the style of film that they want match the brand values they told me about? Does the script describe something that can be filmed in the style they like? Can we really produce a brand film in the style they want while staying true to their brand story and values?

5. Write out a shot list

I can't draw to save my life so there is no way I am going to create a storyboard. Drawing out each frame of the film in tiny little squares? Just, no. So I create shot lists. Every detail I can think of, every angle I may want, and every big picture footage I could possibly need gets written down. This piece of paper comes to the filming with me and never leaves my side. I don't leave without making sure I have captured everything I intended to. Now, a lot of times I will capture more than what's on the list and that's great. I'll get inspired and just keep shooting.

6. Pack and go!

The night before the shoot I prep my equipment. Charge batteries, format cards, lay out the cameras, stabilizers, and mics that I need. I also print out directions and check the map. The morning of the shoot I pack my equipment while checking to make sure I haven't forgotten anything. I leave 15 minutes before I actually need to just in case I get lost or there is terrible traffic. Once I get to the location I get set up, chat with my client, and then shoot the most awesome brand film ever.