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In many households, there’s usually a leader that takes charge to get things done. They’re the ones that plan the meals, do the laundry, drive the kids around, coordinate activities, and make sure everyone in the family feels loved every day. Well, consider a video producer “the household leader” of one big video family.

The Role of a Video Producer

A video producer coordinates and manages many aspects of a video production process from start to finish. In a nutshell, a producer may help with creative direction, setting a budget, writing scripts, organizing logistics, deadlines, and communicating with the team each step of the way.

What Skills Does a Video Producer Need?

  • Fierce attention to technical detail
  • Patience enough to work through big-picture changes
  • Be a good storyteller with a creative eye
  • inspiring stories that tug at your heartstrings, yet they
  • Know how to stick to hard and fast deadlines
  • Strong communication skills

Their Role in the Video Production Process

Throughout the entire video production process, a video producer is in constant communication with their team, the client, and various other members of a video shoot. Working to help creatively execute something as unique and subjective as a video project requires a lot of trust, communication, and expectation setting. 

  • Pre-Production: At the beginning of a video project, a producer will help to coordinate of the project — creative vision and strategy. By developing a strategy that fits within an overall goals and objectives, videos are more likely to be successful, no matter how success is defined. A video producer will discover the messages that should be coming across in the video in order to make sure those messages are heard loud and clear throughout the whole production.

  • Production: Once a video project kicks off, a video producer will head up all of the logistics and management of the shoot day. They’ll coordinate and provide directions to set, talent and character management, equipment needs, day-of schedule, locations, on-site creative direction and quality control of messaging. Not to mention carrying equipment and running around.

  • Post-Production:  After shooting is complete, a video producer works very closely with the editor to write scripts, manage production timelines, review content details, track budgets, critique creative execution of the editing process, and ensure deadlines are met. Ultimately, video producers help to bring your vision to life.

Questions Your Video Producer Should Be Asking (or How to Spot a Good Video Producer)

The following questions are essential for the success of any video project and an experience video producer should ask these questions before you start shooting any video. These questions will help uncover the purpose and vision and help guide the final product of your video.

1. What are you trying to say?

What is the one thing you want people to remember after they've seen your video? What should "stick?" Most people can't remember more than three messages. Your challenge is to think of just one that you want people to remember. Everything else is then based upon that one primary message.

2. Who is your audience? 

For years, We've produced year-end event videos for Minneapolis non-profit organizations. Can you guess what objective those videos have? To raise money, right?

Most people who attend fundraisers know they'll be asked for donations, but what message will resonate with them? It depends on the make-up of the audience. Can your contact describe in detail who the audience is and what they care about? This can be pivotal to the success or failure of your video.

3. So What or What Happens Next?

You should always be prepared to ask your client, in so many words, "So what?" You've produced this nice beautiful video, so what? You've shown it to an audience of 500 people, so what? What is the outcome you're trying to generate with this piece? What happens next?

It's important to know what the call to action will be from your video. Do you want people to explore your site more, to reach out and contact you, or to donate money? Each one of these desired outcomes requires a different type of video to be successful. Be sure to consider your "so what" before you start your video project.

4. Where will it be seen?

We recently had a prospect tell us they want an overview video of their company that can be used online, in meetings, at trade shows, and in emails. That's a pretty good list, but the video may be presented differently for each audience. It's imperative that a producer know all the places you plan to show your video because what works online may not work at a trade show.

5. How will this video help you generate revenue?

Outside the nonprofit world, business-to-business organizations are using video as a communications or sales tool.

When planning the client's company overview video for their website, the following dialogue occurred.

Me: "Why do you want this video?"
Client: "We want people to watch it and better understand who we are."
Me: "Why is that important?"
Client: "We think if people know us better, they'll be more likely to buy our products."
Me: "How will you know?"
Client: [unsure]

As producers, we become indispensable to our clients when we can help them connect the dots and lead them to outcomes that impact the bottom line.

Understand that video is a valuable sales tool, but it's valuable only when it's produced and positioned in a way that will drive actual and measurable results.

6. Why?

I recently read that in fact finding we should ask why five times. That makes sense to me, but even when you ask a prospect or client "why" five times, it may still not be enough to get to the actual answer you need. Don't be afraid to ask "why," there's probably a big payoff if you keep digging.

Producers can sometimes be hesitant to push their client to really think about the purpose of the video. They shy away from asking "why," again and again and again. Is it because they are afraid the client will be upset? Is it that they fear the client won't tell them the information, causing embarrassment? Or is it simply that they just don't think to ask. Either way, fight the temptation to accept silence or mediocre responses. It will make for better video if you do. 

Conclusion

Video producers are an essential part of any video shoot. They help manage all the details of the process to make sure that everything goes smoothly and you walk away with a finished product that exceeds your expectations.

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Editors note: This blog was originally published on October 4, 2016 but was updated on December 8, 2017.