My First Video Commission.

This month I had my first commercial commission for a video: a new product launch for management consultancy firm, Kepner-Tregoe (KT).  Having seen my work for Martin Gosling, and the trailer for 2 Bodies, 1 Culture, KT asked if I could help them produce a video to support a new software product, “Portfolio Manager.”

Brief:  To produce a video to explain “Portfolio Manager,” generate interest in the target market and elicit a demand for a more in-depth demonstration.

Kepner-Tregoe trains clients in project management and strategy change, and had created a software tool to assist clients in embedding their processes and manage projects.  KT wanted to offer this product to existing clients and were planning an email campaign to high-ranking executives in companies that already used their services.  They wanted a video that would demonstrate their product, show how it fits with their wider strategy, gave the client some new information and would keep the client interested.

They were planning on a simple video: a screen grab of an on-screen demonstration of “Portfolio Manager” with a voiceover; this is the standard model within the industry.  Whilst portfolio management is an interesting subject, it is hardly entertaining, leading to a low view-rate and dwell-time of  videos.  Kepner-Tregoe wanted to know if I could produce something that would be different to what clients might have seen before, whilst still having the integrity to demonstrate the high value of this product.  Well, of course I could!

Approach:  I approached the project as half informational, half documentary.  I knew that I would have to include some software demonstration, but wanted to keep this at a minimum.  Customers don’t just buy into a product – they buy into a story and people.  Pete Wright is the main consultant behind Portfolio Manager and he talks succinctly and engagingly about his product.  I wanted to have him explain the wider strategy, before going onto the product demonstration.

The Treatment:  I wanted to include General Views and PTC from Pete explaining what “Portfolio Manager” is; why we should be interested in it; and how it works.  The software demonstration would have the bare minimum of screen time and cut as often as possible to PTC from Pete offering a more engaging explanation to the viewer.  I wanted to bring in a second voice of authority, to add context and relevance to high-level decision makers.  For this, we did an interview with European Principal Sam Bodley-Scott.

The Shoot & Edit:  I spent time with Pete coaching him on presentation techniques, vocal exercises and doing dress rehearsals of the shoot.  We did the whole shoot in one day at K-T’s European office, and whilst the shoot was story-boarded and sections planned out, Pete ad-libbed, to make the video as natural as possible.  The edit combined the camerawork with screen-grabs of the software.  I found that audio from Pete’s PTC was much better, as he had a perceived audience, so spoke better.  To aid the gaps between talking, and to keep the video moving along nicely, I used a remix of Coldplay’s Clocks, the familiarity of the tune making the video more appealing.

Result:  I am absolutely delighted with the result, as are KT.  It gave me the chance to combine my acting and presenting skills in coaching Pete, with the camerawork and production skills developed through making the India project with Russ Malkin, and the editing skills I had developed doing the Italy video, Martin’s promo and Hungry Man.  KT are enormously happy with the film: it is far easier to watch than anything they have produced before, making it much easier to share, and resulting in a much higher view-rate from clients.  Commercially, it is producing great results too.

It was a great process to build confidence in my skills as a film-maker, delivering a project on a commission and exceeding the expectations of the client.  I’m looking forward to more commercial projects in the New Year, whilst continuing to make personal projects.

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About Ash Bhardwaj

A storyteller, travel writer, journalist and film-maker. I am a regular contributor to Huffington Post, The Telegraph and the Sunday Times Travel Magazine. I spent much of 2013 working on Walking The Nile, Levison Wood's attempt to walk the world's longest river. I founded Digital Dandy, a video storytelling company, in 2012 to produce content for brands and businesses.
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