You know the moment – a client calls, and asks if you can make a promo video for their company. You get the job, but now the question is how to develop a vision for the project. What lighting and setting for the interviews, what questions to ask, what style for the b-roll. How do you get started on making these decisions?

JOHN-CLAY: When I get a project, I start looking for other ways people have done the same thing or similar things that I’m trying to accomplish. I write down and keep track of ideas – “I really like how they did this” or “I really liked this style.” If I like the answer someone gave in an interview, I sit down and do a backwards analysis – so if that’s the answer, how do I ask a question that gets that answer? This helps create vision for the project, and helps me get my head around what I want it to look like and what I’m trying to go for when I go in to conduct the interviews and film the b-roll. It also helps me get ideas for shots I maybe would not have thought of.

A lot of it is talking to the client extensively and asking them a lot of questions, but also, looking at other people’s examples of stuff. It’s okay to copy and attempt some things that are similar – very rarely does it end up looking exactly the same. You don’t want to plagiarize and say “I’m going to do exactly their thing” but just because someone does a helicopter shot doesn’t mean I can’t take a drone and do something similar. That’s not wrong. Sometimes you’re like “Oh, I see how they flew it over the trees. Oh, that’s a cool idea, maybe I’ll find a way…” These can spark ideas for ways you can communicate what your client needs in your project.

ANDREW: As you are running across videos that you like, promos especially, having a Pinterest board to save them is helpful. Then I categorize them into types of projects. This will come in handy when you want to make the mood board later on and remember a certain video, “I I liked how they did this shot, they had this kind of lighting in it, and I think that would fit this project as well” and you can go back and find it.

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