Top tips for 'Award Shortlist' videos

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In 2017 we worked with Events North West, a division of Trinity Mirror, on their Business Awards project. We travelled around England and Wales creating videos to be shown at a variety of ‘Business Awards’ events. These were the ‘Manchester Evening News Business of the Year’ awards, the ‘Cheshire Business Awards, ‘Liverpool Echo Regional Business Awards’, the North Wales ‘Daily Post Business Awards’ and the Huddersfield ‘Examiner Business Awards’.

I’ve personally been working on this project in a freelance capacity since 2014 with John Whittington - the Animation/GFX artist on this project - bringing it to Popsicle in 2017 and with that I know what makes a great awards video.

It’s about asking the right questions, in relation to the award the business is up for. It’s about finding inventive ways to show what the business does and make sure the person you’re interviewing is conveying exactly what they need and want to convey in order to get the message out about their business. For the businesses involved it’s a chance for (more often than not) some much deserved recognition and a chance to show off to their peers.

What we notice working with businesses for the business awards is that people tend to either over prepare by writing scripts etc, or under prepare, not having done any obvious research and being the wrong person appointment for the interview. We aren’t saying don’t prepare anything whatsoever. We’re saying don’t prepare a script.

We’ve all heard the saying “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail” and I’d usually agree with that, but there’s something about preparing a script for this type of work that makes most people judder and become robotic, sounding unnatural. They say the words they wanted to say but end up losing all feeling an emotion.

So with that, I’ve prepared some tips for any person, any business caught in a situation where they have a camera plonked in front of them and have no idea what to expect. Although I’m using the Business Awards as the examples, all of these tips can be applied in practically any interview situation.

Do not write a script

Relax. You know your business better than you think you do, definitely better than the audience watching the video does. So, our first bit of advice would be to relax. Write yourself a few bullet points if you’re not that comfortable at public speaking but do not script what you’re going to say. Scripts for this kind of thing always leave a person sounding robotic.

Nominate one person to speak

Although we can, of course, cater for multiple people to be interviewed at once we recommend only ever appointing one person to be interviewed per business. Even if your business has multiple directors, we know from experience that more than one speaker on a video of this length can cause confusion for the viewer. We opt for a one person interview only, where possible, because it ensures we have the most time available to us within the video to provide as much information, value and substance to the viewer as possible.

Don’t worry

Over the years I’ve seen plenty of people worry about what they’re going to say because they’re afraid of saying something incorrect or that they’re going to stutter or mumble their words. Do not worry. We always strive to make the best video we can. We aren’t out to get you or make you look bad. If we haven’t understood what you’ve said or feel we need clarification on a subject then we will ask another question, and continue to do so until we feel we have enough for the video.

Jack Noon