Tips on how to write a comprehensive film/video brief
Updated: Feb 19, 2019
By Andrea Frankenthal | 9 February 2019
To get the best results in a tender scenario, or from your selected film production company, and to streamline the process, there are certain pieces of information you need to convey in a comprehensive video brief. It may inevitably be adapted in further discussions, but here are a few tips on what to include initially:
1. Background & Objectives
Write a short 2 or 3 sentence background on your company and the reason for requiring a film. Include in the detail:
what you hope it will achieve
who is the target market
where and how you propose to present it (large screen at an event, cinematic projection, through social media, podcast, hosted on a site, point of sale etc)
2. Key Messages
Having identified the story you want to tell, consolidate your key messages in to 5 bullet points (you may have more, but it is best to try and manage the number of messages, as having too many can become confusing).
Consider some of the elements of your story, what shots would best represent them, and what filming opportunities you may have to create that. Specific things to think about are:
who will be your main protagonists – staff/actors/animations
will there be one or multiple film locations in the UK/internationally? (so timing and cost can be assessed)
are there set dates for events that need to be shot
is there any existing film material to incorporate
what/how many languages will the film need to be shown in
4. Style & Length
Do you have a particular style in mind for example reportage vs animation? It is often best to keep this simple and open for discussion with the production company. Bear in mind there are cost implications of using famous people and music tracks. Also, 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound (Digiday), and therefore having a version with on screen text or subtitles may be wise.
The proposed length should also be considered. People have little time to watch and short attention spans. A captive audience at an event may be happy to watch a film of 3 mins+, but with a public audience, nearly two-thirds of consumers prefer video under 60 seconds. (Insivia).
5. Timings & Budget
Pre-production, shooting and editing times are often underestimated. State your deadline for receiving the final product, and a good production company will work backwards to create a schedule and a detailed shoot and edit agenda for you, depending on the production requirements (see ‘other considerations for elements that may have an impact on timing).
It is best to state your budget if it is capped, so that the video treatment they create will be realistically tailored to those requirements.
6. Other considerations
It is worth thinking about a number of other elements that can impact significantly on timings, and if they are relevant it is best to highlight them in the brief:
are location permission likely to be required as they can take time to arrange
if it is an international shoot applying for visas for crew travel, and any relevant inoculations for crew members require advance notice
is there any special requirement on final formats, for example does is need to be played on TV in Europe and the US as different shoot formats are involved
translations and production of different language versions can also impact heavily on timing
Finally, ensure the production company does not demand exclusive copyright of the footage they shoot for you.