A Star is Born: Readying Your Leader for an Outstanding Executive Video

Video is the most powerful medium when it comes to forming a human connection with any audience. Whether it’s the corporate CEO or a team leader, delivering a heartfelt video message is a great way to communicate with employees and other stakeholders. When an executive appears in video, much of their message is communicated through body language, gestures and facial expressions. They’re not professional actors, and we don’t expect them to be. So much of their brand video performance depends on a relaxed atmosphere and a little planning.

The following are tips Tribe always recommends when executives are being interviewed for a corporate video:

1. If possible, make time in advance of the shoot day for a brief meeting with the producer and/or director. This is often a conference call, but also could be a brief in-person meeting if the production team is scouting locations or meeting with your team. Of course, with busy C-suite executives, even a 15 minute phone call is likely to be impossible to wrangle in advance of the shoot, but a little time spent with an executive assistant will pave the way to a good experience.

The purpose of this meeting is twofold: to allow the director to judge how the interviewee is likely to speak and behave on camera, and, more importantly, to simply make an introduction.

Ultimately the brand video interview will be a conversation between these two people, and it will appear more genuine and authentic if the participants have met, at least on a phone call before the shoot day.

2. Video is an intimate medium. It’s most important that executives come across as themselves. What they say will be recalled better if it is delivered sincerely in a natural way. It is best to have the executive familiar with the topics that will be discussed in the brand video, but not to share a list of questions or to suggest that anything needs to be rehearsed or memorized. In most cases, this person is being interviewed as a subject matter expert and as such will be familiar with the material. If they stumble, need to start over or take a break, the audience will never know! While prep and rehearsal are helpful when giving a presentation, overly prepared interview subjects will appear stiff and distant in corporate video.

3. During the on-camera interview our producer/director may need to ask the same question a number of times. This could be because we need an answer stated more succinctly, or for editing, camera or audio reasons. The corporate video director will reassure the interviewee that it is not their fault, but we may need them to restate an answer without making reference to having said something before. We will also instruct them to incorporate part of the question into their answer, since we won’t hear the questions in the video.

4. Ready for that close-up? Our job is to make your executive look their very best on camera. Video sees much more than the human eye and can magnify imperfections. Every interviewee, regardless of gender, should be prepared to have at least a little powder and hairspray applied before the corporate film starts rolling. We will also have our sound technician hide a wireless microphone in their clothing. Our production crew members are always professional and discreet.

5. Finally, what to wear? It is most important to be comfortable during the interview. An executive should avoid wearing clothing that needs constant readjustment or fits tightly. Attire that would be typical on a normal workday is probably best for a corporate video – no need to dress up. Clothing items to avoid are things with small patterns and fine lines that can cause a moiré effect on screen, where the lines appear to be vibrating. Also, bright white and solid blacks are best to leave at home. Noisy, reflective jewelry or accessories are not ideal. And anything with a logo or brand name on it is not allowed – unless, of course, it’s your company’s brand.

Following these simple tips will ensure they arrive ready and relaxed enough to give the performance of a lifetime. The producer will be sure to get you all the pertinent details regarding arrival time and where to report well in advance of the shoot day. You’ll also have at least one cellphone number to contact someone on set, should anything change on the day of the interview. It is important that your executive feel like a star and have a good time during their on-camera interview. This personal touch will lead to an optimal brand video in 2019.

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“It’s one thing to understand the role of video in business communication, it’s another to know how to use video to solve actual business problems. Vern Oakley gets that.”


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