Behind the Camera: The Director-Executive Relationship

Directors Establish a Trusted Space

Being on camera is incredibly vulnerable. The pressure is even greater for corporate executives who not only need to sell themselves on camera, but represent their entire organization, too.

Leaders who exude confidence in the workplace don’t always feel the same way about being in front of a camera. Stage fright is common and, luckily with the right director, it’s curable.

The director’s first and most important job is to create a comfortable space for their subject to perform. Before any cameras begin to roll, the director does a thorough job of planning out the subject’s perception. This includes the script, body language, tone of voice, clothing, and even the environment the subject appears in.

When these elements are perfected, the leader can be more confident going into the video shoot. And when the interviewee is at ease, they can give a more authentic and natural performance.

Effective Communication and Performance Direction

A strong director-subject relationship requires effective communication. The director provides clear instructions and guidance. Sometimes, this can include constructive feedback on the leader’s performance. It’s important that these notes are delivered with care and respect—and that the leader is receptive to feedback that will improve the desired tone, message, or emotions conveyed in the video.

Directors Create a Collaborative Atmosphere

While the director is in charge of the video shoot, their word isn’t law. A good director fosters a collaborative atmosphere and welcomes feedback from the subject. Leaders understand best how to represent their company values and mission. If they’re able to feel valued and involved in the creative process, the’ll be more invested in the final outcome and give a better performance on camera.

Some leaders suffer from “CEO Disease” – a blindness to how other feel about them. Overconfident, domineering executives trust their inflated ego over a professional director. If you run into this personality, secondary relationships with the communications team or the executive’s trusted advisors can help you reach them in the right ways.

Turning Emotional Connection into Action

A director who understands and connects with the interviewee on a personal level can help elicit genuine emotions. This emotional connection translates into a more compelling and impactful performance that resonates with the audience. Your audience can feel the humanity through the screen—and they can spot phoniness from a mile away.

A supportive director can boost the interviewee’s confidence, encouraging them to take risks and explore their full potential. The first few meetings between a director and their subject are great opportunities to gather personality insights. If the leader becomes stressed or stuck on camera, you can draw on anecdotes they previously shared to break the ice. This support empowers your subject to deliver a confident and meaningful performance.

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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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