It can be tough making a CEO’s corporate video stand out. You have limited time with them. They aren’t actors. They question your approach. They don’t want to waste time on things like makeup and lighting. They haven’t rehearsed or sometimes even read the script. Here are five tips to create a leadership video that is on-message and engaging.
It is important to write a script so that you can focus on the key messages and get stakeholder buy-in and reviews done before the shoot. This keeps things focused and will allow you to make the most of your time with the CEO.
However, do not stick to the script at all costs. After all, you don’t want your CEO to sound stilted and scripted! Once you have reviewed the script with the CEO, let them take a few minutes to read through it a couple of times and internalize the messages.
Then throw the script away.
Stay away from to-camera speeches. People come across more naturally, sincere and engaging when they are speaking to someone else. Get a director who knows how to ask the right questions that prompt the talent to deliver the key messages in a genuine way.
Things like lighting, makeup, hair, and wardrobe are all critical to a final product that looks professional. It’s not always easy to get buy-in on this.
I worked with a CEO who didn’t want makeup or lighting. The lighting made him “squint” and the makeup was simply “unnecessary.” His videos always looked amateur, with dark rings under his eyes and shadows on his face offset by slight perspiration on his forehead.
One day he came to me and said, “Look, my wife saw one of my videos and said I look absolutely terrible. What can you do about it?”
“We can do what we should’ve done from the beginning,” I replied. “We can use proper lighting, proper makeup, wear appropriate clothing, and make sure all your hair is in place.”
His wife was pleased with the results.
With all this going on, it is easy for the CEO to get stressed. It’s a tough job being in front of the camera. Make sure you are gentle in your criticism, give good reasons for a retake, and allow time between takes for the CEO to gather their thoughts.
A little humor, some banter, a Mickey Mouse cup of coffee—anything that will lighten the mood—will translate to the screen. If the talent is relaxed and at ease, the results will be a video where the CEO looks genuine, human and engaging.
Get all this right and maybe you will get a job in Hollywood one day. But don’t quit your day job just yet.