I’m paraphrasing here but this is basically how some of the calls I have received in the last few years from serial offenders as a video producer.
“Hi Bob, sorry for the short notice but I was wondering if you would be available to shoot a company overview/onboarding/values/safety/day-in -the – life, video next week?”
Me: Sure, let me get my blood pressure cuff and a couple xanax and then we can get some in-depth information and some finer details. You know, audience, R.O.I., impact….
Them: “Details?” Basically, it’s just a quick video, about 20-30 minutes long (?) with everyone just saying how neat it is to work there and all the cool stuff we do. We’ve already told everyone what to say, basically. We have this dance all worked out and we think it will be a lot of fun”
As the call progresses my heart starts to sink and I realize (again) that this is just one of those check box “fun” little projects where they load this never ending stink bomb on their web site where it will reside for months and years and maybe someday turn into a “where are they now?” sponsored by the alumni for retirements and anniversaries. Very disappointing.
You get invited to one of their steering committee meetings on the project and thank God you never quoted anything over the phone. Of course, they have a deadline. And it’s tight, because they’ve spent the better part of a year arguing over the wrong things and not having a clue how to make something valuable out of this convoluted mess.
By the third meeting you get the scoop on the political in-fighting, the hidden agendas and the lack of viewer empathy. The audience, whoever that turns out to be, can go suck a lemon. It’s not about you or what you will get out of it besides watching your co-workers work their way through the company line with a straight face, dry mouth and darting eyeballs. Check!
One sided relationships never work. When I was a sales rep out west, once a month a Bekins Moving Van would back up to my house and fill up my garage with all the claustrophobic brilliance some one who never spent a day in the field or ever sold anything could push out. This is kinda like that. Corporate masturbation.
Fortunately, I’m in a place where I don’t have to be someone’s camera crew and have no intellectual input into a piece of communication that is designed to mean something. I know they don’t teach video communication at a lot of business schools but at least be kind enough to admit that you don’t know what you don’t know and listen to someone who has been scarred and enlightened by the process.
Hey, maybe it’s your money, your vision, and your directorial debut but you should at least pay for the headboard.