“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
Take it from Abe: If done properly, the majority of your time spent on creating a successful destination marketing video should be spent mapping out a structured gameplan. Being properly prepared ahead of time can make or break a production. The value of getting all of your geese in a row ahead of time cannot be overstated.
The key here is to walk into each day of your film shoot knowing the exact variables of the who, what, how, when and where. If the shoot is a travel-to-destination production the film team has never visited before and won’t have prior access days or weeks before the shoot, these steps are non-negotiable.
So just what geese are we talking here? Let’s dive into the five.
1. Get Everyone On The Same Page
The first step of any successful destination marketing video shoot should be identifying the client’s goals. This should be done as far in advance of the shoot as possible. Break the ice by beginning a dialogue with the client over the phone, getting an initial feel for what the client wishes to showcase about their destination. It may be helpful, upon concluding the initial call, to send the client a questionnaire to fill out at their leisure. Here are some example questions that may be important to ask:
- What makes your destination an enticing place? How do you currently sell it?
- What are a couple of buzzwords that you can think of that will pertain to the type of footage you are after?
- What are your specific goals for this footage? What story are you wanting to tell?
- Who are your competitors? How are they selling their destination?
After you have consulted with the client and received the completed questionnaire, you should have a grasp of which direction to set your sails for the shoot and be ready to hop right into the research and pre-production process.
2. Map Out The Master Plan
Determine your specific areas of focus which fit within the framework of the client’s goals. These areas may include: town or city locales, unique venues, meeting properties, hotels, activities or landmarks. Scout these areas out in person if the project allows, even if you have visited these locations previously. It is important to diagnose any problems with the location, such as potential changes in terrain or any construction that may factor into a decision of whether or not a location change is necessary. Do the research. Perpetually check the weather. What day(s) of the week did it rain during the same time of year for the past fifteen years? Work with your best odds and place a bet.
Have a plan B.
If a location cannot be visited in person, web research will be a necessity. Google Maps, venue websites and image queries are your friend. Take advantage of these resources and you’ll be surprised at how much you can gather and determine in preparation for the next steps in the video development phase:
A. Storyboarding: Download our template here
B. Shot List: Download our template here
C. Shooting Schedule – Collaborate with the client and any pertinent venues or locales where scheduling is necessary and ensure all parties are on the same page as to when the film will take place and what equipment will be utilized
3. Rally The Troops
Schedule a meeting with your client to walk them through the storyboard and shot list. If you are sufficiently thorough the client should be able to visually imagine how the video will appear from start to finish. Implement any changes the client may have. As this is the first time they’ll be imagining the production in full spectrum, they may call an audible here, and that’s okay. If you’ve left enough time between this final consultation and the film shoot, flexibility should be a welcomed guest.
With your storyboard and shot list in final form, meet with any team members involved in the film process to ensure everyone knows what to expect. The film crew will need to plan for appropriate equipment and setup prior to the day of filming. The crew will not need any surprises.
4. Dot Your I’s and Cross Your T’s
With all of your geese smiling and prepared to fly in a perfect “V” formation, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty and get this show on the road. This step includes checking for any necessary permits for on-location shooting and ensuring all parties know when to be and where. If the film is taking place in a national park or within town limits, are any permits or insurance requirements necessary? If aerial videography is taking place on, for instance, a university campus, have you contacted the university’s safety commission to gain clearance? Most university institutions will require an event form and flight path as a basis for getting the green light for flying a drone. To ensure you avoid heavy fines, legal action and any hindrances on film day, take this step seriously and go into the film shoot confident you have full clearance on all location fronts.
5. Floss With Your Eyes Opened
You’ve done the prep work, traveled to your destination and flipped off the first lens cap. You’re making serious chops off of your shot list in record time. Be aware of your surroundings. You’d be surprised at the visual delights and chance opportunities for unplanned shots that present themselves on the day of shooting if your eyes are opened and time permits. A steadfast regard for the plan at hand with opportunity in the periphery is a recipe for success.