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SO YOU WANT TO WRITE A FILM BRIEF…?


 

Considering we’re, y’know, film-makers, it probably doesn’t come as a surprise, but we truly love every aspect of film-making.

Yep, we know how that sounds:

From script to screen, we love working with our clients across the entire process.

Quite frankly, we don’t think there’s any better feeling than being able to deliver the right film to bring their messages and ideas to life. You may think that sounds quaint – we couldn’t possibly comment.

We’re often asked for help in developing outline briefs so we can help clients shape their thinking before they put the ball in our court, so we’ve decided to share a few of our insights (from a producer-y point of view) with the world – as it’s said, every day’s a school day etc.
 

1) BUDGET

It’s almost always the killer question: the one that everyone leaves ‘til last because it’s considered the most sensitive, the hardest sell etc. – so that’s why we decided to tackle it from the get-go!

(Wait, don’t be scared!)

Our general view is that whatever the budget level, there’s almost always a solution out there just waiting to be grasped with however many hands are available.

Of course, sometimes you yourself haven’t been given a budget figure by your stakeholders etc., but even a general ballpark/range is always useful.

It’s not about tempering expectations – it’s about knowing the right level to develop our response accordingly.
 

2) TIME

Brilliant ideas rarely come into fruition at the drop of a hat (don’t make us say ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day…’) – having a bit of lead-time can make all the difference between finding a good solution and finding a great solution.

Of course, sometimes life likes to a spring a surprise at short notice and before you can say ‘yippee-ki-yay, melon-farmer’, you’re left needing a conference opener in 2 weeks – but we’re putting that kind of thing to one side here. (That’s when we get out the emergency yoga mats.)

The films we get to work on are almost invariably part of a wider campaign; whether it’s training, rebranding, culture change etc., it’s all part of a bigger picture – and we always encourage film development to be part of that conversation from the get-go. Speaking for ourselves, we’ve got nearly 30 years of experience to bring to the table, and we love being part of those conversations.

 

3) WHY OH WHY?

As they say, everything happens for a reason – and with that, BOOM, a totally neat and not-at-all clunky segue into the next thing on our list: why do you want a film?

Now, there’s certainly a whole host of things here and we could probably write a whole treatise on the fine art of working out why, but here’s a few suggestions for starters:

• Who is the film aimed at?
• What are the messages that it needs to convey?
• What do you want the film to achieve?
• How will the film be shown?
• How do you want people to feel after seeing it?
• How do you want people to change their behaviours after watching the film?
 

4) OWNED

And now for the final instalment of our four-part trilogy: ownership.

Or more precisely, ownership of intellectual property.

It’s always a hot topic across the board, and we’re inclined to think that the general situation has got a bit carried away. We often find clients – particularly in contracts/terms & conditions – believe it’s necessary to obtain full rights to 3rd party content in perpetuity.

Our take is pretty simple: don’t worry about it unless it’s absolutely necessary.
Our reasoning? Also simple: value for money.

At first glance, it certainly sounds good to buy rights to everything in one fell swoop, but such content is the product of lots of hard work by the content creators, and they obviously want to make it worth their while as much as you/we want to use it to help make our films that bit more special – so there’s a balance.

As such, our experience says that it’s almost always far more practical and better economic sense to obtain content licenses that are fit for purpose.

It’s not just about economics either, it’s about shelf-life. Many films in the corporate sphere are only going to see use for a year or two before they’re retired from service, so paying full-whack for something that really only requires a mere quarter-whack doesn’t really add up.

Even if the film ends up being revamped/updated, a simple license renewal for a fixed period is generally still better value and more cost-effective.

So how does this tie into developing a film-brief? Two-fold: longevity and budget:

How does the film tie into your long-term comms plan, i.e. how long do you need it for?
And if you’re looking to maximise a compact level of budget, don’t worry about getting everything cleared in perpetuity – you probably don’t need it!

(A clever alternative to using 3rd party content is to get your own people involved! We love developing UGC content, and always love exploring how we can integrate it into what you might need.)

So there you have it – our top tips for writing a film brief!  If you would like a template for a brief please get in touch at ask.us@edgepicture.com

Thank you for reading!
 

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