What ends up on the cutting room floor – stays on the cutting room floor!
I have blogged about this before but this issue is so ongoing! I feel I need to write something that will change the way all people think in the world (who don’t act or present) about talking on camera. Very rarely do I meet someone who breaks the rule! Someone who, when I whip the camera out, says ‘I bloody love being on camera. Get as close as you can. Don’t worry about making me look thinner and give me as much harsh, unflattering light as you’ve got’. As a rule you probably don’t want to do ‘stuff’ on camera. But WHY? We don’t mind looking in the mirror and seeing ourselves – hmmmm, but we are in control of what we see, aren’t we? We pull our mirror face and we know what works and what doesn’t! Some people talk to themselves in the mirror and that’s OK? We watch all of today’s yoof nailing it on youtube with not a care in the world. So WHY do we fear the thought of seeing the person we spend every single second of every single day with – on camera??
Firstly, when I meet and greet companies and we talk about a film idea, I’m always overwhelmed by how interesting people’s jobs are. How animated people are when they talk about wanting to show the world their brand; their ideas. I always come away from those meetings feeling really creative. They truly believe in their company. Wow! I’d think. So, it’s my job to try and work with those ideas and creatively put them on screen. Often my main focus is to celebrate the work force – the real people behind the brand, to give their film lots of personality as well as identity. But AH OH! That means getting the beast out and filming folk, doesn’t it? There’s always a pattern when I meet my interviewee and we chat about life and what we’re going to talk about and it goes like this (and if I was in their shoes I’d be exactly the same – I’m no Meryl). The thought of conveying the messages you so creatively talked about in that first meeting. That thought spirals out of control a little. You’re worried you will say something stupid. You’ll make a mistake. Will I get your best angle. You don’t actually know what you’re talking about. You have no control over the images that ‘I’ am seeing because you’re not looking in the mirror. Your game face has turned to ‘deer in headlights’ face. You might start talking like the queen. You might sweat a little. You might use big words you’ve never used (in completely the wrong context). You might go blank. You might swear. You might look totally ridiculous. You might start talking in a painfully detailed real-time manner. You might faint and need to be air-lifted to the nearest hospital (you know what I mean). You have lost control of how you see yourself. You can’t see those images and you don’t feel comfortable.
But in reality it goes something like this. I ask you your name and you say it very fast indeed and then you stumble on the first two questions (fairly royally) and THEN without really knowing it, you realise why you’re being filmed. You strongly believe in your company – in the brand you built. You’re there on merit because you’re amazing at what you do. You don’t sweat. You don’t talk like the queen and you absolutely ace it. You nail it because you know everything there possibly is to know about your business and your brand. You start to relax and next up you’re throwing me some directing ideas and it’s amazing. We then move to actuality and realism – you forget the camera is there and we get some truly magical moments. Companies who really want social media films are always full of passion. They don’t want to merge into the background and sit quietly, they want to tell the world what they’re about. Dynamic companies driven by incredibly passionate people with really interesting things to say – that’s always the case. Don’t ever doubt your words or your experience. You know more than that camera knows. If you are are going to let those THOUGHTS spiral a little bit on the dark side then do – a little, but just remember the golden rule. The first couple of minutes will feel awkward and weird. You know it. I know it. It’s like the hygienist – you dread opening your mouth, but once the plaque has been scaled back a little it’s actually totally cool and you know you’re teeth are going to look amazing. You may be a little spooked when you watch yourself back – that’s also normal, but you’ll be amazed at how confident, articulate and great you are. Remember the second golden rule. I love (and I mean LOVE) the editing process more than I can ever begin to tell you so ‘everything is going to be grand’. The process that whirls through my head gives me such joy. I always aim to take the absolute cream of the shoot and the interviews. I know what sounds good and what looks bad and the last thing I want is for you NOT to love your film. When you watch yourself back running through that blazing fire to rescue your hot colleague and three kittens…no wait! When you watch yourself back and see the company you’ve helped create you’ll be proud of yourself and so you should be. CUT.