How to create “How To“ videos

With start-ups having doubled in the last two years in New Zealand, it seems like every day a work buddy is taking the plunge. Entrepreneurialism is something we love here at BOW so it was great to work on the Westpac Business Base, a fantastic resource for SMEs of all sizes. Here’s a behind-the-scenes story about business financial literacy and how to make videos where the experts come across as badass, not boffins.

1. Start with an expert, not an actor

No start-up who has just staked their house on a new business is likely to take advice from an actor, nor do people want to take advice from a brand; they want advice from a credible expert. So the first job in creating these "How to" video was to hunt down an expert with the creds of Warren Buffet – and the charisma of Ryan Reynolds!

We found such a unicorn sitting opposite us at the Westpac briefing session: Warren Ng Woo, Westpac's Programme Manager for the "Managing Your Money" educational seminars. He's the real deal. He knows his stuff, but he's instantly relatable. Within three seconds of listening to him, you trust him, as demonstrated in this content video on Winning Ideas.

2. Prepare your interviewee like Graham Norton

Prior to going on-air, Norton loosens his guests up backstage so he knows what to ask them on stage(okay their may be some alcohol involved!). Similarly, we always like to chat to our interviewees on the phone once – if not twice – before a shoot. Quite often experts in the field do not know they have the answers, they are too close to their subject. Our interview process reveals gems that they take for granted. This also allows them to feel more comfortable and we can also do an indicative script for pre-approval by legal.

In the case of these videos, which had to be tightly scripted, we brought in BOW's copywriter, Steve Girdlestone. Formerly Creative Director of Saatchis in Poland, Steve worked for Proctor & Gamble, the university of vox-pops ad infinitum. He cut his teeth on real-life interviews of parents, babies, pee and poos so he knows how to do scripting that gets the message across, conversationally, yet keeps legal happy! Have a listen to the dialogue in this content video on Business Structure.

3. Think visuals, visuals, visuals

Visuals are so important these days. They are the secret servant that helps you deliver a message in a way people understand. They also break up the monotone of a presenter (no matter how good they are the brain needs a break). For this job we brought in Stacey Roper, hot off a Rolling Stones feature story, to do all the visuals in conjunction with the editor before we shot. Stace was ace!

4. Edit it for clarity not cleverness

Jason Beacham, the editor and cameraman, is more comfortable with shooting ski videos and Motocross. That's why we chose him. We didn't want an advert, we wanted someone who shoots for authenticity.

We put two cameras on Warren – a straight and roving. Then we shot wide and Jason cut in and out. Steve and Jason worked closely together on the edit so that all the focus was on Warren. When he had an important point, we would cut close. Have a look. No asides, no b-roll. Straight to camera. The effect is that it's easier to focus and understand the message as seen in this Funding Your Business video.

5. Have fun on the day

Last but not least, have fun on the day. It loosens everyone up and most importantly the talent. We were able to capture these moments, which we pulled together for an internal video to launch to Westpac staff. It was very funny!

A big shout out to Michelle Lumsden and Sarah Davies who both steered the project, but also supported and championed it. Needless to say if you’re thinking of starting a side hustle or growing an existing small business look no further than the Westpac Business Base.

And if you want to know more about creating a content hub, have a read about our case story here.

BOW Steve Girdlestone is our resident guru on creating 'How to' videos

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