Over the past few months, I have been fortunate enough to have had an amazing internship with a company called 20/20 Visual Media, a video advertising company in Philadelphia.
While some may argue that having an office dog that sits on your lap while you work would be the hands-down best part of any internship, I have to say that this internship had so many awesome parts to it. However, the most beneficial lesson I learned was how to stay on brand for a company while still expressing as much creativity as possible. There are many parts to this, and below I’m breaking down the four most valuable pieces I learned through this internship experience.
- If a client has sponsors…
Sponsorships are huge when it comes to live-event coverage. We see it everywhere– think about it. On American Idol, all those judges drink a heck of a lot of Coke! In fact, Coca-Cola cups are the only thing you will ever see someone on the show drinking out of, due to their sponsorship deal. I saw this happen in my internship while we were shooting for a sports event. The clothes and sports equipment were all supplied by a specific company, so only those logos could show. However, cleats were not provided by the sponsors. So, when putting together the final videos, we had to blur out EVERY. SINGLE. LOGO. present in the video that wasn’t a sponsor’s logo. Think about how many people play on a sports team, double that (because we all have two feet), and just sit on that for a second. That’s A LOT of logos to blur out and track to move with the subject throughout the video. Keep that in mind when shooting if you can, and try to frame things to avoid as much of this issue in post-production as possible.
- If a client has a mission statement…
What happens when a company wants to represent diversity in their video because it is in their mission statement, yet they have no diversity among their clients… The golden question. Our job as advertisers is not to tell the client to change their product, but to get creative with how it’s presented. Hello stock footage, hello hired actors, and hello to a diverse video. Even if you don’t run into an issue such as this one, it is important to know the brand that you are representing in your videos in-and-out so that the tone of your video can match the tone of their brand.
- Who has the creative power?
So you’ve gone to school for four or more years to study your craft. You know what looks good, what doesn’t, and the proper techniques for creating the work. You send your product to the client knowing it looks amazing creatively and anxiously await to hear their praises back. And then it comes through: the feedback email. You open it, expecting to see minor changes, but instead open up to a deconstruction of the entire video. The worst part? The feedback suggestions are AWFUL. You’re visualizing what this video will look like in your head if you make these changes and are internally screaming. So who’s right: your creative expertise or the client’s cut and dry opinions? Sadly, the client. You can try to reason slightly by explaining the choices you made with certain shots, but proceed with caution. Sometimes the client has an exact image of what they want in their mind and don’t want any of your creative input. All they are looking for are your abilities to make what they want happen. That’s it. I’d suggest running after work as a form of stress relief. (:
- Things can change…
Drastically. There was one video shoot in the very beginning of my internship. I was part of every piece from the concept planning/scripting, scheduling of actors/actresses, location scouting, physical shooting, and editing. Being that it was the beginning of my internship, after the project was over, I worked on many others between that one and this one. Well, this past week my boss called me over to his computer to check something out. It was the same video, same shoot, actors, actresses, but an entirely different storyline. The client had called him saying that they wanted to take the video to have an entire different focus than the original, using the same footage just strung together differently. And that’s exactly what we did. For a client, this can be an expensive decision. However, some clients just have these epiphanies and changes like this can be decided. Moral of the story: don’t get too attached to your work.
These are just a few of the lessons I learned over my time in the internship, but definitely lessons that I will take with me as I go forward in my own work with clients.