Interviews have formed the basis for narrative in film and video for a long time. Your favourite documentary or reality TV show likely has some form of talking-head narration. But why do corporate talking-head videos get a bad rap for being "too corporate" or boring?
Below are a few of my thoughts on why so many corporate talking-head videos fail to excite and intrigue. Although not an exhaustive list, my hope with it is that it helps you avoid some of the common pitfalls of bad talking-head corporate videos when making your next one.
1. It's overrun by talking heads.
Don't get me wrong, you all have friendly faces and look great on camera and have great things to say, but static shots of company folks sitting and talking about the company for 3-minutes will bore your viewers to death. And frankly, talking-head videos get a bad rap because of this very reason. Intercutting your interview footage with some kind of b-roll is not only the least you can do, but they're essential to breaking up long interview takes, cover up cuts and issues, but most importantly, help you tell a visual story.
2. Your viewers have no incentive to keep watching until the end.
Before committing to releasing your video into the wild (the internet, that is), you should ask yourself this key question: what's going to keep my viewers watching until the end? Structuring your talking-head video so it carries forward a storyline that rewards your viewers at the end of it is key to holding their attention.
3. It's too long.
Millennials get a bad rap for having short attention spans, but can you blame them when they're inundated with so many videos, ads and content fighting for their attention on a dozen devices and channels? Keep your talking-head video short and focused. Your viewers will thank you.
4. It doesn't feel authentic.
Ever watched a talking-head video where you can tell the person's head is turning back and forth reading a script off camera? That's an extreme example, I know. But people have gotten better at spotting fake interviews. Skilled actors can likely pull it off, but for most company CEOs and employees, forget it. If you have a specific message to deliver to your audience, face the camera head-on, look your viewers directly in the eyes and read your script—that usually flies.
Interviews on the other hand are meant to come off sounding authentic and off the cuff. I'm not saying you should go off about any random jabber that comes to you. Instead, identify topics important to cover in the video, keep mental notes on how you'd talk about each of them, then let someone craft specific questions that touch on each of those topics and ask you those questions live during the interview. Avoid looking through those questions at all costs—you'll end up overthinking your answers and writing a mental script for each. And here it goes again, your answers are sounding "too scripted."
5. It looks and sounds like so many other.
Generic music tracks, effects and motion graphics make for generic videos—because they often lack the quality, depth and fail to convey the right emotion. What makes matters worse is aimlessly adding assets that work against the mood, feel and pacing of the video. Spend a little money on better quality music and assets and choose wisely what best suits the video.
6. It lacks production value.
I'm not saying you need to blow up cars and bring in celebrity cameos (although that always helps), but simple things like choosing good locations and adding variety to your shots can make a world of a difference to how good your talking-head video looks.
Have you had a corporate video created recently? How did it go? Let us know in the comments section below.