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How to Direct a Viral Video

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The challenge: Produce a video for an American Airlines called “Flights.Camera.Action.” Dazzle the judges with creativity and comic genius. Oh, and do it within two weeks.

The prize: 80 free roundtrip tickets.

Wait. Was that “free” roundtrip tickets? Count us in.

This is why I love coming to work every day. I work at a high-tech PR firm with highly skilled public relations and communications professionals who can deliver chuckles on deadline. We had a blast. And we learned a few things along the way:

  • There’s no such thing as a bad idea. Great ideas can come from anyone. Engage your full team and listen to each and every proposal. There’s no telling where your winning concept will come from.
  • Act like Spielberg. Move Like Jagger. The days of grainy, hard to see video footage are over. Take a cue from the pros and storyboard your ideas and create a script. This will ultimately save time and effort during filming. And, don’t forget about the performance. Even for one project, it’s key to find your office’s Meryl Streep or Liam Neeson. (Or, in our case, Leslie Nielsen and his classic deadpan. As you’ll see in our video, account director Chris Leach was more than up to the task.)
  • Seek greatness. Not perfection. The hardest part of filming video is not the filming, but the editing. Unlike Hollywood, you don’t have months to slice and dice the raw product into brilliance. You have hours. But as long as you convey your core elements and theme – and tickle the funny bone – the audience will ultimately forgive any minor errors.

In the end, the greatest team moment is showing the final version in a packed conference room of co-workers, who end up practically laughing on the floor by “The End.” But we’re biased, of course. So click on the link below and tell us what you think …

 

Rufus Manning
@RufusManning

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