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Preparing to brief your animator

There are five things you need to think about and prepare

  1. The main aim of your video in a single sentence.

  2. Your main target audience of the video.

  3. Identifying the stakeholders in the project and their roles.

  4. Your target channels for video dissemination.

  5. Collating background material you already have. 

AIMS: A big watch out is to trying to do too much with a single short video. If it is a tweet, video duration will be less than two minutes, twenty seconds long. It is fine to have secondary aims and secondary audiences and to discuss them but good videos are focused. Good example aims are: 'drive potential participants to our study website', 'Raise awareness about our findings and recommendations amongst mental health care workers', 'Increase public's  belief in value of research into X." 

TARGET AUDIENCE: Be specific and targeted. Age, gender, social class, potential target for recruitment or family/carers of targets for recruitment, people working in specific fields. Again it is really useful to have parameters that qualify how specific we need to be as  a secondary piece of information. 

STAKEHOLDERS: The biggest cause of delay and problems in making/distributing videos is, by a large margin, due to stakeholders.  Stakeholders can be patient groups, institutions associated with the research, ethics committees, charities you hope will promote your final video etcetera. The reasons stakeholders cause delay fall into two categories, 'scheduling' and 'content'.

  • Stakeholders can often take long periods of time to review drafts of a video if they are not given advance notice of the requirement and guidance on how to review.  To mitigate this I provide a clear schedule well in advance and a template for feedback for storyboards and first draft video, each requires a reviewer about 30 minutes to complete for 2-3min video. This allows you to let your stakeholders know when they will need to help and how long it will take them. 

  • If video content or the messaging within that video doesn't suit your stakeholder and at the end of the process they do not want to support the video you have a video you cannot share. The easy way to prevent this is to get agreement from the key person in that institution that gives the final 'green-light' to your video. Ideally that person also needs to agree to look at draft plans or nominate someone else to do so on their behalf.  If you follow the scheduling advice in the bullet point above getting agreement for this is normally easy.

Example email snippet to stake holder who is important, but too busy to spend much time on it: 


We are really excited to develop this video to [ADD AIM]. Obviously making sure you are OK with the video at each stage is really important so we want to give you an opportunity to comment at the two key decision making points, the 'storyboard' (delivery date: 01/01/2020) and the first draft of video (delivery date: 15/01/2020) so the project can move forwards. At minimum we would need you to check that their is no major problem with the material (5-10 minute review). A full review, which we would appreciate but is not essential takes approximately 20-30 minutes. We need to get all reviews back within a week. Could you do that for us or nominate someone who could on your behalf?



Example email snippet to stake holder who is important and has more time to spend on review: 


We are really excited to develop this video to [ADD AIM]. Obviously getting feedback from you  during video development is really important to the success of this project. We would like to ask you to give feedback at three development points, 'the script' (delivery date: 17/12/2019), the 'storyboard' (delivery date: 01/01/2020) and the first draft of video (delivery date: 15/01/2020) so the project can move forwards. It will take approximately 20-30 minutes to review the material at each step and we would like to get all reviews back within a week. Would you be available at those times to give feedback?



TARGET CHANNELS: You need to know where this video will be viewed primarily, Twitter, YouTube, on screens in waiting rooms, on your website. Who owns the channel you plan to use and do they need to be consulted about the content? If so they probably need to be considered a stakeholder if they are not already considered as such. If you are in any doubt about this speak to your media / communications contact.

BACKGROUND MATERIAL: I'm an ex-scientist and I will devour your material, I love learning new stuff. My main selling point is that I understand what I am communicating. Everything I receive is treated as confidential. Good stuff to include:

  • The recent paper or unpublished manuscript.

  • The main summary of the grant .

  • Any layperson summaries you already have.

  • Current logos, (inc. weblinks to specification about logos from your institution & access to video logos if they exist)  

  • Videos you have seen and liked elsewhere

  • Interesting or odd facts related to the topic

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