How to manage change, set expectations and get the video you want.

It’s like the saying goes: the only constant in life is change. And in terms of managing changes properly during the video production process, the first thing any video production company worth its salt should provide their clients is a schedule that defines the stages of the process, the milestones, deliverables and delivery dates.

That’s the bare minimum.

We always do this and we always make clear that the client isn’t there just to sign things off. They’re a part of the creative team. It’s a collaboration. Clients know their brand, their audience and their product, and we know how to get their message across in an animated explainer videos and video productions.

Our video production process is simple:

  • Define the brief: meaning the Purpose, Place and Audience.
  • Write the Script.
  • Create the Written Storyboard.
  • Design the Visual Style and find the perfect Voice.
  • Design the Visual Storyboard.
  • Design the Sound Effects and Music.
  • Animate or Film.

But having a good brief, and a clear process and production schedule is only half the story. To be an effective process, it needs to account for real life. And in real life things change from time to time for various reasons.

For us, managing a video production project, that means both the process and schedule need to allow for change and include room for manoeuvre. Not least because the words in the brief can be interpreted in many different ways.

Even if we have a perfect brief, a bullet-proof process and robust schedule, unexpected changes can still occur. That said, the type of changes clients typically ask about, before and during the project, usually fall into these four categories…

1.What if someone insists on changes?

Sometimes, a client may insist on changing something, regardless of whether we agree with them or not. Sometimes they don’t agree with the change either. Sometimes it comes from an authority in a different part of their business – the legal team for example – or perhaps an external regulator.

Either way, we view it as a natural part of creating animated explainer videos. We discuss the change and figure out what needs to happen next and the implications, especially if there’s likely to be any additional cost or a change to the due date.

These kinds of changes rarely happen anyway, because we ask clients to share their insight and feedback at every stage of the process. And because each stage is reviewed and signed off before proceeding to the next one, we can move into each new stage with the confidence the client is happy with what has been done so far.

2. What if something isn’t right?

If you’ve chosen a video production agency with a strong creative process and who are skilled at asking the right questions to get to the core of what you want and what will work best for you, this is extremely unlikely.

We involve the client at every stage of the process, so any problems or changes are discussed and resolved before we proceed to the next stage. So, by the time we get to the animation stage (which is the most expensive stage to make a retrospective change to) they are already very happy with what they’ve seen and they know what to expect from the animation.

We do occasionally make one or two small changes at the animation stage, because sometimes you – and our animators – need to see something in motion before you can judge its appropriateness. But our team are highly skilled and have lots of experience, so they can anticipate how the vast majority of things will work in animation before they animate.

For animated explainer videos, the visual storyboard stage shows you precisely what your animation will look like, before anything’s been animated.

And even at the final animation stage, we ask you to review it and provide feedback before signing it off. So the chances of you wanting a change at this stage is pretty much zero.

3. How many changes do I get, and do you charge for changes?

The short answer: as many as you like, and no, unless you want something changed after you’ve signed it off.

We don’t put a limit on the number of changes you can make during the production process. What we want is to create something that will work best for you. And the only time we charge for a change is if you want to change something after you’ve signed it off, because it will involve additional work that wasn’t part of the original brief or quoted for i.e. rewriting, redesigning or reanimating.

And if a change is requested after a stage has been signed off, we discuss it with you and agree what should happen next. Each stage feeds into the next, so in all likelihood the change will require extra work to be done that wasn’t part of the agreed scope or budget. The best way to avoid this happening is to ensure senior people in your team are seeing the creative as the project progresses.

If a client asks for on a change that we don’t think will work well for them, we discuss it and let them know why and what we think will work best for them. We give them options. Sometimes they ask us to carry out their change anyway, for a variety of reasons, but usually they go with our recommendation.

4.What if my boss doesn’t like the video, at the final stage?

If your boss has been involved the whole way through, giving their input and approval then this is also extremely unlikely to happen.

But if your boss doesn’t see the animation until the final stage then the risk of their not liking your video increases massively.

That’s why we recommend your boss be involved at every stage, because any questions can be answered and any dislikes ironed out.

We recommend involving them right at the beginning, before things get to a stage where a lot of work has been done, by all parties, and it becomes harder to make large scale, complex or expensive changes.

Show them the script, the style check, voiceover and the visual storyboard. Ask for their feedback and ask us to present our work to them if you think it will help the process go smoother. Each stage is built on the stage that came before it, so getting their input as early as possible is invaluable and helps reduce the chance of problems further down the line.

At the visual storyboard stage, it’s critical to convey that this is not an approximation of how your animation will look. It’s exactly what it will look like.

But if your boss does still end up not liking the video, ask them to be explicit about what it is they don’t like. Is it the whole thing or one aspect of it? Like a word, a sound effect, a colour, a shape, a movement?

And asking them to view the thing they dislike with respect to how it relates or affects their view of the overall piece can help add perspective. Sometimes a dislike isn’t so important when it’s viewed in wider context.

What now?

If you’d like to chat about a video project, our Video Guide is a good place to start. It will help you understand more about each step of the video production process and show you examples of visual styles, storyboards, lead times and prices.

Get the video guide

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