As a BBC radio producer I loved – and sometimes loathed – the adrenalin rush of being in a live studio.
Guest speakers often asked, “Is there a delay button, if I say something wrong?”
No. There’s no safety net. And I think the interviews benefit from it. There’s a nervous energy to live programmes that evaporates if you pre-record them.
I was reminded of this edgy buzz when I worked with House of Colour at their annual conference. (On the face of it, House of Colour help women and men to look their best through colour and style. Actually, it goes much deeper than that, as you’ll see when you watch their stylists’ stories.)
No time for nerves.
Let’s go back to the beginning.
You’ve heard of speed dating and speed networking. This was speed storytelling.
40 filmed interviews across two days. 15 minutes’ of contact time with each stylist. Once they were miked up and the camera angle and focus sorted, the interview time shrank to about 8 minutes.
We had a small window of opportunity: to put the stylists at their ease and get to the heart of their story, ideally in one or two takes. Any more and I knew energy levels would flag and the films would lose their spontaneity.
Prepare, but don’t overdo it.
I don’t do all this on my own, of course. There’s a talented filmmaker / photographer with me, who captures the spirit of the story visually. And I work closely with my clients to make sure their speakers are as prepared as they need to be.
In the case of House of Colour, I’d ‘virtually’ met the stylists during the webinar I presented, helping them to pinpoint their stories. They’d all done their homework. Every single stylist had mapped out (but not over-rehearsed) her or his ‘lightbulb’ moment, when House of Colour had given them a new insight about how they felt, looked or behaved.
Convert anxiety into confidence.
And so the big day arrived.
There were times when I felt I was managing a busy doctor’s waiting room, ushering the next nervous patient in with a cheerful smile. I wasn’t alone. The then Managing Director of House of Colour, Helen Venables, had a bird’s eye view of anxiety levels in the conference hall:
They felt that the webinar Miranda did was really helpful and really clear. They were all ready to go. But once we actually got to the conference, I could see that they were all nervous about their slot coming up.
Then, as they came back in, they were all saying, “Oh, it was wonderful!”; “Oh, it was amazing, I loved it!”; “I loved the way Miranda made me feel at ease, I didn’t even realise the camera was on”.
They just had huge smiles on their faces. So their anxiety was converted into confidence. They all felt great about themselves.
Vivid stories bring your company’s value to life.
The speed at which we interviewed the stylists gave the individual films an immediacy and naturalness. Pick any one and you instantly get a feel for the stylist’s character and their revelatory moment.
Stylists like Rosee, a former head teacher, who was taken by surprise at having ‘me time’.
Or Jenny, shocked at realising that she only wore 15% of her wardrobe.
Or Brian, who describes a range of opportunities opening up to him – including a new career and (bizarrely!) a till in a busy branch of M&S.
As a viewer, you’re in the moment with them – live – and you feel their delight as they experience that boost of confidence.
Stories convince people to buy into your brand.
These first person stories are already making a difference to the business of colour and style. Helen Venables:
In the past we’ve just had photos – little pictures on the website. And clients have often said to our stylists, “Oh, I like the look of your picture”. But what they’re now saying is, “Oh, I chose you” because of the film. And that is because the client gets the stylists; they come to life through video. The films are far more powerful than just a photograph.
Enjoy the whole box set.
I’ve given you a few examples but feel free to dip in and out of this collection. 40 short stories – between 30 seconds and 3 minutes – that will intrigue and inspire you.
Or, if you prefer, you could binge-watch the whole box set in one go.
Happy New Year!