Brian Abe

As on-line video use continues to grow along with every company’s communication and marketing strategy what do you look for when hiring for video production/Creative and overall video production? There are MANY levels of hiring based on network production, broadcast TV, sports, non-profit, social media use and agency cultures, etc.

While there are many variables and after hiring hundreds of Creatives, videographers, editor, compositors and all around video production people these are my go-to skill sets.

You may always need higher end agencies and hundreds of production contractors to augment or manage video projects depending on your work load and target audience, however an in-house team should bring these basic skill sets. The context of this article is a small three to seven person in-house video production team.

Here are some questions I ask when considering video production resumes and reels. Ask for demo reels up front even if they’re not high end smoke and mirrors-type sizzle reels. (Typically seen with high end producers, videographers, editors and graphic compositors.) These video demonstration, demos reels or sizzle reels will tell you a lot about the style of the person you’re hiring. Most credible people should already have link to a Vimeo account with their demo reel.

When viewing the reels ask the person how they shot it and edited it, which effects softwares and filters did they use. Who was the target audience and what was the purpose of the video? If they can’t explain the why, what and who they may need guidance if you hire them. What challenges did they face during the project? You’ll find out quickly if it’s really their work or not.

I prefer to have these three types of people on my team. Sometimes you need more than one of each type. I would guess this list applies to other teams outside of the video world.

  1. Completely over-the-top Creative types with bizarre ideas and concepts. They could be your best producer/story teller and bring ideas you’ve never thought of. However, they may also be the most frustrating hire because you may not understand how they roll or be able to control them. These folks typically work on their owns terms and can worry you when the deadline looms. (Be patient – you’ll like the final product) If you build rapport with them, they will deliver for you!
  2. The technical-minded, button pusher who understands every bit of software, hardware, data, file management, cable connection and workflow. They may not be that Creative. (capital C) I turn to those people when I need help technically.
  3. The well-rounded middle of the road person who can do every skill set well but are not superstars at either end of the spectrum-Creative or Technical. They are safe but may not WOW your customers with their final product. You still want them on your team.

More questions to ask yourself and your team members if appropirate:

Do they fit with your current team in both skill set and personality or are you replacing your current team?

Sometimes you deliberately need to shake up the status quo of your current team if you’ve been hired to fix a problem. Bringing a rock star Creative (capital C) on board will create a stir and sometimes that’s fine. However, sometimes it’s not, depending on your current work flow and deadlines. I interview the new hire with the entire team around the table later in the process if they will be joining an already successful team. I take them to lunch and watch them interact with their potential team mates. If the producer will be leading C-suite executives and senior company leadership I will typically invite the spouse (if possible) to join us for lunch. These producers may soon find themselves in challenging meetings and production with executives. Their spouses can sometimes articulate strengths and weaknesses better than the potential employee.

Are they Creative with a capital C or are they more mechanical (engineers who happen to edit because they had no choice). There are some who can do both, but there’s a difference depending on what skillset you need on your team. Some will be stronger Creatively and some will be stronger technically. That must go into your decision when you hire them.

  1. If your team needs to tell stories for video (who doesn’t) you need a Creative (capital C) who may or not be organized. It’s ok. They should have videography and editing chops but they don’t have to be the best at either. They should be able to do a rough cut for a piece they’re working on and allow an editor to put the finishing touches on it. They should be good writer or show potential to develop the skill. This is KEY to good producer/storytellers.
  2. Your team NEEDS an all around producer, videographer, editor organizer to crank out the mundane, day-to-day video that crosses every corporate project list. They will crank out dozens of projects while your Creatives might be struggling with one or two higher end projects. They may not be the MOST Creative (capital C) but they can do all of it quickly, accurately and effectively. If you happen to have two all around producers/videographers/editors you may want to choose one with stronger skill sets in After Effects or stronger post-production skills if your work is more motion and graphic- based. The second team member with similar core skillsets may balance the team out with complementary skills at the other end of the production spectrum like videography, lighting or audio.
  3. One of your team members needs to have a higher end skill set for videography, shot composition and lighting. This is the person who can see what others cannot to tell the story. They understand depth of field, camera settings, f-stops, color temperatures, shadows, contrast ratios and lighting. Above all they know how to handle C-suite executives face-to-face as well as temperamental producers.
  4. Your workload and environment would determine if you need a dedicated data and media file management person. If you have 20-50 projects a year you may not need a dedicated data/media wrangler. However, if your team is producing 350 or more projects a year you may need to designate someone to manage media (not the Creative-capital C) or hire a full-time position. Media management can get out of control very quickly and valuable footage can be lost. That person should work with the team to determine naming conventions for files and what it will look ten years from now.

We really do need to execute most production skillsets these days, however, you’ll want to hire carefully and balance your team to the demands and long term needs of your customers and types of projects. Smart hiring makes the difference and keeps MOST everyone happy.

I would like to hear your experiences. I’ve interviewed thousands and hired hundreds and would love to help you if you’re building or restructuring a video production communication or marketing team.

#humanresources #communications #videoproduction #livestreaming

About Author

Brian Abe
Brian Abe

Brian Abe is an award-winning visual story teller, producer, multi-camera director, editor and leader of creative teams.

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