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Save Time and Money on Your Next Explainer Video

Have a plan and follow it!


Let’s say you don’t need any more convincing that you should get an explainer video produced. They are informative, convey ideas quickly and effectively, and are down-right awesome as all get out.But maybe you’re a bit apprehensive about the process and the time (and money) it‘ll take to get a final product. Having done quite a few of these, we’ve discovered a few things that you can do as the client to help keep both the production time and costs down.

These are our top 3:
  1. Over plan
  2. Over share
  3. Overlap

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1. Over plan

Sometimes the most obvious things get overlooked, so a kick-off meeting or phone call to generate a clear timeline with assigned roles and milestones is the first, and probably easiest, thing you can do to make sure nothing slips through the cracks. The plan should include deadlines for the delivery of each stage of the explainer video production process making sure to include time limits for your feedback as well. That last part is important because even though you don’t think that you’ll need to be reminded to give timely feedback, you’d be surprised. You’re busy, your team’s busy, your bosses are busy, so if you allocate that review time weeks in advance, you’re more likely to get it done without needing to extend the timeline.

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2. Over share

The success of your video (whether you and your customers like it) depends on how well we know you/ your brand, your customers, your product / idea so don’t be afraid to over share. A few things we find helpful are:

  • Words – Use ‘em. Even if you don’t have a finalized script, an outline of your idea / product gives us a good sense of direction on how you’d like to talk about your brand / product. Feel free to be as verbose and awkward as you’d like, even if the visual descriptions you’re thinking of seem a bit silly to you, the more we understand what’s in your head, the better our translation will be.
  • Current brand collateral – These could be things like brochures, Powerpoint presentations, T-shirts and koozies. Anything that you’ve already used to represent you is helpful since it tells us about your aesthetic and tone of voice.
  • References – We’re all watching more videos online so I’m sure you’ve come across 1 or 2 that strike your fancy. Even if they’re not exactly in line with your particular needs, having a sense of character illustration style, voice over (VO) tone, use of typography etc will help narrow down the options presented during the styleframe or storyboard phase and minimize the amount of back and forth you’ll need during revisions.

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3. Overlap

Each phase of the explainer video production process doesn’t necessarily have to happen linearly. It could be more efficient to tackle certain stages at the same time. After a good kick-off meeting where everyone’s on the same page about the tone of the video, the VO talent and music selection process can happen while the script is being fleshed out. Then, once the script is finalized, the VO recording can take place without much delay since you’ve at least started narrowing down talent options. Similarly, once the script is finalized, both the storyboarding and VO recording can happen simultaneously, making the transition to the animation stage seamless. *NOTE: Make sure in an effort to cut down the time that your production company doesn’t skip any of the important steps, especially the storyboarding phase. Any professional worth their salt will insist on finalizing the sequence of events before starting animation.

Choosing to hire a professional to produce an animated explainer video instead of doing in yourself is a commitment, but by over planning, over sharing and overlapping you’ll get to the end of the process on deadline, within budget and with exactly what you wanted..

Feel free to check out some of our Explainer video work

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Andrew Davies

Drew's degrees in Illustration, 2D animation and Broadcast Design, and his volleyball skillz mean he can get your design done and play well with others at the same time. He’s the Creative Director at Paragon and will call you out if you start hanging out with shady-looking fonts and messing around with whacked-out color palettes.

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