How To Plan For A Video Shoot: Best Practices From Creative Video Producer, Kyle Mengelkamp

Kyle Mengelkamp is a seasoned Creative Video Producer currently working at Medabela, LLC with a client roster that includes lacoste, AT&T, NY Mets, YouTube, Chef V, and Unspoken Smiles. He has also created diverse content at other notably companies such as Apple, Inc, Google, NBCUniversal, and Fox Studios. Among his wide-range of skills are creative ideation, script development, video campaign strategy, Facebook and YouTube distribution, branded entertainment, product sales, digital series development, TV and digital commercial development and production. Kyle believes online video is the most effective way to get a company’s message across to their audience. He and his team work with talented individuals to develop creative and innovative products to enrich the experiences of clients with underlying efforts geared towards making a difference and helping people learn and grow.

No two video projects are the same. I like to build every story from the ground up. In doing so, there are a few variables I take into consideration:

What is the overarching message?

What is the story?

What is the budget?

What is the environment in which we’ll be working?

Who will we be working with?

There is no particular hierarchy of order as all these items carry equal weight in production, at least from my perspective. When translating the message, I take a deep dive into to the lives of our subjects to understand more about their experience, values, personalities, and the time and space in which the focal events we’d like capture occur. The purpose is to discover what makes them, them.

After the script is in place and the aforementioned list of questions are addressed, I begin breaking down the script into key components that help me better define the logistics of the production:

What location are we shooting?

What props will we need?

Who are the actors?

What type of set dressing will be built?

I look at the environment and sensibilities of the story. I see if I can combine resources and find ways to perfect and further enrich the content. Sometimes it can be a simple, but powerful message, in which case we focus on the words and the subject. And sometimes it can be visually driven with big, elaborate sets and few actors and extras resulting in the need for a larger crew on set to complete the shoot in just one day.

Throughout all stages of the development and production, I remind myself of the following key goals integral for great work:

Understand the core message the client wants the audience to see, hear, and feel.

Be creative, different, and in touch with topical trends.

Execute on time and within budget.

Lastly, one of the most important things to any shoot is finding the right team to help support and augment your vision. It took me some time and multiple work experiences to learn how to cultivate the right team for a given filmic project. The criteria I tend to look for are the following:

A Great Story: Team members must have a compelling story to tell.

Passion and Connection: They must love what they do for a specific reason and be able to connect that affinity back to the story.

Originality and Diligence: I must see something unique about work and trust in their process.

Goodwill and Compassion: I also look for their kindness and ability to show empathy.

Hunger: And the key ingredient to make this all work is their hungry to get the message out there.

Every producer in the business has their own method towards achieving quality content. These are the ones that have awarded me great success in career and I sincerely hope they provide you with a easier way to navigate your next video project.