Interview-Based Storytelling Workflow for Video Production Projects | Spin Creative

By Matthew Billings, Principal & Creative Director at Spin Creative, LLC

Spin Creative practices a recommended creative and content development workflow for producing TV commercials and marketing videos that involve on-camera interviews as the primary storytelling device. It’s our recommendation and based on our experience, that a script per se isn’t needed typically prior to a shoot, which includes on-camera interviews as the primary storytelling device. In fact, for interview-based and documentary-style storytelling, it’s challenging to develop a script until interviews are captured and we begin working with the sound bite content to develop the story.

Our standard methodology for interview-based and documentary-style video storytelling involves these recommended steps:

• Question & Key Statements List –– We use an Interview Question List based on the content and key messages established, in collaboration with the client, during our Discovery and Creative Development phases of a project. Then, the Spin Creative director works with the interview subjects to capture the best and most compelling interview sound bites at the shoot. We also recommend developing a Key Statements list that is a short list of sound bites envisioned as part of the the final video. These Key Statements are developed in conjunction with the client and can be captured during the interview process as well. The Key Statements are spoken in the interview subject’s own words and ensure that we are capturing the necessary content to tell a compelling story and stay on message.

• Content Cut Development –– Next, during the initial phase of video editing, we develop what we call a Content Cut (this is also the first cut that a client will review). The Content Cut is a selection of the most compelling sound bites, arranged in a logical order, that best tell the story. The Content Cut does NOT INCLUDE b-roll footage, music or graphics as these elements are added during the 2nd and Final Cut stages of the video editing process. We often recommend clients review the content cut with their eyes closed, so that they can focus solely on hearing the story we’ve assembled from the captured sound bites.

The Content Cut is essentially the “script” that forms the story and narrative for the video. It’s a critical and foundational element from which all future editing passes are built upon. Spin welcomes feedback and input from the client during the Content Cut stage. Working closely with the client, we modify and finesse the sound bites to create the most engaging and powerful story possible.

• B-Roll, Finishing & Polish –– Once we lock in and have an approved content cut, we then focus on the 2nd and Final Cut phases of editing. During these phases we add in b-roll visuals, music, graphics, effects, image and color grading –– and the overall polish to the video. The editing style, pace, energy and “look and feel” are implemented during these phases.

Our content development workflow for interview-based and documentary-style video storytelling has proven successful on a variety of marketing, advertising and TV commercial video projects. It works because it captures authentic and impromptu interview content from our interview subjects based on careful key messaging planning upfront. Once we’ve captured compelling sound bites during the interviews, we have a plethora of options to craft a powerful story during the video editing process.

Matthew Billings is the Owner and Creative Director at Spin Creative, LLC. Spin Creative is a creative agency and full-service high-care high-craft creative video production company with offices in Seattle, WA and San Francisco, CA. We propel brands using cinematic storytelling.

If you would like to work with one of the best video production companies, shoot us an email at contact@spincreativegroup.com or call 206.686.6278 (Seattle) or 415.767.3645 (San Francisco). We travel all over the world for our clients.