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How We Made the Video for The Baltic Weekend

Andrey Skvortsov speaks about the challenge of making a good video

The idea to make a video to congratulate The Baltic Weekend on its 15th anniversary came to us one year ago. Originally it was purely pragmatic — we had planned to make something to open the country’s main congress of PR professionals, which brings together virtually all of our customers.

But we encountered a challenge: the video had to meet our own excitement criteria:

1.       It must be truly important and necessary for the audience (relevant);

2.       It must struggle for something and, consequently, against something (contrast, drama);

3.       It must be specific and avoid generalizations.

Making a video about Baltic? Piece of cake. But who would need it? We all love and praise Baltic. But a video about Baltic? It would have been secondary. Baltic might like it, but what about the rest of them? The best-case scenario is that we would make a momentary video — they would watch it, applaud, and then forget it. When it comes to struggle, it is even less clear. In the end, we wanted to give up on the idea altogether — it seemed to be taking too much effort, and we were never going to come up with a masterpiece, anyway.

Our third principle saved us — we had to be specific. Not the principle itself, but the skill of handling data and certainty that as long as we have data, there will be sense. Fortunately, Baltic had enough data. The topics of all of the speeches delivered over those years (312 of them) were preserved, so we conducted a word frequency analysis for the topics and calculated speaker stats.

Finally we found the sense — the word “trust” that was somehow missing from the topics of the speeches. “Trust” was not only about Baltic, but about all of us — PR pros, the industry and what really matters to us. So here is the first principle.

The struggle component followed immediately — we will be struggling for people to speak about trust more. And then came the fun part — “why do we come to the Forum at all?” I first attended it back in 2003, and the video includes a few personal memories.

And then it was a matter of technique. We wrote a script, then halved it (picking the right content is more important than accumulating it). The rising action, conflict, three-part composition (“trust” is mentioned three times, just as “sexuality”, which is our second, fun line). We fleshed out the final and framed it. And it was good.

I will deliberately omit the parts where we selected charts, adjusted attention control mechanisms, and looked for the right design, because these are our routines.

We found the best tempo-rhythm. We had to change the duration of the pause after the repeated word “why?” four times.

The score was composed by Eduard Gleizer, deputy head of the musical department of the Maly Theater and author of scores for a variety of movies. Add two weeks. You must understand that you cannot use any music as the background, because the accents would lose their power.

Finally, the moment of truth — we showed the product to the Customer. Although it was a gift, we were just as nervous as with any other project, if not more. But miracles do happen, and the video was approved as it was, with no remarks and special requests to add or cut something. We had the burden of doubt off our shoulders. Indeed, it looked very nice: the video that reveals the challenge of the entire country’s PR while telling the story of The Baltic Weekend — it is really the best video about Baltic! Which is what we originally wanted!

And then the debut early on the first day of the event, about a thousand views on Facebook even before the morning session was over, reposts, reviews, and compliments. And an immense pleasure from a job well done.

Our thanks go to The Baltic Weekend, Andrey Barannikov and everyone involved in the project!

Team:

Concept and Script by Andrey Skvortsov
Data handling, Analysis, Co-author — Elena Onikevich
Producer — Gennady Kondratyev
Co-producer — Konstantin Ganzhela
Director — Alexander Postnikov
Art Director — Andrey Kovalevsky
Animation and Design by Alexander Zatonsky, Kirill Dmitriyev, Denis Mitrofanov, Sergey Sobolev, Alexey Uzhintsev
Music by Eduard Gleizer
With the participation of Katerina Miroshnikova (Mercator), Evgeny Isakin, Elena Erokhina, Ksenia Gorlevaya, Viktor Bekrenev (SPN)

Andrey Skvortsov

Andrey Skvortsov Skvortsov on Cossa: Three Principles of Good Content


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