Our creative process begins with listening and observing. Considering our clients perspective and looking beyond to what drives their brand, their mission, and their project goals. We carefully examine expectations, assess audience needs, and deliberate on crafting the most appropriate messaging.
When starting a new project, there are many questions that need to be answered: purpose, message, audience, approach, schedule, deliverables, etc. Whether working directly with our clients or independently, we set out to answer these questions and others in order to frame the program and initiate our creative journey.
Establishing a working title for the program is often a good first step in determining a direction and in setting a tone for the program.
Encapsulating the purpose of the program in a single phrase or sentence is useful in focusing all subsequent development efforts. Often we’ll post that statement on the wall, referring to it often as we develop treatments and scripts and during the edit as we ask ourselves, does this element advance the plot, the story, or the message?
Regardless of program type and beyond the thesis statement, there are almost always particular messaging or topics to be presented or explored that drive the structure and content of the program.
Exploring keywords our clients use to describe their vision of the program is a great way to reveal ideas and themes that influence the character of the program. Precise, abstract, detailed, inclusive, diverse, smooth, personable, serious are a few words that might influence our thinking.
While preconceived notions of approach aren’t always firm, exploring various options with our clients and settling on the overall approach early on in development is important in determining subsequent development criteria. Within any given approach, there are always a range of styles that may be applied to a particular program.
While broadcast programs must be tightly controlled in terms of duration, many distribution formats allow the content to drive length; but knowing whether the program is 30-seconds, 3-minutes or 1-hour is crucial information, affecting resource requirements, schedule, and budget.
Is there a primary and secondary audience? Is the program for public release or for a private viewing, is the audience novice or knowledgeable on the subject? That determination may affect talent costs.
Are there any specific requirements for the program? 16:9 Wide-screen high-definition or 4K resolution?
How will the program be presented or distributed? Online, DVD, Blu-ray, video wall or broadcast? Will captions or a visual description be required? Multiple languages? Multiple versions?
When it the project due? Working backwards from when the program is aired or presented is important in helping us determine how much development time we have, what approaches are possible, and what resources are required.
Which all leads to the next step…
Summarizing all the information above and exploring possible approaches to the materials leads us directly to a creative treatment and the beginning of all subsequent development efforts. Depending upon the type of project, a Content Outline may accompany the Treatment.