Who needs a film professional?

I recently read “You don’t need to hire a dedicated person” to create video content. “…ask around the office if anyone is interested to lead this project” the article suggested, and “rotate it among your team every month or project”. I was immediately reminded of Seth Godin’s famous “Nobody dabbles in dentistry” microblog.

Back in the mists of time, when a shoot involved a camera crew - weaned on the discipline of shooting on proper film and shouldering a massively impressive camera - nobody ever questioned the necessity of professionals. Certainly no one in their right minds would task the accountant or assistant PR manager with shooting a corporate film themselves.

Now prosumer devices like HD cameras, amazing drones and the ubiquitous smartphone have made filmmaking something anyone can dabble in. And as soon as a job is something other people do for fun, the value provided by the expert is diminished.

So the pressure is on creative “professionals” to prove that they really are worth the money they charge, strategically, creatively and executionally.

Insight and experience is key and simply cannot be handed around. The success of any creative film content stems from a thorough understanding of the requirements of a project within the industry and sector context. Experience means a client doesn’t choose the wrong words or colours or platform. I can assure you no one wants me taking on the management accounting or rolling out the company wide software upgrade this month.

Creativity is a talent and a craft. Even the most naturally talented directors, cameramen, writers and designers have studied for years, honed their skills and learnt from success and failure. And while creativity can indeed lie in unexpected places and an inexperienced team can surprise with exceptional work, they are not usually waiting to be discovered in a finance or IT role.

It comes down to experience. Film and creative professionals have done this before. Many, many times. There are so many mistakes to be made, and they’ve usually made them already. Will you know to adjust the lighting for a double chin or a lazy eye? Have the confidence to push the CEO who is late for an appointment to repeat her answer again and again until it’s absolutely perfect?

All this aside, I have recently seen some incredible creative work from a small team of very talented non-professionals at a large corporate here in Hong Kong. They are internally producing a consistently brilliant and award winning catalogue of design and film content. It can be done. But that said, I’m really glad I didn’t have a dermatologist on rotation to deliver my baby – even though it cost a lot less than many corporate film projects.

Lucy Isler is Development Director in our Hong Kong office. Contact us if you need a film professional.

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