Most, if not all, branded content creators will agree, when it comes to creating compelling branded content, having access to a robust budget is key. However, this rarely happens. It’s like spotting a unicorn at a park. That’s why we branded content creators often find ourselves reaching into our trusty production toolbox, relying on key instruments that are sure to have a big impact, even with a small budget.
The three most important things to spend a limited budget on — a solid director, skilled talent and compelling music — are not new or out of the ordinary, but they’re a good reminder to prioritize budgets on where it matters most. Ask what will help tell the story best and, most importantly, what will make the most impact.
A solid director: It goes without saying that a talented director is integral to telling a story properly and even more so when the storytelling needs to be done on a tight budget. A good director will be able to suggest ways in which to film the piece that will make the surroundings look grander than they are, they’ll be able to suggest angles, moves or perspectives that will make the audience look beyond the lackluster wardrobe and makeup, and they’ll ensure that everyone on set feels like they’re working on something great.
Skilled talent: It’s important to spend as much as your budget will allow on skilled talent. Even if you don’t have budget for set design, wardrobe or a killer location, if you’ve got great talent, more often than not, their stellar performance will distract the audience from noticing anything that might be missing.
Compelling music: A carefully sourced and selected soundtrack is like a fantastic supporting actor. Oftentimes, they don’t get noticed; they’re so good that they seamlessly blend into the storytelling and simply become another one of the characters. And when they do get noticed, it’s often for the wrong reasons. It’s because they’re obviously not right for the role and instead of adding to an otherwise good story, they simply become a distraction. There’s no excuse for poor music in your branded content nowadays. There are many great websites that provide original music for a low cost. Not only will you be taking your work to the next level, but you’ll also be supporting another artist at the same time.
Working with tight budgets is something we’re all familiar with, and the exercise of prioritizing how those precious dollars will be spent is something we’ve all spent hours agonizing over. These three key aspects of production are what we often lean toward at our office and what has often worked for us. Writing up a budget can be daunting, but if you prioritize your production as listed above, at least you’ve got a good start.