EPKs are a great chance to engage with your potential audience and show the hard work that goes into making a film. They also aid in branding and setting the tone of your production. We like to think of EPKs as promotional videos that give you a chance to really draw your audience into the world that you have created and make them care about it. As such, we don’t treat them as anything less than an essential part of your production.
When filming behind the scenes we work to the needs of our individual clients but also have our own process to follow. When on set we believe in always being ready, as quite often it’s those unplanned moments that become good EPK content. Behind the scenes is one of the few areas of the film industry where it actually pays to over shoot, so we do. Bloopers, celebrations, and unexpected moments are what make a behind the scenes feature more entertaining for the audience. To successfully capture those moments you need an experienced EPK team who are willing to put in the same time and effort as everyone else involved in the production. Like us.
Whilst some clients specify what days and scenes they want filmed, others require a more fluid approach. Whatever the preferred method, we always make sure we read the scripts for the productions we’re involved with in advance. This allows us to have better understanding of what we need to capture for the EPK both in terms of on set footage and interview content. We discuss with the client what they feel are the essential scenes to film along with any other specific elements they want included, such as time lapses. We also check call sheets everyday to make sure we are aware of any possible schedule changes or exciting scenes that may not have been mentioned.
Every member of our team has worked on professional productions previously and as such we know how to film behind the scenes without becoming a hindrance to the rest of the production. We know how to read a set and work out the best way to get a particular shot without throwing anyone else off balance. We make sure that the footage we capture shows a good spread of those actively involved in the production as the work everyone puts in is astounding. We don’t just focus on the actors, directors and big names, but capture something of everything and everyone, from makeup and costume departments at work to crew perfecting their set up and production assistants solving problems.
Whilst we conduct off the cuff on set interviews at points of particular interest, we always schedule extended interviews with key creatives and cast members to give a more in depth discussion. We discuss the client’s EPK objectives and tailor our questions so that interviewees can talk about the unique selling points of their project. We prepare our interview questions in advance and run them by the client before conducting the interviews.
We work with the production team to help schedule interviews at a convenient time and remain flexible in the face of ever changing schedules. Where possible, we conduct our interviews towards the end of the production period as it means interviewees will generally be more relaxed, have more interesting anecdotes to tell, and we will have filmed enough behind the scenes content to use leading questions for footage we think will be particularly appealing to the audience. For scheduled interviews we prefer to film on an unused part of the set, but if that isn’t practical we arrange an appropriate alternative location. We bring our own lighting in order to create a visually engaging image and record sound with radio microphones as well as a shotgun mic.
On interview days we use an experienced, professional interviewer who can quickly and successfully build a rapport with the interviewee. This is a crucial aspect of any interview as you get better content when the interviewee feels connected to the interviewer and opens up. Our interviewer tends to already be involved in the EPK filming meaning they already know many of the people being interviewed and have good knowledge of the production to date. It’s easier to get great stories when you already know what’s happened and can cater your questions. Good quality interviews are the key to a strong EPK and we work to ensure we have the best interviews possible, both technically and in terms of substance.
If we are the ones editing the behind the scenes content for our client we always feel at an advantage because we know what footage we have to work with and make note of anything that we would particularly want to use as we go along. We find that the interview content tends to provide the structure for the video and thus work from the interviews out. Once the interviews are edited and ordered to provide a good narrative, we then build up the rest of the video around that. Using insert shots of the filming, relevant sequences and additional elements such as time lapses, we flesh out the video and bring life to the interviews and the story they tell.
Some clients like a clean, professional narrative whereas others prefer something that’s full of personality. Regardless of the requirements, we always make the EPK videos as interesting as possible and revise elements at the clients request. Due to the fact we like to overshoot, we tend to have a really good stock of funny moments that occur on and off set and use these when appropriate. Whilst its good to see a professional team at work, showing some of the silliness that happens whilst filming allows the audience to connect with your project, join in the laughter, and relate better to you and your team. In the same vein, we find that showing the challenges and difficulties overcome during the course of production has a similar effect and underlines how much hard work goes into making a TV series or film.