A highly specialised manufacturer of skin grafting products wants to increase the motivation of his employees in order to increase his global sales targets. This objective includes the development and production of videos, which can be applied during internal events, for additional training and on the Intranet. Ideally, the films not only reflect the pioneer spirit of the company (and of its employees) but also provide a voice for the patients.
The following case study is based on a real assignment. Business units and products were anonymised in order to comply with the customer’s corporate policy.
- In order to keep the videos as authentic as possible, the organisation’s genuine employees must appear in the videos.
- Casting is not required to prevent any interruption to operational procedures. Employees, from a Nobel Prize winner to a laboratory assistant, can make themselves voluntarily available for an appearance in front of the camera.
- However, whosoever volunteers, whether telegenic or not, has to appear in the film at a later stage. A selection procedure is not possible.
The customer had already defined a ceiling limit for expenses at the start of the project. This will be used as a basis to jointly define the quality and effect and to agree on a first deadline layout, including a reserve for contingencies. As a contact on the customer side is already equipped with all necessary competences, the energy of all those involved is quickly concentrated on the contents after sorting out a few formalities.
The specification to make a film without an opportunity for casting with the employees of a company means: putting non-professionals, who are also the customer’s employees, into the best light possible. This must be taken into consideration by the script and the implementation process. With regard to the resulting challenges, we refer to the interview with director Patrick Merz, who comments on non-professionals in front of the camera as follows: “It is never about the person. It is always about the script.”
Three decisions are made:
- The film’s concept must be surprising;
- One short film is made per employee;
- The established mechanisms of TV entertainment form the basis for genre and implementation.
In detail, this means:
1. Concept and script
Creation and concept work are based on the following assumption: those feeling and understanding the sense of their actions will be motivated in the perception of their task. For a single day, employees will therefore assume the role of patients with skin injuries who have not yet been able to benefit from a skin graft. Professional makeup artists will therefore work on employees to apply artificial burn and skin damages, which cannot be distinguished from real injuries. The camera then accompanies them during their public life, where they have to handle various everyday tasks.
2. Film series
As an estimate of how employees and uninitiated passers-by would react in public is impossible, one short film is made per person. Each video is an experience along the lines of a docusoap. Each video shows the employee before and after his or her experience as a patient.
3. Synergie of the world of television
Filming is implemented in typical TV manner: flexible crews with agile planning depending on the situation, while deliberately handling the recording equipment almost like hidden cameras. Almost all of the uninitiated people react strongly at the sight of the injuries, ranging from extreme compassion to rejection.
Naturally, every scene includes the disclosure of the exercise to the uninitiated passers-by after a few minutes, also because approval to use personal images is required from all participants. Surprisingly, not a single person refuses their approval.
Even the prepared employee’s unaccustomed appearances in public literally go further than just skin deep. They still talk about it during filming, tell the camera of their feelings, expectations and what they have learnt during so-called detached interviews (another typical element of TV drama). And they report in their own words, something no author is able to put in their mouths.
All employee films and appearances are successful and become effective, distinct videos. For the joy of the material, the editing director creates an additional long version, which tells of the various adventures and experiences of the employees in a parallel composition. The customer also orders their completion. The delivery of all versions is quickly followed by an E-mail from the Group’s CEO. He is thrilled about the intensity of the films and congratulates everyone on their successful work.