Before you Start a Video, Start with Questions

As the Chief Operating Officer at 522, I’ve often been the first person a new client speaks with before starting a project. In fact, one of the best parts of my day involves working with our sales and marketing team to navigate these early conversations – because I enjoy learning about new companies, new marketing initiatives and new stories. What can I say, I simply get excited to start video projects.

Why Questions Should Be the First Step to Creating a Video

Recently, I’ve noticed a trend with some of the introductory phone calls we get with customers. Rather than starting with a general list of requirements or a high-level objective, customers already seem to have a concept in place. This concept is sometimes a reaction to a competitor’s video. Or, it’s a derivative of a viral video on Youtube.

Although it’s awesome to have an inspiration and a concept, this can sometimes lead a company down the wrong path. Or, at a minimum, it limits the options available. In order to get the most out of video and tell the best story, you should start the video production process by asking the right questions.


The Most Important Questions to Consider Before Starting a Video

Questions are very important to the storytelling process. It’s helpful to ask certain questions before contacting a production company or even during the discovery process. Here’s a series of my favorite questions that I like to use to in order to understand a client’s requirements and kickoff a project.

Before you start a project, ask yourself these questions?

  • How would I describe my target audience?
  • What are the attributes of my target audience (age, sex, profession, job title, etc.)?
  • Who is buying my product/service and why?
  • What perception does my audience have before watching the video? Am I trying to change perceptions or reinforce existing perceptions?
  • What type of tone has been successful for me in the past? Has humor worked? What about emotion?
  • What types of marketing materials have resonated with my audience in the past? Are these strategies in line with my objectives?
  • What challenges do my customers face?
  • What action do I want the viewer to take after watching the video?
  • In what context will the viewer watch the video? Will it be featured on my company’s homepage? In a pre-roll ad? Used on a landing page?
  • How will I determine if the video is successful? What are the key performance indicators?
  • What is the budget? What is the return on investment I am targeting?


Overall, I think it’s important to start with questions. By asking questions within your team and working through the answers with a production company, you can be confident with the story’s direction. Introductory questions and the resulting conversations ultimately help to define your audience and create a compelling story.

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