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My First Job in Film: What is a corporate film?

What is a corporate film?

Corporate films, or corporate videos, are used to connect the boardroom to its employees and convey the company's ethics and ethos to the consumer. Video content online has become increasingly popular for company websites alongside the written material. Video content stands an 80% higher chance of engagement as it requires less from the viewer and keeps their attention focused on the screen for longer. Production companies also create films for fundraising, awareness and promotional purposes. In the world of business, films are necessary communication tools that can create engagement and inform opinion.

Producers working within the corporate sector need to be astute to the needs of the client, and also need a firm grasp on how best to use a creative medium to display corporate rhetoric. With advertising revenue decreasing and the trend for high-quality content online, production companies are creating customer facing films for social media and public consumption. Corporate production companies cater across the spectrum from the large multinationals, government organisations to high street shops, charities to industrial manufacturing companies. The types of film corporate production companies produce are: 

  • Online Commercials. Freedom from the 30 seconds of screen time and significantly cheaper, commercials for online content are of a lower budget but have the opportunity to go viral if they have a great story behind them. Making shareable content is a way of organically promoting your company. 

  • Training Videos. Staff training or first aid training videos can be a useful tool in the workplace, and save companies significant amounts of money when looking to induct employees.

  • Films for conference. The conference itself can be filmed, allowing viewers full access to the extended content from the day’s events. Films are also made for the conference, such as an address from the CEO if not in attendance.  

  • Consumer testimonials. Connecting potential customers to previous customer experience whether on the website or within the online consumer marketplace.

  • Industrial. Films aimed at companies working within a specific industry, used for business to business marketing or at trade shows.

  • Internal communications. Films made to be placed on company intranets are a useful tool to connect senior staff with their employees.  

  • Promotional or branded content. Promotional films are largely web or intranet based. They can come in the form of panel discussions designed to showcase products and create interaction.

  • Charity film. One of the most efficient ways for charities to reach out to their supporters and funders is via a film. A film detailing the work they carry out, who it affects and what you can do to make a difference is a major asset to fundraisers.

Who makes films for businesses?

Corporate communications companies specialise in making films for business, government organisations and charities. Producers working on corporate films need to be able to understand their client's business model and expectations. Much like the commercials industry, corporate communications have their own awards events, with particular companies taking the lion's share of the larger multinational corporations work. Production companies come in all sizes, though, including smaller start-up companies.

How long does it take to make a corporate film?

Corporate films for big clients such as international brands or government organisations will need to submit a treatment and attach a director to the project, who will discuss the options with the clients. Corporate films utilise all forms of narrative storytelling, the style of the film can dictate the duration of the shoot. If the client chooses a script that is a drama, the production time can be weeks rather than days for filming. If the budget is high the more likely crew working on features and commercials will become involved with the shoot. 

Corporate films can cross over into any genre from documentary to drama, as long as it serves the message a company wish to deliver. Drama can be anything from a training video or awareness campaign; the documentary format can be utilised when charting the work of a charity in remote locations. The crew can find themselves working on a day of back to back interviews with executives, filming a conference, high end branded content with high production value or an elongated version of a car commercial. 

What crew is involved?

Depending on the budget you can find a full drama crew on the higher end of the corporate video spectrum, with a more select crew (camera, sound, camera assistant) on the more compact end. Typically a smaller crew is used for interviewing company executives. 

Most likely you will find a team of in-house staff such as:

  • Head of production

  • Executive producers

  • Producers

  • Marketing and creative development team (larger company)

  • Account director

  • Production manager

  • Production coordinator

  • Production assistant(s)

  • Post-production producer (larger company)

Who hires the crew?

HoDs are hired by the production managers, the rest of the crew are usually hired at the HoD’s recommendations. The production manager will be the one negotiating the rate and sending out a Purchase Order for your services. 

how do i find a job at a corporate production company?

Many corporate companies do offer internships, so look at MFJF jobs board and the companies themselves to see if they run an existing internship programme. If you are at stage 2-3 of your career plan you should have made some connections within the industry, many of whom will no doubt be fitting in the odd corporate here and there. Much like commercials, corporate rates are usually higher than broadcast rates or low/micro budget films. Working practice, like a lunch hour, is often observed. If you wish to work within the company, whether on the account management side or the production side, having an awareness of the private and third sectors would be advantageous.