7 Tips to Make a Hot Video by Derek Lau

1.Start off with eye-candy
Action movies have title sequences. MLB sluggers have entrance songs. What will you use to kick your video off in an interesting and attention-grabbing way? Classic techniques like animated titles or well-composed tracking shots still work well, but don’t be afraid to get creative.

2.Work on your message
If you’re going for simplicity, the point of your video should be clear and concise, easy to remember and informative without an ounce of flab. However, to truly stick in your viewer’s minds, sometimes a little extra something can go a long way. Throwing a joke or two into the mix or coming up with a catchphrase can win you some extra points in the ‘memorable and enjoyable’ department if done right.

3.Fill up the frame
Today’s viewers are so used to watching screens that it’s safe to assume that ‘more’ is usually ‘better’ when you’re trying to get their attention. From split-screen sequences to FX shots to titles, adding some icing to your cinematic cake will give you that little edge that you need to hold the audience’s gaze through to the end of your video.

4.Play with the viewer
By the time we become teenagers, chances are we’ve all seen thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of commercials and chances are even better that we’ve grown sick of their predictable formats and never-ending parade of clichés. With this in mind, consider creatively toying with the viewer’s expectations. Break the ‘fourth wall’ and address the audience directly and out-of-character. Use clichés in a sarcastic context. Think outside the box.

5.Embrace the Gimmick
You know that one commercial that always gets on your nerves? The one with the wisecracking animal/catchphrase-spouting kid/hilariously over-the-top pitch man? Admit it. You’ve got a few examples floating around in your head, which only goes to show the power of a well-executed gimmick. Staight-laced-and-upfront may get your point across, but a gimmick can spread it like wildfire.

6.Play the Viewer
Once you’ve got a first cut of your video, sit back and imagine that you’ve never seen it before. Be honest with yourself and try to see what works and what doesn’t. Is the pitch a bit wordy? Do your testimonials reinforce the main thrust or do they get tangential? What can you take away? What might you add? Pulling no punches will always benefit you in the long wrong because after all, the viewers’ aren’t going to let you down easy.

7.Leave the party early
In videos, as in everyday life, it’s best to cut things off while you’re ahead. Find a high point to go out on and the viewer will feel rewarded for giving you a moment of their time, but stretch things out too far in pursuit of just one more big moment and they’ll start to think you look a little desperate. A good video should play out like a good party: initial excitement gives way to anticipation which culminates in some special moments and dissipates at just the right moment.