Intro Videos have become as expected at the stadium as hot dogs and cheerleaders. Everybody has a video board and everybody is putting stuff on those boards. Let’s take a look at five common mistakes that are made with Intro Videos and how you can punch them up a bit.
5. All or Nothing
A lot of times when an Intro has too many concepts it’s because you’re trying to please several different people with several different ideas. We’ve all been there. You have one minute. You have to include footage of the players in practice, getting ready in the locker room, walking around campus, and at least 20 highlights. Oh yeah, and don’t forget about the fan and stadium shots. Oh and the logo! We need it to explode. One more thing: We need to include a few clips of our team’s 110-year history. And let’s use that Lady Gaga song “Edge of Glory” because the team is expected to do big things this year!
It’s a hot mess.
For the sake of the video (and your sanity) try to get a majority of those cooks in the kitchen on the same page. Ask questions and communicate! What is the purpose of your Intro? Get fans excited? To tell a story with some drama? Is it more important to tell a story or show a minute of highlights cut to “Seven Nation Army”? Does the team have their own theme this year that maybe you just don’t know about?
Can you turn this super concept video into a couple of different videos? For example, an Intro Video for the current team and a Historical Video honoring the past. There are so many different platforms for displaying videos nowadays. What doesn’t work on the board might work great on Twitter leading up to the game. Eminem was wrong. You’ve got more than one shot. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing with your Intro Video.
4. Length & Pacing
Nobody wants to watch a three-minute Intro. I don’t care how amazing the song is or how awesome your highlights are. The exception to this rule is, of course, One Shining Moment. Video viewers’ attention spans have dropped about a third from 2000-2015. A good rule of thumb for our partners is between one to two minutes.
On a related note, the pacing is something that is overlooked and underappreciated. We’ve all seen that video where it feels like three minutes, but it’s only been 30-seconds. That’s a pacing problem. Sometimes it’s because of the music edit. Sometimes it’s because of a long highlight. Cut up the tunes. Cut up your clips.
Some important bullet points:
• Epic music doesn’t always equal an epic video.
• Sometimes the team or your Coach aren’t the best judges of music.
• Just because you can jam to the song in your car doesn’t mean it’s going to work for an Intro Video.
• The search for lyrics that apply literally to your team is a futile attempt.
• Fall Out Boy can’t be expected to put out a new album every year.
• Everybody wants a song that builds.
• Figure out the purpose of your Intro and that will likely direct you towards the perfect style and tone of the music and then onto the perfect song.
• Music is SUBJECTIVE.
2. Let Athletes Be Athletes
Some athletes are naturals in front of the camera. Some aren’t. That’s okay because they’re supposed to be athletes, not actors. Not everybody can be awesome like Peyton Manning on SNL. Most will be like Michael Phelps: AWKWARD. There’s a fine line with Intro Videos between awesome and super cheesy. If Coach wants to include all of the starters in the video, but a couple of them aren’t comfortable, maybe he or she is more natural in a group with their buddies. Not every player in the video has to go it alone. Put them in a situation where they can succeed. You wouldn’t put a 310lb player at the quarterback position when he’s obviously more naturally inclined to a lineman position. So why would you put an uncomfortable athlete center stage?
Another tip for filming the awkward-at-heart: Put them in a natural situation. Michael Phelps doing sketch comedy = bad. Michael Phelps training for his final Olympics = AMAZING.
1. Copying Yourself / Copying Others
The #1 pitfall when it comes to Intro Videos is the theory “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” It’s easy. You know what Coach likes. You know the fans really responded to it. So you essentially paint yourself into a corner. And nobody paints baby into a corner, right? There’s only one recipe to make chocolate chip cookies and there’s only one equation for the math problem. There’s not a lot of creative fulfillment when you template your video each year.
This also falls in line with the copying somebody else’s creative work route. We get it. People tell us all the time they go to our site for ideas. That’s cool and we’re certainly flattered. That’s the name of the game in the biz. It’s one thing to take a concept and make it your own with your own brand spin, but it’s another thing to flat out shot-for-shot copy somebody else’s video. There are folks who have used our Michigan Football Legends concept for about five years now. There are at least three institutions who copied Auburn’s 2014 Men’s Basketball Intro exactly. EXACTLY! That’s not flattery. That’s laziness.
Give your fans and coaches more credit. They deserve more than safe mediocrity. Get out of the habit of saying “no” because you’re afraid of taking risks. Become a “YES” woman or man. It’s freeing and your Intros will continue to get better each year.