It’s award season! It’s the time of year we at Liquid take stock of our projects, consider what judges might be looking for and promote our results, as a jury of our peers (hopefully) sees value in our work… Where award recognition is certainly a wonderful thing, I can’t help but think the process is very similar to what we do every day – with our clients.

This year, I’ve volunteered to judge other production pro’s work for the National Academy of Television Arts & Science’s Emmy Awards. It’s my turn to be a de facto client… and it makes me consider other pro’s work with a new perspective.

I’ve always believed that the process of creating video is far more interesting than the final product… For producers, true creativity often happens behind the scenes… It has to do with finding the perfect cast member for a role (note David Bowie’s young, female doppleganger in his latest video, The Stars Are Out Tonight.), a cool location or idea (Tropical Forest Xylophone ), or the right hook to push a video to viral status (Pepsi’s controversial Jeff Gordon Prank, Test Drive).

Sometimes, the creativity involves thinking on one’s feet. I’ve spent more than one vacation day on the phone, replacing a key member of my production team. Where it’s never fun getting that “Uh, Kelly, you might want to replace me for Monday… I’m in the hospital…” call, but it’s certainly my job! Solving problems on the fly is not only par for the course– but also part of the satisfaction I thrive on when a client receives a successful project.

As I watch the dozen or so Emmy entries I’m judging, sure, I’m looking for technical proficiency, storytelling and overall production value; but mostly, I’m looking for the passion behind the project. Because every inch of video has a point of view, I look for the production’s heart – the director’s intent, and the producer’s love for the subject matter. Whether the story is politically motivated, offered as historical perspective, a persuasive “hard sell,” instruction or entertainment, I find I’m very interested in the motivation behind the video.

To be perfectly honest, appearance matters. I’ve worked with enough talent to know that when the picture looks beautiful, it doesn’t call attention to itself. If I find myself criticizing bad lighting, crappy sound, shaky handheld camera, or boring angles, I’m too distracted to engage in the story.  Better yet, when the message is clear, the story is dramatic and the feel of the piece is consistent, I become emotionally involved. That’s the sweet spot I look for in other’s work.

I do my best to make sure those who evaluate my work – from awards judges to my clients – find both an excellent presentation and compelling tale. To me, my happiest moment as a video producer occur when a client is thrilled with their project.

On the other hand, the shiny statues are pretty nice too.

Kelly Planer (Alumni)

About Kelly Planer (Alumni)

Kelly Planer served as the Video Services Manager at Liquid Interactive. For almost two decades, Kelly has written, directed and produced across all media touch points: thirty-second commercials, long form documentaries, social media, blogs, training programs, live broadcasts and web.