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Q: We’re a training consultancy about to embark on a major training video production exercise requiring ten 3-5 minute training videos based around sessions in our training workshops.

We specialise in leadership development.

My concern is that the videos will be dull stuff to watch, or that we’ll make mistakes, when our real aim is to inspire and motivate as well as provide learning material.

How can be we be more creative and professional in our approach to producing custom training videos?

Marketing Manager
Training Consultancy
London & New York

A: Continuing with part 3 of our 5 part training video production seminar

When and how to use drama to bring your training video topics to life

Compare these statements:

> Voiceover tells,

> Drama sells

Let’s try again:

> Voiceover preaches,

> Drama teaches

This about says it. If you have:

> to win the hearts and minds of your workforce

> or you need them to understand interpersonal behaviours and skills

Then training video drama may be your best option when you consider how your video is produced.

This comes at a cost, but often not as high as you might think. We’ll get to the cost in a minute.

For now let’s consider a few scenarios in training video programs where companies can use drama and shine over voiceover.

In addition, here are examples of corporate training dramas

Customer handling scenes

In retail training video production, voiceover can explain the correct behaviours, but it can’t directly show them in the way that 2 actors can (one playing the customer, one playing the store colleague).

For example, consider a retail training topic like “always remember to show related products”.

This is where you want in-store staff to cross-sell the customer over to related or add-on products, and so increase sales.

Drama excels here, as it can demonstrate – and motivate – how easy cross-selling is where colleagues might otherwise experience difficulty.

Most retailers are aware of this and already provide some degree of training drama in most of their training course designs, as they have in-store facilities for staff to view a DVD, even where online or elearning is quite limited.

New work practices

New work practices often driven by safety, legal or programming compliance.

A workforce training video is seen as a key learning tool here as the new practices may well require operatives to change the way they’ve worked for years.

For example, consider a topic like “you must report it when you see something wrong”.

To many employees this amounts to snitching.

But setting up a scene where one person (actor) has a near-miss because another person (actor) ignored the risk, and failed to report the potential hazard, brings the whole issue to life in a real context.

Another example is when training store staff have to, say, ask the age of young customers buying cigarettes or alcohol.

They need to be shown what to do, in a skilled way, by actors. Actors show how change can be achieved by ordinary people.

Induction videos

It’s quite possible to make a contractor (or new starter) induction training video using own staff as extras. But it can easily get dull and go over the new starter’s (or the contractor’s) head. In one ear and out the next!

If you provide two actors to play the part of two new starters in different locations – eg, for site access, showing the workplace, observing site rules, avoiding hazards, using the right tools and equipment, etc – then all of these scenes will look and feel better – because they’re filmed using two professionals mixed in with own staff/management.

Scenes will get shot quicker, as they save the time required to arrange for your own people to turn up – and – overall you communicate more effectively.

Occasional lines of dialogue (said creatively) can be added here and there for added realism (“excuse me … do I need to sign this/wear that/park here?)

The actors will be likable and audiences will tend to relate to them, which will make your training video production more interesting.

When different takes of a scene are shot, the actor will remember to stand in the same place/look the same way/move in the same manner. This avoids the jumpy lumpy look and consequent weak audience comprehension that poor continuity brings to many training video productions.

The cost of producing training drama

We can see from the above three solutions that adding some drama into the production mix will increase the memorability of the training.

And it doesn’t require a studio, as television drama would.

The amount of drama needed will vary from production to production, and business to business.

It can range from:

> 100% drama with a large cast, spread over a three day video shoot

> to part drama, mixed with voiceover, such as you get from hiring 2 actors for one day each as part of an overall 3 day shoot.

100% drama might add 30% or more to production costs.

Part drama might add as little 10%-15%

Drama can be a wise buy, and the video package cost can be acceptable.

If you think your training video production may benefit from using drama, mention this to your training video producer who can advise you on your choices, and give you a suitable quote.

In the next (fourth) issue in this 5 part training video production seminar we’ll examine that crucial topic – getting that perfect script agreed.

It’s not quite what you may think.

There’s a lot more information and costs on training video production services here

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