As a young entrepreneur, I created an explainer video for my lean startup.  We didn't have the funds to hire a professional videographer, so I found a designer on 99designs and put together a video using iMovie and my own voice.  Check it out below:

 

I know, laugh all you want, but I'm very proud of what I was able to do with a non-existent budget and little experience creating videos.

 

Three years later -- a little bit more experienced and a lot of bit more foolish -- I created the explainer video below for my company VoiceBunny, which involved a professional animator, voice over, audio producer, and of course an existent (yet still startup friendly) budget.

Credit goes to Eric Bowman from Assembly Creative who was my animator for this video.

Here are the important lessons I've learned from creating explainer videos across three different industries.

Lesson 1: it all starts with the script

Here is the original full script I wrote for the explainer video:

The crowd-powered production house that creates high quality, affordable voice overs on demand.

 

The big problems with creating voice overs today are high costs and slow delivery times. You see, absolutely everyone wants a piece of the pie: casting directors, agents, and recording studios get in the way of what you're really looking for -- the perfect voice over for your perfect script.

 

It's a shame really, but you know what, it doesn't have to be that way.

And that's exactly why we created VoiceBunny, so you can get super fast, high quality, professional voice overs at an affordable price.

So what do you get when you use VoiceBunny?

 

1. You get the absolute best voice over pricing on the market.

If you go to a talent agent for a 1-minute voice over, it's going to cost you over $800. But when you use VoiceBunny, that same voice over will cost less than $99. I know, pretty amazing right?

 

2. You get the absolute fastest turn around times in the industry.

In a rush and need a voice over delivered to you right now? Well then you can use Speedy to post a project and receive a voice over in less than an hour!

 

3. You get immediate access to a crowd of over 10,000 voice actors who work out of their professional home studios.

Looking to select a voice over from a myriad of options? Then utilize Casting to hold an audition or search our database of actors and directly book your favorite ones.

 

4. You get our 100% satisfaction guarantee

This means you get unlimited revisions for your projects and you don't pay unless you absolutely love your voice over. Now who else can offer you that guarantee?

 

I know what you're thinking: sounds too good to be true, right? Well it's all made possible because of our patented Hare9000 technology that Mr. Bunny created himself.

 

We not only pride ourselves in our unbeatable pricing and delivery times, but hold an unwavering dedication to customer service. Every voice over is personally reviewed for quality by our client services team.

So what are you waiting for? Post a project right now or speak directly with our client services team to get a feel for our personalized, one-of-a-kind service. We promise you'll fall in love with the Bunny experience.

 

Lets break down each section of the explainer video.

A) Tell them what you're all about immediately

This is your 1-sentence pitch.  It must be clear, concise, and to the point.  It should set the stage for your video and foreshadow what is to come in the explainer video.

The original script I went with was:

The crowd-powered production house that creates high quality, affordable voice overs on demand.

However, I decided against this as no one understands what a "crowd-powered production house" is.  If I lead with this sentence, it would mean that the viewer starts off confused.  It sets the wrong tone for the video.

While meeting with Santiago Jaramillo, our Chief Customer Officer, I realized that the following messaging truly resonates well with our target demographic: use VoiceBunny to save time and money on voice overs while maintaining high quality.  I then changed the intro to the following:

Professional voice overs with VoiceBunny save you time and money

B) What is the pain you aim to solve?

The next step is to hit them with the pain that you're solving:

The big problems with creating voice overs today are high costs and slow delivery times. You see, absolutely everyone wants a piece of the pie: casting directors, agents, and recording studios get in the way of what you're really looking for -- the perfect voice over for your perfect script.

I'm direct with the pain: current solutions are expensive and are slow.

C) What is the solution?

You've told them what the pain is; now tell them what is the solution.

It's a shame really, but you know what, it doesn't have to be that way.

And that's exactly why we created VoiceBunny, so you can get super fast, high quality, professional voice overs at an affordable price.

D) Highlight the product features

Give a high-level overview of the most important features of your product.

So what do you get when you use VoiceBunny?

1. You get the absolute best voice over pricing on the market.

If you go to a talent agent for a 1-minute voice over, it's going to cost you over $800. But when you use VoiceBunny, that same voice over will cost less than $99. I know, pretty amazing right?

2. You get the absolute fastest turn around times in the industry.

In a rush and need a voice over delivered to you right now? Well then you can use Speedy to post a project and receive a voice over in less than an hour!

3. You get immediate access to a crowd of over 10,000 voice actors who work out of their professional home studios.

Looking to select a voice over from a myriad of options? Then utilize Casting to hold an audition or search our database of actors and directly book your favorite ones.

4. You get our 100% satisfaction guarantee

This means you get unlimited revisions for your projects and you don't pay unless you absolutely love your voice over. Now who else can offer you that guarantee?

We selected 4 product features to highlight (to shorten the video, we could have even gone with three): price, speed, large database, and 100% satisfaction guarantee.

 

Important: you don't have to go into excruciating detail; just highlight the most important element of each feature and then move on to the next.  The goal is to inspire the viewer to learn more by clicking around on your site.

 

E) Social proof

This actually wasn't in my original script, and luckily, Alex Torrenegra, CEO, reminded me about the power of social proof.  People make choices based on what other people trust and buy; therefore, it's very powerful to include a customer testimonial in your explainer video.

 

We therefore added the following testimonial from Pandora:

VoiceBunny gives us the quality and speed to remain competitive.  Tyler Brown, Pandora

F) Actionable next step

At the end of the video, tell the viewer exactly what actions you want them to take:

So what are you waiting for? Post a project right now or speak directly with our client services team to get a feel for our personalized, one-of-a-kind service. We promise you'll fall in love with the Bunny experience.

Lesson 2: create a complete storyboard

voicebunny-explainer-video-storyboard
voicebunny-explainer-video-storyboard

It's important to draw your complete storyboard for several reasons:

  1. It forces you to put the ideas in your head onto a physical space
  2. It forces you to review the whole story, so you can visually add or remove parts of your video
  3. Saves you a lot of money because it's less time that the animator has to spend going back and forth with you on the ideas for the video
  4. It gives the people of the world the chance to see your amazing art skills  :P

Although we changed several sections in my storyboard, you'll notice that it remains relatively consistent with the final video production.

Lesson 3: the voice over always comes first

The voice over ALWAYS comes first!  The animator takes your voice over and storyboard, and then creates animation around the voice over with the correct timing.

 

If you do the animation first, then it's very difficult to match the voice to the animation.  Furthermore, if you try to edit the voice to match the timing of the animation, chances are that it will sound choppy.

How to get a professional and affordable voice over: why use VoiceBunny of course  :)

 

Seriously, I know I'm biased because it's my company, but we have the absolute best product on the market.

Lesson 4: how to work with your professional animator

When working with a professional animator, keep the following in mind:

 

1. Never compromise quality for speed or frustration: there will be times when the animator just doesn't quite get your vision right.  This may happen 4, or 5 revisions in a row, and you'll begin to get frustrated.  You'll be tempted to say, "It's fine" and just move on to the next section of the video.  Never compromise the quality of your vision for the video.  You're paying a good amount of money to create a video that should last for over a year.  If your animator isn't doing it right, chances are that you're not explaining yourself correctly.

 

2. Give the animator some creative freedom: your animator is a successful professional for a reason.  Give him the right direction (which is what your storyboard is for), but also give him the creative freedom to take your vision and make it beautiful.  Challenge your animator to create an amazing video and I'll bet you'll be surprised with what he can come up with.

Lesson 5: be careful with feedback from your team

Always ask your team for feedback.  It's important to get an outside perspective so that you can get every aspect of your pitch correct.

However, there is a dark side to feedback if you actually listen and execute all of the feedback given to you.

 

How to know which feedback to execute:

  1. Elements of the video that are confusing or that your team doesn't understand
  2. Elements of the video that are inconsistent with the company brand

 How to know which feedback to ignore:

  1.  Subjective or preferential feedback such as colors
  2. Ideas to add to the video: add a new script element or animation element
    • If it's truly important, it should have been added during the script-writing or storyboarding process

---

Now you know absolutely everything that I know about creating explainer videos.  You're welcome  :)