Waiting for a big reveal to bring in final approvers could be the kiss of death for your video project.

Experience has taught us that more often than not, the project manager on a video production is not the person with the power to grant final approval. That means that the final decision maker or group of final approvers who can sign off of the project need to be included by the project manager – but when? And how?

Everyone wants to win points with the boss and hit a homerun on their video production project, but the fastest way to a positive outcome is to fall into the number one client pitfall: waiting to involve stakeholders at the final, big reveal. This mistake is the most common cause of timeline delays and the number one culprit for additional costs – racking up fees in additional revisions, and production.

The Temptation: Win points with your higher-ups by staging a “grand reveal” of a finished video – and not involving final approvers during production so as not to bother them with rough cuts or frustrate the creative process.

The Truth: The longer you wait to show your boss, the farther you have to fall.

A Better Way to Butter-Up Your Boss

Step 1: Before video production begins, write down a list of everyone who has approval power

Over the years, we’ve seen extremely talented, well-meaning product managers commit all kinds of blunders when it comes to handling their stakeholders and “approvers.” As your production team, it’s our job to support you and hopefully create a win-win situation that leaves us looking good, you looking good, and a good-looking video to boot. The best way to set up that win-win is to get everyone on the same page before our cameras start rolling, by identifying who has the power to sign-off on the project and get them in the room for the very first strategic planning meeting to determine why you need a video and what you hope to achieve.

Step 2: Show FIRSTs – not just the FINAL

Our clients are typically inclined to show their bosses the final copy of the video – which is, theoretically, the version that will be signed off on. The intention is to not bother the boss needlessly, but waiting for the final copy is a rather risky business. Why? Because if that sign-off doesn’t go down the way you planned, there is no more wiggle room in the timeline or the budget to make the changes your boss may request.

Rather than waiting until the final version, we suggest showing your approvers the early drafts – the AV scripts, the storyboards, etc. (something very easy to change and manipulate) – rather than the final, edited footage. This may take a little more time to wait for their approval, but the video will likely only go through the allotted two rounds of revisions and will be completed within a realistic timeframe.

This is a workflow we actually use here at Guy Bauer. Every single project goes to Guy for approval during the first drafts so that he can ensure the team is on the right track and once they’re on the right path, he gives them autonomy because it’s harder for them to jump off target.

Step 3: Avoid mid-stream Approver Add-Ons

When possible (and sometimes it’s not), try to avoid bringing in new voices, opinions, and approvers mid-way through the project. It can be helpful to have an outside perspective, but not these surprise additions have the potential to derail a project’s budget and timeline.