Michael Bay – Lessons Learned

I face potential problems like the one experienced by Michael Bay constantly both doing brand-centric corporate video as a sideline gig, and as a public affairs talk show as a full time job.

So as a media consultant and video producer, I am CONSTANTLY pitched on the idea of having the CEO or the big brain of the organization “carry the football” as I like to call it during presentations or in video productions. Bad idea.

It is totally unfair.

Your CEO, with rare exceptions, is ill-prepared to be judged as a television performer or professional anchor – and understand THIS: When they are doing the presentation or appearing as the host/emcee/content driver in a video, that is exaclty how they are judged. There is NO credit given for “who” they are. Content and message are all SUBJUGATED to presentation, look, delivery and all the other metrics that have NOTHING to do with the expert’s expertise.

So one of the answers ALWAYS is to have a professional facilitator involved to walk the brain through the process – because after all – the goal is for the brain to “share his/her gold” as I like to call it. That is ONLY achieved when they are speaking from the heart, in their area of expertise, about the passion and mission. This results in a little thing I like to call authenticity.

That might mean using an omniscient VO in the video to set up compelling sound obtained from the CEO/Expert/Brain. It might mean that that person is a “guest” on something that looks like a talk show where the facilitator helps the CEO/Expert/Brain shine. In a live situation, it means a good emcee who isn’t the focus – but BRINGS focus to the experts.

Bay’s presentation started out correctly – there is a facilitator there to help – but I can also tell Bay wasn’t concerned AT ALL with telling his story – he was concerned about hitting talking points – you can hear them. Trying to flow, while hitting points or nailing a “roll cue” at the end of a sentence is tough – and the brain/expert should be skillfully LEAD into all of them!

If Bay went into this feeling the weight of the presentation on HIM – his people let him down. The weight for the presentation should be on the facilitator. For the CEO/Expert/Brain – it should be a cakewalk where they get a chance to shine and really flow about mission, passion and expertise.

The emcee in this event did a good job trying to save it and help Bay just talk it out – to share from his area of passion – and move forward. But by that time of course, Bay’s confidence was shattered and he was over-and-out.

The PR and video production industry keeps failing and failing and failing and failing to understand this – which is why all of us are constantly subjected to a stream of unpolished, disjointed, stilted and generally painful corporate videos and presentations.

Do NOT ask your experts to carry the football. DO ask them to speak from the heart. DO lead them with questions that elicit that. DO capture that gold on tape. DO have a capable facilitator that can take them there in live events.

There’s 5 minutes of free consulting for you that will turn your poor events/videos/presentations into something worthwhile.