Q&A with AIGA DC, following its FB AMA panel discussion
Q: How do you get started? Do you need to think about strategy first? What about operations and logistics? Project management? Who “owns” this? -- Is it split between programming and social media chairs?
Objective, Goals, and Strategy First
First, the event lead(s) should create an objective and goals for the panel discussion. These lay out what the panel discussion is about, who it is serving, and why it matters to your community. This information will lead you to your panelists by providing guidelines for your search. The objective will also be the foundation to structure the discussion questions and script for the event. Share it with your colleagues and team members so that everyone is aligned with what you want to accomplish.
- Secure the gear: Camera, lights, and mic
- Decide between pre-recorded vs live
- Assign a person responsible for:
- Graphics creation
- Time keeping (during shoot)
- Assign the event lead to flesh out the script, including:
- Topics to avoid on camera
Q: How do you find the right people? (Moderator and panelists)?
Once the objective and goals are solidified, use yours and your colleagues’ networks to connect with potential moderators and panelists. In considering who they are, make sure you think they believe in your objective, goals, and what this event can do for the community.
A moderator in face value can be perceived as just the question-asker; however, they play a key role in intertwining the answers, panelists, and the entire discussion story. The moderator should be a good listener, possess interpersonal skills and knowledge of the panelists, and be well informed to provide input about the subject.
The panelists are the most important component of the discussion. Individually, a panelist should be comfortable and willing to share and answer questions. Having experience on the topic is important for the answers to be relatable. As a group, which individuals do you believe complement the other? Panelists should meet and get to know each other in advance, so everyone knows what each individual brings to the discussion. Think big picture.
Number of Panelists: 2-3 is a comfortable number for an hour-long discussion.
Q: What were some unexpected insights and takeaways? What are things I should plan for before, during and after the shooting?
- Tour the potential space to film. Visualize the layout but listen to how loud the space can be during filming.
- Social media promotion
- Craft social media copy
- Create a cohesive set of graphics for sharing
- Plan to begin outreach/marketing two weeks in advance
- Cross-post with partners or other chapters, and set up these connections (Facebook back-end) ahead of time
If pre-recorded, give yourself at least two weeks to watch and write text, create lower thirds, and make needed transitions.
Q: How do I pick a good location?
Choose somewhere aesthetically hip and modern to captivate the audience. Try to avoid a place without a splash of color or lack of interesting floor/background arrangements.
Depending on how the audio is recorded, a clip-on microphone can be beneficial but requires some on-site or post-production work. For example, the space may have AC/humming or clicks/dings may be picked up in the background. This may seem like white noise to a normal person, but the sounds are obvious in video’s audio. A space with as little hum and room noise is best.
Q: What sorts of tools/equipment do I need to do this?
- A camera that produces high quality video
- Studio lights
- An iPad (to communicate with the moderator)
Note: Use a DSLR for quality video plus an attached boom mic so audio feeds into the video.
Q: How do I stream it if I pre-record the interview?
We recommend using OBS. It is an open source video streaming and recording program.
How to connect OBS to Facebook Live:
- How to connect DSLR camera to OBS for Live streaming
Q: How do you promote the Facebook Live before/after?
You should create a compatible Facebook graphic (that matches correct aspect ratio sizes) that will be used to advertise the live event. For copy, include descriptions of the panelists and subject, plus the time, and a link to attend.
Copywriting should be similar to what’s above, but instead of listing the time, say the video can be rewatched at any point and is available on Facebook. Encourage sharing with anyone who missed the event or might be interested. Always include a link to direct potential viewers.
Q: How do you moderate the comments/engage with the commenters?
Engage with the audience and open the comment feed for social interaction. Listen to any points made during the panel discussion and chime in with additional thoughts or questions for the viewers. Respond to all viewers and like any virtual comments. Be available for questions or refer to someone who may know the answer. Instead of responding and contributing to the conversation in the comments thread from an official AIGA account, we recommend posting from personal Facebook accounts to create an experience that feels authentic.
Q: What are some interviewing best practices?
Make sure everyone feels included. Balance between questions for a specific individual and questions broad enough for everyone to answer. Try to avoid awkward silence and recenter the discussion. Don’t act too serious! The viewers seek the best from of the panelists and want you to show your true colors. It’s okay to be a bit silly with asking or transitioning between questions.
Q: Is there anything else I should know?
I believe I have nothing else to add. I’m happy to jump on a call to answers questions. --Raksa Yin (DC Chapter EMERGE Chair + National EMERGE Branding Committee)