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Every profession has a list of complication jargon, acronyms and slang that only insiders seem to know the exact meaning of. Whether you’re working on a construction site, discussing a new marketing campaign or filming a new piece of branded content, you’re virtually guaranteed to come across some unknown language.
One of the most common forms of this happens at the doctor’s office. While very good at simplifying an often complicated diagnosis, doctors have a tendency of using big, technical words that scare the living heck out of us. At one point or another, you’ve probably heard your doctor mention an “itis” or something ridiculous that immediately made you question your long term health, when in reality it’s just another word for a common cold.
My personal favourite is borborygmus – which I’m sure we’ve all had at some point or another – isn’t nearly as serious or terrifying as it sounds. In fact, it’s the technical name for the sound of a rumbling tummy caused by gas. Pretty silly, right?
In the defense of doctors, most of these terms were developed hundreds and thousands of years ago and are sometimes derived from Latin words, and aren’t necessarily developed with the primary goal of confusing people.
The problem isn’t necessarily with the term itself, but more so with the assumption that every self-respecting person in the today’s society knows what you’re talking about. Regardless of how smart a person is, industry specific slang and jargon change far too frequently for any one person to memorize, which creates an inevitable language barrier in communication.
Filmmakers have a tendency to forget this, and often assume that every person they work with has the same level of film knowledge as they do, which is almost certainly never true. I’ve been in film for nearly six months now, and I can confidently say that I am nowhere close to knowing all of the terminology. While I’m not saying all filmmakers are unable of speaking in simple terms, I’m merely saying that their creative brains often get the better of them.
In an age where companies around the globe are opting for video content as part of their marketing efforts, the language barrier between themselves and experienced filmmakers is larger than ever.
Sure, the growth of the video industry has resulted in more independent photographers and videographers, but that doesn’t eliminate the language barrier altogether.
While the language barrier is an obstacle that can easily be overcome by simplifying language and using visual demonstrations, not all filmmakers see it that way. A great filmmaker will take the time to explain and educate their client on the possibilities of their idea, and help them make an informed decision. Not only does this lead to stronger execution, it can also lead to repeat business which is win-win for the filmmaker and for the industry. However, that isn’t always the case.
In fact, the attitude of filmmakers unwilling to spell it out for first time clients could be the reason many companies and community businesses are choosing to keep all of their production in-house. This mentality comes from the lack of a simple language value add, where filmmakers have been unable to spell out what they bring to the table and justify their cost. While the final production value might not be as good, small businesses find value in earning experience in the video world even if their first few pieces aren’t commercial grade.
Filmmakers may view this as silly, but it’s perfectly reasonable from an entrepreneurial standpoint. Depending on the business owner you’re dealing with, they may already understand the power of video and the benefits of using an experienced filmmaker or you may have to explain it to them.
Production value is the most difficult thing to sell because newer business owners don’t have the knowledge to determine what makes one video better than another, usually because no filmmaker has taken the time to break it down.

To learn more about video terms, check out Vimeo’s film glossary.
There will always be people on both sides of the coin, as some people are born with the “I can do it myself” mentality, which is perfectly acceptable. For the rest of the bunch, filmmakers have a responsibility to educate, simplify, and communicate their value to a production, whether it’s for a large scale brand or a local flower shop. Because if they don’t, they run the risk of increasing the language barrier to an irreversible state.
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Chris Stasiuk

Author Chris Stasiuk

Chris is commercial director and founder of SVG, a Toronto based video content agency.

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