Episode 47 – The thriller, filler, spiller formula for creating binge worthy video!

Episode 47 – The thriller, filler, spiller formula for creating binge worthy video!

About Holly

Holly empowers modern online entrepreneurs to go from confused to confident and from fearful to fearless on both sides of the camera.

She teaches them the skills they need to create not just videos, but Business Cinema™ Video with a plan, a purpose, a strategy and a system. Not just creating video for the sake of creating video, but creating videos that actually move your business forward.

Holly started her career video production in 2008 as a Camera Operator, Producer, and Editor working with big industry names including the Sundance Channel, Sony Music, Nick.com, HBO, Bono, Big Time Rush, Forest Whitaker and many others.

Her skills and experience run the full gamut from Producing and Directing to Shooting and Editing, and she has translated those skills into a range of educational courses and services to support entrepreneurs in their quest for video stardom.

Holly’s One Hot Thing…

  • The thriller, filler, spiller formula for creating binge worthy video!

Connect with Holly


If you want to emulate the video pros, you really have to work on those foundational things that professional productions use to create productions. When you try to record videos without a plan, you end up spending a lot of time umming and ahhing, and then at the end of it, you have a pile of footage that you have to sift through because you have no idea where the good stuff is.

Then once it’s done and put together, you may not even know why you put it together in the first place, who it’s for, what you’re going to do with it or how it actually helps move the needle in your business! The four pillars of pre-production Theses are the foundational elements of your videos… reverse engineering your content to really figure out why you’re actually making it and how it’s going to help move your business forward

The pillars of pre-production are:

• Why?
• Who?
• What?
• How?

Why are you actually making this video? What’s the purpose of it? How does it fit into your bigger vision or other goals that you’ve set for your business?

Then who is it for? Because if you don’t know who you’re making your video for, you’re never going to be able to speak to your audience or create the kind of content that they actually want to see or need to see.

Then what? Now that know why and who, understanding what they actually need and creating your content around those pillars.

Last but not least, how? Because once you’ve understood the first three pillars, you need to know how you’re actually going to put it all together. What equipment do you have? How much time do you have? What are your resources? Do you have a team? What’s your budget, both financially and then with time as well?

I usually revisit my four pillars every couple of months, just making sure I’m still on track.

The scripting debate

When you’re getting into the individual content, you definitely want to have a script for sure, or a loose outline. I say, you definitely need to know what you’re going to say during the video, and scripting is going to be different for different people.

You have to figure out what works best for you, whether that’s bullet points or a couple of different paragraphs that you use to keep you on track. Nobody wants to listen to a rambling video with no point and no value.

Think about the kinds of things that need to be included in the video ahead of time so that you have notes set aside, whatever that means, whether it’s full scripts, the bullet points or a teleprompter.

This forward planning will save you a ton of time when it comes to the post production process – editing your video and pulling all the footage together –because you’re not left with a lot of stuff that ends up on the cutting room floor. Instead, you’ve been really succinct, you knew exactly what you wanted to say so you delivered the content and the way that you wanted to deliver.

I batch my pre production with all my pre production steps. I’ll brainstorm a bunch of different video ideas and flesh out the scripts and then I’ll think about whether or not I want to include content upgrades to those scripts… basically meaning if I want to include an additional freebie that goes along with that video, like a downloadable or a worksheet or an additional bonus video. This is the kind of thing that needs to be prepared ahead of time so that I can mention it in the video. Then create it and have a link to it and all of those things, because that goes into the whole process.

The thriller, filler, spiller formula

There’s a bunch of different kinds of content… ‘how-to’ videos, case study videos or a behind the scenes videos. Depending on what kind of content you’re creating, I use a formula called, thriller, filler, spiller.

The thrill

Immediately, at the very beginning of the video, don’t waste people’s time. Thrill them immediately!

Say something captivating, something that’s going to create intrigue or capture their attention. People don’t know you, so if you aren’t saying something interesting at the very start of your video that lines up with the title, the description and your thumbnail, then you’ve lost them already.

So, at the very beginning of your video you should have your ‘promise’.

For example, if I’m creating a video on ‘how to write a script for your video’, maybe the first thing I’m going to say is:

“In this video, we’re talking about how to write the perfect script for your video, so stay tuned so that you can get all of the juicy details, and don’t worry about grabbing a pen and paper, because I have a free downloadable for you. If you stay tuned all the way to the end, I will share that with you!”

You’re thrilling them, and then you’re also adding in a call to action or enticing them with something that’s going to get them to continue watching all the way through to the end. That’s the thriller.

The Filler

The filler is delivering on the promise, adding the value to the video. You’re pulling them in on the information, “How do you deliver the perfect script? Well, it’s thriller, filler, spiller, etc, etc”

At this point, maybe throw in another call to action. For example: “How do you write your scripts? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.”

The Spiller

At the conclusion we have the spiller. Now that you’ve built up a sense of reciprocity with the value that you’ve delivered, where is your viewer spilling to?

You can use a number of different calls to action, like, “If you like this video, be sure to like it, subscribe to my channel, and remember at the beginning of the video when I mentioned that I had a free downloadable for you? You can go ahead and grab that if you go on over to hollygstudios.com!

An example of The Four Pillars in action

I’ll just use me as an example.

Why am I actually making video in general and how does it fit into the bigger picture of my business? Let’s say, what are my goals for 2019?

Actually, one of my goals for this quarter is actually to be on a certain number of podcasts or be a part of a certain number of interviews. Those are my bigger-vision goals, so now how does video kind of fit into that and how can I pull that all together?

I don’t want to be working against myself or working on things that aren’t actually going to move the other things in my business forward that I need, so it’s about understanding what that why is.

Then on another level, why is it actually important for me to make video? Because at the end of the day sometimes it’s not easy to be like, “I’m going to be on video today and I’m coming with 100% of my energy” when you’ve got a million other things going on.

Understanding why it’s actually important for you and how it fits into your business as a whole is going to help you stay focused when things are just getting a little tough. Video’s a long term strategy, so when you’re not seeing those views and results right away, you’re going to want to go back to why this was important to begin with, and know that this is a long term strategy and that you need to stick with it.

For the who…who’s your audience? Well, for me, I have a couple of different levels of people.

I have my rising stars. These are people who understand why they need to use video or they know video’s important, but they’re not necessarily using video for one reason or another… whether it’s fear of the camera or just confusion about how to actually get started or what to do.

Then I have my leading ladies, who’re already making video, but it’s not necessarily on par with the rest of their brand, or their strategy is not necessarily where it needs to be. Some of these components that we’ve already talked about are not where they need to be, and so they need some help and assistance with that.

I talk to two different kinds of audiences there. They both need different things, so I want to take that into consideration when I’m making video for one audience versus the other audience. A ‘get started’ video is not necessarily going to be super helpful for a leading lady, and then maybe content I create for a leading lady might be a little over the head of somebody who hasn’t even gotten started yet.

Just knowing that I have two different types of audiences and creating content specifically for each is helpful.

For the what, it’s about going back to really understanding the nuances of those different audiences’ needs and creating content based on what they want. What are the questions they are asking? What’s keeping them up at night? What are their concerns?

Not just big forefront concerns, but what’s going on with their mindset and what are some things that are blocking people or stumbling blocks that are really going to prevent them from getting started. Digging in and knowing those different audiences in and out so I can create content that really is going to resonate with them.

Then the how. Assessing, what’s my equipment? What equipment do I have? Do I need extra lights? Do I have a microphone that is functioning and works well? How much time do I have?

Let me look at my calendar. I have a 14-month-old baby. When is he not going to be in the house so that I can record video. What days? Let’s get real about the schedule here and realistically take a look at my time and how much time and energy I have to devote to batching, recording them and editing videos. Or what’s my budget for outsourcing some of these things and moving them, delegating them, getting them off my plate and moving them over to somebody else to handle?

Experimenting with different content types

In terms of different content types, I think you should mix things up… but I think when you’re getting started, you need to create binge-worthy experiences for people.

First you need to have a bunch of stuff for people to watch, so get some stuff up on your channel. Pre-record a bunch of videos if you’re just starting and start with five videos, and if they’re connected, even better… like a series.

If you can, think of a big topic and then how you can break that down into individual videos. That way, you get the person not only watching that first video. Also, for SEO purposes, is this video something that’s going to attract people?

I might create a video like, “This is how you get started with your video. I’m going to be breaking down the four different elements that you need before you even pick up your camera. In this video we’re covering the first one and then in next week’s video or another video, we’re covering the second one.”

Then now imagine in the third one I say, “If you missed video one and two, you’re going to want to go back and check that out.” You can link to it in the cards, link to it in the description, and then that way also share a playlist so then people are on your playlist and watching multiple videos… you’re creating that binge-worthy experience.

And then before you know it, you’re like, “Oh, I totally want to subscribe to this channel and see what else they’re doing.” I think once you’re a little bit more established, you can get more free flowing and creative with your content. Once you have that pillar, that SEO-establishing content where you’re attracting people based on search, then you can speak with them in a different way.

This is going to be based on your business and what’s comfortable for you because I don’t particularly do a lot of vlog style videos, but if that’s something you’re excited about and something that you think your audience could potentially be excited about or it could be beneficial for them to see you in that light, then mixing that kind of content in, I think is fine. Use themes or ‘buckets’.

These are actually great for playlists. Certain themes in my business are, getting started, video planning, video editing, video equipment. These are big, big, big themes, big buckets that I can create dozens and dozens and dozens of videos about, and go a million different ways, like the pros of this, the cons of that the 10 tips for this, three getting started pieces of advice for this, the amazing tools that I use for this.

They can go in a million different directions, but having those bigger themes that you can create, it’s going to really help you when you come to the planning days, when you’re creating all your content. Like, okay, what are my big themes, my buckets, my playlist? And creating content around those.

Then you can do whole theme months, like, “Hey, January is all about video planning, because I know at the beginning of the year, everybody’s getting started and really wants to kick off the year with a bang, so I’m sharing all my secrets, just don’t tell anybody, about how to plan your videos for months at a time.”

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