Nov 15, 2018
Church media directors know a Christmas production or Easter
pageant can easily flare up into a nightmare. Here’s a checklist
from Phil Cooke https://philcooke.comto help you
produce a professional program that warms people’s hearts – without
losing your sanity.
Subscribe to My Podcast for more good advice for leaders
Prefer video? Watch the YouTube edition
Do you have a message or story the world needs to hear? As a
Hollywood producer and media consultant, I offer advice for leaders
and creatives each week on filmmaking, digital media, publishing,
strategy, communication, leadership, culture and faith – to help
you get from where you are to where you want to be in your
More about this episode: Church Media Checklist for
Holiday Programs (or how to avoid the nightmare before
- Start preparation early. Experienced media or
communications professionals know you can’t start too early on a
program or theatrical production. Whether it’s live, multi-cam or
video-taped, get your hands on a script or musical score as soon as
possible. Waiting till the last minute is recipe for your own
“nightmare before Christmas.”
- Bring your crew into the planning process.
Your media team and volunteers may have valuable ideas that can
help the production. Wise directors will listen – and remember they
don’t have to use all the ideas that come in.
- Understand lighting differences. Make sure you
understand the difference between stage lighting and television
lighting – and then keep in mind you don’t have to ruin one in
favor of another. Find a happy medium that works well for a live
audience as well as for video (which can extend the reach of your
- Create a shot list.Winging it is not a good
thing! Always have a plan. If you have a shot list, you can go off
it in an inspired moment – and then come back to it.
- Stop screaming and yelling. If you’re
directing a Christmas or Easter presentation and you lose control,
you instantly lose respect with your team and create frustration.
Have a greater vision and inspire your crew! Make them want to do
- Use cuts and dissolves correctly and know the
difference between them.They are to an editor what periods
and commas are to a writer. If you want something to go quickly,
then cut! If you want to slow a moment, use a dissolve. These are
not random editing decisions; there should be a purpose behind your
- Shoot a rehearsal.Film a rehearsal so you can
make sure you’re capturing what you envisioned. It’s worth the
extra money and time to bring in a paid staff or your volunteers to
shoot a rehearsal.
- Have a debriefing.Especially when you have
multiple performances, shoot and debrief after each one. Lock your
camera crew down before they leave for the evening and talk about
what went wrong, what went right – and what could be done better.
It’s a chance to be very inspirational with your team.
- Toss out normal service camera rules. A
pageant is completely different than a Sunday service, so your
cameras should be set up accordingly. Be flexible and don’t be
afraid to move the cameras around according to the script or music
plan. Choose the best way to capture the program.
For any pageant or production, always think in terms of starting
the planning process early. You can also apply these same
strategies to shooting a filming a concert or a worship album. Any
kind of special event will benefit if you think through this
checklist in the early stages. – Phil Cooke
New episodes are uploaded every other Tuesday. Make sure to
Subscribe and hit the Notification bell to be notified when they go
Other Great Resources:
Get my “Unique: The Ultimate Planner for Creative Professionals”
(As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This
helps support my channel and allows us to continue making videos
like this. Thank you for the support!)
Sign up for my blog and get a free eBook on creativity at
Make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you haven’t
already at https://www.youtube.com/c/philcookeofficial?sub_confirmation=1
Find out about Cooke Media Group here: https://www.cookemediagroup.com