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INSIGHTS INTO PRODUCTION: Maker Projects share top tips for commissioning healthcare films


Thea Burrows, Managing Director / Creative Producer of Maker Projects spoke to AdHealth about harnessing the power of moving image for your healthcare clients:

As an increasing number of brands, businesses and agencies in the healthcare sector look for new ways to cut through with their content marketing, many are using the power of film to help their message hit home.

Some of the most successful campaigns have a short film – either branded or unbranded – at the heart of them. And as the movement away from the traditional pharmaceutical spot and its overtly scientific approach towards something more impactful and emotional, it’s not surprising that film, done well, fits the bill.

So, what’s the best way to approach a moving image project? Here, we introduce 5 key steps – a chronologic process to really help when commissioning video for your next campaign.


Unless you have the capabilities and capacity in-house you will need to look for a production partner.

Look for production companies that don’t just specialise in pharma content – it’s interesting from a creative point of view to see what we can bring from other sectors so that your next piece of content feels fresh. We are increasingly receiving briefs specifying that the film should not feel like “classic pharma fodder”.

Ask to see your production partner’s process including key dates across the job. This is where some experience of this sector is really useful. A partner that’s well versed in creating healthcare and pharma films will know to allow extra time and approval stages in the production process. This way, multiple client stakeholders can have their input and sign off from both a medical and creative point of view can be factored in.

Chemistry is vital. Production can be a rollercoaster ride – work with people you get on with so you can enjoy the ups and downs together.


Before you can send out your brief, it’s vital to establish and agree with all parties involved the objectives of the film. What are we trying to achieve? Who is the audience and what do we want them to feel, think or do after they’ve watched the film? Be careful; try not to achieve too many different things with one video.

Is video definitely the right approach for your message and what’s the right kind of video to be making? Think about the customer journey and where the audience might view this piece of content along that journey. Perhaps you’re trying to encourage patients to sign up to a clinical trial for example so use insights to establish what kind of film would work best depending on where they are on that journey.

Film is emotive and can really move people to action. It’s also a great way of simplifying complex processes and information and it can help audiences to empathise with a patient’s struggles.


Once all parties are agreed on what you’re trying to achieve you’re ready to brief it in. Always provide a written brief and if you don’t already have a production partner in mind for the job send it out to 3 or 4 companies. Share as much as you can about the project, the reasons for doing it and what you hope to achieve with it. No matter how big or small the project, always provide a brief.

Your creative team might have come up with a concept for the film. Your production partner can help you work out if that’s viable for the budget and should also be able to advise on concepts if you don’t have one. It’s really useful to provide visual references in your brief – examples of other projects and films you’ve seen that will help guide everyone towards the same outcome.


There are tricks you can use to maximise the return on your investment. Plan these in from the very beginning so that you don’t have to reverse engineer alternative versions at the 11th hour in the edit suite!

Every shoot is an opportunity – think about the different audiences you might want to connect with as part of the campaign. An additional scene, a different call-to-action, a slightly tweaked ending are great ways to create more versions, for example, one that works for HCPs, one targeted at patients, one for reps and a version that works without sound for exhibitions or social.


Consult your production partners about how to use their filmmakers’ toolkit; be cinematic, bold, use story, make a mini movie!

Being bold doesn’t mean you can’t comply with regulations. Take the viewer on a journey, so the audience invest in a character and are compelled to follow their story to the end. Use a metaphor or analogy – a creative concept to dramatize the message – to help hit home. And work with filmmakers who are passionate about the medium and will bring a certain level of craft and production values to make something memorable.

Maker, based in London and Manchester, specialise in beautifully crafted cinematic content. They deliver workshops bespoke to creative agencies specialising in healthcare and pharmaceutical to help them make better films that have more impact.