Oscar Inspirations: Top Performers on Screen

This three-part series will pull inspiration from the 2016 Academy Award nominated films, hopefully pushing you to explore new strategies in your film projects. Don’t worry too much about the execution of these ideas; the Trove team is ready and willing to produce the Best Picture you’re dreaming about!

As the Academy Award ceremony draws closer, a spotlight is growing hotter and hotter on one nominee in particular: Best Actor nominee Leonardo DiCaprio, for The Revenant. His performance in Alejandro Inarritu’s gritty survivalist film is being talked about as the role which will finally win him an Oscar. Four prior nominations (for What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Aviator, Blood Diamond, and The Wolf of Wall Street) and an unspoken pursuit of this high honor for decades have failed to earn him a trophy, but many believe that his luck will change this year.

With four nominations, it’s clear that DiCaprio is highly talented, but also dedicated to the work; not many of us would do deeply consuming work for over twenty years if it didn’t make us feel something! It’s highly likely that he sees the opportunity to participate in the process and tell stories as its own reward (an idea we can get behind!). If that’s the case, perhaps the next video project you’re thinking about could take the same approach? That is to say, who’s your long-serving or consistently high-performing team member, and could they take a star turn in your film’s next project to highlight that hard work?

Business consultant and humor enthusiast Michael Kerr is a tremendous proponent of letting high performing employees take a star turn in organizational videos, for a number of reasons. He writes in The Humor Advantage,

It’s difficult to know where the line is when it comes to branding efforts: Are companies doing it to attract and keep great employees or loyal customers? In reality, there isn’t really a line. The Art of the Sales video series conveys a branding message to IBM employees and their customers. […] the Southwest Airline’s rapping flight attendant who famously raps the safety message helps forge an image that appeals to both customers and recruits.

Precious few individuals do good work with the express goal of being recognized; that doesn’t mean that significant work shouldn’t be acknowledged or even rewarded. When you elevate people who appreciate their own work, and will do it well for its own sake, a few wonderful things happen. First, it allows them to elevate the quality of the work they’ll do by attracting good collaborators (think about DiCaprio’s ability to reteam with collaborators like Martin Scorsese or Kate Winslet). Secondly, and as importantly, it allows that person to draw in customers (viewers, in this case) that make these endeavors successful. Tales of the extreme lengths to which DiCaprio went to embody his role are driving people to the theater in droves who on your team, in your organization, or at your event similarly toils to get the job done?

As you ponder, “Who is my award-winning talent and how can I use them on film?”,  here are some questions to consider:

  • What makes them so effective? Some criteria you could use to select employees for a starring role: someone who’s held a long tenure with the organization, someone who has made a significant impact within a short time, or a team that worked together to execute an impactful or innovative initiative.

  • With whom else do they interact? Who will their supporting actors be? Consider talking to attendees, participants, or customers impacted by their contribution; coworkers who have positive things to say about the film’s stars; or even friends or family members who can speak to how their work fits into their lives.

  • How is the organization better for their involvement? Whether your film is geared toward employees or customers, it is important to provide context for the viewer on why their work matters to the overall goals of the organization. Those who work alongside the individuals spotlighted will have an idea of what success looks like (and how their leadership feels about it); and other stakeholders will have a better idea of the organization’s values, contributing to trust and likeability.

Once you have those questions answered, and you’ve made a deal with your feature’s stars, get ready to help them make their screen debut. Again, don’t worry too much about the technical bits that’s what the team at Trove is here for!