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Block Method: A Structured Approach to On-Camera Delivery

This is how you should shoot video.

Last year we edited over 1,000 financial advisor videos. In the process, we noticed a great deal of variability in how they were filmed. Some advisors memorized a script, while others used a teleprompter. Some tried for one continuous take, while others paused after each segment. As you can imagine, some of these techniques worked better than others.

Today I’d like to share with you the single most effective way to shoot video. We’ve seen it all, we’ve tried it all, and we are convinced this is how you should shoot video. It’s easier, quicker and leads to a better final product.

We refer to this as the “block method” because it involves breaking up your script into “blocks” containing 3-4 sentences each. By memorizing and presenting one “block” at a time, you can stick to a script without looking like you're reading a teleprompter. This allows for a more natural delivery, while keeping your compliance department happy.

The Block Method:

  1. Create your script and get it approved. Sure, we’d love for financial advisors to shoot videos without a script, but from our experience, most firms require it. You’ll also avoid the hassle of having to reshoot your video if it’s not approved post-edit.
  2. Divide your script into “blocks.” Ideally, each block will contain 3-4 sentences to make it easy to remember and deliver, but you be the judge of your own abilities. If you can remember a bit more, that’s fine too.
  3. Memorize and present one block at a time. Take a long look at your notes, repeat the script a few times in your mind, then set aside your notes and focus on the camera. Deliver each block with confidence and energy.
  4. Keep the camera rolling. This enables you to send your editing team one continuous recording, rather than a bunch of little segments.

Tips on Recording and Delivery:

  • Present more than one sentence at a time. If you stop after each sentence your final edited video will be choppy, and your editing team will start screening your phone calls.
  • Stay focused on the camera. Finish each block and hold your facial expression until you count to three. Looking away too quickly can ruin an otherwise high-quality shot.
  • Take short breaks between blocks to regroup. This can help you avoid stumbling over your words and maintain a natural delivery.
  • Position your script for easy access. Even though you’re taking breaks in between blocks, you don’t want to move around all that much.
  • Deviate from the script if you can make a stronger point. Sometimes an idea comes as you’re recording. Encourage that inner voice and give yourself permission to adapt.

Our "block method" is a simple and effective way for financial advisors to present on camera. By breaking up your video script into blocks or sections, you can present with a more natural delivery, stay organized and most importantly record in less time. Try using the "block method" for your next video and see the benefits for yourself.

Kevin Nichols is a partner with The Oechsli Institute, a firm that specializes in research and training for the financial services industry. @KevinANichols

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