Monica Cheru-Mpambawashe : Lifestyle Editor
Everyone is doing it, so why not you? As the video trend catches fire, Zimbabweans will be racing to record virtual invites for everything from a church gathering to the family dinner. Granted not all of us can afford professional film crews so we will adopt the motto: Have mobile phone, will record invitation. But before you scream, “Lights camera and action!” stop and reflect that not all videos are created equal.From an assessment of some of the material that has been in circulation, here is a guide to becoming the talk, not the joke of the week:
1. Keep it simple
The point is to invite people to the event not to tell your life story or parade all your earthly chattels. Do not flash your smartgear or iphone 6, it makes you look shallow. No one has the whole day to listen to your chatter so stick to the point.
Just as the written invitation was all about information, you still need to make it clear what, when, where and who is going down.
Also include dress code and themes if applicable. This is the time to tell people to bring their own drinks or the cover charge and whether kids are allowed. Keep is sassy and short.
2. Wardrobe and make up
Take time to put your appearance together. Ladies are often tempted to empty their make-up kits.
Unless your shoot is happening with professionals who have powerful lighting that bleaches all colour, go easy with the paint. Your whole grooming should be in sync with the tone of the video and the event. Your guests will take their dressing cue from your own so do not wear jeans for the invite if you are putting together a black tie event.
3. Elocution, darlings
I am not suggesting that everyone tries to adopt a pseudo plummy upper crust BBC accent or make an impersonation of an American ghetto hoodlum, far from it. Fake accents jar on the nerves and sound worse than your own voice ever would any given day. Speak in your natural voice and make it clear.
But do find out the proper pronunciation of words before you get in front of the camera. I have seen a video invitation where a gentleman repeats a word thrice and gets it wrong all times. And do not stand there stiffly like some shop floor dummy that has somehow found itself coming to life. Smile, relax and speak as though you were talking to your potential guests directly.
4. Location, location, location
Or rather the setting in this case. Do not try to be showy. Do stick to your natural habitat. Borrowing clothes and a setting makes you come out as a phony wannabe. It really does show if you are sitting in the show room of a furniture shop, people.
So if your chairs are ratty looking, rather make do with a clean wall of your house or office instead of trying to pretend that your live in the fabulous lane.
5. Graphics need more time
It may seem logical to include your theme colours in the video and animate a few clips to make things look lively. But this is a job best left to experts who can recognise that thin line between great and too much. A lurid and stark purple halo over the head of the bride-to-be somehow does not induce the same feelings of nostalgia as a misty faint violet background for the happy couple.
6. Make it unique
You saw that invitation on WhatsApp or Facebook or wherever and you just loved the opening line. But chances are everyone else in your circle has seen it too. So do not repeat it. Make up your own script to suit your personal brand and style. If you have a signature phrase of gesture that is just so you, this is the time to use it. Think of Tuku’s cough. But do not fabricate one just for this video. As stated earlier, fake is loud.7. Get an honest opinion before you press send
This is really important. Show the video to someone who you can trust to tell you the truth. For our celebrities, avoid asking your usual crowd of hangers-on who always like all your posts and spend each day telling you how the sun shines out of your you know what.
Find one objective person, even possibly a professional image consultant who will make useful suggestions. Remember once you send it off, it is there for posterity. You surely do not want your grandkids to avoid school in 2046 because everyone will still be laughing at the video invitation you posted in 2016.