Entertain or Die!

Great Video on no Budget: It’s all in the Brains

By Tips and Tricks, Video Marketing, For Pros 2 Comments

Next time you get the question “how can we possibly do anything good with no budget?” pull out this video. This is a well-shot video, don’t get me wrong.  But it involves three characters, inexpensive production on what looks like a found warehouse set, and cheap effects– on purpose. For all we can know from looking at it, it was shot on an iPhone.  What makes it a great, effective, and very funny video is the human brainpower that went into thinking about it ahead of time. Great writing, a clear story and a great performance from the lead character.  Awesome….

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Whose Fault is it if the Talent Looks Bad? Yours.

By Video Marketing, For Pros 3 Comments

Want to know a secret that professional directors know and don’t often share?  Of course you do.  Here it is: 85% of the director’s job is casting.  If you get the right person in front of the camera, your film will be great.  But get stuck with the wrong talent, and you are in deep trouble. (For those of you with math OCD issues: another 10%  is helping talent to do their job, and the last 5% is staying out of the way.) Having the wrong talent on screen is a lose-lose proposition for everyone.  Your video will suck, and…

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The Secret to Compelling Video: Add Information

By Tips and Tricks, For Pros 2 Comments

I talk a lot about how keeping your shots short makes your video more intriguing. This video, from Walk Off the Earth is the exception that proves the rule.  We can learn a lot by looking at why it works. Most film consists of short shots because we process visual information fast– microseconds fast.  Once we’ve processed all the visual information in front of us, we’re hungry for more.  That’s why your eyes (unless you’re staring at a screen) flit from one thing to another all the time: the rearview mirror, the wife, the road ahead, the speedometer, the road…

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How to Make a Boring Interview Interesting

By Tips and Tricks, Video Marketing, For Pros, Your Questions Answered 2 Comments

I am interested in shooting promotion videos for authors. My problem is how to get them to think about bites of their books in interesting ways. I find they are often well…a little boring even when their books may not be. Do you have any suggestions for leading questions that diplomatically get them to start thinking about their material in an interesting way? Jenn I’ve been interviewed by great hosts and been shocked to discover afterward that 10 (or 20 or 30) minutes had gone by– and I’ve sat through interviews where 3 minutes was a painful is-this-over-yet eternity.  A couple of times I was…

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Ten Things They Should Teach You About Video in High School but Probably Don’t.

By Tips and Tricks, For Pros 4 Comments

I got back yesterday from the Student Television Network conference in Dallas.  Two thousand teenagers (and their teachers) immersing themselves in four days of video production, workshops and speeches.  Great group, great energy.  And some really great videos. Yeah, it got a little loud, but what do you expect? This is for those of you who weren’t there: Ten Things They Should Teach You About Video in High School but Probably Don’t 1. Video is a Language, and most of us are illiterate. Shots have meaning.  Which is why, for example, you get tense in a horror movie just before…

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The Truth About Viral Videos: You Can’t Shine Sh*&

By Video Marketing, For Pros 2 Comments

LA Times reporters bought 62,000 “views” for this video for about $100.  It’s 1:47 of paint drying.   Two weeks ago, LA City Attorney Carmen Trutanich was caught buying at least 650,000 views on YouTube for his upcoming campaign for District Attorney.  How many views did he actually get for his videos?  Only about 725,000. The Trutanich Campaign did it, apparently, for bragging rights– “Look!  725,000 people want Carmen to be the DA!”  That this was more views than the presidential videos were getting never occurred to them. Sure, there could be 725,000 people anxiously waiting by their computers in February for…

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Bruce Springsteen on Creativity

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Bruce Springsteen keynoted SXSW last week. Billed as a conversation about Music, it’s really a conversation about Creativity.  One man’s journey– funny, exciting, profane, smart and inspiring. Brilliant. Video is a craft, of course, just like guitar playing.  But just like guitar playing, the key is finding your art.  Bruce Springsteen can help you find yours. Listen. Check out these posts for more: Get Serious to Attract Actors How do you attract actors? Make sure your project is a serious project. 5 tips for getting serious…. How to make a How-To Video, Part II: The Journey In Part I of…

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Audience Focused Video

By Tips and Tricks, Video Marketing, For Pros One Comment

Hey Steve, I’m a brand new Realtor in a small coastal town in Florida. Understanding that more and more people are viewing video as opposed to reading a bunch of stuff on line, and with a very limited budget, I bought a Kodak Playtouch camcorder to make videos that are entertaining (if not somewhat funny) to gain interest in my town and my inventory. But from there I’m completely lost– Do you have a road map of what to do next? –Herb Good job realizing (a) that people like getting their information on video and (b) that if it isn’t…

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How to Shoot Kids and Animals

By Tips and Tricks, For Pros 3 Comments

“Never work with kids or animals” goes the old showbiz saying.  And it makes sense.  It’s nearly impossible to get exactly what you want—and when you do, the cute kid or animal will get all the credit for being adorable.  You’ll get none for capturing it. Yet we do it, because people love watching them. Keyboard cats and babies singing Beyonce kill on video. The question is, how do you get video of them that isn’t awful? Follow these tips and you’ve just increased the odds (All these rules work for both kids AND animals, btw.) Here’s how to shoot…

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Your new best friend, Specificity

By Tips and Tricks, For Pros 3 Comments

Let me introduce you to specificity, your new best friend. You guys want to be buddies because being more specific about what you’re shooting automatically improves almost any video. Instead of  the random tourist shots of“Our Vacation,” shoot the video “Samantha’s first time out of the country”—which focuses specifically on what it’s like for 15 year-old Samantha to visit France for the first time—dealing with a new language, different money and jet lag. Instead of “Our Company” how about a video about “How we deliver shoes to your door” or “Roz, the Customer Service Genius”? If you’re shooting “a birthday…

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