How long will your corporate video be relevant for?

The question on the lips of a lot of marketing managers and directors is, if they invest in a video, how long will it 'last' before becoming irrelevant? This post will explain how long it should be before you re-invest in a video, if at all. 

The other day I was in a meeting with some potential clients. They were looking to increase their digital media presence both for themselves, and for their own clients. But they weren't sure how long a video would 'last' once purchased. 

Point-in-time vs longevity

Any consulting firm and business can change with increasing demand, competition, changing priorities and more. 

Therefore, it can be remiss to invest in a video, if you think that you will be presenting something completely different in 6-12 months time. 

But here's what you should be actually thinking about:

"Can I afford to whip up a video right now for tomorrow's launch, or should I be thinking 3-6 months ahead, and make a video for that?"

My advice is the latter. 

Being proactive is always the smartest play with online video content and here's why:

You're organised.

There's nothing worse than trying to create content 'in arrears', and video can be even more difficult.

The reality is that it takes time to create video content, so if you're behind the 8-ball, you may never get back in front of it. 

So when you're thinking about quality video content in advance, you are going to be way ahead of your competition already. 

This is especially pertinent for software products or any viable product that hasn't even been built yet. 

Put 'explainer video' in your pre-launch sprint, because having a proof-of-concept video ready to go upon release will be super potent for lead generation and sales. 

Clients are often concerned that if they make a video, then it's finished. And if anything in their product or process changes, the video won't be able to affect that.

9 out of 10 times, a simple change request can be filed, and we can punch-in the changes without a problem. This can lengthen the life cycle of the video, potentially infinitely. 

But there are video types that have a longer shelf-life, from inception and can be a reliable website/social media salesman.

Live action is a great video type that can last for a long time

Purely because the nature of live action video, it creates a sense of trust in the viewer. Once people see a real human being, certain fears (often subconscious) are quashed. 

Getting your CEO on camera and talking about how great your workplace is, is a video that will last for a long time.

The only reason this will become irrelevant is if your workplace becomes a terrible place to work!

Video case studies are timeless for longevity. They show the world that you're the real deal, deliver high quality work to satisfied clients. Success has no statute of limitations. 

But here is the bottom line, it doesn't mean that you just make a video and stop.

While live action can last for a long time, you should fill your digital media arsenal with a catalogue of premium videos that will pay off into the future. 

These can be recruitment videos, video testimonials, summary videos of annual general meetings, interviews with employees, video for your lobby/next convention. 

These kinds of videos can be the difference between winning work and not. Between recruiting a rockstar employee, and getting a second banana on board. 

Bringing it all together...

We prefer to make videos with as much advance time and expertise poured in as possible. It helps us not pull our hair out, but it will also be the best possible product for your business. 

Having said that, you can make videos that exist 'in the now' but will actually pay off long into the future. Whether it's animation or live action, we make videos that can last for a long time and are able to be chopped and changed, where necessary. 

Until next time,

Pete

PS - if you have ever worried that video has a short life cycle, we can explain how it will actually last long into the future. Get in touch below to find out how:

Why you should use screen recordings in your next video

Screen recording your IT product can be the difference between a sign-up or a bounce from your website. Here's why we encourage screen recordings for our IT and consulting firm clients' videos.

Our clients often ask us about integrating screen recordings with a cringe on their face. They're not sure if it's possible, and if it is, they're certain it's difficult to do. It's not! And it's actually a great idea to have screen recordings embedded in your video content. Here are our reasons: 

Show your product off

It's the obvious path but often the one that our previous clients are hesitant to engage in. We have found that this is usually because the product has not been finished.

But when we say 'that doesn't matter', that familiar cringe mixed with a quizzical look then spreads across the dial. But it really doesn't matter, at all. 

If all you have is screenshots of your product, we can bring them to life with animations of cursors, a tablet user, whatever you need.

A video we completed in 2015 only had a wireframe of the e-learning product finished, the hyperlinks didn't even work! But we were able to get into the test environment and our savvy animators followed instructions, recorded their screens and captured the essence of the environment expertly. 

Ultimately, like any video, the key message should be how the product benefits the user. We never stray from that key tenet. But having a semblance of what the product does, or even just how it looks is a very powerful way into the minds of your potential customers. 

It is actually easy

Like I said, it's not hard. Our animators are adept at using screen recording software programs, like Screenflow by Telestream.

It's a great piece of software that allows seamless editing, graphics, call-outs and more to be recorded and edited in only minutes. (And nope, they're not paying me to say that, they're just that good). 

Here's a couple example of videos that we produced that used screenflow recordings and integrated them into a use-case narrative for the viewer. 

As you can see, the GovSpend video is pure screen recording. This is a good method of showing the product to internal stakeholders, or users who are already onboarded. 

There's no need for flashy framing, animation or overlays for people who are already know the product. What matters more is a clear walkthrough of the utility of the software itself.

The Capability Central recordings were allowed to be more 'flashy' because the clients were not yet familiar with the software. 

Fun fact: this is an example of a video we made, where the product was not yet finished. We are quite proud that we were able to make it come to life!

I often talk about 'opening the door' to potential customers. Let them in and have a look around, be it through live action video or animation. Recording your product (working or not), is a great way to open that door.  

Until next time,

Pete

PS - have you tried to record your IT product before? It can be tedious and time consuming without the right know-how. 

We love tedium and we know how to do it, so get in touch.

 

 

How the production story of 'Back to the Future' can help you (and us) make great videos


This post will explain how the Director and production team overcame two massive challenges in making 'Back to the Future' and how these lessons can be applied to making top-quality video content.

My all time favourite Hollywood film is 'Back to the Future'. It's one of the most endearing and innovative films of its time (despite some flaws). It mixes science-fiction, romance, nostalgia, action and adventure into a cohesive and engaging story.

'Back to the Future' isn't the only film to have struggled in its production. 'Apocalypse Now' is renowned as the nightmarish misadventure of Francis Ford Coppola and leading man Martin Sheen - entering their own Heart of Darkness and barely making it out alive.

But what you might not know is that there were various hiccups in the production of
'Back to the Future' that, if not overcome, would have halted the production altogether - depriving us of an all-time classic. 

1. Not good enough? Start again

While Michael J. Fox was the first choice to play Marty McFly, he was caught up filming the sitcom 'Family Ties' (remember that show!?). As such he was restricted by the producers of the show in his scheduling, because filming a sitcom was basically a full-time job, and then some.  

As a result, the producers of 'Back to the Future' settled on Eric Stoltz after being impressed with his performance in 'Mask' (no, not 'The Mask'!). 

It became clear after 5-6 weeks of shooting, and reviewing footage, however, that Stoltz was not the right man for the job.

Reportedly, he was 'method' in his acting style, and insisted on being called 'Marty' on set, even when not shooting. It was decided that he was too serious for the quasi-comedic role, and his acting style did not match the script, despite an admirable performance.

Director Bob Zemeckis made the heartbreaking decision to fire him, and reshoot six weeks of footage with Michael J. Fox (now being allowed to work on both projects - hectic!).  

So what's to learn from this? 

If something is not working - do everything you can to make it work, even if that means starting again. 

Like any company, we have faced numerous challenges in some of our productions, which can lead to a first draft we are not super psyched about.

So what do we do? We go back, and we fix it.

On one occasion, we were forced to scrap an entire script because it was not hitting the mark for the aim of the video. (It was around about the time that I decided to hire professional script writers and not micromanage this part of the process!).

It was a tough decision - many hours of work had gone into it. But you must place your ego to the side on occasions like this, for the benefit of a superior end product. 

So whilst Eric Stoltz did a fine job in his style, it was not fine for the broader film's tone and direction. Thankfully, Fox's portrayal is iconic and memorable - the right decision was made in his casting. 

2. Push through bad ideas

There seemingly and endless stream of trivia about 'Back to the Future' and the production and initial draft ideas that were scrapped or rejected, for the better. Here are a couple of funny, but bad ideas:

The refrigerator 

As you probably know, even if you haven't seen the film - the time machine used is a modified and supercharged DeLorean. A unique and mobile stainless steel beast that is now an icon of science fiction cinema.

The first drafts of the script, however, had Marty fleeing 1955 in a modified refrigerator using nuclear radiation energy to transport him through time.

Executive Producer Steven Spielberg decided to pressure the writers to scrap this idea, fearing that young children would start locking themselves in fridges.

Probably a wise decision - but obviously that fear wore off, as he used that device in his 2008 film 'Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull', as the titular character escapes death by taking refuge in a lead-lined fridge. Hmmm....

Spaceman from Pluto

This is a particularly funny one. Senior film studio executives had trouble with the title of the film 'Back to the Future' saying it was too confusing.

At one point in the film, a child in 1955 is reading a comic book, with a subtitle
'Space Zombies from Pluto' - originally 'Spacemen from Pluto' in the script. The studio executives preferred this as the title of the actual film, drawing a parallel with Marty visiting the past as being like an alien. 

Yes, really. 

Thankfully, the producers stuck with the original title, which has much more relevance to the plot, and also just sounds better.

Sometimes, you get ideas from all around you - even from people calling the shots. What is important when faced with an objectively bad idea ('Spaceman From Pluto' - oh boy), is to be constructive in your feedback. 

Burning bridges over creative differences is never a good idea, instead, suggest alternative ideas and express gratitude at the contribution in the first place. 

To mitigate against unhealthy conflict in our creative processes, we ask many questions of the client in the initial meeting(s), so there's no ambiguity of ideas. This leads to a clear pathway forward, and any creative differences are usually minor and manageable.

We love getting new ideas from clients off the back of our own hard work - it's how we grow as a business and make our videos the best. 

I could talk all day about 'Back to the Future' and if somehow you haven't seen it, I encourage you to do so immediately! Go in knowing what you know now - that the film is a superior viewing experience due the challenges that were overcome in its production. 

Challenges are a part of any business too - overcoming them is how we can all make the best of difficult and uncomfortable situations. 

Until next time,

Pete

PS - if you know how many jigawatts it takes to send a man through time, you may like working with us. Click below to get in touch...

 

 

 

Why You Need A Proof-of-Concept Video For Your IT Product

 
 

'IT product' is a broad term that encompasses Software as a Service (SaaS), iOS/Android apps, basically anything that needs a walkthrough to explain it. 
This post will show you how and why a video can be really valuable, even if you haven't built your product yet. 

You want to sell your IT product. Sure - you might have altruistic goals to make the next 'Uber of...' but at the end of the day, you've made the product to stack some cash. Nothing wrong with that - here's how a video can really supercharge your sales and get you on top of your competitors.

Focus on benefits of your IT product to sell it before it's made

Seems simple, doesn't it. But so often, purveyors of IT products forget this fundamental when selling their products.
Why does anyone care about your product?
'Well it's compression rate is optimised and latency is...' - WRONG. Boring. That's a feature, not a benefit. (Yes - I have been watching a lot of 'Silicon Valley' lately.)
  
'<Your product> helps <your customer persona> <achieve their goal/solve their problem> by <doing something cool>'. Boom - much better.

It's a difference that businesspeople of all types forget to focus on, usually because their ego is too attached to whatever their product is. 

We get it - you've worked hard on it, it has cool features under the hood. But both you and I are going to buy something that has clear benefits for me, rather than knowing what's behind the curtain.

"But what if it hasn't even been built yet?"

That doesn't matter! The beauty of IT products is that you can illustrate key benefits without having to show exactly how it works just yet. But at the same time, you still need people on board to be potential buyers.

And that's where a video explaining its benefits is an extremely powerful tool, before even a line of code has been written. 

Here's a proof-of-concept video we made a while ago for an app that helps punters get involved in local sporting activities. 

 

You can show functionality without actually showing the screen. The product should be a collection of logical functions already, that should be able to be explained visually - so explain it, and sell it.

Simplify the complex to make it appealing to your customer base

Some IT products are simple (Uber, Airbnb etc) and some require more specialised knowledge (Photoshop, Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro). Both types of products can use video as a vehicle to explain it before it has been built.

We made a video for an e-learning software product, that was specifically designed for HR departments in government. Quite specialised, with a specific purpose for a specific audience:

 

Guess what - this hadn't even been built yet. 

The screen recordings were wireframes that our skilled animators overlaid onto an iPad screen template animation. Let me be clear - this product didn't even exist or work properly yet. But the client was able to show this video to the people they wanted to sell it to, and ended up selling it. 

How cool is that?

You can do this too - it's a really great way to not only sell your product ahead of time, but get you to iron out any potential kinks in the product itself going forward. 

Putting 'cart-before-horse' for your IT product (by making a proof of concept video) is a great idea. You can leverage your ideas and visualise your product to sell it before it has been made. Whatever your product is, it should have benefits that can be visualised and explained clearly. Any complexities can also be explained to make it an appealing, beast of a product, ready to fly off the shelves. 

Until next time,

Pete

PS - if you like the idea of putting cart-before-horse in order to sell things, you might like to share my post. 

Interested working together? Get in touch below and see how we can help you.

How Consulting Firms Can Leverage Video For Their Government Clients

Consulting firms are discovering new and engaging ways to win government contracts, and maintain them. This post will tell you how video is a powerful tool to expand your digital capabilities in the government space. 

There are a couple of simple points that video can help you with your government engagement. The first will outline how video you will help you win contracts, and the second will go into how video will keep them.

Let government departments know who you are, and what you do, with video

If you are approaching a government department panel, or even just for a one-off contract and you're not one of 'The Big 4' (Deloitte, PwC, Ernst & Young, KPMG), you'll need something to get ahead. Trust me - they have a lot of materials in their arsenal to win big, not just their reputation.

Big firms have in-house or outsourced digital media teams at their disposal to make them the best and keep them up the top of the pile. Video is increasingly becoming the go-to option for tier 1 and 2 firms to impress government clients. 

What you might not know, though is that video is not just reserved for the big dogs - it's available and powerful for the smaller firms.

Some common misconceptions I have come across about video:

  • It's too expensive;
  • It's too difficult and time consuming to make;
  • It's reserved for digital products / specialised offerings only - what I like to call the
    'Esoteric Enemy'.

Let me dive deeper on these points...

"It's too expensive"

You can produce (well, we can for you) a video that will cost less than what some Sydneysiders pay on parking per month. Seriously.

Your video doesn't have to be a long, waffley piece of garbage. It should be sharp, targeted and effective in winning you business.

Ideally it's something reusable that you can just plug into any bid or email, or have pinned on your website / Facebook / Twitter feed. Live action and animation both work well here - whatever fits your brand the best. 

"It's too difficult and time-consuming"

Not to toot our own horn, but why do you think businesses like Video Spartan exist? We are here to show you that video ISN'T hard or time-consuming.

Firms often make the mistake of 'taking out the middle man' and hire a bevy of cheap freelancers on Upwork or Gumtree to make their video. Go ahead and do that if you want to:

  • Make your video unclear and unprofessional;
  • Get stuck in the weeds of video production and iterative production nightmares;
  • Have your production process exceed 6 months (yes, really).

Platforms like Youtube and Vimeo have levelled the playing field (with the aid of high definition cameras in your pocket) for anyone to make a video easily.

Gone are the days of expensive and lengthy shoots/edits - get it done right, with some polish, and done quickly - and this will make your government clients love you forever, and keep coming back.  

Our experience with working directly with government, is that they obviously want it done right - but also quickly. Quickly is usually the key metric for them. Deadlines.

And as I mentioned, time constraints usually makes the product suffer - but we proudly produce high quality videos in short periods of time. (That one was a two week-er...crazy). 

"The Esoteric Enemy"

Some consulting firms can only see their services within the lens they work in. Some aren't open to the idea of video, because they don't think it can apply to whatever they do. 

We chuckle at this, because that's exactly why you should invest in a video - to make the esoteric message accessible to all. 

Are you primarily enterprise architecture? Awesome, show them your track record of saving government departments millions of dollars. Do you deal more in IT systems design and product development? Great! Advertise your awesome in-house software and implementation steps. 

Another misconception is that firms believe that if they aren't making digital products, then video is therefore irrelevant.

On the contrary - we recently completed a project for a large Australian Government department, which was a paper-based cash flow management tool.
 


Nothing about this product was digital - but we made a video that made the esoteric concept a simple, easy to follow narrative that ended up helping make the firm win a design award (!).
Not bad for plain old paper. 

Sometimes, it comes down to ego. Make them the best.

I'm sure a lot of you remember the Department of Finance video from earlier in 2017. If you can last 30 seconds without cringing, I tip my hat off to you.

Now, this is not the first graduate program video to be produced, and it won't be the last - but one lesson to learn from it, was that it was (overly) flashy and produced, and lacked a real cogent message.

This is because government departments like to look the best to the outside world - even at the expense of alienating the entire generation with whom they are trying to impress. 

It's a shame, because if they had used actors and not 'gov-speak' in the script, it would have been a great insight into what working at Finance would be really like. 

The failure here is not recognising the target audience and linking that with the ultimate goal of the video - to attract young graduates to work at Finance.

Government departments are looking for the best and brightest young minds to join them, and a great video is the gateway for the next generation of pear-and-banana-bread public servants.

Instead, have real interviews that aren't tightly scripted and use b-roll of the office and cafes around - make it real, personable and unpolished.

Or use short animations with some interesting facts that might appeal to potential Finance graduates, with a young voiceover artist guiding them through it. 

This is the kind of video content that can be so powerful and can be the difference between 600 applicants and 6000.  

The point is that you can use good video content, repeatedly, for your government clients. It will add a fantastic dimension to your digital services capabilities (and non-digital services!) and make your consulting firm an agile, professional and impressive enterprise. 

And that's it. If you are a consulting firm undecided about using video for your government clients, consider the above. It's a powerful tool that, if done correctly, can bring you up to the level of your Big 4 competitors.

Until next time,

Pete

PS - If you know the 'estoteric enemy' only exists in your mind, and not reality - you might like to share this post. 

Interested? Click below to get in touch

Four types of video that every consulting firm needs

 
 

Consulting firms are often paralysed by what video content they should be putting out. This post will teach you which video forms to produce, so there is no more guesswork.

'Company culture' video

With the advent of social media comes the judging eye of everyone who stumbles upon your firm. 

Whether you're a tier one international conglomerate, or a small local firm - people are going to have a preconceived idea of what your firm looks like, and how you operate. 

So what do you do? Let people judge and make up their own minds? No thanks - take the reins and open the doors to your business.

Company culture videos are becoming a very popular (and easy) way to change your corporate persona from 'too big to care' to 'come on in - we're friendly and efficient'.

A good example of this type of video is one done for the Synergy Group in Canberra, ACT. With the advent of their new office space, they opted to show off their new, funky surrounds combined with informal talking heads and b-roll.

It's a great example of how easy it is to open the doors to your business, and show that real human beings work there, are normal and want to help you.

 

Video case studies

You need to be able to prove that you're a credible, reliable and appealing firm. So showing off your work through case studies should be at the top of the list. 

The folly of case studies is that they're usually boring (unless you produced something SUPER interesting!). 

So to 'unbore-ify' your case studies - turn them into a video, or at least supplement the written content with a video.

The power of having someone talk about a successful project, detailing problems, solutions and the outcome is huge. The key, is to have the 'talent' talk informally, but professionally and confidently about the project.

'Ums and ahhs' are OK - that's how people talk! But have a clear structure to follow, so your video is not aimless. This is where having the written case study is useful for direction. 

This is a good example of a well-produced video case study, incorporating confident speakers and effective use of B-roll to keep the audience engaged. 

Animated explainer video

Our favourite! So easy and so powerful.

When people ask me what my company produces and I mention 'animated explainer videos' as part of the arsenal, some of them look back at me quizzically.

But I guarantee them that they have seen one, because they're everywhere. 

I see animation as the ultimate entry-point - it appeals to pretty much everyone, which is powerful for engagement. It does what its title suggests - explains. And because your canvas is creatively endless, you can explain almost anything.

Example of a deep dive into a product, using animation as the entry point

One we are very proud of is the Parramatta 2021 video we produced for the City of Parramatta. It captured a unique aesthetic as well as informed a wide constituent base about a variety of topics.

The great thing about animated videos is that they are shareable as well. This particular video was syndicated across the
Daily Telegraph in Australia.

They're also great for selling products. You can construct an animated video in exactly the way you want, using persuasive triggers and copy with a strong call to action.

We are experts in end-to-end production, producing everything from start to finish (plus some added bonuses) to make the ultimate animated explainer video. 

Video testimonials

What better way to show off your wares (successes) than by getting the people you helped in front of the camera? 

If you have ever watched Danoz Direct and seen people praising the wonder of 'Space Bags' or the 'Nutri Bullet', you have seen a video testimonial.

Now, don't get us wrong - we know that most of those people are paid actors, and often the products are substandard or even worse, useless to most people. But come on, the actors showing their miserable lives 'before' whatever the product is, is pretty great.

Here's a hilarious video compilation of some of the best (worst!). 

But the fact is, some 'real people' (non-actors) aren't comfortable getting in front of the camera, so actors are required to make it look professional. 

And really, it doesn't matter if you use paid actors to talk about how good a product or service is. What matters is that the experience is genuine - and you back that up with your next customers.

To make things easier on yourself though, there are many resources that allow talent in front of the camera to talk at ease about their experience with your product or service. If you can convince them to be comfortable on-camera with a few simple questions, everyone wins.

Bringing it all together

Consulting firms can shoulder through the saturated market by using one or all of these video methods to get ahead.

Giving your customer base an extra insight into your business, through live action and animated methods is a great way to show that you're human, you're legitimate and you sell services. 

Signing off,

Pete

PS - if you laugh at hilarious infomercial fails, you might enjoy working with us on your next video project.

Want to chat more? Click below to get in touch.

How to Write a Great Script For Your Online Video

This post will give you the tools on how to write a great script for your next video.

Scriptwriting is the most important aspect of making a video. It is often overlooked however in the interest of producing the fancy end-product. 

This is a short-sighted approach, and will fail because a fancy end-product without a solid foundation will be useless. 

Writing a good script will form the foundation of your video and also ensure the production is speedy and efficient.

So, what is the process for writing a script that will guarantee you an awesome video? Read on...

 

Step One: Attention

Alec Baldwin in 'glengarry glen ross' (1992) explaining how to sell to leads

Alec Baldwin in 'glengarry glen ross' (1992) explaining how to sell to leads

"A-I-D-A".

You may have heard of screenwriter/playwright David Mamet. One of his best works is the play-turned-film 'Glengarry Glen Ross' (1992).

The story explores the machinations and relationships of a small real estate office. In one of the greatest sales speeches put to film, a cameo from Alec Baldwin explains (perhaps a little harshly) how to sell leads using basic influence and structure.

Aside from his 'A-B-C - Always Be Closing' mantra, he also educates the meagre salesmen in front of him with:

Attention
Interest
Decision
Action

A-I-D-A. 

"Attention - do I have your attention?"

That's pretty much it. It's basic, but extremely important. If you don't have the attention of the viewer, you have nothing. So your script should grab the attention immediately.

This can be through a visual and/or through a voiceover queue. Our trained scriptwriters tend to do both. For example:

As you can see, we're not talking about jarring, Danoz Direct-style "HEY YOU" stuff here (although that is very powerful too), but we are getting the attention of the viewer straight away.

The audio is the key element here - because we know the stakeholders who will be watching the video. So we frame the opening line around them, and their potential problem we will be solving.

 

Step Two: Problem definition

If you thought I was going to just regurgitate what Alec Baldwin says in this post, you were mistaken.

While his speech is potent for selling to leads, it doesn't quite fit here. What does fit is the necessity to define the problem of the person watching - this is how you connect with them in an instant.

Sometimes you can mould this into the 'Attention' phase. While we prefer a certain rigidity with our scriptwriting, you can definitely bend the rules here, because the problem definition might be a part of your attention-grabbing headline.

For example:

So you see it's straight to the point of the problem. It's a 'yes or no' question and it makes people think that way when you ask it. "Yes, I do find myself bored on weeknights, itching to play sport...what is this product or service they are offering?".

Now, we don't pretend that peoples' brains say that sentence verbatim, but the initial reaction is along those lines.

Or, it's not - and that's ok. In fact that's great, because it means your question is clear.

 

Step Three: Solution to Problem

What's a problem without a solution? A huge pain-in-the-neck.

So you have to solve your stakeholders' problem right away to warm them up to whatever your service or product you have. It seems obvious, and is crucial to getting them onside, but it's really the easiest part.

The hard part? Actually having something to show off and sell, but that's not our problem!

For example:

This part of the script is usually the most detailed and wordy, so the above example is just a snippet of a larger problem solution.

Ensure you cover everything that should be covered, make it sound attractive and if possible, it should trigger emotions in the viewer. Make them want whatever it is you're selling - remember you just solved their problem.

You're now their favourite prospect.

 

Step Four: Call to Action

The viewer still needs a bit of help in getting there though. So make sure you give them a clear call to action at the end. That might be 'buy now' or 'sign up' or 'learn more'. A good call to action is a short and uncomplicated one.

For example:

So let's recap. 

As you can see, it's not rocket science. This script method is the most useful for us, and yields the best results when writing scripts for a variety of industries. So try it out, and let us know what you think!

Or, if you need a script done, get in touch with us - we've got the process nailed...

Signing off,

Pete

 

PS - if you enjoy Alec Baldwin films you might enjoy sharing this post on Facebook or LinkedIn or Twitter - or all three - we don't discriminate.

Want to chat more? Click below to get in touch.

Why We Sell Videos

This post will tell you why we sell videos and why we think they're one of the most powerful tools in your marketing arsenal.

I used to have a 'real job'. I turned up to work every day, 9-5 (usually) with a half hour lunch break (usually longer) and then come home exhausted. I knew nothing about business or marketing or brand awareness or anything. But one day, I got sick of the 'grind' and I went all-in.

I just needed a business idea.

"I need to build the next Facebook. Go." <- this was pretty much my stupid mentality. I got that out of my system pretty quickly when I realised that literally millions of people are out there trying, and failing to build the next Facebook.

Why are they failing? Because Facebook already exists. And it's dominating.

So when you start out in business, my advice is this - choose something that is already working and selling in the market. Whatever market that might be. Sounds counterintuitive, which it is - but hear me out.

Enter, Selling Videos

Unless you've been living under a rock, you'll know that video is a huge draw online at the moment.

Businesses are gravitating towards using both live action and animated videos for their marketing, branding and more. So when I decided to go into business for myself, I picked videos. Not only because I have some knowledge about that medium, being a student of film and blah blah blah, but because it's selling.

Now, a lot of people say "ah there's too much competition out there, I can't get a foot in the door to sell that". Wrong. 

One of the first things I learned on this journey is that competition is good. It means the idea is already validated. All you have to do then is build your brand and be better than your competition. Of course, the journey is a little more nuanced than that. You will mess up, you will lose momentum, you might even fail. But keep going until it works, or until you find a more profitable pathway.

Facebook wasn't just spawned in a vacuum. Anyone remember MySpace? Friendster? Zuckerberg didn't just pull Facebook out of thin air. It started as the 'white-background MySpace of college campuses' in the USA. Now look at it - it's worth something like $400 billion with a 'B'.

Videos Can Be Whatever You Want Them To Be

We help our clients realise the best way forward for them in their video content. For some, it's a product walkthrough. For others, maybe a talking head interview style video or a case study. In any case, they explain something. The video content ought to teach something to your audience. Teach them about your awesome product, or just teach them about you. But make it look good and be effective! That's where we come in.

Video is super effective for your brand. This past month, I participated in the very noble Movember cause. I raised over $700 for research into men's health issues - which exceeded my expectations. What I did to get to this milestone, however, was upload a weekly 'progress VLOG' to YouTube. I would thank people on camera, mention my progress etc.

This was super effective in differentiating me from the 7 other guys in my circle who were raising money. Now, the end game is money to a good cause so it's not about the competition - but it goes to show how video can be effective in building your brand capital.

So Why Do I Think Know I Can Offer You The Best Value and User Experience?

Ladies and gentlemen, I have been at this for some years now. At the time this blog post was written. On approximately 600 occasions, I have wanted to throw in the towel. But I didn't. Why? Because I believe in myself and my ability to create a superior product with a superior customer experience. I am 'all in' on making the best videos and having the best communication your money can buy.

A lot of explainer video sites use the 'cookie cutter' approach and churn out video after video that might not even suit the 'feel' of the brand they are servicing. Not us. Each and every video that is produced here is overseen by me personally, before being released. It could come across as 'micromanage-y' but I don't really care. I want only the best products released to my clients, to ensure their success.

How Do You Benefit From A Video?

Like a post I wrote a little while ago for our good friends Mint Content, you need a mixture of both targeted written copy, and video in order to 'get the edge' (as Tony Robbins would put it). You put yourself out there - front and centre on your website/landing page or Facebook campaign and strut your stuff. So there's no longer any ambiguity in their mind. A video will answer the question everyone asks when they land on your page, "who are these people?".

If you can answer that question for them, front and centre, 24/7, that's very powerful for your brand.

Until next time,

~Pete

PS - If you liked this post, please share it on whatever social media you'd like.

What You Can Learn From Filmmaking And Apply To Almost Anything (Even Business)

Judging from the title of this blog post, it might come across as little out of ‘left field’, but bear with me… Initially, this post was going to be a personal Facebook expression to my 500-odd something friends about a particular YouTube channel (which I will mention later). But instead, at 1:00am on a Wednesday morning in Canberra, with the wind blowing a gale outside, I thought I would put it in a longer, hopefully more useful format.

The main reason for this is that I thought it would be lost in the ether of the Facebook juggernaut. Appreciated by some, and not even seen by others (that pesky algorithm), then forgotten forever. So let’s go deeper…

 

Why Film?

Film is something I have enjoyed from a very young age. It has shaped my life in many ways. Among my friends and family, I am considered a ‘film buff’ – a title I wear proudly, even though I have definitely seen only a fraction of the amazing cinema out there. Even a fraction of films my older brother has seen. But he’s got four years on me…

One thing I have learned along the way watching probably 400-500 films, is that film and filmmaking is perhaps the most holistic creative endeavour.

At my time at university, I studied Film. Initially, I admit, I took it as a ‘bludge class’ that would get me two hours a week watching a film and, with my hubristic approach to academia and analysis, an easy passing grade.

For the most part, I was right. But it was a great experience for my young brain. I was exposed to several genres of film, directors, eras, and above all, the process.

To the passive cinemagoer, a film is made for consumption alongside their Malteasers, large popcorn and carbonated drink. Maybe an explosion, a laugh and the odd spot of nudity. Nothing wrong with all of that.

But when I go to the movies, I never buy any refreshments, because I want to be able to:

  1. hear dialogue without the crackle of plastic annoying me and others (I wish others would be so kind as to do the same) and
  2. not have to go to the bathroom to relieve myself of 1.25 litres of Coke. I’d rather actually watch the damn thing that I paid for. In emergency situations, I have trained my bladder to hold on.

(Also, why do people look at their phones during films? The giant screen and surround sound isn’t enough for them? Also, stop talking…please)

Anyway, my point is I go to the movies and watch a film appreciating every aspect that went into it.

From the initial idea, to storyboarding and screenplay, to pre-production, to casting, to shooting, to music composition, to editing, to distribution…and even then it’s not a guaranteed financial or critical success.

Any person invested in any of those particular aspects of the film making process will say that their aspect is the most important. But I think they are all equally important.

So what can we all learn from how a film is made? Having made a few dozen films myself in this business and in other endeavours, I am starting to scratch the surface of lessons learned. I hope the following is a useful insight into my own experience that you can apply to your life and your business.

 

There Is Probably Someone Better Than You – Get Used To It

Ouch, right? Sucks to hear but it’s true. There will always be a better writer or better composer or someone who picked this song over another to go in this particular place. Blah blah blah – who cares? The good news is, you can use them. There is no way that one person can do absolutely everything. There are very few successful figures who do EVERYTHING in their films.

Notable exceptions are guys like John Carpenter (Halloween, Escape from New York) who have the cojones to not only direct but also compose the music. Then of course you have the director/lead actor egomaniacs (whom I admire) like Ben Affleck (The Town) and Joel Edgerton (The Gift).

These are the exceptions. For the most part, the film is made through many cogs in the machine. So swallow your pride and give up the task to someone better. For me, that was script writing. Oh boy did I think I was great at that. Until I wasn’t. Now I pay people to write scripts for me, because they are fantastic.

Added bonus: I now save time to focus on other things now.

What’s next?

 

Get organised

Making a feature film, or indeed any kind of film requires the ultimate level of organisation. If you are reading this, it’s probably not a huge revelation, some young CEO telling you to be organised. But duh, guess what happens when you don’t – it all falls apart.

This business - Video Spartan, is filmmaking. I have only really come to realise that recently, which is pretty insane. But it is! We write scripts, storyboard, animate/shoot, add music, edit and boom – video done.

I am proud of every video we produce – because it has been created from nothing. Best of all, it is designed to help our customers achieve their goals. It’s a functional film. And this is no different to a big feature film.

Look, don't get me mixed up. There’s nothing wrong with going to the movies and falling asleep or not paying attention (just get off your damned phone!). The cinema experience is a personal one, designed to entertain, shock, induce laughter, fear, regret, nostalgia, tiredness… all films have a function. If you look hard enough, you can see what that function is. For most folk, the cinema is a passive and social experience and sometimes I forget that. I tend to nerd out at the cinema and appreciate the organisation that went into it.

But next time you go to the movies, instead of stuffing your face with that choc-top, why don't you look at how the lighting in that particular scene made Tom Hanks look friendly/foreboding/harmless/psychopathic.

(Also hit me up if you can tell me about a recent Tom Hanks role where he has been a bad guy...)

 

Go Deeper

My brother recently recommended a YouTube channel to me, called “Every Frame A Painting”. Now studying film at university, I learned a lot of cool stuff. But it's pretty amazing how YouTube and the Internet in general has educated me before, during and since that time.

Every Frame a Painting is a film nerd's celluloid dream of insight, analysis and exploration of the medium of cinema.

Until I saw this channel, I thought I was good at filmic analysis. I am not – which goes back to my first point, there’s always someone better than you. But I am ok with that. This channel is a great example of directorship, actors, style and so much more.

In the current climate of vacuous content being created at lighting speed in so many formats, it’s very refreshing to have a channel like this (and there are many others, thankfully) that produce awesome content on the regular. Not an easy feat.

So look at those who are doing it better than you, going deeper than you and either get mad at how good they are (and appreciate it) or…

 

Be Better

For all the good films out there, there are so many bad ones. It is rare that in a ‘summer blockbuster’ release period these days that there will be any more than one or two gems. Usually, you have to look beyond the façade of crap, to the films that aren’t necessarily standing out and yelling at you to see them.

Alternatively, just wait for reliable directors like Christopher Nolan or Quentin Tarantino to release a film. Those guys are bastions of great filmmaking and inspire others and me all the time - to be better at what I do.

So take the time to focus on what you are actually good at, and pass off the stuff you are not good at to someone else. It's a win-win - they like doing it, that's why they do it.

I hope that the rant above was at least partially insightful and useful. None of the people mentioned above have compensated me for any of the plugs (especially not my brother) – I just admire them, and maybe you will too.

PS - If you liked this article - please share it on any social media platform you like. I'll love you for it.

3 Obvious Reasons Why You Need Video On Your Website or Social Media Page

This post will show you why you need video on your website or Facebook/LinkedIn page. You probably already know that it's super important, but why?

Why video?

In the next three seconds, I want you to think of the three biggest (most influential) social media platforms in 2016. GO. Here’s mine:

  1. Facebook
  2. YouTube
  3. Instagram

(honourable mention to Snapchat - it could go anywhere on that list)

What do these three platforms have in common?

VIDEO

Of course, we all know YouTube is the ‘grandfather’ of online video – 300 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute of the day.

If all uploads stopped right now, it would still take several thousand years to view every single YouTube video.

Facebook and Instagram (now both owned by Mr Zuckerberg) have pivoted and incorporated video into their platforms, why? To compete with YouTube. Instagram recently extended the previous 15 second time limit to 30 seconds and now to up to 1 minute. The race is on.

This post will describe to you the most important reasons why you should have it on your website, or front and centre on your Facebook page.

"300 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute of the day"

Video is vital

Forget text, video is vital. Obviously text is important - people still do need to read whatever you’re spruiking (like this blog post, for example). But if you don’t have a video, visitors to your site will click away at the drop of a hat.

Video engages the audience, before they have even clicked on it. And when they do click on it (they’re very likely to) – you need to capture their attention within about two seconds, otherwise it’s all over.

If you’re old school – you can still use text in video (also known as the very fancy ‘kinetic typography’ such as this video which we produced for a not-for-profit in 2015).

Having active text is actually a pretty powerful engagement tool, rather than relying on people to scroll through lines upon lines of copy.

People relate to story (video educates)

Implicit in any video (even feature films), is getting the viewer from point A to point B. Point A – they don’t know what you’re doing (before they watch the video) – Point B they now know exactly what you’re about, and hopefully want in to whatever it is you’re doing (after watching the video).

Telling a ‘story’ is key to this progression. Any video that doesn’t have a coherent narrative structure is doomed to fail, and worse – alienate. A good video should engage and educate, because that’s what people want and need. Anyone will tell you - story is king.

But be stealthy about it. It may be in your best interest to educate the viewer, without them knowing they’re being educated. There’s an art to that, and I personally think we at Video Spartan do that pretty damn well! ;-)

Be a pro – use video

Above all, no one wants a ‘mom and pop’ outfit when they’re entrusting cash and time into your product or service.

They want a professional. If they wanted an amateur, they would do it themselves or go to Craigslist/Gumtree. But no – they didn’t, they came to you. So you owe them something in return. Professionalism.

Video automatically makes you a professional, keeping in mind the principles mentioned above. It doesn’t make you look like one, you just are one with video.

In my experience, making videos has taught me a lot about running a professional business.

Engaging with clients, satisfying goals and desires, solving problems – they have all been attributes I have strived to improve upon in the macro, birdseye view of my business. The process of making a video actually makes me improve upon all of those things too.

That’s it – it’s pretty simple! If you want to learn more, about this post or any of our videos, be sure to get in touch. I love talking to new people about this stuff.

Yours in video professionalism,

Pete