Let’s talk about good practices and strategies to make your video web series pop and rise above the clutter of the web.
The Difference between Video Blogs and Webisodes
Let me clarify what I’m talking about when I say Webisode. For me, a webisode is like a mini-television series that is broadcast over the web. Unlike a television series, though, these webisodes can be put together quickly and easily with just a slight amount of planning. A webisode could be footage from your last tour, combined with footage of you talking about the tour. The key is to always overlap some of the footage of you talking into the camera with footage that relates. You can take a look at a few of the web series we’ve put together recently if you’re curious.
100% Talking Heads = 100% BORING!
Anyone can create a video blog and talk into their webcam about any of an infinite number of subjects. If you’re someone with an opinion that people respect, then this might work for you. But, if you’re a new company, artist or blogger, you might need a little more than just a point, shoot and talk kind of video blog. I’m talking about creating Webisodes, which turn your one-take speech into a multi-faceted reality series for the web. Just overlaying some b-roll on top of you talking into the camera to break the piece up and make it more interesting can make your videos watch-ability increase tenfold. We live in an ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) society, so give us cuts to interesting footage that goes along with what you’re talking about. Even a cut away to a photo utilizing the Ken Burns’ effect is much more visually stimulating than watching you sit in your poorly lit home office. Take your talking head and make it more entertaining. A small amount more of effort gives your video higher production value, which makes you look better and gives people a reason to sit through your entire web monologue.
Add a little drama
This may not work for everyone, but for creative artists I think it’s a great angle. Add a little drama to your webisodes. Sit down and turn your TV to any channel and there’s probably an 80% (speculation) chance that you’ll land on a reality television show. Watch this show and make note of the ways they add tension and drama to the show. Now, implement these techniques into your own webisode. Here are a few techniques you can steal from reality TV:
- Add music to create emotion.
- Make each episode about a challenge that you’re trying to overcome and conclude with you overcoming it.
- Don’t be afraid to show your faults. Everyone has faults and humanizing yourself allows your fans to relate with you and gets them in your corner, rooting for you to succeed.
- Tell us what’s on your mind. Don’t put on a front. Be real with us.
- Create a story arch for each webisode. Act I. Act II. Act III.
- End with a cliffhanger or a preview that makes us want to tune in next week.
- Bring up something controversial.
- Bloopers can be funny to tag on to the end.
All of these things can add appeal to your webisode and keep viewers coming back for more.
We want your expertise!
If you’re a company, as opposed to a creative artist, then you’ll probably want to take a different approach. In your case, you can teach us something that you’re an expert in and show us how to do it. Show us how to setup an office computer network and cut to b-roll footage of someone actually completing each step of the process. Give us a complimentary webisode where you give a client a consultation, so that we know what to expect when we meet with you. Teach me a few strategies for day-trading the stock market. Whatever your expertise, share it with the world and add visuals and b-roll that corresponds with whatever expertise you are sharing.
The Quick Cut – Editing Your Footage
Of course, the biggest obstacle for you is going to be finding an easy to use editing software that doesn’t cost you much. Collecting the footage for your piece is easy if you’ll just carry a small video camera with you from time to time. Now, you need to edit the footage together. There are a million great options, but you might consider iMovie (Apple), Final Cut Studio (Apple), PowerDirector (PC), Adobe Premiere (PC), or any number of other editing applications. The key is finding an editing software that you are comfortable with and then with a little practice you’ll be pumping out killer webisodes by the dozen!
So, start shooting video, get creative and have fun! The possibilities are endless for creating webisodes and content for the internet. How will you promote your self/band/company with online video? What tools are you incorporating into your online video creation process? What did I leave out that you feel is important? Stay tuned to see some of the webisodes we are creating for our clients over the next few months.Marketing, PR, Social Media, Video Production
I was interviewed by Aaron of Stickam at the Mashable party and wanted to post the video for you guys. Stickam is a great service that allows you to stream live video over the internet. In this interview, I talk about some of the services my company, Papertank Productions, offers and why Austin, TX is such a great city to form a start-up company.
Other talking points:
- How Papertank Productions helps companies build communities and create compelling content.
- Leveraging advertising dollars to drive traffic to a community.
- Community Management
- Training companies to better understand and utilize social media tools.
- Finding passionate people in your organization and making them your online advocate.
- Training companies on how to handle their own PR, Marketing, and Social Media
- Learning best practices in PR, Marketing, Social Media, and Video Production
- What kind of feedback are your customers giving?
- Finding new tools that corporations can utilize.
- Why Austin, TX is a great city for a start-up company.
- Austin, TX is a great place for independent film.
- Becoming a thought leader.
Once again, a HUGE thank you to everyone who sponsored Mashable party and major props to Mashable.com for throwing such an amazing event!
If you are looking for someone to help you or your company learn or implement a social media, marketing, PR or video production strategy or campaign, then you are in the right place. Contact us, here, ring me on the red emergency phone or just put out the bat signal. I am at your service!Video Production
Let me start off addressing those of you who are reading this blog for the first time. My name is Jon Ray and over the last few years, I have written extensively about how social media can be used to help you create an online presence and community around you, your company, your band, your film, etc. Over the past nine months I have talked about social media and marketing at several conferences, colleges and seminars. All of these opportunities came solely from readers of my blog. It is my hope that I will have the same amount of success blogging about my experience as an independent HD video producer.
What does a video/film producer do?
A while back I started a social media, marketing and HD video production company called Suited Productions (now Papertank). Since then, I have produced over 75 commercials, 40 music videos, 20 short films and a handful of mini-documentary projects on a local, regional and national level.
So, what does a video producer do? In my experience the producer’s job is to breathe life into a project. The producer is the one who goes out into the wild and finds the projects. Once the producer has found a project, it is his job to find the money to fund the project. Sometimes, especially with creative projects, this means attaching talent to a project that investors will find attractive. Other times, it just means that the producer negotiates a project budget with a client. Once funding is in place, the producer now attaches talent to the project. A producer will typically select a writer, director, director of photography, production designer, unit production manager and editor. Ideally, you hope that you have enough money to hire all of these people and more. But, often times, there just isn’t the budget to hire everyone you’d like to hire. I’ve worked on quite a few low budget projects where we just couldn’t afford all of the production talent we wanted. In cases like this, I like to find production talent that can multi-task several jobs. In the past, I’ve used a director that was also my DP and editor. I, often times, act as my own unit production manager and as a production assistant. Working low budget means that everyone is playing multiple roles. The key is finding a group of people (no matter how big or small) that are 120% devoted to making the project the best it can be.
You have your production team, now what?
Once you have the perfect team in place, it’s important to get everyone in a room and make sure they are all on the same page. Or, better yet, that they are all on your page. As the producer, this is your project. Yes, the director and writer are going to have a lot of say in things, but the producer is the one who gave birth to the project and it is the producer that has the final say so on how the project turns out. Of course, there is always a certain amount of give and pull and the idea is that the team you hired is on board for your vision. But, in the end, this is the producer’s project, so it’s important that you make sure the initial vision for the project is being met. If you are working on a creative project, then you’ll want to finish developing your story or concept with your key production staff. If you are shooting a client project, then there are probably already guidelines that the client has set forth for the project. It is important that you, as the producer, make sure that those guidelines are being met. You should always check in with your client and give regular status reports. Nothing makes a client squirm more than a producer that does not communicate with them. Clients want to know that their money is being well spent and a constant stream of communication between the producer and the client is a great way to keep the client from getting cold feet or wanting to send in their own people. If you show the client, right off the bat, that you are in control and there is nothing to worry about, then your shoot will go much smoother. Constant communication will assure that the client uses you for future projects, as well. Remember, the client like the investor on a creative project is the money man. Make sure the money man is in the loop and comfortable and things will run much smoother on your set.
The producer should be omnicient.
As a producer, you should always know what is going on with a project. Your job is to hire the best people to get a job done. Once you have good creative talent on board, your job is to manage and supervise that talent. The producer will supervise the development of the project concept or story. The producer will help set a budget based on that concept. The producer will help find key cast members and then develop a shooting schedule. The producer will view daily footage and make suggestions if deemed necessary. Once shooting is completed, the producer will sit-in with the director and editor while the project is cut together. The producer will help find a composer or any music needed for the project and negotiate those contracts. The producer will be the main contact for clients involved with the project. But, most of all, the producer is the ultimate problem solver. No matter what kind of project you are working on, there will always be unexpected problems that arise. As a producer, it is your job to calmly, quickly and efficiently solve any problems that come up. If you’re good at thinking on your feet and finding creative solutions to problems, then you’ll be a great producer!
So, there is a brief look into how I’ve operated as a producer over the past few years. Of course, there is no right or wrong way to approach becoming a producer. But, the above is what has been working for me. You’ll find that you may prefer to approach projects in a different way. If so, I’d love to hear how you like to attack creative and client projects. I am in no way an expert, but I do have a little bit of experience in putting together smaller music video and commercial projects. Are you a feature film producer? How does producing a feature film differ from putting together smaller projects? What advice would you give to young film producers who are looking to raise money and produce their first feature film? Where did you get your experience as a producer? Was it a trial and error process, did you go to a producer mentor program or work underneath another producer? I’d love to hear from anyone that would like to add to this post. And if you have questions, leave them as a comment. If I can’t answer them, I promise I’ll find someone that can.