My first Short Doc Attempt from 2015

2015 was my first time visiting the Collingwood Elvis Festival. As an aspiring documentary filmmaker, I wanted to go out and film the madness and just see what came out of it.

At the time I was shooting on a Nikon DSLR without any stabilization or ND filters which are really good at cutting down the amount of light so really bright things like the sky don’t get completely washed out. I had borrowed a really cheap shoulder rig from a friend and it really didn’t seem to help much. I did have a decent microphone but it is meant to pick up pretty much everything and it certainly did.

The result was a 5min short that I cut together shortly after but never posted or showed to anyone. I wasn’t thrilled with the shaky footage, the blown out exposure, nor the audio challenges that I had faced as well.

In the 2 years since filming this I’ve learned a whole lot more, and spent a lot of money on equipment that could do a much better job today.

However, the most important thing I’ve learned is this: If you can’t tell a good story with cheap equipment, all the money in the world cannot fix your film. And that is something I really believe. Clean beautiful shots are important, don’t get me wrong, but the absolute best quality footage will only take you so far. What will keep viewers engaged is the story that you tell.

I’ve seen a lot of great documentary films and every now and again I see that shot that’s just out of focus, or a little shaky or hard to hear and it solidifies my belief. Knowing that this film maker chose to use a bad shot because it was integral to the story they were trying to tell, is something I find very honest and comforting.

So watching my first attempt at a short doc again as the 2017 Elvis Festival kicks off, I figured what the hell, it was fun to make and the story is not half bad, but I will let you be the judge.

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Open Casting Call – No Acting Required

So here’s the deal: I’m working on a new passion project, a pilot for a television series. I don’t want to give away too much other than it is a documentary style show which does not require acting. So real people, real experiences. We are looking for 2 people to host the show and interested more in personality than anything. Oh ya, and it’s sort of important that you like to travel… and beer. Actually it’s really important that you like beer.

As a passion project, I need to be up front and say there is no budget currently BUT it will only require 2 days to shoot, and I promise it will be a blast. For the shoot, you need to be in Collingwood Ontario for pickup as we will be traveling around the Simcoe, Bruce, and Grey county area. Meals,  refreshments, and travel during production, will be provided on both days. The shoot is scheduled to take place August 8th and 13th from 10am to approximately 8pm. Long I know, but I promise it will be almost 12 hrs of nothing but pure fun.

I will also add that the idea of a pilot is to sell to networks in the hopes that the show will get picked up and then there will be a budget to create something much larger and ongoing. So this bus is leaving the station… are you getting on?

Here’s how to audition:

  1. Shoot a video of yourself 1 min long or less. We want to see personality! Tell us why you should get to host your own show. It might also be good to mention how much you like beer… responsibly (We don’t want to see anyone doing a keg stand).
  2. Upload said video to Facebook or Instagram and use the hashtag #beerfreshmedia so that we can find it.
  3. Feel good knowing you could be a part of something awesome. 🙂

A decision will be made by Wednesday August 2nd, 2017 so get your audition up before then, otherwise you will miss the bus. And don’t worry, if we pick you, you will get all the details about what the show is about (nothing weird or overly physical, I promise).

It should go without saying but you must be 19 years or older to audition.

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Lip Dub project with NDDLH in Collingwood

I get asked a lot, “what makes a video go viral?” Well the answer is “a lot of things” but often it just takes a creative idea and little hard work to put it together.

Now granted, this particular video didn’t go viral globally but given the size of the school and surrounding community (school of 100 students in a town of 22k) it certainly did better than most other video advertisements shared by local busineses. And don’t be mistaken, this is 100% an advertisement for Notre Dame de la Huronie.

This video advertisement was created to show off the brand new school and help grow enrollment for the fully French school. Yes we could have done a real estate style tour, but where’s the fun in that? The “fun” part is why it was shared over 60 times. Plus the blooper reel at the end made it extra special. See for yourself, the end result that took a lot of creative planning, coordination, and practice.

So how did we do it? Well a huge credit goes to the Art teacher Mme Nalisa (my amazing wife) who planned the entire video with her grade 5/6 students. Together they mapped out where the camera was going plus the where and when all the students and faculty were to be. They even choreographed that dance and taught it to the whole school. How amazing is that?

We chose the lip dub style because it would be easier for me on the back end. This approach is done in one single take from start to finish so the editing process is very simple. I just dropped in the song and did a little bit of colour correction.

As you can see from the blooper reel however, there were several rehearsals before the final shoot. Because of the large colourful banner that gets destroyed and the silly string mess at the end, we had one chance to get it right and I think they did a pretty amazing job.

For businesses thinking that they want to create a viral video this is just a sample of what that takes. It may require you to step outside of your comfort zone for the sake of creativity and do something that viewers would not expect. Yes, it is more expensive than your traditional advertisement as we would take care of all that extra planning and coordination but that’s the price of creating buzz. That’s what it takes to get people talking about you and sharing your video. There is risk involved absolutely, but it is often very calculated and the payoff can be much better than any traditional advertising approach.

So when someone says to me “I want to make a viral video” my response is: “great, but do you have what it takes?”

 

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Why I’m Installing Theater Seats In The Studio

I’ve always been service oriented. To me it is important to make sure clients and customers are comfortable and well looked after. I feel like there are very few jobs and professions where this should not or does not apply. Maybe that’s my nature but I believe that this approach has helped me succeed not only as an employee but even more so as an entrepreneur.

In my agency days, the client was king. We would wine and dine clients like it was their birthday. We would jump through hoops to make them feel special and want to work with us. Now for the record, I’m not a fan of trying to make people like me by throwing money at them. That’s not the point. I actually did forge some great relationships because we just had a lot of fun together.

Now I’m at a point in my life where wining and dining and especially late night partying on a Wednesday is not really my thing. But there are still ways to go above and beyond to make clients feel extra special and welcome.

Here’s where the Theater Seats come in. When I was originally planning my studio, the concept was just a couch and and a TV. Somewhere to comfortably screen client videos that was not on my tablet or computer screen.

Well my Wife went searching and found these theater seats which seemed too perfect. And just like that, the simple and modest client screening area snowballed into a mini theater with authentic seating and a projector screen.

Currently I have most of the platform built. It is also on wheels so that I can move it around by myself and turn it to face whatever wall necessary. I have a few more boards to cut and lay down for the flooring and then I need to permanently bolt the seats to the boards. Like some of my projects in the studio, it is still a work in progress but I wanted to show it off and see what people think. is it too much? A little over the top? you be the judge.

Stay tuned for more progress as I finish it off and install the the projector in the next few weeks.

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Why We Don’t Shoot Weddings, And Other Life Advice

Yes, I know there’s money to be made from weddings… but not by me. I feel the need to answer this question as it comes up often. Especially after producing a promotional video for Around the Bay Wedding Show in Wasaga Beach this past spring.

… in case you missed it…

Most people are perplexed that I don’t do wedding videos or photography and insist that I should because it’s “easy money”. Well, here’s the short answer; it’s not in the business plan. If you’re a fellow entrepreneur, I hope that should suffice. for everyone else, please continue reading.

You see, one very important lesson I learned while trying to pursue fine art as a career was this:

EVERYONE has an opinion of “what you should focus on”… but only YOU know what is best for you and your business.

I wish I had been better at ignoring that advice in my youth or rather, developing and sticking to a plan. Who knows, I might have been a successful contemporary artist by now, but instead I fell victim to pursuing the creative advice from random people, focused on easy money. Some call that being a “jack of all trades” or “selling out” and I guess I was a bit of a sellout but at least i drew the line at Pet Portraits… well damn, there was this one.

PetPortrait

Without going into a big long rant, the bottom line is that I don’t have experience producing wedding videos. I do have over 10 years of experience in marketing communications, and video production. I don’t even have a desire to start shooting weddings. I do have a desire to create professional advertising and documentary films. When it comes to bfresh.media, anything outside of that is simply a waste of time.

So that’s my plan, and I’m sticking to it. Because as much as I wish there was, there is no such thing as “easy money”.

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3 ways video will boost your marketing exposure

Ok so my last blog post Ben’s #1 Reason to Advertise with Online Video, I talked about exposure and how Video advertising leads to way more of that good stuff. But how do you quantify exposure? Why is it so important?

Well first let me clarify that exposure should not be your only concern when marketing your business. But think of it as the mouth of a funnel. The wider that mouth is, the more leads you will generate and therefore more possible new customers coming through the end of the funnel.

marketing advertising sales funnel video production collingwood

So it is my #1 reason to advertise with video but this is a more in-depth look at why exposure is so important. Here are 3 ways video will boost your marketing exposure:

1. Engagement

Engagement is about capturing the attention of your audience and hopefully motivating them to respond to your call to action. Marketing professionals agree, in a recent survey, 70% reported that online video converts better than any other medium (MarketingProfs). This is compared to facebook, twitter, and traditional television advertising. Even if you don’t have a direct call to action but want to grow brand awareness by explaining what your business does, video can help with that too. On average, internet users will spend 88% more time on a website with video. That equates to approximately 2 more minutes spent on your website. Not to mention an increased engagement in social media posts and that brings us to the second reason:

2. Reach

Kind of like Exposure but multiplied. Think about the last thing you shared on facebook? was it a video? well you’re not alone, especially if you were on your mobile device at the time because 92% of mobile video viewers share videos with others. (Invodo) and that video viewing makes up 50% of all mobile traffic. But now we’re getting into a whole other area but the fact is that if you’re marketing your business with social media, posting video is much more likely to be seen and shared than text and even photos.

3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

You’ve probably been told you need SEO for your website. Well you can drastically increase your search ranking by adding photos and, you guessed it, video. Simply put, Google prioritizes video content because it wants to ensure that the users find the answer they are looking for. That’s probably because Search results with video have a “41% higher click-through rate than plain text.aimClear

There are so many ways you can incorporate video into your marketing strategy and each approach has their own set of benefits. It is important to remember however that not just any video will do. The key elements you always need are creative approach, engaging content, and a clear call to action. Lucky for you, we’re pretty good at those. 😉

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