I fell into video production more than 20 years ago. I say fell, because I never had any intentions of producing corporate video for the next two decades.
But that’s what happened.
In 1999, I was a territory sales manager for Dupont Radiopharmaceuticals. My territory was Arizona, New Mexico and Las Vegas.
For a guy with a music degree from Berklee and the attention span of a dead gnat, I was, to my surprise, killin’ it.
I didn’t go out every day and make perfunctory sales calls and go home to the wife and kids like my contemporaries. No, I was out all night and every weekend hiking with customers, hosting dinners at my home, teaching kids how to play guitar and escorting crestfallen female technologists to divorce court when the occasion required it.
I didn’t believe in wasting energy, so I would wait for the right opportunities and strike. In other words, I slept with one eye open.
One particular day, a hiking buddy who was also a chief tech, gave me a tip on a new heart hospital that would open in a few months in Mesa, Arizona.
After my involuntary drooling ceased, I was sitting in front of the new hospital CEO offering Cardiolite, my nuclear cardiac agent, and promising the world.
Which I could, of course, deliver.
Because like all good sales people, I solve problems. And she had one, a big one.
My damsel in distress was losing sleep over the fact that she couldn’t get any referring docs to do a tour of her new facility because, dang it, they were just too busy.
No docs = no referrals.
And like most Type A personalities, it takes a few minutes for my brain to catch up with my mouth and I exploded with, “No problem, we’ll just videotape a tour and send them a CD. ( I had just learned how to make and mass produce those archaic disks that are now used as coasters)
When the look of relief flashed in her eyes, I knew one problem was going away and another would soon present itself. I knew nothing about video. I wasn’t even sure which end of a camera to point at someone.
Long story short, I pulled it off. I not only got that business, but it started my business, Double O Creative, and got me a nice in-house studio gig in the home office.
There I produced a viral, e-mail newsletter entitled “Outbreak,” (I know, I know) implemented digital signage and came to produce national sales meetings for not only my company but some of the biggest biotech companies in Boston.
In the subsequent years I have had to learn some hard lessons. Lessons about content creation, owning a business, pulling performances out of reluctant talent, people, marketing, fickle economies, producing value, generating profitable ideas and money. The last one damned near killed me.
I may be considered old school in these wild and woolly days of social media, where you can pick up a camera and slap yourself online without a second thought, but I fear some folks are showing up to this foot shooting party with an AK-47.
The framing is inebriated, the audio desperately needs subtitling, the messaging is strictly stream of consciousness and the locations are telling. OK, jump cuts are in, I get it, but five jumps in one sentence?
Do we need to be reminded about first impressions? Do you like to shower with the curtain open?
To me, video isn’t about depth of field, editing software, color correction and fancy lenses. It is the ultimate communication tool. If used wisely, it can make you look like a genius or a damned fool.
These days, every one of us could use more time in the editing bay so we don’t look like a gang of paparazzi.
Think about what you will be saying to the world, the whole world, before you hit that red button.
I live by “Plan the shoot, shoot the plan.”
Remember: It’s not what you shoot, it’s what you show.