Author Archives: in mi experience

About in mi experience

I've been creating videos film and media for almost 30 years.

In Mi Experience has moved

Moved-on

Hey there, thanks for checking out mi blog.

The news is that In Mi Experience has moved to its own website.

Just Click Here or go to www.markatodd.com to continue reading.

Again, thanks for following me…I hope its informative.

Mark Alexander Todd

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Good Video is changing the way we see businesses

Here are some FACTS which may affect your current thinking on visual media. It not a sales blurb they’re just honest facts:

  • The USA is about 4-5 years ahead of Europe in leveraging visual media for sales and training
  • If your company isn’t using video to sell to your clients, either online or in person, you are losing sales
  • If you have poor quality video material to sell your products you are damaging your brand
  • If you’re using videos in the old 4:3 format you are losing sales And damaging your brand
  • If you’re paying thousands of pounds to a film school graduate to produce your corporate material you are wasting money
  • Equally if you’re paying ‘Bill from down the road’ a ‘tenner’ to film your exhibition stand “’Cus we need some video for Facebook or Twitter” then you are only proving the maxim that “A fool and their money are easily parted.”

In short, if you’re looking at your video marketing or advertising material wandering “Is it good enough?”- You already know it is not good enough!


I know all this may sound harsh and I fully understand if you want to stop reading now. But…

Avengers_Age_Of_Ultron-poster1…Before you do, please answer me one question: Were you (the reader) any less harsh on the last movie or TV series you saw?
Didn’t you look at the ‘overpaid’ actors and wonder “How much did they get for this?” Maybe you liked the special effects “But they weren’t that great were they?” And the film is “Nothing like the book is it?”

Rightly or wrongly we all judge on what we see. If what we see on screen falls short of what we expect we react to it – usually negatively. It’s unlikely that we ever give the benefit of the doubt to the video maker, so the damage is done. And as we know, bad news travels fast.

Only last week I had to contact a colleague (he runs a cutting edge tech company) and let him know his social media ‘expert’ had posted a video of his company from 4 years ago. It was like Apple running an ad campaign, today, hailing the birth of the iPad. The worst part was it made the company’s brilliant new tech look like recycled old kit. The video gave the wrong impression of the company and its products. If that old video lost just one sale, it will have cost my colleague thousands.

For me it also highlighted the underlying fact that videos themselves have changed, becoming a more fluid medium. Today’s videos and advertisements are moderated and re-evaluated by our feedback (Likes, Retweets, Reblogs) to them.

Previously an advert would be shot like a small film – once complete it was cast in stone till the next one. Not so any more. Now it’s more likely that you’ll see an advert hit the web or TV, then within two weeks, you’ll see a re-edited version of the advert run for the duration of the ad campaign. This is because the advert has been split-tested with a variety of focus groups and audiences to see which version works best. Version 1 didn’t work out but Version 3 kept the attention of the demographic, so Versions 1, 2 and 4 went in the bin.

In today’s smartphone society there is no excuse for crappy looking video. It’s not a major financial investment anymore. You have a full HD camera on the back of your phone for one thing! The real investment is the time taken to create and split test something which will have a visual appeal and deliver the right message.

EATT-GTP-Banner

I have been talking about creating media for some time and recently, after a college speaking engagement, I began developing a course for students called Smartphone Film School. I realise that that the same changes that have occurred for film students, have also opened a very positive avenue for SME’s. Well the one’s looking to create their own media anyway.

With some thought and planning you can release your inner ‘Spielberg’ and make some very nice material for yourself or your company. All that’s needed is the framework within which to create the best possible story around your products.

The Smartphone Film Studio (Corporate version) will be available on the Education and Training TV (EATT) platform mid-February. It’s all being filmed on an iPhone and tablet so you can see just how far you can go with the free film studio you carry in your pocket.


To leave on a super positive note here are three facts to get you thinking:

1.8 Million Words – That’s the value of one minute of video, according to Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research. That’s the equivalent of 3,600 typical web pages. If you write an average of one web page an hour, it would take you 150 days of writing to achieve the impact of one minute of video.

75% – That’s the percent of executives who told Forbes that they watch work-related videos on business websites at least once a week. The results breakdown:
• 50% watch business-related videos on YouTube
• 65% visit the marketer’s website after viewing a video

90% – The percentage of online shoppers at a major retailer’s website who said they find video helpful in making shopping and buying decisions. Retailers who provide online video to show off their products report that the products with video sell a lot more than products with no video.

Thanks to Andrew Follett at Video Brewery for his facts.


Thanks for reading and as usual any comments to Mark Alexander Todd at Guvnor Media


Is fear holding back your business?

Of all the great things I get to do as a creative person, the one thing that is always exciting is learning new stuff. Sometimes that stuff is work related, sometimes its ‘life’ related. In one of my most recent video projects I’ve learnt a lot, and also observed how reluctance to change can put business owners at a financial disadvantage. It’s this knowledge I’d like to share. [Skip to video]

ForrestGump2It sounds deep but it’s not. I’m not one of these self-styled online ‘business gurus’ who pump out Forrest Gump style quotes (Life is like a box of chocolates….) then try and sell you an exhibition stand. No… I just love it when people learn, and that education makes their life better.

Here’s a for instance: In the past 20 years the changes in my field of film and TV are quite astounding. Now it’s a pre-requisite that I keep adapting.

This rapid development means the average iPhone can push out a TV picture as acceptable as the average TV news camera. This has changed the way we all see the news, because anyone can be an ‘on the spot reporter’ when incidents happen. This has changed how our news is both captured and reported.

These changes are happening everywhere and the ‘old ways’ no longer exist. Honestly, when was the last time you wrote a cheque or used a fax? Right now, one hot news topic is the (numerous) changes to pensions, here in the UK.

I’ve recently been working on a video project with Hannah Goldsmith, and she frequently sees a refusal to change, costing business owners a lot of money. So what started off as a simple video project, has resulted in an unexpected learning curve about investments and pensions. I now feel like I took the red pill and have disappeared down the financial rabbit hole.

After many conversations and some personal research (see, more learning), I humbly submit that the whole investing ‘thing’ is closer to white collar gambling than I would like – these are my words not Hannah’s.

I say this because the reality of the investment industry is: experienced and educated brokers ‘predict’ which shares will increase in value and which will decrease. They then buy and sell accordingly for their investors. If the predictions are correct the brokers will ‘beat the market’. Otherwise, “The value of your investments can go down as well as up…” That’s painful if the investment is your pension, but on the bright side, the brokers still get their fees.

Now I know you can’t buy pensions or stocks and shares from Waitrose, so honestly, what are the options? Well, this is where advisors like Hannah come in. She is FCA registered, and can advise on what to do with your pension and investments just like the big institutions. The difference with Hannah is, she’s all about your future lifestyle, so she tweaks investment strategies to match lifestyle expectations.

As most investment strategies run for 25 years it is staggering to see how much money you can lose doing things the ‘old fashioned way’. Watch this video and you’ll see.

GFS-Video-Five-Title-card

But even more surprising than this, is people’s fear and reluctance to change, despite the enormous economic upsides.

As I say, I like my work because I learn new things. I’ve learnt that investments can be like a leaking bucket with fees slowly syphoning off my financial security. I’m just glad I met Hannah, because now I have more insight on how advisors like her can help me plug the holes. I also hope this knowledge will be useful to other business owners.


The 3 Cardinal Sins of Corporate Video pt3

Cardinal-sins-3Of the three Cardinal Sins, the Third Sin is probably the most difficult to explain on paper, as video is a visual medium. But, if you don’t speak the ‘language of film’ you might find you connect with the audience…in the wrong way.

Body language, has been a subtle part of our private and managerial life for many years now. Being able to sneak a peek at the unconscious thoughts of the person in front of you by the way their body acts and reacts, is now fully absorbed into our everyday lives. How many times do you hear comments like, “He said he was fine but he didn’t look fine” or “She said it didn’t upset her, but you could see it in her eyes”?

More recently, Paul Ekman’s work on micro expressions http://www.paulekman.com/ has opened up a whole new dimension in what we’re really thinking. Tiny expressions lasting just 1/10th of a second, can completely give away our real, honest feelings.

Vocally, when in person, we tend to ‘hear’ if a person is being false. On-screen we rely on the talent of the actor or presenter to communicate authenticity and authority.

These are the most challenging aspects to overcome when working with non-professionals on video. Subtle facial movements or vocal hesitations can either bring your audience to tears or have them crying “bulls**t” at the screen.

The Third Sin: Bad Language

OK so we agree ‘bad’ language is both spoken and seen. To complicate matters further, if what you see is contradicted by what you hear (or know to be true), then your brain gets confused. When words and images don’t ‘match’, people’s ability to absorb information and react is compromised while they try and make sense of the conflicting information. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stroop_effect.

Why is this important? Well, if you tell your video audience you’re an expert, but have to read notes from beside of the camera – you’re a fraud! At best the audience begins to make assumptions about the veracity of your claims, at worst they’ll dismiss the video (and product) as fake and most likely switch off – literally.

So for you to portray yourself positively in a video, here are a few thing you might like to consider:

  1. The right ‘Look and Feel’

  • If you’re a progressive company don’t dress your people like Don Johnson in Miami Vice (even thought I loved the 80’s)
  • ‘Sex doesn’t sell’ a video with only men in it, may suggest you don’t cater for women and vice versa
  • Music: If you’re a fun company, use fun music, not a funeral march
  • Visually, if you’re a fast paced company the video should reflect that with the shots you choose
  • Your office is nice, but is that the right place to film?

 

  1. Sincerity & Authority

  • Know your product, so you (or your presenter) can talk about it with passion
  • Scripts are in ‘spoken’ English not ‘written’ English. There is a difference, and if you’re not sure, get a writer to prepare one for you.
  • Rehearse your script (lots) or use a prompter – looking off-camera to read your lines makes you seem insincere, and uninterested. (BTW Everytime you say ‘erm’ an angel loses it’s wings)
  • Make sure your posture says you’re comfortable – if you fidget or bounce on your feet, you look ‘shifty’

 

  1. Techy stuff

  • Keep your camera steady – wobbly iPhone videos are not cool. You don’t want you viewers suffering from ‘Cybersickness
  • Vertical videos are a sin in themselves, video images are wide not tall. (Don’t make me come over there and slap you!)
  • If you don’t know how to do them properly, avoid video effects and green screen. Bad effects just look naff, and that makes you look naff.
  • If the camera is far away from the subject, plug in a mic or record additional sound closer to the person on camera – If I can’t hear you I won’t listen!
  • Throw some light on the subject – If I can’t see you…you get what I’m saying.

These are just a few suggestions that will make your videos look immeasurable better and help you speak in a language that your viewer will understand. The result will be, people absorbing the message of the video, not getting distracted by your wobbly camera work.

As we say in film circles “If people are noticing the camera, they ain’t lookin’ at the actor!”

These articles have been so well received that I’ve now been asked to create a training series, which will be available in January 2016. Contact me direct on marktodd@guvnormedia.com or @theguvnoruk to find out more.

In the meantime, I hope this whistle-stop lesson will help you get more from your videos, both in sales and views.

As always I’m happy to hear from readers, with comments or stories.

Visit our website at: http://www.guvnormedia.com

Written by Mark Alexander Todd


The Three Cardinal Sins of Corporate Video pt2 – Audience

AudienceTell me the odd one out: Theatre….Film….TV

OK, enough fake suspense – TV is the odd one out, and let me explain why.

Simply put, you ‘go to’ the movies or ‘go to’ the theatre. You arrive at a venue, you pay for your seat and you are entertained (hopefully). But you as a viewer have no control over the entertainment experience you receive. You’re a captive audience sailing along on a narrative over which you have no control.

TV is totally different. The TV is the guest in the corner of your room. The programmes and adverts dance to your tune and if you don’t like the dance…the remote control exacts your channel-changing revenge.

Once you realise this it’s easy to see where online video or programming over internet (YouTube, NetFlix, Vimeo, BBC iPlayer, Roku etc) fits in. [It’s like TV not the cinema]. You’ll probably already see the significance, but indulge me.

As a filmmaker (making a film for the cinema) I can take my time telling you my story. It’s not uncommon for the opening sequences of feature films to be minutes long with little or no dialogue to speak of. TV is much more immediate, more fast paced – and yet it’s a slow cousin to the Internet and online video.

The Second Sin – YouTube will Love Me.

YouTube-Is-Testing-a-New-Video-Player-478321-2I recently attended a meeting with a large company in the City (London), their marketing person was an ex-film school student. As I’d worked in Hollywood for a number of years, she was very keen to get my opinion on the companies latest 4 minute video. But we’ll come back to this in a moment.

It’s estimated that you have between 3 and 8 seconds to engage a viewer on the web. After that…they’re looking for the next item on the playlist. This has a marked effect on the way you create your online videos, the style you adopt and the way you showcase your wares. If you hack together a video then throw it towards YouTube, hoping for it to ‘go viral’ (AKA ‘post and pray’) then chances are, you’ll be diasppointed.

So, unsurprisingly, the aforementioned 4 minute YouTube video, with a 30 second opening sequence featuring empty rooms, wasn’t working (who knew, right?). The ex-film student couldn’t see why, because the video was “so beautifully shot”. Perhaps so, but sadly, the audience wouldn’t hang around for 4 minutes to find out the films’ cinematic denouement. The video was akin to bringing a knife to a gun-fight.

A video for an online audience needs to be designed, constructed and shot differently. The video must look good on all types of mobile devices – tiny images will not show up well on a 4 inch iPhone screen. Please remember, Video is not a bill – it is an investment.  Furthermore, once the video is made you also need to consider the videos’ title carefully, as well as the tags and online description. It’s also worth asking if the static video is better presented as a streamed event or Google Hangouts style webinar. All of these factors will decide if people will spare you the time to watch.

Even after all this work, you’ll probably get it wrong first time. We do and I know the big companies do too. So, if you are using a video company that offers a cast iron guarantee of a ‘viral video’ – then my VW really does do 85 miles per gallon.

Online is a brilliant way to distribute your corporate video and promote your company, but online is now a defined marketplace in itself. It has it’s own ever-shifting rules, styles and trends. That’s why you need a strategy for the videos you create and a clear plan of how you will actively use them.

Join me next time for the last of these three articles, where I’ll be looking at the third cardinal sin ‘Bad Language’.

As always I’m happy to hear from readers, with comments or stories.

Contact me direct on marktodd@guvnormedia.com or @theguvnoruk

Visit our websites at: http://www.guvnormedia.com and http://www.guvnormedia.co.uk

Written by Mark Alexander Todd


The Three Cardinal Sins of Corporate Video pt1.

Writer and Director Mark Alexander Todd

Writer and Director Mark Alexander Todd

When looking at video as a commercial project, so many people dance on a thin line between art and common sense.

Frequently, years of accumulated commercial experience go out of the window because of phrases like “People will love this” “It’ll look great” or “I’ve got a great idea what if…[insert your own insanity here]”.

Vanity, enthusiam and naivety all play a part in that inevitable conversation between corporate client and video producer which starts with a phrase like “Well the video hasn’t done as well as we would have expected…” If your company has been a part of a conversation like that, then you have most likely broken one of the three cardinal sins of corporate video. This is the first of three articles that explores the cardinal sins of corporate video.


 

The First Sin – Video is a bill.

Comedy actors Rowan Atkinson (left) and Tony Robinson as Blackadder and Baldrick in Blackadder III.

Comedy actors Rowan Atkinson (left) and Tony Robinson as Blackadder and Baldrick in Blackadder III.

In his role as Edmund Blackadder, Rowan Atkinson said “Sometimes Baldrick I feel like an enormous flemingo…No matter which way I turn there’s always an enormous BILL in front of me”. Comical as it seems, this is the way most companies view creating video, either for their website, online marketing or training.

The key to planning any type of successful video production is ROI or return on investment. When you approach the subject of video, for whatever use, you should have some idea of a) What you will use it for?  b) What you expect the returns to be?  c) How much those returns are worth to you?

When you have these things in mind you’ll have a better idea of what your budget is and what you expect in return for you money, because – Video is not a bill, it’s an investment. 

The video you want to create must have a clear use and a reason for being made. It should also be associated with a particular budget: marketing, sales, training, what have you. Once the video is completed, the original footage (raw footage) becomes a part of your company’s library and the completed video is an asset to your company. If you want to “Throw some video on the front page of our website because Google ranks you higher” your project will ultimately fail. If “John has a new iPhone 6, so we should shoot a video of the accounts team, because it’ll go viral”, you will end up making a bad advert for your company, which could cost you future sales and clients.

To blow my own trumpet for a moment…our company has just completed a video project, which has helped raise a large six figure investment from a modest four figure video budget. Why? The video work was considered an investment to market new pharmaceutical process equipment. A price was put on the value of that marketing item and instantly there was an unambiguous framework for everyone to work around with no surprises. We attracted the help of two “Sirs” and five universities in England and Wales. In the words of Martin Sheen “Winning”.

So, repeat after me…Video is not a bill it’s an investment. So please approach it like one.

A simple, clear mission statement on what you want your video to do for you, will save you time, money and possible embarrasement. You can approach video companies with clear motives. They, in turn, (if they’re a good company) will give you clear costs for what you need and clear direction on how to proceed and leverage your new asset.

Join me again to find out about the second cardinal sin: The Wrong Direction.

As always I’m happy to hear from readers, with comments or stories.

Contact me direct on marktodd@guvnormedia.com or @theguvnoruk

Visit our websites at: http://www.guvnormedia.com and http://www.guvnormedia.co.uk


Bizness Lifestyle

Bizness Lifestyle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Business life isn’t all accounts and meetings. Sometimes getting the job done means the right look or the feeling of confidence you get when you know you’re thouroughly prepared. Covering topics from grammar to psychology, Bizness Lifestyle will give you that confidence.

To begin the strand Karyl Iles and Libby Walton, will help you to feel confident and read those all important body language signals – all while looking you best.

See the first interview with our two experts on Thursday 26th June at 10am on Biz To Biz TV.


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