Tag Archives: Mark A. Todd. Guvnor Films

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.

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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


Independent Series by Guvnor Media goes to The Public

The Haunted KingdomFor the past 5 months, Guvnor Media Ltd has been creating a growing number of short videos for its series The Haunted Kingdom.

 

Based around an area of the UK called The Black Country, the series looks at the many historical ghost stories that surround the region. The beauty of the series is contained not only the people relating the stories, but also the glimpse into the history of an area that encompasses The Industrial Revolution.

The first six videos of the series are now part of an exhibition at The Public in West Bromwich – Black Country Legends. This is the latest  of the videos which takes a look at The Crooked House, near Dudley.

Keep a look out for more new stories in the coming months.

The Guvnor Media Team.


Independent film – Spike Breakwell’s article features on Disability Horizons

Guvnor Films’ feature film Bad Reception continues to create a stir. After a successful premier in Dunstable, executive producer Spike Breakwell was asked to write a piece about his work on the film.

http://disabilityhorizons.com/2013/01/from-a-stage-in-luton-to-an-la-movie-set/

A full cast and crew listing is on IMDB

Own a copy of Bad Reception yourself, just click buy below.

Bad Reception DVD


A Good Reception for “Bad Reception” in Dunstable.

Ashley Trevathan and Spike BreakwellThe irony of watching a film about a killer TV on a large screen TV was not lost on the audience at the UK premiere of Bad Reception.

Producer Spike Breakwell, lead actress Ashley Trevathan, and director Mark Alexander Todd looked on as members of the audience watched, rapt, as the scary and sometimes gory story unfolded. Accompanied by the odd scream of surprise, the audience watched the supernatural goings on all the way to the film’s thrilling climax.

When the lights came up, the VIP lounge at the Highwayman rang to the sound of applause. Not known for its film premieres, The Highwayman Hotel took the premiere to heart. Fitting a red carpet on the entrance gave the premiere a real Hollywood feel, and the free hot popcorn added a sense of theatrical fun.

Audience member Nicholas Donnithorne was caught out by Bad Reception’s many scary moments, and later said “Bearing in mind I do not watch horror films, for reasons you soon noticed, I really enjoyed it.”

American actress and star of the film, Ashley Trevathan, said, “It’s been a while since I’ve seen the film, and it’s always awkward to watch myself on screen, but I really enjoyed it.”

While the evening was fun for everyone concerned, there was a serious side to the event. All of the money raised from DVD sales and donations was donated to Macmillan Cancer Support. With the sad loss of Spike’s mentor, Kevin Robinson, in September, “It seemed a good way to remember Kevin and the positive influence he had on my life,” said Breakwell.

Breakwell and Todd have more showings of the film planned for 2013. They are also collaborating on a new project, which is a documentary about ghosts in the West Midlands. Details about all the Guvnor Films projects can be found at: http://www.guvnorfilms.com


Sony PMW-F5 & PMW-F55 4K Cine Cameras

Well, the battle continues between the big camera companies to create an ‘affordable cine camera’. I think it’s fair to say the original pioneers of the digital cine camera, Sony, have been a little behind companies like RED in recent years. But this press release from two days ago may be the start of a comeback.

Sony PMW F5/F55


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