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DANCING FOR LOVE

Eleni danced for love and I shot this video because of her gift of love to us. The emotion I feel when viewing this video is not an easy one to manage. It challenges my faith in life’s overarching love that I maintain is present for us no matter what our destiny holds.

What saves me from a sense of untamed despair is the my observation of how Eleni lived to the last minute of her life and seemed to never spend a day without drawing deep breaths…. she did not breath shallow into life! On some very deep level we all seem to creatively adjust to adverse circumstances but some of us really stretch out far and wide to overcome obstacles…especially artists. This was Eleni.

Along the bottom of the screen I put a bit of information I knew about her and how she lived and loved.

I’ll let her dance speak for her – that’s what she wanted it to do and I’ll use this space to tell you a bit about how I planned this shoot, most of it, without even her knowledge.

Like most artists, Eleni worked for love and rarely had funds for anything except the bare essentials of living to include a roof overhead and food on the table. Money was therefore removed from the menu. I could never have taken money anyway, it would have been a cheap exchange for the wealth she obviously had to gift me with.

Something in me knew she was dying all the while she was full of living. She felt her previous bought with cancer was not only submission, but completely gone. I met her at another dancers house who was a client of mine. When she viewed my video work she was in love with it and mentioned that she had always wanted to dance and be recorded. I knew then I would be the one who held the camera.

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I contacted her and she came to visit me during one of my visits to Seattle. I asked her to bring some of her favourite costumes… when she showed me the one you see her in on this video I thought she’d look delicious in it for many reasons… her strong facial features, the red cast to her hair, the strident statement about life that red always makes…AND, how it would look when seen surrounded by green.

She didn’t know, but i was going to shoot her outside in the forest. When she came to see me…when she was leaving, we embraced goodbye and i used my finger nail to mark her height on the door jam. Then I scouted out a place in a nearby forest where I was certain that at a given hour, the magic hour, the sun would light her face and glisten on the red sequins of her costume.

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She was the easiest person to direct and everything you see in this brief video were first takes. I chose the music not only for it’s sentimental sweep of all things sweet, but for the reason the maestro composed the music…. the title of the piece, translated, simply means ‘The Light of the Moon’.
The moon as we know, has no light of her own…she is a dry and barren rock, suspended in space. Her light is borrowed and without the sun, she would never glow or send her magic beams to enchant us for centuries, inspire reams of myths and legends.

The moon informs us, as it has our foremothers and fathers, when to sow and when to harvest. Her magnetism is so important it governs our tides from the smallest rain puddle to the biggest ocean.

In the bible and several other holy scripts, the moon is called, ‘the faithful witness’. I believe that this is our challenge in life…to know that the sun is always shinning and that we can have a fruitful life in as much as we know that our light is borrowed and it’s free and easy to locate. That is Love. No money required – always forgiving since offending ‘infinity’ is impossible. Love only knows love, first, last, and all the way in between.

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So in my mind, the love that Eleni was able to bring to the fore and release in her love of dance, despite the depth of sorrow it was birthed from, was script enough to conceptualize her offering.

So here she is, for as long as the digital age can display her, she will dance for you, for me and for the love of life.

Shooting this video was one of the most wonderful experiences I’ve ever had in my career. There was absolutely no glitch, nothing needed redoing, no misunderstandings arose, everything went so smoothly, it was as if the shoot had already happened, altogether elsewhere!

Her gratitude healed me. Of what I’m not sure yet…but it healed me. I felt so full of the quietest joy, the sort that doesn’t even need expression. When she saw the video, she and her niece rang me and she took me point by point about what she loved about it and how it made her feel.

I hope when you view this brief video about a dying woman’s parting gift, you take it in and may it live in you forever.

One final note, when Eleni visited me and we decided the red costume she would dance in, she left it with me so she didn’t have to bring it back with her for the shoot, scheduled a few days later. I tucked it safely away in a small suitcase. When she took it home she left by accident one of the small arm bands you see her wear in this video. I discovered it a few weeks after I arrived home and called her to ask her if she wanted me to send it to her… she said, “that’s okay, keep it and bring it with you when you come over and I’ll get it then.” So that’s what I plan to do!

ADDITIONAL NOTES:
This video was to be a gift for a fledging company that did not make it through it’s adverse circumstances and launch. It was a company set up by an equally generous woman who wanted to give the world a place to post legacies and obituaries. Be it in song, sermon, poem, or, like this, video. Then folks could share the burden of grief, celebrate the life of the deceased by sharing tributes, etc.

During the process of developing the website and assembling the videos to display on it I came to know the intent and hearts content of the woman who hired me. She had her sorrow to bear having lost a daughter and that loss carried an ocean of grief in it’s wake. Later on, during the journey we took together, she lost a dear friend and passed thru that grief.

Somewhere along the way, she discovered how expensive it was to have obits printed in the local newspaper and that prompted her interest in developing a Legacy Obituary Directory. She want it to be free to all and to make back her in

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HAYSTACKS BBQ

This project was developed to launch a fund raising campaign within Kickstarter.

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This was a challenging video production due to the lack of understanding that those who ordered it had in the first instance.   I’ll be eager to see how they do, but it is generally understood that Kickstarter is geared to very personal reasons and not so much for this sort of commercial enterprise.  Having said that, it’s not uncommon for them to accept ‘commercial’ enterprises, so we moved forward with the view to appeal to the local community to fund the purchasing of the equipment.

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All I had to work with was a shell of a building, which did shoot well!  An empty shell, dark coloured walls but the outside of the building was, in my opinion, charming!  A small brick, stand alone on the fringe part of town that was experiencing development.

There weren’t  many features I could draw on as raw ‘ingredient’ to cook up this persuasive appeal.  The chef was not a showman… the menu, unless you really got into it, was not something to catch the attention of anyone, unless they were hungry or knew something about BBQ.

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HOWEVER, the fact that the chef was trained as a Cordon Bleu Pastry Chef and was going to have his (apparently) splendid pies on the menu, was a mouth watering prospect!

I had to somehow capitalize on that point…all the while not really being able to frame him out on video!  The other factor was that these folks put forth such effort in their research when selecting each and every ingredient. Problem with this was, the consuming public, for the most part, had to be educated into even wanting these preferred ingredients!  For the most part they didn’t give a hoot.

How many folks know that just because something is called ‘Angus Beef’ doesn’t mean that it is ‘Certified Angus Beef’?  Further to that, how many consumers know the difference?

How many folks know that a stone ground bun, in effect a pretzel bun, is preferred to the usual bun until they try one?

The best chance they had from pulling attention to the menu was that they would be serving micro brews, mostly from local brewers….but then again, most micro brew fans would be going to the brew houses or a bar!

Anyway, you’ll see from what I did in this video that if there was something to capitalize on I did just that!  When I discovered that Kickstarter typically fund ‘the person’ and not so much the ‘product or service’ I had to scramble to take the raw ingredients (sorry!) and create a personality, not only for the chef, but for the purpose of the new venture.  I have no doubt whatsoever, that if they do manage to pull this together it will not only be a good BBQ place to frequent, it will be the ONLY PLACE to go and have a BBQ and a marvelous slice of fresh, homemade pie!

After all, it’s the BBQ sauce that makes the BBQ and it’s the pastry chef that knows how to bake a pie.

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SEO Video – Production Notes

The opening scene / image tells you exactly what this video sales tool is going to be about.  It displays a hand that has a electrical charge going between the gripping thumb and one of the other fingers.  The electrical charge is in the shape of the world and is also that colour.  It asks a question that should serve as a ‘hook’.

“Are you really connected or just online?”  That statement is the videos ‘set hook’ and the rest of the video is to play the fish out while reeling in!  For the rest of the video this question is put into a visual delivery device…the question is asked over and over again and a solution is offered.

The next question it asks is:  ‘When you built it, did they come?”  and then very rapidly, with the intention of slightly disorientating the viewer, several business men fly in from all corners…they are pictured as flying pieces of Lego …building the businessmen who are involved in actions that portray what businessmen would do!  At an easel doing a presentation, working an ipad, walking with his briefcase, etc.

Next scene.. a huge single blue eye… meant to say in picture form: ‘eye on the world’ transfixed there for a moment longer than is comfortable.  That split second longer is there with intention…so that the viewer can consider the response to the question he/she is being asked.

Then a business man has an open hand with a laptop displaying connections to every conceivable device…the question asks:  “Can consumers access you from all devices”.   Here you will see that the point that the video opened with is being drilled in using the Socratic Method also known as a Q&A . LOL  Note that the reference ‘ consumers’ should grab the attention of anyone who is trying to sell product or services.  “Can they find you?!”

The next scene offers a solution if you need one! LOL  It shows a computer tower being linked to many others, quickly, and systematically.  This is a good metaphor for what Mr. Presley does at his company WebsiteDevelopment.us   He connects you to the world wide possibilities of those who want to buy what you are selling.

Next, we revisit the point previously made with the Lego businessmen.. this time it’s  a city that’s being built and it is purposely white.  This white means that you’ve not been there yet,   it’s not coloured yet. You can colour it by visiting it.  It teaches by discussing the process of building an online presence as cyber- architecture.

The sharp cut to the red arrow is a bit shocking and supposed to be; the arrow travels aggressively up and down simulating the way markets typically move.  This point is punctuated again by displaying the many stats of wall street, with numbers and graphs etc.

This is a statement that signals the viewer that the company publishing this site is respecting that good SEO and getting a website positioning on the world wide web is as good as cash in the bank.  That’s why that animated graph is used.  Here again, this movement of the activity on Wall Street is really in your face and is meant to have you pull back a bit…because the next scene is really one to pull you forward!  It is an adorable little smiling boy, giving you the ‘thumbs up’ and he is on the screen for a tiny bit longer breaking the rhythm of the rest of the video.  The only other thing on this page is  WebsiteDevelopment.us … the website address and this charming sales pitch is really meant to engage the viewer, disarm them if they feel intimidated, break that intimidation and extend an invitation to look at the site.  It says “yes, it’s good – go have a look, you’re going to love it I promise!”

That’s what that little boy says.  It’s put right in the middle of the video.  It’s a mini break as well. My goodness, with all these aggressive disquieting question and interrogation… a man’s got to have a respite!  So you give him one!

Next there is a colour graphic, happy bright colours to follow on from the cute little boy, that speaks to what Steve’s company does.  It’s a simple comment but complicated enough to inform the viewer that they know less than they thought they did.

Then more wheels… gears, cogs, all driving the wheels…everything working.  Good clockwork.  And wheels within wheels is one way to speak about good solid SEO work like Steve’s.  I am foreshadowing the colour of the very important point made at the end of the video.

The next graphic is in bright red and huge…on that graphic it spells out how, what, and where is SEO.  Following on there is an animated pie chart timed to the music that’s supporting it.

Finally a flying dart,that will hold anyone’s attention that ends up by pinning a $100 bill to the bull’s eye of the target it was thrown to hit!  I’d say that metaphor does not need further comment.

This video was developed for WebsiteDevelopment.us to put out onto the waters as a baited lure.  With the skill Mr. Presley has acquired over the years, I have no doubt that the video will not only pull traffic to his website but harvest a considerable conversion rate as well.

 

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Chemistry IS Everything!

Whether your cooking, public speaking, in a laboratory developing new substances, distilling a fine liquor or aging wine…whatever, chemistry is everything.

It’s not just the ingredients, it’s how they are mixed…like perfume for example, put one ingredient in at one crucial time during the process and you can cause the previous two ingredients to separate. This will sometimes produce a very good effect, like a nose fetching ‘top note’ or it will fall to the bottom on the scale and become the ‘base note.’ The perfume industry, as with many others depend on successful chemistry and they succeed or fail when introducing a new scent to a line of fragrances.

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Good chemistry is when the joining of two ingredients, become more than the sum total of both. It’s a masterful fusion. Charismatic people for example, often have more than the average amount of ingredients that solicit a greater than usual response in many people. You may not be able to define it, but it works despite the lack of definition.

Successful marketing and advertising depends on the chemistry a product or service conjures in the consuming public. Think of the successful “I’m a Mac” – “I’m a PC’ television adverts. Very simply crafted with a power punch that guaranteed mega dollars on the bottom line. Steve Jobs was not known for his personal charisma but his product built one of the most profitable marketing campaigns ever. RIchard Branson with Virgin Atlantic is another prime example of how a product or service can generate irresistible sex appeal in the market place. Go into any Apple store or borad any of the Virgin Atlantic airlines, or go and listen to music in their stores, and if you don’t come out of those places happier than you went in, then you must be sleep walking.

Those BRANDS were built, tightly monitored, tweaked and modified as and when needed to become very successful business models. They have one thing in common and this is the salient point I want to make in this blog entry:

Absolutely everything they have onboard or in the shop front is essential. They have distilled the very essence of what they are selling, and you feel it’s there for YOU! They distilled the look, the sound, the colours, the uniforms, the packaging, EVERYTHING was taken into consideration and if one little ‘ingredient’ was in excess, did nothing to enhance the brand, then it was thrown out. Those two brands are tight, clean, targeted, and sexy. The ingredients, all added together, produce something greater than the total of them!

That process, I argue, is how to make great videos to sell your products and services.

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This testimonial was one we had fun creating! The spokesperson is a Robert Dinero impersonator and in this video he’s giving us a send up and playing into the fact that Petrushka Pavlovich is a very fine chef who brings her talents and skills to the studio and conjures appetite stimulating recipes in the form of narrative videos!

Good narrative, that is good story telling, we all know is not what the story is about, it’s how you tell it. The order you tell it in… that parts you leave out or allude to. It’s chemistry. A good comedic is masterful at story telling…and he or she plays into the audience, generating electric chemistry then drops in the ‘punch line’ that should have them laughing with gusto.

Videos, well produced, generate interest, bring a market demand to the fore and cultivate it. We’ve all seen those alluring high end commercials that entice us to ‘want’ something we really don’t need..that is the best of supply & demand and is a form of chemistry.

The world of search engine optimization, typically known as SEO, feeds off of a perfect marriage of how the bots, also known as electronic readers (which are robotic,) respond to the ever changing viewing public. Generating interest is a skill set in chemistry too!