The Video You Don't Want to Make

Posted on by Hal Clifford

This is a brilliant, hilarious sendup of the generic, anodyne videos that too many companies and nonprofits are putting up on their websites and pushing out through their social media channels. Watch this to understand what NOT to do when you make a video: Don't be fake. Don't be inauthentic. Don't be generic. Don't underestimate your audience. And while it's a great advertisement for the stock agency that made it -- don't rely on too much stock footage.  


Colorado, Belize, Africa, Cambodia

Posted on by Hal Clifford

Jason and Hal slipped out of town for a few days over spring break. We went to slightly different places:


Hal went to the high country of Colorado. Jason went to the low country of Belize. Hmm. Who made the better choice?

By now we've got the snow and sand out of our shoes and are back at it. The coolest new development for us is that we'll be headed to Ghana in the fall to help launch the first luxury safari ecolodge in West Africa. We'll be creating brand video, media kits, social media and video and still imagery libraries for the folks at Zaina, the firm launching the new lodge in Mole National Park. (Check them out here.) This will be Jason's fifth trip to Africa, his first to the western side, and Hal's first overall. We're delighted to be part of this team!

We're also thrilled to be moving forward with our project "Capturing The Killing Fields," a planned documentary film about Mac & Simone Leng, survivors of the Cambodian genocide of the late 1970s. We've raised the funds to conduct our initial on-camera interviews in May and June here in Colorado, with the goal of creating a development trailer for the full-length film. So Cambodia isn't quite on the calendar yet, but it's in our sights ...



Very Cool Post On Emotions & Decisions

Posted on by Hal Clifford

Over the weekend we saw a great post on the blog Buffer summarizing a lot of the science about how emotions drive actions on the web (like sharing), and how we use emotions to make decisions (contrary to conventional wisdom, in which we believe we analytically decide things [we don't]). Herewith, my Clifnotes version (although you should check out the graphics in the original post):

- Happiness makes us want to share (thus brands use puppies and babies)

- Sadness makes us want to connect and empathize

- Fear and surprise make us want to cling to someone (and that someone could be a brand)

- Anger and disgust make us stubborn (watched Fox News lately?)

Author Courtney Seiter wraps up by quoting Google's Abigail Posner: "when we share a video or an image, we’re not just sharing the object, but we’re sharing in the emotional response it creates."

How To Get A Creative to Help Your Brand

Posted on by Hal Clifford

Photographer Thomas Hawk gave a nice interview to Content Marketing Institute about how brands can entice creatives to work with them -- especially creatives who are good and are in demand. Some if his tips: It has to be about more than money; make it interesting; give that creative something other people aren't going to get (like access). I would add, if you want someone to write about, photograph or film your stuff, give them room. Let them be authentic and convey what they want to convey. Their involvement with your brand will be a lot more real, original and compelling as a result.

Recent Work (We've Been Busy!)

Posted on by Hal Clifford

This week we wrapped filming for a fundraising video for The Friends School, in which we tried to do something different from the usual "cute kids" video. We're just about done with a multi-pronged video project for Emily Davis Consulting, which has been a blast (Emily is one of our favorite people!). We're in the middle of filming a home page video for Listening Impact, a consulting firm that does some really interesting work (but we won't show you their webpage now, because they're rebuilding it). We've been helping Penguin author Mike SanClements with a book trailer to help launch his upcoming book on plastic. And we're going into final edits on a short documentary film we did for American Macular Degeneration Foundation, about the artist Lennart Anderson

The only problem with all this? We have been unable to find time to go fishing in Colorado's awesome trout rivers yet this year. Maybe later this month ...

Projection: Online Video To Get Longer, Shorter

Posted on by Hal Clifford

'Tis the season for prognostication, and the folks at Content Marketing Institute have gone out on a limb (albeit a very short one) to say two things about video. First, we're going to see more very short ones on formats like Vine and Instagram, as part of larger branding and marketing campaigns. Second, we're going to see more long brands videos. Bounty, Jaguar, Patagonia and Coke have all been pushing the envelope in this regard. (Examples in the hot links.)

This is great for us here at Take One, since we make short and long videos! We love being ahead of the curve...

Optimize Your Video

Posted on by Hal Clifford

Trying to promote your organization without video -- that's bad. But creating video without a good plan to make the most of it is bad, too. The Content Marketing Institute suggests 5 steps to make sure you get the most from your video:

1. Build your video with your end goal in mind

2. Create calls to action and ways to follow up on leads

3. Set up a lead-capture system

4. Add key information for search engine optimization

5. Analyze how it all worked and iterate again

Read the whole thing here.

McDonalds Uses Video to Dispel Myths

Posted on by Hal Clifford

Think what you want about McDonalds (do they make amazing fries or soul-killing fake food?), their team in Canada is savvy to using video to confront urban mythology and engage consumers -- including skeptics. This video went up during the Super Bowl and, three days later has logged more than 1.5 million views. In it, a pair of McD's and Cargill employees lead the video camera on a tour of a Chicken McNuggets processing facility to address a consumer's question about what is in the McNuggets. True, they don't tell us everything that's in the McNugget, but they get points for using video to communicate directly with a potential critic.

The Future of Social Media for Business

Posted on by Hal Clifford

Interesting piece from Clara Shih, first published in Harvard Business Review, about where social media is heading. The question: Are we at the end or the beginning? Shih holds that it's just beginning for businesses, and that the future will see more empowerment as SM is pushed down through the ranks to enable many individuals to use SM on behalf of their firm -- rather than just "those guys in marketing." Read the whole thing here.

Good Content Is Just the Start

Posted on by Hal Clifford

A nice post today from Content Marketing Institute reminding us what we should all know -- that having great content doesn't do you much good if people don't know about it. So after you've got that awesome video, do four things to make sure the world sees it: Optimize, Promote, Distribute, and Link. And all of that's actually pretty easy and probably something you're (sort of) doing anyway. Build a system to do it consistently and you'll be happier. Details on just what to do in the link.

We're Working with New York's Addison

Posted on by Hal Clifford

We've got a very cool project going with the New York ad agency Addison, which I really wish I could tell you about but we always honor our NDAs. Suffice it to say that if you've ever stepped into a grocery store you'd recognize the client. We're delighted to be part of the team -- more to come when the time is right ...

Great Use of Video & Story by Unilever

Posted on by Hal Clifford

The consumer products giant has positioned itself as a green company, and has launched a major initiative called Project Sunlight to push its sustainability agenda. An early effort is this four-minute film, "Why Bring A Child Into This World?" which is deeply manipulative emotionally (which can be a good thing), and very effective as a brand video that never actually mentions the brand.

How real Unilever's pledge to be green and make the world greener is another question entirely, one answered skeptically over at MediaBistro. Whether it's greenwashing is not for me to judge. In the mean time, my central point remains: Unilever (working through filmmaker Errol Morris in this instance) has put out a very effective piece of video storytelling.

Nonprofits Sharply Increase Investment in Social Media

Posted on by Hal Clifford

Pretty interesting survey from Vertical Response of nonprofits and their use of social media. Some highlights: 61% spend more time on social media than they did last year. And the thing that's most time-consuming? Finding good content to post. Stand by for a solution to that soon, from Take One Creative ...



Build Readership on a Shoestring Video Budget

Posted on by Hal Clifford

"Video is reaching a whole level of readership that print can't possibly do," says Jane Eisner, editor of the venerable print publication Jewish Daily Forward. "I think it will be an essential part of the storytelling we do."

What's interesting is that Eisner is the head of a traditional weekly publication. But she's found that with a shoestring budget and a long-term commitment, she can be more effective, better at building her brand, and grow her readership, all through video. Read the American Journalism Review interview here.