Welcome to the Jungle…

A short time ago the Queen of England made the mistake of wearing a monochromatic green suit. In a digital age, that’s the wardrobe equivalent of a wearable green screen. The Internet — being what it is — let loose with their creativity and the social media results were hilarious (at least to us non-royals).

This past spring, Disney released a live-action version of Kipling’s classic tale, The Jungle Book. The film was created using nothing other than green screen — no locations — just a non-descript soundstage and one actor. Other than the lead character — bonus points for those of you who recall “Mowgli” from your childhood — all other visuals were computer-generated and animated with Mowgli being added to the digital scenes via green screen. What does this mean to you and your internal or external communications needs? It means the world … in the sense that the world can come to your production via green screen and you don’t ever have to leave your hometown. 

You don’t need a Disney-sized budget to employ this technology either. Vendors with in-house green screen capabilities (like Full Scale Productions) can net clients serious savings on locations, logistics and overall production. The next time you're considering a video that will require a multi-day shoot spanning various locations keep in mind that a green screen using existing footage of the locations, or even stock footage, could save you thousands. In addition, the technology can also be utilized to put your talent in locations, situations or bring visual consistency that could otherwise be inaccessible or impractical. If you watch any type of news broadcast, you’re watching green screen technology each time they cut to the weather. The possibilities are only limited by you not discussing the option with your video vendor. 

I value your feedback. Do you have any specific issues I have not yet addressed that you’d like me to cover? Let me know. In the mean time, talk to you next Friday.

Keep Calm and Carry On

Lights, Camera … Calls to Action … effective communications, regardless of the tactical delivery, often have a very clear call to action. Don’t be shy. Tell your audience what you want. Whether your audience is comprised of shareholders, employees, or potential or existing customers, they all want one thing in exchange for their time and attention — an answer to the question of Why? — which can lead to a What? Why are they paying attention? And, what do you want them to do with the information you’re sharing?

Keep Calm and Carry On is a classic example of a call to action that has become an iconic image as well as a catch phrase almost 80 years after its intended use. The pithy text and notable graphic design was originally a motivational poster produced by the British government in 1939 in preparation for WWII. It was intended to raise the morale of the British public as they faced the very real threat of massive air attacks on the country’s major cities. Fast forward to the year 2000 and the discovery of one of the posters. It sparked a full-on rebirth of the call to action and spawned a myriad of uses of the image and text in everything from wearables (including pet "clothing") to dishware and household accents. The next time you're faced with distilling your messaging down to an effective call to action. Keep this example in mind. It’s everything a call to action should be – straightforward, impossible to misinterpret, and pithy enough to stick in the mind of your audience.

Here's my call to action to you — I want your feedback. Do you have any specific issues that you'd like me to address? Let me know. In the mean time, well… you know what to do… talk to you next Friday. 

A Valuable Lesson Learned from the King

Pink Cadillac

To borrow a lyric from Elvis, “… stop, look and listen.” That was his philosophy in a certain earwig of a tune. It applies well to the way our team approaches each and every project. Listening – it seems like something that really should be a simple common courtesy – should not be worthy of discussing. Sadly, input we gather from our clients indicates that to do it well is the exception rather than the rule when it comes to their vendors – particularly the ones that specialize in communications. However, that same group of clients consistently points out our listening, relating and “translation” prowess. By translation, I mean the ability of our team to take their ideas, objectives and intent and translate those into meaningful storylines that resonate with their audiences.

The translation of tactical to practical requires effective, two-way communication in the pre-production phase of a project. Our team prides itself on sifting through the jargon, corporate-speak and sometimes politics, to get to the real message that needs to be delivered and then translating that message into words, images and calls to action that tell a meaningful story, and in the end can change an opinion or behavior.

 So, next time you’re kicking off a communications initiative consider the power of being a good listener, and be sure your team consists of others who understand how to listen and how to translate – then you’re well on your way from getting tactical to practical.

 Your feedback is always welcome. Am I covering topics of interest to you? Do you have any specific issues that you’d like me to address? Let me know. In the mean time, talk to you next Friday. (And my apology if Rubberneckin’ is now the earwig of the day.)

How The Story Ends Is Up To You …

An impressive-looking, red carpet worthy video and an effective one can be mutually exclusive, but not for our clients. I often find myself providing counsel early in discussions with clients about the need for storytelling. If a message is going to hit its target, it must first and foremost be compelling and delivered in such a way that it resonates with its audience. No amount of custom graphics, soundtrack or voiceover talent can make up for ineffective content. Just as in real estate the mantra is, “location, location, location.” When working with a video production company your mantra needs to be, “storyline, storyline, storyline.” (repeat).

In order to soundly place your message, keep the following questions in mind at the beginning of the video production process:

1.    What do I want the audience to hear? Keep it simple, drill down to the most salient facts.

2.    What do I want them to feel? Regardless of the demographic you are intending to influence, at the end of the day, action requires connection.

3.    What do I want them to do with the information? Be specific, use a call to action, if appropriate. 

Once you’ve answered these three questions with your production company, you’re well on your way to producing a successful video. And, by the way, this goes for internal or external video communications. 

As always, I welcome your feedback, and I’m here to help. If there’s a topic you’d like me to cover, let me know. If you like, or don’t like the tone, tenor or content of my blog, tell me… talk to you next Friday.

Video Is The New Document

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Full Scale Fridays. Before I share a bit of knowledge picked up during more than three decades of serving corporate clients like you, I thought you should know what to expect from this blog. 

Let’s start with what you won’t find here – ever – a hard sell of Full Scale Productions. My intention is to share practical, actionable and tactical advise and counsel. If you take that knowledge and use it, I’ve succeeded.

With that, let’s address the top two questions I’m asked by my corporate clients – Why video? And, how much?

Like it or not, your potential and existing customers, employees, leadership team and influencers are becoming increasingly more dependent on video as their main communication tool for just about all information they ingest personally and professionally. In a media saturated world, you have to keep up, or your messages will be lost in the noise. Each year video grows as the number one resource for consumers when researching a topic, product or service. That’s an expectation that does not turn off when we’re at work.

Video is the new document.

Video, when done right, allows your messaging to connect with its audience in a way that resonates. It tells a story with images, voices and music that leaves an indelible and memorable impression. 

It also, of course, comes at a cost – but how much? That answer helps separate the good from the, well … others in video production. When you align with a true partner there’s really no budget that’s unmanageable. Sometimes extreme acts of creativity need to be deployed to make a project stretch to fit a budget. Your production team should function as an extension of your staff – they’re there for the long haul and should act accordingly. If they don’t, time to look around. We have been a trusted member of our clients’ extended teams for many years. 

So what is the threshold for a budget? That’s part of the magic with having a real partner in a video production company: there really is no floor or ceiling. True partnership means they’ll work with you regardless of budget. They’ll make it work. It’s about the long-term relationship.

What you do need to know is that in video production the word “just” is a four-letter word. There’s no such thing as, “Hey, let’s just shoot our executive.” Or, “We just have a couple locations.”

Your video production vendor – partner – will help guide you on whether you need one camera or two, do you want a green screen, can this project get away with needle-drop music or should it be custom, etc.

We keep our overhead and fixed costs low and pass that savings on to our clients to allow them more options that benefit their overall piece vs. paying for technology they may or may not use. 

Top two most asked questions answered. Do note, I welcome your feedback, and I’m here to help. If there’s a topic you’d like me to cover, let me know. Please note: I always accept the good, bad & ugly as feedback … talk with you next Friday.