Good stories consist of two things: first, a clear value proposition.
And second, the truth.
Great stories, on the other hand, have a third thing: they tell (or show) people why you do what you do.
I started to tell stories in high-school because I had been bullied, excluded from or kicked out of classes, and otherwise isolated from my peers.
Stories were a way for me to work with and process the pain that those experiences scored into my psyche.
Whatever your business is — and I’m saying that broadly — you should always lead with the truth.
I encourage my clients to lead with the truth, because the truth is a powerful means of connecting with clients.
If people believe in you, they’re more likely to connect with you, more likely to work with you, and more likely to buy whatever it is you might be selling.
Once you have that as a solid base, then you can start to think about whatever it is you’re trying to move people towards.
Investing in your services?
Downloading your app?
Buying your album?
I’ve worked with a litany of clients — from attorneys to startups to musicians — and in each of those instances, we always start with the truth.
Great stories start with great scripts. That includes research in understanding and defining who your target audience for your content is; a clear idea of the problems that they have and how you help solve them; and, of course, the story of who you are, why you do what you do, and how you do it.
Before I started in film, I had already written 100s of thousands of words on my blog (some of which was later read by millions of readers).
It’s easy to write long essays on what you do, and that’s a good starting point, but the key, here, is brevity.
A good script should answer all of the questions above in 250-500 words.
Or, in the case of a project that we did with our client Kitcaster — a podcast booking agency — less.
This campaign generated over $200,000 in revenue for Kitcaster:
But don’t take my word for it, here’s Ryan:
The rest of the pre-production checklist:
Most ads only take one or two days to film, at most. They’re simple concepts, cautiously executed.
The goal of this part of the puzzle is in simply creating the best ingredients possible for the filmmaking pie.
Sometimes, a great film doesn’t need any words if the ingredients in it — the cinematography, acting, or otherwise — are high-quality enough.
Here’s a client video that tells a stories without word:
The key for this step is in simple preparation — having a clear idea of the end-goal for what you want, and a few ideas for how to get it.
We work with our clients in order to ensure that we have all of the pieces necessary to make this happen, and that they also feel like their ideas are being honored and valued throughout the process.
Creativity is a collaborative process.
Editors are the head chef’s of the film world.
It’s the most time-consuming part of the production process, and the easiest to f**k up.
With poor ingredients, a great editor can make something good.
With great ingredients, a bad editor will always ruin it.
I’ve worked with dozens of editors over the years — including greats like Gary Knight, who’s cut music videos for Madonna, Bjork, and some of the greatest directors of our time, like Ridley Scott, Edgar Wright, etc. — and have worked to ensure that I consistently get this part of the process right.
I’ve worked with my editing team for years in order to develop a good formula that ensures that our client’s ideas are being honored, and that the process is easy.
(Which doesn’t necessarily mean short — edits often take at least a few weeks. Our goal is quality, not speed.)
What you get?
- A 2-3 minute trailer that shows your clients why you do what you do.
- All of the social media cutdowns — four 30-60 second promos, optimized for channels like Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook.
- Support for 6-months following delivery, helping you identify what’s working and what isn’t.
We charge a flat-rate fee for our production services, and that fee starts at $7500, quickly climbing up from there.
A few months ago, I found a really, really bad ad online — it was decently catchy, but not necessarily my taste.
I called the owner of the company to find out how much he put into it — it cost a few thousand dollars.
Here’s that story:
All sorts of bad ads are created for a few thousand dollars.
Typical mid-level production services — think agencies in secondary markets like Denver, Nashville, Phoenix, etc. — start at around $40,000—$60,000.
We’ve found a sweet-spot that’s somewhere in the middle.
To get a sense of where all of those expenses go, here’s an example budget from a 5-day shoot back in August of ‘21 that cost ~$70,000.
Starting at $7500.
Back in 2018/2019, I discovered that as LinkedIn first launched the ability to post videos to its platform, it had started to distribute content with videos farther and wider than almost everything else.
(That’s since changed.)
Though we’re not a marketing agency, we understand the importance of finding powerful marketing channels, and creating great content for those channels.
Some of our clients — including a Rabbi in East Hampton, NY — have found success in using content like this:
To drive traffic towards their other important assets, like in-person events, Synagogue-hosted retreats to Israel, and other ‘money-makers’.
They’ve already reached well over 100,000 potential new members in just the last few months, focusing on channels like TikTok and Instagram.
We work with our clients to create compelling pieces of content that will help drive traffic towards their anchor pieces of content, and will ultimately result in new customers.
Starting at $5000/month for 15 videos/months.