How can you use product videos to engage an audience with two products that you market?
That was the challenge laid down by Life Technologies when they wanted to show how both their products SYBR and TaqMan were used.
Both products had fairly loyal followings for different reasons and both products have their advantages. So with the Wooshii team they head looking to make a product videos that would engage, entertain and of course promote these products.
Working with Wooshii the two products were personified as Rap artists and then pitched up in a Rap Battle in the Lab
The results were a load of fun – check out the finished article here
Getting your videos seen is probably one of the most asked questions amongst creatives getting started in the online video industry. “How can I get more views?”, “How can I get more people seeing my videos?”
While there isn’t a instant magical answer to that, there are plenty of ways you can get your videos seen and start building a community around them, either while making them or marketing them. Here are a few:
1 – Make a good video. We cannot emphasize this enough! It is key to getting your video seen. If you make a good video, you can then can direct people to it and they will see it and maybe pass it on to other people. If the video isn’t good, then it’s all going wrong from the beggining in getting your video seen.
2 – Grab your audience in the first seconds. The attention graph in most videos goes immediatly downwards in the first few seconds. If you can’t grab their attention by then, then chances are they’re not seeing more of your video.
3 – Choose a good thumbnail. Many times thumbnails are the first thing people see about your video, so you should have an attention grabbing one (but not as attention grabbing to not represent the nature of the video).
4 - Get the title right. As with the thumbnail, titles are one of the first things people see, and they’ll also have to be attention grabbing but not as far as not representing what the video is all about.
5 – Be topical. This may or may not suit your type of videos, but people search a lot for topical content and want to see topical content. It connects them to what is happening. If you make a video that is topical, than the chances of it beeing seen and discovered and higher.
6 – Find your audience. Find sites and blogs that are similar in theme and tone of your video and drop them a line letting them know of your video. If your audience is there, this might be a first step to getting them to your site or Youtube channel.
7 – Use social discovery channels. Many people get their content from such sites as Digg (not so much these days), Buzzfeed and the like. Submit them there and interact.
8 – Use multiple video services. Sure Youtube is the top dog in the field, but what if you distribute your video through Metacafe or Dailymotion or the like and find your audience there? If you want to build your audience it doesn’t matter where you find them. In the end, you can always redirect them to your site or even Youtube for that matter, if you’re really adamant about it.
8 – Be regular. While building an audience, if people know when to expect a new video, they will come. It can be one video a week, two, one every two weeks, however you can. But be regular with it and let your audience know when to expect it.
9 – Be persistent. It takes a lot of effort to keep trying even if views aren’t that good, but with time, it will pay off. Soon you’ll have a library of videos and a portolio that will allow people to explore deeper into work, and allow different points of entry to it.
And there you have it. Hope those tips help!
If you have others that helped you getting your videos seen, please let us know in the comments.
Starting this week, we are resuming our weekly interviews with Wooshii creatives (see a few here and here for example). And we’re starting with community member David Gonzales -lots of insights and tips, so let’s jump right into it:
How did you get started with creative things? What has been your path right up to this moment?
I had always wanted to illustrate comic books; as far back as I can remember. And I would always create these characters for future stories, and think wouldn’t it be great to have my own characters in cartoons and movies! Through most of elementary up until high school I had that dream. My brother and I would create stories, he would write them and I would illustrate them. Then he started getting into filmmaking, with documentaries and his own short fictional films. I was really fascinated by the graphics side of special effects and title sequences. So after one too many rejections at Comic Con in San Diego CA, I decided to pursue Multimedia graphics. Really I’m glad I did because while I like illustrating, I think it would have killed my enjoyment of comics if I had made it my full time career. From there I started looking for online resources of jobs associated with motion graphics, and found myself in this niche for explainer videos which I really enjoy creating.
How does it feel to be a creative working on online video nowadays? Pros and cons?
It feels great to be working in online video with immediate feedback from viewers, and the opportunity to reach such a large audience. For me the Pros right now are that I can set my own hours, and for that’s great since I don’t always have that creative spark from 9am-5pm, it can sometimes come late at night. And then I can take a couple of days off when I need to just live life. The cons are of course the flip side of creating your own hours since I’ll sometimes have very tight deadlines and it seems like I get no sleep.
You’ve won a few projects at Wooshii. What are some good tips for winning pitches?
For me just creating a style that appeals to people has worked to get more projects. There is so much potential with these animated videos, but if you find a style that is really your own it’s like a signature and potential clients will want to bring that same style to their projects. Clients like to see that you’ve done work that is very close to what they have in mind. So I would suggest just making sure you have quality pieces in your portfolio and try a few different styles. Good work in your portfolio is what will win you more jobs, not lower prices!
What is the favourite video (Wooshii or not) you’ve made so far?
I would have to say the babysitting barter.com video. I think that style really suits me, and I’ve had a lot of positive responses from that video which has helped win bids both from wooshii and outside of wooshii.
And what is your favourite video on the whole web?
Wow how do you pick from so much content? I really like the animated short stories produced by StoryCorps. They take testimonial videos and create animated characters that act out the interview. It has some really great character work and just show so much emotion that pairs perfectly with the candid interviews.
Favourite software (or hardware) to work with?
My favorite software is definitely after effects. It’s just so versatile, and I never even imagined I would be able to create some of the animation I’m doing now back when I just started learning the program like 7 years ago.
And which software or hardware (or both) doesn’t exist, but you wish it would?
Well lately I’ve been working a lot with anime studio, and it has some amazing features for character animation, but it lacks the effects capabilities of after effects. They’re definitely different programs suited for different tasks, but if they could somehow combine those two programs it would be a whole different beast and just bring my animation to another level.
What are you working on right now?
Right now I’m working on a follow up video for BabysittingBarter and some other some product videos for a tech company in the San Francisco Bay area. Really right now I’m up to my eyeballs in projects but it’s great.
Finally, where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I would love to grow my businesses into a full production company that works with video and animation. And then be able to finance my own fictional short stories.
And that’s it, awesome stuff, thanks David!
We will have a new interview with another Wooshii creative next week, so stay tuned
Two months ago we made a post here on the blog about how to make a good Kickstarter video, as a key to successfully funding a project. So we were delighted to get an email a few weeks back from Brendan Sullivan, telling us how that post helped him make his video and successfully fund his project, Zoetrope Art & Design: “Shirts for people who like shirts”.
He agreed to write a guest post telling all of us about his experience in making it, and that’s what follows:
Hi, my name is Brendan and I make shirts and other printed things under the Zoetrope brand.
I’m in the final days of running a Kickstarter campaign that’s seen my goal funded more than 150%, and I’m going to yammer a little bit about my experience and the benefits of making a video you’re proud of.
If you want to have a good chance at a successful project, you gotta tell your story. One way to do that is with a quality video. It’s like film in general: your audience is far more likely to relate and offer their support when you wrap it all up nicely in a good video, especially when they’re being asked to put down money. Make them want to donate by being entertaining, or making them laugh, or anything, as long as they feel something. Wooshii has published several great postson this subject, which I would totally read if I were you.
So anyway, here’s my story.
I knew from the beginning that I didn’t want to do a straight forward, me-talking-to-you video pitch. After talking it over with some friends, we determined that a 1950s-era instructional short film was the way to go. A lot of inspiration came from early Walt Disney television shows like “Disneyland” and “Wonderful World of Color” and those great old black and white films that explained how to brush your teeth properly and why you should tuck your shirt in your pants (spoiler: adults will think you’re swell!). However, since I had to show the product with at least some color, I aimed for that early-TV era, somewhat blurry, half-desaturated look and got to work.
So tip #1: Get creative with your theme. Look for inspiration, then make something cool. You can do it however you want as long as it gets the job done, and making something different will help you stand out more to the viewer.
I sat down and hacked out a script, went through a few drafts, then had friends review it to see where it sucked. I definitely wanted to approach it with some humor, so we punched it up everywhere we could. My buddy Dan can do a really funny angry robot character and we’d been looking for a reason to film it, so I made a little robot out of lots of little pieces and built him a tiny office set for the shoot. That was probably one of the stranger things we ended up filming. Also, the robot likes donuts. (That factors in largely.)
Tip #2: Write! Write until your grubby little fingers fall off and then grow some new fingers and keep writing until you have something you’re happy with. And let your friends see it and help out, because you never know what they’ll come up with to augment what you’re saying.
My biggest asset by far was having help pulling it all together. The video was shot on two Canon 7D cameras (*cough* shamelessplugnumberone: www.rachel-sullivan-photography.com *cough*) in my friend’s bar after hours. We set up three lights and used a boom microphone to get the audio. We even cobbled together a chalkboard out of a table and that spray-on green chalkboard stuff. Afterwards we spent several hours editing it, making it look a lot crappier with Final Cut, and mastering the audio to match the old-timey video quality. (*cough* shamelessplugnumbertwo: www.linkedin.com/pub/dan-manata/1b/584/102 *cough*) All of this I wouldn’t have been able to do alone, and it made the final product way better than anything I could’ve put together on my own.
Tip #3: Recruit your friends! Or, make some friends, then recruit them. They’ll like helping you out and they’ll probably make it a lot more fun, especially when they periodically hit you with the boom and slap you to keep you on your toes.
Naturally, the shoot went flawlessly and we finished it all in one take because I’m the finest actor to have ever graced the screen in the history of forever. I’m amazing.
Nah, the shoot lasted for several hours because I didn’t actually memorize my lines and ended up saying the F-word a whole lot, (“Fudge!”) but even that was a positive, because we ended up cutting together a pretty funny blooper reel that I put out as a Kickstarter blog update, and people seem to enjoy it.
Tip #4: Embrace your outtakes, folks. If America’s Funniest Videos and Tosh.0 have taught us nothing else, it’s that people enjoy watching you mess up and knock things over.
After finishing the edit and starting the project, I shared the link on my social networks. (One of the great things about involving friends with the production was that they wanted to share the project, too!) I contacted various blogs that I followed and reached out to some people in my city that I thought might dig it, and ran a little promotion where anyone who shared the link would get some extra goodies. I just tried to do my best to promote the thing without crossing that fine line into annoying spam, which is a surprisingly daunting thing to do.
Tip #5: Promotion is great. But if you’re like me, you probably find talking up other people’s stuff a lot easier and less awkward than doing it for yourself. Ain’t that a stinker? Nobody wants to feel like they’re self-aggrandizing, but you have to take those steps to get the word out. Ultimately, if you don’t, nobody else will.
Finally, I had a fortunate break when my project was featured on the Kickstarter ‘Staff Picks’ page a day or so after the kickoff. It definitely helped drive more people to check out the project, and I don’t think that would’ve happened if we didn’t make the video the way we did. I ended up hitting my goal a week and a half in and the response has been fantastic. I went into this thing not being sure if it would be successful at all and my expectations were totally blown away, and I credit a lot of that to the age-old adage of film-making: make something I would want to watch. It’s so easy that it’s hard, right?
Tip #6: Uhh, yeah. I’ll say it again because it’s important. Make something you’d want to spend your time watching. You might luck out and other people will spend their time watching it, too.
So that’s about it. Seriously, check out those links to the other articles, because there’s so much good information, it’s ridiculous. Even if you’re not looking to make a crowdfunding project for yourself, throw your feelers out and see if you can find other people looking for ideas and help. As they say, it’s the bees knees!
Today we have a very special treat for you: an interview with the producer of the RSA Animate series, Abi Stephenson.
By now, you must’ve seen one of those videos, combining highly interesting and thought-provoking talks with real-time drawing. This is a good example:
And there are already several of them, totalling at multiple millions of views on Youtube. Now, they’ve launched a competition to find the next generation of animators for the RSA Animate work.
So, it was the perfect time to have an interview with Abi Stephenson, the producer of the series.
What is the RSA?
The RSA is an enlightenment organisation committed to finding innovative solutions to today’s social challenges. Through our ideas, research and 27,000-strong Fellowship we seek to understand and enhance human capability so we can close the gap between today’s reality and people’s hopes for a better world.
Essentially we’re a pretty unique blend of ‘think-and-do-tank’, membership organisation and ideas platform, with all three strands coming together to help to realise a socially progressive vision – what we are calling a ‘21st century enlightenment’.
How and why did you start making the animated/drawn versions of some of your talks?
Our public events programme is one of the UK’s leading events programmes, and we deliver more than 150 free lectures, talks, screenings and debates every year. We have so many inspirational and world-changing ideas shared on our stage, and we really wanted a way to spread them as far and wide as possible – to create a real ripple effect around the world! We also wanted to make those ideas as accessible, clear and democratic as possible, and a visual accompaniment seemed the ideal way to do that.
We carefully edit some of our podcasts down to around ten minutes – selecting a clear narrative, robust ideas and an inspiring thesis – and then send the finished product on to an RSA Fellow at Cognitive Media who creates the incredible animations.
What has been the impact and feedback you’ve been getting from them and for using online video in general?
We have had an absolutely phenomenal response to the series, and are really still coming to terms with its unbelievable popularity and impact! We’ve had around 50 million views of the videos around the world, and have had supportive responses from everyone from Yoko Ono to Eric Schmidt to Stephen Fry.
But the most heartening and unexpected feedback has come from young people – I’ve had 14 year olds email me to say how the series has helped them to understand concepts they never thought they would grasp (and that they’d previously never watched anything for longer than 2 minutes on YouTube!), and that they can’t wait for the next instalment…
How is the creative process when you start making a new one? Do you find it always the same or changes significantly for every of the videos?
Before we create an RSA Animate we have to make two big decisions. Firstly we have to select an appropriate speaker and idea from the hundreds of public intellectuals, philosophers, scientists, politicians and thought leaders who have visited the RSA. This is trickier than it sounds, and we have to weigh up a number of different concerns. Does the speaker make a convincing case for his/her thesis? Does the content inspire change – either in people’s attitudes or behaviours? Will viewers be so moved they’ll want to forward this on to their friends too? Is the content relatively universal and will it resonate across borders?
Then we have to sculpt and edit their whole event from around an hour to just ten minutes. This is a really delicate and important job, as we have to be absolutely sure we do not obscure meanings that are there, or suggest meanings where there are none.
Can you tell us a bit about the competition you’re having for your next RSA Animate video?
We have partnered with the Nominet Trust to run an exciting new short film competition. All the entrants need to do is pick one of the featured audio excerpts from our events programme, and create a visual accompaniment that communicates those ideas in a vivid, original and clear style. There’s a £2000 cash prize for the winning entry, and it will also be featured alongside our RSA Animates on our hugely popular YouTube channel – 140,000 subscribers and counting…! The deadline is the 19th of January 2012, so there’s still time to ping something over to us, so get creating! Go to http://www.thersa.org/events/film-competition for more information.
So there you have it! This is truly great stuff, and a huge opportunity in terms of exposition, so get to the site, pick an audio excerpt and start working on your masterpiece!
The story of this post begins almost two years ago.
Back in early 2010 when I was first sending invites to creatives out there to join the Wooshii community, I exchanged a few emails with Casey Neistat. His videos were original, funny, highly creative, personal, and he (along with his brother) had a unique voice and take on things.
I followed his career ever since, and saw video after amazing video he was making, as one of the top video makers on the web. Now, fast-forward to the present and past his HBO series, I reached out to him for an interview, and that is what follows.
How did you started in all things creative, not just video?
my mom was a pretty creative person. when we were little she crashed our new Volvo 240 station wagon. rather then getting it repainted she painted a gigantic beehive mural on the side of the car. i grew up thinking this was how you do things.. make the best with what you have.
And what about video, how did that started?
my older brother Van got an iMac DV, the first consumer computer to edit video, he showed me how it worked and I bought one a week later. been making movies ever since
Your videos seem to be highly personal, is that something that you think about when doing another work or it comes natural in any project?
i like to tell stories. stories are best told when there’s a defined perspective. leaning on my own perspective is just what’s easiest. rather than starting with trying to figure out what story to tell i start with telling my own. it feels like cheating sometimes/
What’s the video you’re most proud of? Why?
tough question. i don’t have answer. the filmS that looking back at that im the most proud of are the one’s that i had no reason to make. meaning i wasn’t paid, no one asked me to make them, they were made just for the fuck of it. those are the ones i have the most love for. like a pro baller playing pick-up just because he loves the game. i make a living making movies finding time to make a movie just for fun is hard.
What was the one most difficult to make?
i’m working on a feature doc right now. cannot figure out how to finish it. its a battle. so hard to find a 1.5 hour story in 100+ hours of footage.
I also wanted to ask about all the different ways you come up to tell the story, either if it is using a drawing, or a model, etc
sometimes i don’t have the right footage or material to illustrate a point. so i make soemthing. be it an animation or whatever. i use whatever i can to best tell the story… that’s part of the embracing limitations i was referring to
Most stuff you distribute online right? What are your thoughts on the Online Video space nowadays?
online is my favorite place to distribute. I say that having had a show on HBO, the largest premium cable channel. there is nothing like online. it’s fair. not everyone can put their work on hbo but everyone can put their work online. it’s a true meritocracy. if your work is good it will be seen.
How important is collaboration in creating new videos (given that you do most work with your brother, I believe)?
my brother moved to Los Angeles more than a year ago. we had collaborated exclusively for almost 10 years prior to that. you realize how big of a role collaboration makes when start to work solo. i am surrounded by friends who work in movies. it’s an amazing resource. always having someone to bounce ideas off of. not sure i could do it without that
What inspires you?
the idea that there’s nothing to lose. we’re born and we die. the only two certainties in life. constantly reminding yourself of that makes it easier to embrace risk. nothing is more precious then time, if you spend your time doing what you love well then you’re alright.
What advice would you give to people wanting to work in the creative industry or start making videos?
just make. don’t embrace excuses or obstacles. just keep pushing forward. so many people i meet have so many excuses.. they don’t know the right people, can’t afford the right camera, don’t have the time – and on. just make. embrace those limitations, make them part of the work. just make
Can you know what are you working on right now?
i am working on a feature length documentary I shot in Afghanistan last year. My friend is a great tattoo artist, Scott Campbell, he and I spent sometime with a group of special forces guys trading stories for tattoos. it’s a great story.
I DID NO PROOF READ OR RE READ ANY OF THIS
Alright, that it, what great answers he gave us. Also love it how he ended the interview!
On Wooshii’s behalf I’d like to thank Casey once again for his time in answering these and looking forward to see all his future work.
Online video: it’s the most effective marketing tool you’re not using. But it’s attainable when you use crowdsourcing!
Wooshii‘s own Fergus Dyer-Smith will be one again at Trada’s crowdsourcing webinar series, along with Peter LaMotte from GeniusRocket to answer your burning questions about creating video in today’s digital landscape. Then, marketing video padawan Anna Sawyer from Trada will discuss how to get the most out of your investment.
Join us Thursday, Oct 20 at 12:15PM EDT for this free webinar. If you’re not able to make it to the webinar, register anyway! We’ll share a guide and a recording after the event.
A lot of things can be said about Steve Jobs. And will be today and in the coming days. And months, and years to come.
But let’s focus specifically in what we cover here in the blog: online video, animation, creavity in general. The impact Steve Jobs has had in this industry by creating the macs, by helping bring out Pixar to the world… the inspiration he gave all along, we can safely say the creative industry would never be where it is today without him.
Animation Toolkit is the brainchild of Manchester (UK) based entrepreneur Westley Wood, and supplies specialist products to stop-motion animation professionals, students and enthusiasts across the globe – including a unique armature kit (the skeleton of a puppet used for animating) designed and custom made by Westley himself.
“Being immersed in the animation world and talking to industry peers, I realised that there was a gap in the market for an armature kit that could serve the needs of those working in or experimenting in the world of animation. I therefore set about designing not only an armature kit, but a range of products that could be used by both professionals and enthusiasts. After research I realised there was a gap in the market for a stop-motion animation superstore and that was when animationtoolkit.com was born.”
So Mr. Wood was kind enough to offer the Wooshii community that awesome armature to get you started on stop-motion, and all you have to do to win is to tweet the following:
I want to win an awesome #stop-motion armature kit from @AnimationToolkt and @Wooshii’s new Creative2Creative Board
Alternatively, if you tweet this post you’ll also be elegible! And that’s it! You have till tomorrow midnight (Thursday, 22nd September) to tweet, then the winner will be drawn Friday. Good luck