Take a Tour! 2016 HGTV Smart Home is open to the public in Oct.

Smart Homes. Yeah, you know the ones – the amazingly crafted Smart Homes shown on HGTV. Your eyes widen. Your mouth slackens. Cue the never-ending sighs of wonder.

Well, what if you were able to step INSIDE the most beautiful and luxurious houses in the Triangle, and actually gawk at them in person? GUESS WHAT! You’re totally invited! Let’s try not to drool, am I right?

In this stylish episode of Kimberly’s Corner, Kimberly sits down with Homes by Dickerson’s Diandra Buckheit, the super Sales Agent for Haywood. Kim gets the scoop on how Homes by Dickerson was chosen to create the 2016 HGTV Smart Home. (How could they not be chosen with an award-winning video like this? *winks*)

Diandra personally invites you to tour the Smart Home during the Triangle Parade of Homes, during which the home is open to the public for the first three weekends in October (Oct. 1-2, 7-9, and 14-16) from 12 pm – 5 pm. Click here for more information! And don’t forget your drool bucket.

What does it take to be a Voice Artist? Is that like a hand model?

Becoming a professional voice-over artist is no picnic in the park. Some of us remember the Seinfeld episode where George is a hand model. Let’s just be clear that being a voice artist is both a gift – like George’s hands – and a cultivated skill. Plenty of people sound great, but there are many steps one has to take to sound sufficiently sharp.

On this week’s Kimberly’s Corner, voice-over extraordinaire Donna offers tips on how you can sound like a professional voice-over artist. It involves reading well, placing emphasis on the right spot and practicing.

When it comes to voice-overs, the popular phrase “practice makes perfect” definitely comes into effect.

To help take your voice to the next level, check out Donna’s helpful tips.

Until Next Time…

The time has come for my Marketing internship to end. It’s bittersweet, yes, but it also brings a new beginning for other opportunities I can obtain to share my talents with. I have sharpened and gained skills at Blueforest Studios, which include social media, researching, and writing.

I had been an avid user of many social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram long before coming to Blueforest Studios, but there were elements of each outlet I did not take the time to understand. Check out the video for details on what I learned.

I simply thought the concept of social media was to post whatever crosses your mind and people would then see your post, but social media is definitely more than just posting. On some platforms (think Twitter) you might have to provide a hashtag or handle or two for people to find your post in order to engage with you.  There’s much more strategy involved than most people realize.

social_media

I have learned a proper social media strategy involves:

  • Having engaging content to keep viewers interested
  • Knowing your audience and tailoring your posts to their interests
  • A superb description where you use (common) terms people can search
  • Using a handle to give a company/person recognition and using a hashtag in order to engage in a conversation about a timely topic or conference. Both handles and hashtags must be relevant to what’s being posted.

I now feel confident logging on to social media outlets and posting because I have acquired the necessary tools to make posts worthwhile. I will continue to learn more about social media through online networks and webinars.

Researching items came naturally to me. It’s a fascination of mine and is something I do on a daily basis, outside of work. During my time here, I have researched various topics ranging from the company’s brand as well as other companies to people.

Writing is much easier to do since I have had multiple writing opportunities at Blueforest Studios. My thought process is clearer and I write faster as well. I have broadened my social media skills and am aware of components of each platform which is necessary to use it properly. I  truly feel I am ready for any position in the mass communications field. Anything I don’t know, I definitely can learn.

I learned much more at Blueforest Studios, but social media, researching, and writing were the three skills I saw an immediate improvement in.

My ultimate goal is to become a Producer/Host. I love conceptualizing my ideas and creating masterpieces for people to enjoy whether it is through words or video or both. Before my departure at Blueforest Studios, I was required to create an exit project. Immediately, I thought to myself, “Why not make a video and star in it? It’s what I intend on doing with my life.”

Alas, my goodbye video was formed. I wrote, produced and starred in the piece while members of the Blueforest team assisted with shooting and editing the video. Check it out!

To the Blueforest team: Thank you for the opportunity to gain skills I didn’t have and hone skills I already had. Many thanks for exposing me to areas of focus that will benefit me in the long run. I will miss you. Goodbye is the new hello if you keep connected, which I certainly will.

 

 

Blueforest Inside Look Part 3

We’re at our final stop of the Blueforest Studios tour. This is the stop where the eyes and ears masterminds come together to create a knockout masterpiece for our clients. Prepare to meet some more of our video and audio team members!

Sean Riddle

Sean

The Fit Project Manager

Sean ensures all Blueforest projects remain on point and on schedule. He works with the sales team, video team, and clients to take a video from start to finish. You can find him in creative meetings, on the set, or busily sending emails from behind his computer.

According to Sean, the magnificent part of working at Blueforest Studios is never knowing what each day will bring. He likes the fact that no two days are alike.

Bryan Reklis & Vann Dwiggins

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The Friendly Video Producer & The On-The-Go Video Producer

Bryan and Vann are video making machines who diligently create top notch content for clients. The process of video production includes three parts: pre-production, production, and post-production.

During pre-production, Bryan and Vann brainstorm ideas, write scripts, and meet with clients to conceptualize and plan. For production, the two complete varying tasks from directing shoots or being a grip (which involves carrying, setting up and moving equipment around).

Post-production is when the pair fulfills duties such as capturing footage, managing data, editing footage,animating graphics, and playing the content with audio and music.

Bryan thoroughly enjoys editing video at Blueforest Studios.

“I especially love working with a good interview. I get engrossed in taking an hour long interview and turning it into a compelling 5-minute story,” he reflected, “I love to pour over the footage, listening to bits and pieces over and over until the story begins to emerge in my mind. After that, things start falling into place.”

Vann’s favorite part about working at Blueforest Studios?

“I like being out shooting in the field,” he said.

Dustin Painter & Donald Best

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The Avid Coffee Drinkin’ Audio Engineer & The Fashionable Audio Engineer

Dustin and Donald are the In-House Recording Engineers. The audio duo track voice-overs, hold client meetings, and occasionally go on set to record audio for projects.

Dustin says the finest part of working at Blueforest Studios is “there’s a lot of very talented, creative people and everybody gets along well.”

Similarly, Donald added, “I love everyone that works here. Everyone’s very awesome, really cool and super nice.”

Both Dustin and Donald enjoy the ability to be open and creative at Blueforest Studios as well.

Blueforest Inside Look Part 2

As promised, our tour of Blueforest Studios continues. This stop will focus on some of our graphics and video team members as well as some of our current interns whose creative geniuses help spark Blueforest Studios.

Meet Emily Kohler

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The Laid-Back Illustrator+Animator

Emily provides animation and design components for clients’ projects at Blueforest Studios. This can include storyboarding, typography, motion graphics, character design, and 2-D animation. Every client has unique needs so Emily works diligently to create a different illustration or animation style to fit the needs of the video.

Regarding the best part of working at Blueforest Studios, Emily stated, “It’s rewarding to have to constantly keep on my toes with new styles and techniques to complete each new project as it comes in.”

Alana Selby
 
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The Crafty Tall Illustrator+ Marketing Assistant
 

Alana uses her nifty illustration skills to create material for content and images for Blueforest Studios’ social media pages using Adobe Suite products such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. She also lends a helping hand to the Marketing department.

Her favorite part about working at Blueforest Studios?

“I get to be super creative and I get to do my own thing and they (Blueforest Studios executives) trust me to make what I think is best and that’s really awesome.” she said.

 

Bennett Northcutt
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The Go-To Junior Intern
 

Bennett originally started out as a Finance intern in June 2015 and was slated to work for 135 hours. At the end of his term, Senior Vice President Kathy Langfield offered Bennett the opportunity to continue helping around the studio including with the sales team which he creates presentations and research leads for. Recently, Bennett has worked alongside Kathy to orient and welcome selected high school interns to Blueforest Studios. He refers to himself as the “go-to guy” for general tasks such as creating Google forms, working on a project agreement, or even occasionally fixing the printer.

For Bennett, the most terrific part about Blueforest Studios is the atmosphere and the people he gets to work with. “I feel as if I am part of the team and that my age is not a factor in how I’m treated,” he remarked.

“I like that my duties are constantly changing and that I get to do things like figuring out why a printer isn’t working,” Bennett continued, “I enjoy being able to contribute ideas in creative meetings and never feel afraid or discouraged from sharing my opinion or suggestion with Kathy or members of the team. In my opinion, you can’t find that in most places.”

He said among many other factors, the willingness of the Blueforest staff to accept teenage interns makes coming into Blueforest Studios daily something to look forward to.

Bennett recently graduated high school and will be moving on to attend UNC at Chapel Hill in August.

Kendra Jones
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The Bubbly, Question Asking, Marketing Intern
 

Kendra was hired as a Marketing Intern in March 2016. Her daily tasks include writing blogs and press releases, researching various topics, looking up information about different companies to compile lists of potential contacts, posting content to social media, and researching and monitoring the brand’s online presence.

She has an open mind and is willing to learn any and everything about anything because she believes being multi-skilled is vital to succeeding in the workforce, regardless of what field one pursues.

Kendra loves the atmosphere, people, and the creative freedom Blueforest Studios allows. She also finds researching topics intriguing since she learns something new each time.

“I am able to write multiple materials with minor changes. The work I provide still has my voice and that’s very important to me. If I write something, I would prefer it to sound like I did.” she said, “I absorb and enjoy receiving feedback for completed tasks because it will help me grow as an individual.”

“I also like the fact that Blueforest Studios has a Planet Fitness aura,” Kendra added, “It’s a judgment free zone, just like the gym.”

Kendra’s internship will be coming to an end sometime in August. 

 

The Key To Creating A Memorable Story

Brendan_sm_blogby Brendan Bello

 

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The best way to convey a message is through memorable storytelling.

At the Nonprofit Storytelling Seminar in June, Blueforest’s very own Ammon Ehrisman taught the essentials of every memorable story.

After welcoming many people of various nonprofit organizations, Kimberly Corrigan opened the seminar by introducing herself and Blueforest Studios. Ammon followed suit and had everyone introduce themselves, briefly explain what they do, and what kind of message they wanted to convey using the tools the seminar would give them. To get into the creative mindset, everyone read a paragraph from a legal document and then watched a few short video clips including the story of The Good Samaritan as told by children and a commercial by Southwest Airlines.

Storytelling Seminar

While the attendees were preoccupied watching the videos, Ammon drew a picture of the brain to show what parts were used in reacting to the document and the videos and committing them to memory. He illustrated how only a few select portions of the brain lit up when reading the legal document compared to when watching the video clips. Ammon explained that audiences are able to form a memory when more parts of the brain are activated, in this case, during the videos which conveyed a clear message and story, but not the legal document because it lacked a story and contained perplexing vocabulary.

The objective of the seminar became to find the essential elements of a memorable story. After a round of excellent answers, everyone narrowed the key essentials down to the character(s), their values, and a threat to those values. In the story of The Good Samaritan, the main character is ambushed and beaten by bandits while traveling. Travelers of his own religion pass by him and do not help him, but the Samaritan, someone from another religion helps him and takes care of him. Despite the threat to his own values, the Samaritan helped the beaten man.

To practice, Ammon lets everyone choose one of their own messages which they could apply the storytelling elements. One woman, from White Memorial church, wanted to convey a message for her stewardship campaign, called “A Time to Discern.” Another person told their story of how they were inspired to donate to their church because one of their friends is wealthy yet is always the first to volunteer, host fundraisers in their own home, and serve their church. The woman from White Memorial Church thought it was a great example and said she would try to find a similar instance in her own church.

Ammon concluded the seminar by sharing his own personal story of how he became a director even though he was discouraged to go into the field as a young man. Walking away from the seminar, everyone gained a valuable understanding of crafting an engaging and memorable story.

 

Blueforest Studios Inside Look Part 1

Busy, busy days here at Blueforest Studios. The creative process for building exciting and memorable stories never ends. But we’re never too busy to give you a tour! Over the course of the coming weeks, we will be giving you a look at what goes on inside our studio along with the people who make things happen–our Blueforest crew.

The first person you meet when you walk in the door…

Donna Mason 

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The Witty Receptionist

Donna greets those who walk through our door with a warm smile, typically offers them coffee and directs them to the appropriate personnel. Her daily tasks involve updating customers’ Atlantic OnHold messages, writing scripts for clients, and making everyone laugh.

One of the neat things Donna likes about working at Blueforest Studios is “getting to be a little creative, getting to write some things and proving that everything we learned in school was actually worth it.” she remarked.

(*Atlantic OnHold is an on hold messaging service located in Blueforest Studios which Donna is also a part of. You’ll find out more about Atlantic OnHold in a later blog, soon to come.)

Kathy Langfield

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The Does-It-All

Kathy works on pretty much everything including finance, marketing, human resources and team management. One of the best parts of her job is working on the yearly Blueforest Gives Back giveaway where one lucky nonprofit organization receives a video valued at $10,000.

“I get to take part in that and help give away some video every year,” she said.

Kimberly Corrigan

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The Cheery Sales Guru

Kimberly specializes in sharing the love of video through sales and collaboration. She talks to clients about their video needs, sends them samples of accomplishments Blueforest Studios has achieved for other companies and determines whether or not a potential client is a good fit for Blueforest Studios. Creative collaboration is one of the perks of working at Blueforest Studios.

“Whether it is me getting to go back and be with the creatives and actually come up with new ideas or actually introduce a client to our creative team and see the ideas that come up and the video that results is so fulfilling,” Kimberly said.

Prior to joining the Blueforest team, Kimberly was a video journalist.

“To still be able to be in video and work with people,” she continued, “and come up with creative ideas and just see these beautiful things come to life is why I get up in the morning. It’s awesome.”

Russ Reynolds 

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The Big Bossman

Russ sells videos, plain and simple. He also founded Blueforest Studios. What he enjoys the most out of working at Blueforest Studios is the people.

“This isn’t work to me, you know, to go out and meet people,” Russ explained, “Usually they have a problem and that’s what video does–help them solve their problem, raise money for a nonprofit or sell cars.”

And Marguerite LeBlanc

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The Mistress of Numbers

Marguerite handles the financial elements of Blueforest Studios including payroll, accounts receivable and accounts payable.

“I like the fact that the work here is project based,” she stated, “There’s always something new. I have some things that I do that are routine but enough things that aren’t that keeps it interesting.” Marguerite also added she enjoys working in a drama-free environment.

Let’s not forget the places we use for creative meetings with clients and to chow down:

The Boardroom

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The Almighty Kitchen 

Kitchen Collage

You are now knowledgeable of several team members of Blueforest Studios. We’ll be introducing the rest of the crew very soon.

 

 

 

The Voice of the Expert Presented in a Creative Way: Keen Strategy

by Ammon Ehrisman

With any creative project, you are going to have lots of possible decisions and you have to be very selective about what you choose.  It was no different when we started working on the Keen Strategy branding video.  

As I met with Greg and John I realized that their software was a bit technical and took a while to explain.  But their passion for what their software could do to help marketing managers was palpable.

After doing all of the normal creative discovery, we knew the three biggest things we would like the video to do.  First, we needed to describe what Keen’s software did so anyone could understand it.  Second, we wanted to demonstrate that John and Greg were really passionate about what they were doing. Third, we wanted to show that Keen’s MIDA software was different from anything else out there.

Great. Sounds like a plan, right? Well, since we only had 2 minutes to work with, we knew we would have to pick one or maybe two of these things to really focus on in the video or we were going to start losing people.

We ended up coming up with 3 ideas to address these issues.  Some were funny.  Some were told through the eyes of a marketing manager.  Others were more symbolic, but the one that John and Greg liked the most was also the most offbeat idea.  

The concept was to interview them about the software and their passion for helping marketing managers.  As we watched their interviews, they would magically transform into animated versions of themselves. This would hopefully grab the attention of the audience and give us the opportunity to demonstrate the high-level features of the software in a visually captivating way all while making a real connection between our audience and the founders of Keen.

The result is the Keen video: Greg and John.  Watch it and tell us what you think.

 

 

 

Why invest in team building?

There are still a few companies out there that don’t realize that a little R&R together can result in a closer team.  Fortunately, our leader believes that we need to spend time together and have some fun.  We even have a Fun & _____ Committee. I’m still waiting on my creatives to name it properly but they think that’s pretty funny.

Teams that get together out of the “everyday office environment” can learn to relate to each other in a deeper way that’s more productive.  At Blueforest we volunteer together, eat potlucks together, bowl together and even fish together!  I’m pretty sure that when you get up at 4am to land a big Mahi or Tuna with your team you have new appreciation for what your co-worker is able to do.

Check out our latest adventure “Blueforest Goes Fishing” and some of our other videos that feature some of our team building activities.  We have learned that building the team results in a happier and more productive team.

Share your team building tips with us as we’re always looking for ways to continue to improve our culture!

Say Hello To Kendra

Kendra Jones is one of our latest Marketing interns. She arrived at our studio in March and we are excited to have her. Find out more about her below:

Kendra Jones is a native of Jamaica, Queens, NY and has been living in NC for a couple of years. When she was a young teen, she became interested in becoming a part of the mass communications scene, specifically the broadcast side. She began studying just that at Barton College where she received her bachelor’s degree.

Kendra has worked as an Associate Producer at a news station for a short time and is currently working towards her goal of becoming a Communications Specialist/Spokesperson. She aspires to become the voice of a company, whether it is through written, vocal or visual means. Her passion includes telling stories in a creative manner and bringing ideas to life.

During her spare time, Kendra enjoys writing, shooting and editing videos, shopping, playing with her nephew and nieces, going to see bands play and thinking about cute little bunnies.