The Key To Creating A Memorable Story

Brendan_sm_blogby Brendan Bello

 

story_telling_lights

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 

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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.

Blueforest Gives Back 2016 Judges Meeting

BFGB2016 Judges

 

Having a strong team of judges is essential when discussing all applicants for this year’s Blueforest Gives Back Giveaway. With a blend of returning and new judges, and yummy food from Moe’s, it was time to get the ball rolling by scoping out 7 lucky finalists who met our criteria. We were very excited to see nonprofits we know and love and also organizations new to us. We did a thorough analysis of every applicant’s strengths and weaknesses. Because we looked at each applicant individually, this was a challenging process!

34 organizations sent in applications this year, which beat out our initial 25 total for last year. We fully examined each organization based on a careful list of criteria such as community presence, social engagement, and impact of the organization’s message. Some organizations are doing well on their own while others could use a helping hand. We gathered useful information about each nonprofit and their local impact.

Despite a long conversation and tough decisions, we were all on the same page about which applicants are the finalists Blueforest Studios will be working with. We’ll be scheduling meetings with the finalists over the next 4 weeks.

Meet us at High Five!

We are looking forward to all the great speakers and workshops at High Five this year. We also want to meet new people and if you would like to talk about Video Marketing please sign-up for a 15-30 minute appointment slot. For those on Google check out the calendar below!  Others feel free to reach out on Twitter, LinkedIn or Email. We are planning on hanging out in the lobby/bar area of the Sheraton so hope to see you there. If you’d like to meet somewhere else just reach out!

Look for Kimberly or Russ.
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Email Kimberly At BlueforestStudios.com if you can’t select a time slot or prefer a different time.

A First Time For Everything

The following post was written by Bennett Northcutt. He is one of our 2015 summer interns learning about business and finance in video production and marketing. Welcome aboard Bennett!

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Earlier this week, I began my internship here at Blueforest Studios. Not knowing what to expect, I walked into the office Monday morning to find an intrinsic group of people dedicated to what they do, and boy, do they do it well. Blueforest offers an array of avenues for companies to increase local awareness. One way Blueforest does this is by offering an annual competition for one lucky nonprofit in the Triangle area to receive a free video called Blueforest Givesback. Nonprofits submit applications as to why they deserve the video and Blueforest selects one company which they feel has the most compelling story. How awesome is that? Then Blueforest creates a free video worth $5,000 to $10,000 for the nonprofit. This year CASA was the lucky winner of the Blueforest Givesback competition. The other interns and I were tasked with brainstorming a radio spot to advertise the screening of the winning video Blueforest created for CASA. CASA is different from any other organization I’ve worked with in the past. CASA’s mission is to provide affordable housing to those who are homeless and disabled in the Triangle. With over 300 apartments in the Triangle and constant need, CASA cannot continue to thrive and house those in need without your help. Visit http://www.casanc.org/ and help make a change today.
The radio spot we created can be heard here:

 

My Week at Blueforest Studios

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My name is Bailey Ham and I am a senior at Saint Mary’s School. Through my school’s internship program, I set up a week to visit Blueforest Studios. My previous interest in video editing led me to be a great match for Blueforest Studios, but coming in, I did not know what to expect.

I spent Monday through Thursday at the office, shadowing different members of the team. I even got to create my own radio spot to take with me when I left.

On Monday, I helped update a google form on the website and then got started on writing a script for my radio spot. I used Bailey’s Fine Jewelry as my company to promote through this fake ad, and had three different voices written in the script.

The next day, I spent most of my time shadowing Vann and Bryan, learning about video editing and filming. I had a great lesson on filming. Filming was never my strong suit in the videos I had made at home, so this was one of the most helpful things I learned throughout the week. I learned about placing the subject of the video in the best place to draw attention to them. I also picked out items in videos that could be distracting, such as background noise or movement. All of these tips will benefit me as I start to look at filming and video through a different lense. In addition, I learned a lot of cool tricks on the program that they use for editing that I can take with me as I continue shooting my own film.

On Wednesday, I sat in on a recording session to see the system used for creating on hold messages. I also watched some of the staff successfully troubleshoot an on hold message that was not working correctly.

Finally, I voiced the practice radio spot I wrote myself. I also got other members of the office to voice the other characters while I recorded. From there, we edited the voices and added music that matched the ad. It was really cool to see the process. When listening to the radio, it is hard to imagine that people write the scripts and organize the setup of the commercial. It was interesting to see the process all the way from the beginning to the end.

Thursday, I was able to see the earliest steps to all of the projects worked on at Blueforest Studios. I learned about the organization of the many companies that have on hold messages, as well as the initial meetings set up with clients. I discovered more about how scripts were created and how demos were sent out to show their work.

Going off to college next year, I always thought I wanted to be involved in a marketing or communication major. After spending this week at Blueforest Studios, I am sure that I would like to pursue something in this field. From radio to video, my skillset has been expanded and my interest level has risen!

-Bailey Ham