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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.

BFS Inside Look

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.

BFS Inside Look

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. 

 

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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.

 

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Summer 2016 Interns: Moving On

The week for Triangle AdFed’s What We Do You Can Too internship program is over. Daniel Engman and Mason Carrara have both had a splendid time learning different areas of advertising at Blueforest Studios. The crammed week included learning how to edit videos in Adobe Premiere Pro, learning how to edit pictures in Photoshop, and producing a radio spot. Engman and Carrara tell us about their experience and what’s next in their lives.

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Q: How would you describe your experience at Blueforest Studios?

Daniel:

My experience here at Blueforest Studios has been one to remember. I learned so many new things and I improved on the skills I already had. For starters myself, along with the other two interns, created a radio spot start to finish. I also learned how to set up a professional photo shoot, and so much more! I would love to come back and work for Blueforest any chance I got. This experience was invaluable and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Mason:

My experience here at Blueforest Studios was an extraordinary opportunity for me to understand what an advertisement business is like. I learned what programs would help them achieve their goals in their work. In this business, I have learned how they plan out their next strategy and how prepared they have to be for making these productions. I went on a shoot with a few of the members, Vann, Emily, and Bryan in Wake Forest. I learned a new passion that I could potentially pursue which is videography. I was able to participate in their shots for the project they are working on which I noticed the whole idea of shading, lighting, and etc. It was just like my teacher said that computers are just like cameras.

Another area that I learned was audio, with Donald, and I thought that this was a great place to learn audio from him. I was able to do the radio spot with Daniel and Brendan and I was able to learn the whole editing process of our radio spot. Listening to all sounds to see how good or bad they were. Also, we used a voice actor to say our script. All in all, I was enjoying the experience and I hope to hone this experience so I can have the same idea of what job I will go into. I really enjoyed the experience here more than what I first had in mind.  

Q: What’s next for you? What are your plans for the summer?

Daniel:

Over the summer, I have football workouts every day from 7-12 and our 3-day camp at Campbell University in late July. Other than football every day I am going to Louisville, Kentucky June 20-25 to compete in the SkillsUSA national competition. My team is competing in Interactive Application and Game Design, which is a competition where the competitors are tasked with creating a video game prototype from scratch (that includes all graphics, audio, and actually making the game run).

I am also going to be in NYC for the week of July 4th and I’m really looking forward to it because I’ve never been to NYC before. I am always asked what I want to do with my life in the future and I think that I am finally figuring it out. I hope to go to NC State and major in marketing with a minor in psychology, or if NC State rejects me the backup plans are going to UNC-Charlotte and getting my MBA or going to Western Carolina and getting a degree in sports management

Mason: 

My plan for summer is really just focusing on creating my professional website so I can put my name out there with the work I have. Another step for me that I’m taking is learning new programs like Adobe Premiere and Pro Tools. Since coming here I have learned that these programs are pretty essential to the business. These seemed important since I’ve been with Blueforest Studios for four days and I have seen nothing on a computer but Adobe Premiere and Pro Tools for video and audio. Of course, there was photography which I enjoyed very much. I went with Vann, Emily, and Bryan and I decided to go along and help with their shoot of Wake Forest.

I enjoyed the sites that we traveled to and I also enjoyed being their actor for the shoot. I really appreciate the time they spent and the hard work they put into their work. It really opened my eyes to the possibilities of videography and I might put that into my listing also for the summer. I wish to keep doing internships for the summer but I only have a week so I might try to find another internship if I can after my week is up.      

 

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Summer 2016 High School Interns

This is our fourth year participating in Triangle AdFed’s What We Do You Can Too internship program, or WWDU2, where high school students receive the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the advertising industry for one week. This year we have three interns:  Brendan Bello, Daniel Engman, and Mason Carrara.

Brendan Bello

Brendan Bello

I am a high school student in the Academy of Finance program at Sanderson High School. Throughout the summer between junior and senior year, Academy students are required to complete a 135-hour internship at a local business. I chose Blueforest Studios because I am interested in pursuing a career in the film industry. My plan for this summer and goal as an intern is to learn about video production. Blueforest Studios being a group of people passionate about their craft, they can help me accomplish that goal. With my experience at Blueforest Studios, I, like them, will hopefully be able to make audiences feel something and inspire them to take action.

(Brendan will remain an intern for the duration of the summer.)

 

Daniel Engman

Daniel Engman

Let’s start with who am I. I am a dual-sport athlete, playing both football and lacrosse for Middle Creek High School. I have one little brother, two crazy dogs, and I am very fortunate to have two loving parents as well. I am very influenced by sports in my life and they have molded me into a driven and very competitive person.

My competitiveness and my will to win have not only helped my football and lacrosse careers in high school (I’ve only lost 2 football games in my high school career), but it has driven me to go and get any and every opportunity I can get, such as this internship at Blueforest Studios. During my time at Blueforest, I hope to learn the amount of time and hard work it takes to create a successful marketing campaign and to recognize all the pieces that play into making the best possible product. I also hope to further my skills in video production, as well as graphic design and audio production.

 

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Mason Carrara

I am sort of a computer geek and I love to create things from scratch in Photoshop. I love creating objects,environments, and characters. The love to learn new skills is always open to me. I want to be able to do work that others would recognize, from the company and from me. I personally love working with others and hearing their opinions on given subjects so I can improve on my thinking.

I just started getting into animation and I was able to create a .GIF with the Photoshop Timeline window by creating individual frames for each movement. I enjoyed this, and I decided to go a little more in-depth with animation. I still only know the basics but I bought the book called “Animator’s Survival Kit” to enhance my skills. I plan to also learn more about animation at Blueforest Studios. 

My goal for this internship is going to understand how computer businesses work. I want to see what we do for planning, what we do for executing, and etc. I want to learn programs for the work of animation, editing, and teamwork. Getting to know these programs and critical thinking skills will help me understand the thinking of a business products. Being in a business is personally a good spot for me to understand what a business will be about.

BFS Inside Look

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.

 

 

 

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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.

 

 

 

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CASA Raises 280% More Funds….

Last summer we worked with CASA on an integrated video campaign.  We created an amazing animated video that tackled a difficult subject.  Who can talk about homelessness with a smile?  Well, it turns out since CASA is actually solving homelessness in the Triangle for hundreds of individuals and families – they can certainly smile about the solution they are providing!  Their “Housing First” model has worked so well over the decades that they have seen remarkable growth in funding.  We were thrilled to be part of the process.  Learn a little about their experience in this behind the scenes video.  (Full disclosure, they were our Blueforest Gives Back winner so the $10,000 was free to them.)

We worked with Missy Hatley, Director of Development at CASA to create an entire integrated campaign that ensured the video reached their target audience.  This, of course, is the crucial part – we can make an amazing video, but without a plan to get it to the right audience it’s not going to get the desired results. Blueforest helped with the YouTube optimization and CASA did the rest.

At the end of summer 2015, Ms. Hatley reported they had raised 280% more than the previous summer.  We were thrilled with that result!!! Check out their video here.  Want to learn more? Drop us a line.

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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.