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.

 

 

 

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.

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.

YouTube Thumbnails & Social Media Placement

There are so many facets to think about when creating and marketing a video. Sometimes you don’t think of minor details that might not seem important but actually have a huge impact on your audience – including how the thumbnail looks on various channels.  We produced an amazing video for our client yet LinkedIN insists on grabbing one of the ‘standard’ thumbnail options from the video itself rather than the custom thumbnail that we’ve created.

This is a good thumbnail because it has a human face and a name and title.  However, we don’t like the windblown look for our still images.

 

 

Facebook on the other hand grabs an image anywhere within the real thumbnail.  We think this might be because they want everyone to use their native video feature.  So we are having to ‘game’ the system by creating a thumbnail that will look great on Facebook if a large amount of traffic is through Facebook.  However, does that look good on the other channels?


There also happen to be dogs on paddle boards in the video – which is a great image to get large audiences to click. But is the rest of the content relevant?

 

Our client has a very specific target for this video and is in a very competitive environment where a “Win” or a “View” by the right person can make a big difference for them.  So it’s important that the video is shared on social and found through search while looking interesting enough to click.  It’s a challenge that we face everyday and if you’re using videos in your marketing, it’s time to consider the thumbnail!  It’s like the subject line of an email or the title of the book – the right thumbnail can get people to view the video – the wrong thumbnail might make people snub your video and potentially your brand.

Watch this beautiful video and learn about Perquimans Marine Industrial Park – 

Have questions or comments? Post below!

Blueforest Gives Back – CASA Video Debut July 21st

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The moment we’ve all be waiting for – the winner of Blueforest Gives Back CASA’s Video Reveal! We had our First Annual Blueforest Gives Back for local nonprofits and we’re proud to announce that we will debut the final product July 21st at The Cary Theater.

CASA is a Raleigh-based nonprofit housing developer and property manager. They focus primarily on multi-family rental properties for people living with disabilities and veterans who have experienced homelessness. CASA’s housing model ends homelessness for people in great need by offering safe, permanent places to live. CASA manages more than 340 apartments and homes across the Triangle (Wake, Durham and Orange counties) and has 22 more currently under construction.

We’ve really enjoyed this exciting collaboration, learning more about what CASA does and how they positively impact our local community. Together we’ve creating an amazing animated video that embodies CASA and their message. We can’t wait to share it with all of you!

Come learn about Blueforest Studios, CASA, and the importance of animation! See how Blueforest tells CASA’s amazing story and learn more about the annual Blueforest Gives Back for local nonprofits. Open to everyone!

 

When: Tuesday July 21st

Time: 3:30pm- 5:30pm (2 showings of the debut video, no excuse to miss it!)

Where: The Cary Theater 

Who: Open to everyone!

Tickets : FREE! And choice to donate to CASA.

Reserve your tickets HERE.

You don’t want to miss this!

 

Do Great Things! Durham Tech Video Project

What’s Your Great Thing? Durham Tech can help you discover that.

Blueforest Studios worked alongside Engine Brandmakers and Durham Tech to create this great video project. Blueforest Studios focused on capturing the energy of the students as they found their “great thing” at Durham Tech among downtown Durham. These videos capture how students gain diverse experiences through their peers and the different opportunities available to them at Durham Tech.

 


This message of finding your “great thing” is the important central message in Durham Tech’s mission. They help students find their passion and career goals through their many classes and programs. Blueforest Studios focused on embodying that message in these videos through the vibrant background of downtown Durham and strong student interviewees who are eager to learn.

 


The purpose of these videos is to promote Durham Tech and encourage new students to enroll. These videos show the connection between Durham Tech and downtown Durham, how they go hand in hand in the students lifestyle when attending Durham Tech. The message conveyed in the videos is how students gain real world experience in the diverse and energetic environment as a student at Durham Tech and as a resident in downtown Durham.

Like this video or want something to embody your company message? Let us know what you think!

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!

View post on imgur.com

 

 

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:

 

How to Conduct an Interview for Your Nonprofit Video

Conducting an interview is a skill that takes years to master. I consider it one of the most important skills I’ve developed over 12 years in this business.

Here are a 7 tips that will help you get the best results when you are interviewing someone for your nonprofit video.

#1 Be what you want.

Probably the most important thing you can do when you are interviewing is to lead by example. If you want your interviewee to be relaxed and comfortable, make sure you speak in a relaxed and comfortable way.

#2 Give them some coaching.

Once the lights are on and you are both sitting down, give them a little coaching on how to answer the questions. This will give you a chance to demonstrate how you want them to speak, will give them a chance to get used to the lights and cameras, and will give them a bit of valuable information.

#3 Only ask one question at a time.

If you ask multiple questions at a time it will confuse them and encourage them to give you long winded answers that will be harder for you to use in the video.

#4 Have a list of questions, but don’t use it.

You should always be prepared with a paper that has their name and the questions you want to ask. But once you start talking, you should be flexible enough to make follow-up questions that relate to what they just said and go with the flow.

I usually ask the first question and don’t look back at the paper until the very end to make sure I didn’t miss anything I was planning on.

#5 Go for the story.

Most nonprofits are built around great stories. You are changing peoples lives! When you write your interview questions, you should ask questions that reveal their story. Instead of asking who, what, or how, ask “why?”

#6 Don’t be afraid of silence.

Sometime they will give you a short answer that didn’t address what you were asking. Or you may sense they are holding back to hide their emotions. This would be a great time for an awkward silence. Just keep looking at them and count to 5 in your head. I’ve gotten some of my best answers by just not speaking and waiting for them to really open up. (And yes, I learned that from Barbara Walters!)

#7 Keep it loose.

Occasionally you will get someone who is so nervous about the lights and cameras they freeze. If your interviewee gets stuck on a question, don’t let them hang frozen for too long. If you just sit there they will begin to get more and more embarrassed and the interview will fail. After a few moments of freezing, I like to move on to the next question and come back to the one they froze on if we need to at the end.

So there you are. Good luck with your interview!

 

The Winner of the 1st Annual Blueforest Gives Back!

It was a very tough decision. Every applicant is an important nonprofit helping to better our community. We started Blueforest Gives Back because we love getting involved in the community in many different ways. Blueforest Gives Back is another way for us to help local nonprofits with what we do best, telling a great story. After much consideration, we’re happy to announce the winner.

Drum roll please……

CASA! 

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CASA is a Raleigh-based nonprofit housing developer and property manager. Focusing primarily on multi-family rental properties for people living with disabilities and veterans who have experienced homelessness. CASA’s housing model ends homelessness for people in great need by offering safe, permanent places to live. CASA manages more than 340 apartments and homes across the Triangle (Wake, Durham and Orange counties) and has 22 more currently under construction. CASA’s CEO Debra King was recently Tarheel of the Week by the News & Observer!

Blueforest Studios is excited for this opportunity to work with CASA in creating a video that will help CASA accomplish their mission. Blueforest Studios and CASA will work together to broaden their impact and raise awareness of the organization. CASA was selected to receive the 1st BlueForest Gives Back award because of its successful track record of assisting often overlooked members of our community, its dynamic leadership, and their plan to further their measurable impact. Learn more about CASA at http://www.casanc.org/

We thank all the applicants that applied to our first year of Blueforest Gives Back and for all the work that they do. We encourage all to apply for 2016’s Blueforest Gives Back.

Keep a lookout for updates of Blueforest Gives Back and for the winning video!