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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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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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Announcing The Blueforest Gives Back Winner!

Almost three dozen nonprofits have entered our 2nd annual Blueforest Gives Back giveaway. While we would love to make a free video for every applicant, only one could be chosen.

The process of selecting a winner was extremely difficult for our judges. We did not always see eye-to-eye, but eventually we came to a consensus.

And the winner of the 2016 Blueforest Gives Back giveaway is…drum roll, please…

The Center For Volunteer Caregiving!

Congratulations! We look forward to telling your story.

The Center For Volunteer Caregiving is a Wake County based community engagement nonprofit that provides volunteer services to improve the lives of seniors, caregivers, and adults with disabilities who need non-medical assistance. The center is currently providing transportation, caregiver support, and in-home connections to about 700 Wake County adults. The Center For Volunteer Caregiving was chosen because of its positive impact on adults and seniors with disabilities.  

To learn more about their mission, visit http://www.volunteercaregiving.org/

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We would like to thank every nonprofit for entering our Blueforest Gives Back giveaway. We encourage you to enter next year’s Blueforest Gives Back.

In the meantime, keep a keen eye out for the winning video and updates for Blueforest Gives Back.

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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.

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Blueforest Gives Back Applicant Spotlight: Exchange Family Center

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It’s that time again. It is year two of our Blueforest Gives Back Video Giveaway and we are thrilled to have so many impressive applicants. Thank you to all of the organizations who have participated in the process.

Among the contenders who stood out to us is the Exchange Family Center. Here is some more information about them:

Life as we know it can sometimes be difficult. Everyone is facing daily hardships, which unfortunately may include mistreatment of various forms. The Exchange Family Center in Durham works to prohibit such harsh realities. The Exchange Family Center’s mission is to strengthen area families and prevent child mistreatment and neglect through family support, counseling and education. Their vision is of a world where children are safe from physical and emotional harm. They strive to guide children and their caregivers through life’s not-so-great moments.

Through resources such as counseling, case management, group counseling, education and supportive services, the Exchange Family Center has made a huge difference in the lives of many children and their families. Those services are provided through three of their main programs: Early Childhood Outreach (EChO), Family Support Program (FSP), and Parenting of Adolescents (POA).

Their three main programs have created plenty of success stories for many families. Through EChO, the Exchange Family Center has helped a child in daycare curb their aggression and instead use words to express themselves and solve problems. The center’s FSP taught a mother skills to help her child stay focused in school as well complete homework. The POA program has completely turned around a teen whose life spiraled out of control after getting caught up in gang activity.

What we love about the Exchange Family Center is that they work hard to strengthen families and ensure the safety and well-being of young people. Young people are the next generation. It is vital that they are happy and protected so they can make a positive impact in the community. The center values respect, which is the glue to making relationships work harmoniously.

Check them out and learn more about their mission at: http://www.exchangefamilycenter.org/

 

Kendra Jones

 

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Storyboard to Finish

Homes by Dickerson, the constructors behind the HGTV 2016 Smart Home, just launched a video we produced to feature their company’s custom homes. Our client wanted to not just show off their product, but also to capture their company’s core values: commitment, craftsmanship, quality and service.

Inspired by the idea of symmetry, we decided to use a split screen to convey two contrasting but compositionally similar scenes. The left frame would show the intricate process of designing and building a house, and the right side would show loving moments of a family enjoying the finished home years later.

Because the concept was so visually driven, detailed shot-by-shot planning was key to executing our creative director’s vision. Projects like this take careful storyboarding.

Storyboard artists get to be a little bit of everything: the cinematographer, the director, the cameraperson, the lighting specialist. They sketch out the perfect angle, emotion, mood, lighting, transition – all to capture that exact moment envisioned by the creative director. That way, the crew can use the storyboard as a guide when shooting and editing a project.

Check out some frames from the final video along with their storyboard sketches:


Rollover the final frames to see the storyboard frame.


Rollover the final frames to see the storyboard frame.


Rollover the final frames to see the storyboard frame.

And here is the complete final video:

 

 

-The Art Department

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Blueforest Storytelling Seminar

We have raving fans for our Storytelling Seminar – so you’ll definitely want to check it out. Our next seminar is February 24, 2016 at 10:30am.  Lunch will be provided to those who’d like to stay after. One past commenter wrote: -Great storytelling seminar!. Gave me new perspective on using good  to make memorable…ppl remember great stories

See why else you might want to attend on this video:

Click here to register!  Seats are limited so sign up today!

 

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Blueforest Gives Back – 2nd Annual Triangle Nonprofit Video Giveaway 2016

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Capturing compelling stories through video is what we do best! We know there are many nonprofits in the Triangle that have life-changing stories. These stories explain how they were founded, the people they serve, and the lasting impact they are making in the community.

That’s just one of the reasons we love working with nonprofit organizations. Last year we launched the Blueforest Gives Back initiative to support the community by doing what we do best, creating videos! Due to our huge success collaborating with CASA Housing we are bring our giveaway back for local nonprofits who contribute services in the categories of community, environment, and economics. Our criteria won’t just be who can get the most likes, although social media will play a small part. It will be a holistic view of the agency – who has the story that will get the most traction and who can benefit most from a great video!

Interested in being a part of our giveaway? We will produce a free video ($5,000 – $10,000 value) in 2016 for one amazing local nonprofit organization. All other nonprofits are eligible for a 10% discount and all applicants will get free basic YouTube Optimization on a project purchased from Blueforest Studios by the end of 2016! We are an Integrated Video Production company after all and we want to make sure that your target audience can find your video online. Learn more HERE.

Check out our video for last year’s winner, CASA!

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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!

Millennial-Workplace

What’s so special about Millennials?

There has been endless discussion about millennials – what to do with them, how to reach them, how to get them to stay interested in you and your product, etc. Why?

If you haven’t heard the term millennial thrown around, where have you been?! They are the age group born between 1980 and 2000 and they outnumber baby boomers. Millennials have been stereotyped as “lazy and entitled” but companies that believe this stereotype will ultimately lose business.

They’re the largest demographic in the marketplace, so you need to pay attention to them. Especially if you’re a marketer. Ignore them and you’re in big trouble.

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Millennials crave information and want access right now. Company websites need to include all the right information with easy accessibility. With so much information on the web available, they can thoroughly research products and companies before buying, so it’s essential to take advantage of this and properly market your company and product. This goes for any potential customers. If they can’t find you, they won’t know about you. Simple, right?

71% of online shoppers claim that the most important thing a brand can do is value the customer’s time (according to Salesforce). You might have heard “millennials want it now”. They want quick responses or they can move on to the next guy, because that guy/company does respond, showing millennials their business is valued.

You need to create a personal connection between millennials and your product. Without taking the time to learn about their wants and needs, it takes away your ability to serve that customer base. Millennials change their wants and needs constantly to suit new technology and products being created each day. Businesses need to keep on their feet and adapt to ever changing customer demands and new technologies as they appear.