Friday, February 14, 2014

Do what you want to get paid to do.

Advancing your film career is somewhat a balancing act. Nothing makes you an easier mark for exploitation quite like earnest ambition. Veterans of the industry will always tell you to never do any job for free but when you start selling your services for a living wage, if you haven't shot that exact video ten time before, the market seems to laugh at you. Or worse, the phone just never rings.

Here's the thing the veterans will never tell you. That is, if you let money be your guide you'll end up with clients driving your career.  I don't know about you but I don't want that.  You'll do the same shit over and over again.  Your work will suffer.  You'll loose out on jobs that really excite you.

So you gotta give them a little more than what they pay for.  You probably shouldn't go overboard on every project but if you see potential in a project, don't be afraid to go the extra mile.  They might be paying you $600 to do the job but if you can make it look like they're paying you $1200, you're doing the right thing.  So go ahead and rent the right camera for the job.  Offer to put in a little extra time.  They'll appreciate the effort and it'll pay off in the picture.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Make The Most Of The Opportunity

Clients ask me about business profiles all the time. I've done them for Yelp via SmartShoot and I've done them for friends who have businesses. The process is simple. I show up and film the business for a couple hours and then we shoot an interview.
The best business profiles are always for clients who make an effort to make the best of their opportunity to collaborate with me. I tell clients, much like you might practice for your piano lessons, you have to prepare for your video shoot!

So I have a list of tips for clients.

1) Know what you want to say in a video. This doesn't mean you should prepare a speech and rehearse it.  Honestly, I'd rather you didn't.  One of my favorite client interviews was for Jade Bistro near Tampa. The speaker is the owner's son and I love his interview because he knows exactly what he loves about his mother's cooking. When he says "my Mom makes it, so I know its awesome" I just want to hug him. Best story, ever.

2) Know what you want to show me. Don't just tell me about your business, show it to me. For McMahon and Absolute Home Comfort of Boston, that was pretty easy. I had the guys pretend to work on projects around their own homes. Check out the videos. I'm happy with the results.

3) Break free from the office. Here is a video I shot with Brody Willis. Its okay but not spectacular. Watch the video. Did you notice how the speaker is talking about driving in a car and looking for a gas station or coffee shop? And yet the visuals are stuck at the office, staring at the guy's phone. That's a problem. It might take a little more effort to jump in the car and scout out some locations but that's the difference between an okay video and a great video. Always be prepared to go the extra mile.

4) Get your friends and family involved. For the Image Care Electrolysis video, I asked the practitioners to bring in their friends and family.  One of the "clients" is actually a practitioner.  This option saves you money because you don't have to hire actors. And it avoids awkward client confidentiality issues.

Generally the last thing I tell clients before wrapping up the consultation is my philosophy for compensation. Basically, I don't want to shoot a video unless I know its going to turn out great. I tell them if I'm not proud enough to post the video to my website or show it to potential clients, I'm wasting my time. And I think they appreciate that because it tells them that their business is my business.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Collaborative Process

Its important to get the client involved in the process.

If you've ever dabbled in the wedding industry, you know that the client has the most clairvoyant concerns after the fact. The same is true for other clients. Your job, as the filmmaker, is to coax those ideas out in the pre-production phase. And keep documentation of your plans so if you run into disagreement later, you have something to refer back to.

You can also multiply your efforts if you work together, which is tricky because they'll tell you they'd prefer to stand on the sidelines and let you do your thing. Small businesses are especially guilty of this. You'll have to convince them to do a little prep before the shoot. Have them bring in a friend or family member to model for you. Ask them to think of some projects they can show you.

Clients might be hesitant to open up to collaboration. After all, they're paying you to do a job. They expect you to come and go like a plumber. I like to tell them I'm like the piano teacher. If they don't put in the time to prepare, I can't guarantee results.

Spring/Summer 2013 Cinematography Reel from Joshua Guerci on Vimeo.

My reel, as humble as it is, would be impossible without the help of my clients. When you get them on board with the collaborative process, they might ask to reschedule. That's okay. It means they're starting to take your services seriously and they want to make the best of an opportunity to work with you.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Leaving Cambridge

Two years ago, I was buying my first professional camera. The Sony NEX-VG10. It's not really a professional camera but it's a step up from the Hi8 cassette camcorder I got when I was in high school.

My greatest work was The Tommy Dean Show. In many ways, its still my greatest work. Its the only thing that makes me feel anything.

I've developed on my skills. Looking over my sloppy Occupy Boston work, the inconclusive outtakes from Storm Surge and onward through my misguided attempt at behind the scenes fashion shoot, I see spirit. But unrefined.

Fast forward. I've started doing a lot of videos for Yelp. I think I've shot too many of these and my eye is getting stale. But below is my favorite.

Emilia's Creation from Joshua Guerci on Vimeo.

Fusing discipline with passion is the next step.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Rani + Christelle

I edited this video for Silver Pix. The easiest part of editing this video was picking out the music. I knew right away I wanted something vintage cool and yet appropriate for a traditional couple. A little piano music by Bill Evans followed by some soulful Louis Armstrong bit. And I finished the whole thing off with Blossom Dearie. These songs are timeless and will be as beautiful thirty years from now as they are today.

Rani + Christelle Wedding Highlights Film from SilverPixStudios on Vimeo.