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.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Home Remodeling

I got this project through Smart Shoot. They're sort of a referral service.  You apply to have an account with them and when jobs come up that they think you qualify for, they post them to a call board where you just click to claim them.  Not a bad way for a filmmaker starting out to get experience working with clients and finishing projects on a tight deadline.

This was a challenging video.  With a chef or a hair dresser, you can see what they do in an afternoon.  Things are a bit more involved with construction and home-remodeling services.  Their process can easily span over several weeks or months.  And because the assignment required me to wrap shooting in just a couple hours, I had to sit down with the client and get a little creative.
The client decided to focus on the small things to imply a bigger picture.  So I filmed them grabbing a saw blade, fixing an electrical panel, fixing the furnace in the basement and cutting lumber in the drive way.  And we performed the interview in the sun room next to a stack of ladders.  I'm not sure if the video conveys the entire scope of what these guys are capable of, but I am proud of how the individual shots came out.

The electrical panel scene posed particular challenges.  The room was small and dark.  I could boost the gain to achieve an exposed image, but I would sacrifice what little color the basement scene had to offer.  Also, the bare wood walls didn't offer much to keep the image very interesting.  Very flat and boring.  In bringing in a small work light and opening the door, we were able to save the shot

We had some similar issues with the furnace scene.  Just outside of frame is the work light.  You can see the guy's elbow in the background, holding the light.  I might have asked him to get out of the shot but his presence doesn't bother me.  He adds a little shape and interest to the background.