Lorie’s List for 11/22/2013

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English: The current TARDIS seen at BBC TV Cen...

English: The current TARDIS seen at BBC TV Centre (Photo credit: zir.com)

This week has been full of Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey Stuff. For those not familiar, Saturday, November 23, 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who, the British sci-fi show that has made history. Or at least tried to rewrite it. I am not ashamed to admit that I have become very addicted to the show thanks to several family members.

In honor of this television milestone this week’s (probably) random, (rarely) newsworthy and on (nearly every) occasion strange or unique stories are Doctor Who related. Who knows, maybe you’ll find something interesting to discus during your next ride on the TARDIS.

  • Help build the TARDIS! The folks behind Doctor Who have been working over time making sure that social media has been whipped into a frenzy. This is one of the coolest. They’ve had fans using #SaveTheDay on Facebook Twitter and Instagram and then with the magic of the Time Vortex those posts and tweets are used to create a TARDIS made of points lights. For their efforts fans get sneak peaks at the anniversary special – about 10 seconds at a time, but we’ll take what we can get!
  • Timey Wimey Infographic Infographics are all the rage, but this is the Timey Wimiest of all! This shows all the travels through time by all the doctors.
  • YouTube Specials The BBC America YouTube Channel has been pumping out all kinds of special videos and hints about the 50th Anniversary Special. There are events all weekend in the UK and they’ll be adding videos. I’ve also heard that there will be some live things going on just before the world simulcast, so keep an eye out!
  • A World What? A World Simulcast of The Day of the Doctor! In an unheard of move for what’s suppose to be a kid’s television show, the 50th anniversary special is going to be simulcasted around the world. It starts at 7:50 PM in the UK. On the East coast it hits the air wave as 2:50 PM…you get the idea. I think it’s kind of a cool idea that million of fans will get to watch it at the same time! I also love the idea that I don’t have to stay off-line for hours between when it first airs in the UK and when it airs in the US.
  • 3D! That’s right the 50th Anniversary Special is in 3D and to give as many people as possible people as the opportunity to see it there will be special showing in theaters all over the place. Folks in the US can find the nearest theater here.  I’m kind of bummed that I won’t be able to get to one, but if you do come back and let me know how it was!

There are tons going on this weekend. If you’re a fan of the The Doctor you have a lot to entertain you. If you aren’t familiar there are specials and marathons running all weekend to get you hooked. Check out a little bit of history and watch a show that is sure to be one of the highest rated around the world and ruling Twitter.

If you have any ideas or if you’d like to Guest Write The List, I would love to hear from you! Send me a note here and we’ll get you on the blog!

Have a great weekend everyone! If a guy in a bluer than blue box that is ancient and new and bigger on the inside asks where you’d like to go in all of time and space, go. Don’t walk, RUN!

5 Tips for DIY Videos for Your Business

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While looking up some websites for business in our new neighborhood, I stumbled upon some more DIY videos that left a lot to be desired. A. LOT. So I thought I would share a few things I noticed that could make be huge improvements. (In the interest of a good neighbor I’m not going to actually post the bad videos. They tried, they really did, and it’s not nice to make fun of people like that.)Video Camera

  1. Keep It Short and Sweet (or the 1st KISS): Attention spans get shorter and shorter. You love your product/store/event, but even you aren’t going to sit through almost six minutes of what is basically a silent film. Pick a purpose or specific topic for and shoot for the video about 30 seconds long. You can create several videos released over time to help you build your audience and create interest in your business.
  2. Keep It Simple, Stupid (2nd KISS): Keep the topics of the video simple. Think food, people, products, location, fun, history…comparing the philosophical debate between Vulcan and Romulus in a 30 second video for a used book store may be a difficult concept for some people to understand. Video of lots of happy people reading big piles of books, better yet buying big piles of books, is easy to understand. Easy to understand usually goes over better with the audience.
  3. Don’t Be Afraid to Go Slow: People have a tendency to quickly pan across shelves and speed through tilts up and down displays. Sometimes it’s because they don’t want it to look boring. Sometimes people don’t know better or think about it. When you move the camera quickly multiple things happen. First, you could make someone sick. Seriously, it can make people motion sick. Second, it looks unprofessional because the quick movement usually also includes bobbing and bouncing camera work as well. Slow even camera work allows the viewer to actually see what you’re trying to show them, get interested in it, and makes them more likely to want to see it in person.
  4. Don’t Be Afraid to Zoom In or Shoot Close-Ups: Wide shots are great for showing viewers what a place looks like, but if you want them to really like something, if you want them to fall in love with a product, then zoom in on it. Show a close-up of a yummy treat your store sells or the detailed bead-work of a one-of-a-kind necklace will draw your audience in and show them the quality of what you sell.
  5. Make the Audience Fall In Love: Pay attention to the little things like the lighting and the sound. Make sure when you shoot the video that the sun isn’t so bright, or it’s so dark, that you can’t see anything. Make sure that there aren’t any strange/annoying sounds in the background. Make sure that there aren’t any songs or signs in the background that could get you in copyright trouble.
  6. BONUS TIP – Have Fun and Be Creative! Have fun with it and get creative, your audience will have fun too. Even if your business is a Victorian Tea Room, there’s no need for your video to be stuffy or boring.

I’d love to hear your ideas and suggestions. What tips do you have?

Is Social Media Changing How We Tell Stories?

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I read this post and it got me thinking. Obviously social media is changing the way we tell stories. We can now share what’s happening to us, as it’s happening, with video and/picture proof. There’s no planning ahead. There’s no deep thought on the best way to share a story, or looking forward to telling it the next time you see someone. With a couple of clicks of your smartphone, tablet or the old school laptop and everyone who knows you knows exactly what happened.

There’s no saving a story for the next family get together – they read all about it on Facebook. There’s no go to anecdote for parties – they saw it on Twitter and retweeted. They re-pinned the picture we took of the dog and pinned on Pinterest. They saw the crazy cat video you posted on YouTube.

Where are the stories we save and savor telling our friends or family? Where are the great icebreaker stories that we prepare for awkward social encounters (fulling willing to admit, this may just be me)? What do we have to talk about at dinner tonight when our every move is posted, pinned, tweeted and shared as it happens?

I’m curious. Has social media, and the instant gratification that it brings, changed the way you tell stories? Do you still relate the stories of your day when your out with friends or sitting around the dinner table with your family? Has social media helped you start conversations because people see what you posted and prompt you for the full story?

Answer the poll and share your thoughts below.

Who Are You Telling Your Story To?

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Stanford Smith makes some great points this post about “preaching to the choir” if you will. And he’s right. It’s great to have the support of like-minded people, but if the right people aren’t getting your message the right way, you’re getting nowhere. I’ve talked before about how it’s important to know your audience. And, whether your marketing a university, developing adult learning content, or producing a killer video, you need to make sure the audience you’re creating your story for is the audience that gets it. It happens all the time. We write a marketing piece in a way that appeals to our executive, but is it written in a way  that will appeal (and sell to) your audience? Will your learners love the content as much as the other instructional designers do, or will the be confused and turned-off by it? Those special-effects and artistic edits are awesome, but are you doing it to show off your favorite skills or to reach wedding and corporate clients? It’s so easy to study your audience and develop something for them but do it in a way that appeals not to the audience, but to ourselves or our peers. I think we’re all guilty of it from time to time. I’ll be the first to admit that I have. I’ve done promos and videos that I thought were great but missed the mark with the audience because they just didn’t get it. But, I’ve also done videos that I didn’t really connect with that were exactly what the client and the audience needed to see. I challenge you to go back and take an honest look at the stories you’re telling. I have and I’m going to be doing a few rewrites on a project I’m working on where the target audience is very different from the people involved. I did a pretty good job in the beginning, but I can see now that I lost that edge a bit. Now that I’m aware I can make it right. If you’re in the same boat I’m in, here are a few suggestions to help you stay on track:

  • Get out of your comfort zone and expose yourself to the interests and environment of your audience. Remind yourself where they’re coming from. Don’t assume you know.
  • Do a focus group or have an informal chat with folks from your target audience. What story do they want to hear from you or your client?
  • Look for outside experts. Don’t just listen to the usual people get opinions from, find someone from outside your circle to give an objective opinion.
  • I’ve been known to put up signs up around my desk to remind me about the audience I’m trying to reach.
Take a minute. Think about the stories you’re telling now. Are you telling your story in a way that will move, excite or affect your audience? Is your story being told in a way that’s too “inside” your environment to reach that target audience out there?  Are you telling the right story, the right way, to the right audience?
The answer to those questions are the difference between telling your story and selling your story.

Miss Communication – Did You Really Just Tweet That?!?

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A family with the faces blacked out

Protecting your on-line image is a family affair.

It comes back around every few months. Someone is surprised that they got in trouble at work for tweeting something negative about the company. Or they posted on Facebook about how they called in sick to work to get drunk with their friends, forgetting that they “friended” their boss and are shocked that they lost their jobs. There are the students who get freaked out when the school or professor comments on a post.

But why? When you post something on the world-wide web there is a very good chance that someone in the world will see it. There really is no such thing as private on the internet. There are glitches and hacks all the time. Nothing you post anywhere is really private.

And it lives forever. Once you hit send the picture, joke or rant is out of your hands and out there for others to use and consume the way they see fit. Sure you can recall an email, but it doesn’t get it unseen. And if you don’t recall it fast enough it could be tucked away in a folder somewhere waiting for a chance to surprise you.

The ability to share thoughts and feelings as we have them is addicting. Having followers and friends who will listen and comment on life’s ups and downs provides a certain feeling of power. But what people forget is those thoughts and feelings don’t just go out to the people who follow you, they can go to anyone who’s looking for them. Those pictures from the weekend if Vegas with college friends are not going to stay in Vegas.

More and more people are getting haunted while looking for a job. Rachel Gogos discusses how social media can hurt your job hunt and keep you from landing the job of your dreams. What seems like a harmless tweet today could be found by a recruiter or hiring manager and keep you from being considered for a job. Put yourself in their place. Would you hire a woman for a teaching position when googling her name brings up pictures of keg stands and wardrobe malfunctions? Or a man for a diversity program who has a drunken rant against ethnic groups on YouTube?

And while there are companies that can excise your on-line demons, you can save some time and money by being smart. Don’t put pictures, videos, tweets or status updates or blog posts that can and will come back to bite you. I know, easier said than done. It’s harder today than it was when you only had to worry about your reputation for as long as someone had the photographs. You could only be embarrassed by them in front of the people someone was able to show them too. Today it takes seconds for your reputation to change.

The moral of the story is this, think before you send. Take a moment to pause before a picture gets taken or cameras start to roll or you send that post. Is this really what you want to be known for? Is this what you want people world-wide to know or think about you? Once that button gets clicked it’s too late to take it back.

5 Reasons NOT to Use Video

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I realized the other day after reading this that I’ve talked about reasons to use a professional video team. I’ve talked about how much I love the magic moments that you have. I’ve even talked about why you should use video. But what I haven’t talked about is why sometimes video isn’t the answer. As much as it does pay me to say it, video is not always the right answer. Let’s face it, it’s not.

Here are my Top 5 reasons not to use video:

  1. We want to be cool! I think a lot of people want to be a part of the latest greatest what ever is hot, but don’t necessarily consider if the latest greatest is right for them. I mean look how Twitter, Facebook and YouTube have exploded. Everyone wants to be there, but not everyone has taken the time to figure out what it means to them. Most business jumped on the social media bandwagon before develop marketing plans, metrics collection or even a plan of attack. Yes, you may seem that much more hip because you tweet, but if you don’t know how to use it to attract and keep customers, is it really worth the time investment? The same is true for video. Don’t make a video because all the cool kids (or your competitors) are making videos. Make a video because you have something to say and the best way to say it.
  2. My boss says we need it! Great, what about it does he feel you need? Just because his nephew is in film school, or just graduated, and is looking for a paid gig doesn’t make doing a video the best idea. (For my answer on why the nephew may not be the best idea, see the above link on the professional video team). Maybe your boss read an article somewhere saying that video marketing is the best thing since sliced bread doesn’t mean that it’s right for you. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and the company’s money if you play Devil’s Advocate for a few moments and find out what “We need video” really means.
  3. We want people to be able to see the faces of our staff! Not a bad idea, but not a great idea if your folks aren’t good on camera. Let’s face it, you can’t get much more awkward to watch than someone who is uncomfortable on camera. It doesn’t matter how many times you try to record it, rewrite or relax them, some people just aren’t good on video. Honestly, that’s ok. I would much rather have someone who is awesome with clients and not so good on camera than someone who is terrible on camera but comes off like an award winning actress on camera. Since she’s going to be spending 99.9% or her time with clients let her be awesome at and don’t embarrass her by forcing her to be awkward on camera. If you want your clients to see people’s faces then come up with a clever bio page with photographs of everyone. Chances are everyone will be happier with it in the end.
  4. Cost Outweighs ROI! As much as video folks like me want to do a video for you, it’s got to make sense to your bottom line. Does the cost of the video (even if it’s “free” there are probably staff hours involved) make sense for what you’re going to get out of it? If what you’re spending in dollars, time and/or effort is more than the benefit you’ll get from doing a video, it probably isn’t worth it. Video should be viewed the same as any marketing project. If the cost outweighs the return on that investment, you should rethink the plan. A video should make business sense for you and your organization.
  5. I’m Just Not Comfortable! This one really should be common sense, but if you don’t feel comfortable doing a video then don’t do it. One of the worse things in video is when someone is uncomfortable in the video. But the same goes true if you’re comfortable with the whole process. It only takes one tense person to drag down a project and make everyone else tense. Tense does not good video make.

One last thought….This advice applies to many things in life:  there’s nothing wrong with not be ready for video. Video is better when you wait for the right time and place. Wait until your ready for video, you’ll be glad you did.

YouTube Buys a Producer of Videos

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I had heard this was in the works, but it appears that the deal is done. I can’t help but wonder what it means to the future of video production.

It most certainly will change YouTube. Today YouTube is the home of cute cats, babies laughing, and quirky viral sensations. With the addition of a professional branch one can only imagine that more professionally produced content is not far behind. Yes, there is professional content available now, but it’s provided by people, bands and others primarily for self promotion.

What we’re talking about here is the potential for professionally created content created exclusively for the YouTube audience. Video content produced exclusively for the web is not new. As a matter of fact, the only thing new is the appearance that YouTube wants in on the act. But, will this change what YouTube is?

Washington, DC, October 20, 2005 -- Paul Luke ...

Image via Wikipedia

YouTube seems is the home of home videos. It’s where you put everything from videos of kids for grandma to see to your videos on just about every kind of how-to you can imagine. I can’t help but wonder if professionally produced episodic videos become a regular part of the site, will it change the quality of the video we see? Will the cute cats and laughing babies be pushed to the side in favor of longer home produced series (perhaps with babies and cats as featured players)?

In some respects, I hope so. Let’s face it, there’s a whole lotta crap out there folks. Sure there are videos only Grandma’s would love, and that’s fine. But there are other videos out there that are of such poor quality even Grandma won’t watch. To paraphrase a popular saying, “With the ability to produce video comes great responsibility.” We are creative people, we want to share what we create. Here’s hoping we see more creative (and higher quality) videos with YouTube leading the way.