Rob shares his wisdom and experience for students in this video we created for our “Professor in Residence” Kevin Hawley’s Graphic Programs class at USF. Be sure to watch with the sound on.
Whether you’re an owner of a small dog grooming company, mom n’ pop restaurant or a high-end business CEO, telling your story helps people relate to you on a more personal level. A strong brand message can influence people to want to use your product or service. In the past, if you wanted to reach customers your options were pricey tv campaigns, magazine or newspaper ads, or billboards. Today, with people spending more time online, it’s much more efficient to advertise and reach potential customers using animations on social media platforms.
Animation was once reserved for juvenile audiences—used for children’s books and lighthearted stories. However, today animation appeals to people of all ages and backgrounds. This is because animation is a compelling way to tell a story. With all the modern, advanced tools, it’s easier for animations to tackle real-world conflicts and explain complicated issues. Brand recognition is a great reason to use animations in social media. Keeping your colors, typography and other elements consistent will help ensure your audience remembers your business.
With advertising and marketing reverting to social media outlets, animation helps catch audiences’ attention quickly and keep them engaged with compelling videos.
One of the great resources Company Man has is a small team of animators than can help personalize your story. Our artists come from a diverse background to help get your message across in a fun and engaging way.
A few tips to help tell your story are:
1) Show your audience, don’t tell them.
While most animations involve a voice-over script, not every frame needs to be “see-and-say.” Use iconography to illustrate what you’re trying to say. Illustrations are more universally understood. Plus, since many social media platforms don’t automatically play sound, using animations to tell a story will relate your message to a wider audience.
2) Have a beginning, middle and an end.
People are used to receiving messaging that has a concise beginning, middle, and end. Make sure your message is clear from the start, elaborate it, and wrap it up. Most animations seen on social media and website will clock in around 30 seconds. If you use more time than this for your animation, you might lose interest.
3) Focus on one message – Your story needs to be clear, engaging and short.
Again, keep your messaging short and to the point. Since you’ll likely deploy your animation on a social media platform, you need to assume that people will likely just scroll by and ignore it. Using color and imagery to engage your audience at the beginning of an animation will help ensure that you attract viewers’ attention.
It’s no secret that the Company Man crew has an ongoing love affair with Buddy Brew Coffee. Every day at around 3 p.m. you can see us walking in a line like little ducks over to Buddy Brew to get our afternoon dosage of caffeine. Cortados, espresso, black tea (and more) are poured over and over for our thirsty creative team.
However, our love for the specialty coffee goes much deeper than proximity. In fact, in our infancy, Company Man Studios shared a space with Buddy Brew before we each expanded to our own buildings. Since then, we’ve worked closely with our neighbors to help develop ancillary marketing materials throughout the years. We’ve offered our design support for everything from label design and packaging to event posters and video production. It’s been a point of pride for us to watch Buddy Brew flourish and expand to multiple locations, and to see our label design on their product in Publix stores in the Tampa Bay area.
A few years ago, advertising agencies began adding production capabilities. This was in response to clients, particularly retail clients, seeking to cut their production costs, and as a way for agencies to land new retail business. Production “quality” was less of an issue than cost. Churn and burn. Meanwhile, an equal and opposite phenomenon was happening. It began in answer to the number of clients approaching production companies looking for someone to “help us shoot a commercial” when they had no script and no concept beyond a call to action. Typically, the production company would hire a freelance copywriter to provide one.
Production Company or Agency?
So in 2012, when Rob Tiisler started Company Man Studios, it was as a full-fledged production company. It was ready and able to work with advertising agencies in the production of TV commercials and videos for agency clients, but with account management and creative services available to work on projects with those clients that didn’t have an agency of record. A “production agency,” we’ll call it. I’d say the rest is history but, given the immediate and continued success of Company Man Studios, the reality is, the rest is the future.
Of course, clients aren’t just looking for TV production help. They need websites, social media campaigns, videos, animation, interactive, packaging, print, radio, point of sale, trade show elements, outdoor and whatever other ways they can reach their audience. As Rob says, “production means ‘whatever it takes.’” In fact, Company Man’s first project was to create interactive exhibits for MOSI’s Mission: Moonbase exhibition.
And while many clients came in the door needing one-off projects, many have become long-term clients. We do ongoing projects for Achieva Credit Union, Saint Leo University, Tribridge, and the world’s best neighbor, Buddy Brew Coffee. It would be easy to say that Company Man was ahead of its time. But, for clients looking for effective creative and high-quality production, it came along just in time.
My name is Brooke Bandoni, and I am an 18-year-old high school student that will be graduating from Tampa Preparatory School at the end of May, and attending the University of Central Florida in the Fall. For the past three weeks, I’ve gotten the opportunity to intern at Company Man Studios in Downtown Tampa. I knew I wanted to go into the field of graphic design, editing, and video production in an advertising context, but I wasn’t sure exactly what aspect I liked the most. I am a business minded person and very interested in advertising and marketing, but I also really enjoy the creative aspect of graphic design and photography. Company Man Studios is the best of both worlds.
I have my own internet business, a YouTube channel, that I work on in my spare time. Brands will contact me to feature products or services on my channel. When I met Rob and Jon at the beginning of my internship, they were excited to discuss my channel. At the time, a company called WoolFresh had sent me a pair of socks they wanted me to review on my channel. Rob and Jon decided to give me some tools and insight into making sponsored product videos for my channel, and help me create a very nice video for WoolFresh.
Behind the scenes
On my first week, Jon, a producer at CMS, explained the process in which Company Man does video shoots for the companies they work with. He showed me a storyboard for a shoot I would participate in, and talked to me about shooting schedules, the roles of people on set, and how they feature products in an alluring way. That Thursday, I participated in a 10-hour video shoot for Alessi. By watching the entire process, I learned a lot about video production, food styling, and photography. It was an amazing experience to help with the setup, shooting, and tear down. The clients were at the shoot with us and giving input to the shots to make sure they’re pleased with them.
When it comes to sponsored products on YouTube, the client is rarely involved with the shooting process. Most of the time, companies understand that online content creators have certain style and audience, and most companies allow the creator to have a lot of creative freedom with their work. Being able to see how Company Man Studios did their video shoot gave me great insight into the professional world of video production.
After the shoot, I sat down at my desk and created a storyboard and shooting schedule for my WoolFresh sock video. I planned on filming myself doing different activities throughout the week and documented how the socks benefited my day. Each morning, someone at CMS checked in on my progress on my video and helped me along if I was stuck on any aspect of my filming, editing, and tweaking.
Throughout the week, I shadowed with a few CMS employees who helped me with my project. I got the opportunity to work with Edna Pabon, the senior editor at Company Man, who showed me some tips and tricks. I usually use Final Cut Pro X to edit my videos, but Edna showed me the ropes of Premiere and After Effects, as Adobe’s editing software is primarily used in the editing industry. Edna also taught me the proper way to organize footage, elements and project versions, just in case I need to make revisions or a client. I learned a lot from Edna, and it interested me in a possible career in editing.
I have been working on re-branding my content on my YouTube channel and creating a more consistent presence on social media. Jazz Fernandez, a graphic and motion designer, helped me create some new branding for my YouTube channel and showed me how she uses Photoshop and Illustrator to create transparent logos and dissect PNG files to extract vector images. She was able to create a beautiful custom logo for my channel, as well as some banner art for my social media websites.
By the end of my three weeks, I had produced a great sponsored video for WoolFresh. They brand was very pleased by my work and how the video came out. I ascribe my success to all the input and help I received from everyone at Company Man.
My experience with Company Man has been eye opening and an incredibly invaluable experience. I hoped that by spending some time at Company Man that I would have a more specific idea of what I wanted to pursue as a major and career, but instead, CMS has opened me up to even more ideas about the field and possible future career paths. I wish I could spend more time at CMS, but unfortunately my time with these amazing people is coming to an end. Over the time we spent together, I believe I’ve made some friends here, and I will definitely miss everyone when I leave.
Thank you, Amber, Jazz, Jon, Chris, Nathan, Kevin, Terry, Edna and Rob for this amazing experience!
– Brooke Bandoni, Tampa Prep
Who reads anymore?
Yes, I am aware of the irony that this title suggests. Hopefully, you are reading this and not scrolling past it. Whether it is zipping through the numerous apps on your phone, poking around on your iPad, or searching on your laptop, we are surrounded by programs that allow potential clients and customers to watch, tap and listen more than ever. With all this being available, who wants to spend agonizing minutes reading numerous paragraphs about an info page? The answer: Consumers are opting out of reading when they can just watch and listen to a video instead.
At Company Man Studios, we produce a lot of interviews. Whether it’s for a corporate brand video, a testimonial for a service or product, or just someone addressing a large group of people, we end up listening to—and editing—a wide variety of messages. The number one response we get from interviewees is “I hate the sound of my own voice!” Most people do (unless your last name is “Kardashian”), and there is scientific evidence as to why. The fact is, unless you’re on-camera often like an actor or reality TV star, you’re just not accustomed to hearing yourself speak from an outsider’s perspective. And, what makes the situation even worse, when people know they’ll be hearing or watching themselves on camera they often can’t focus on what they are actually saying—which is very inconvenient if you need to say something important.
Congratulations to our client myMatrixx on winning the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s #CoolestOfficeSpace contest! We are glad to have played a small role in their win. Check out the submission video we created for myMatrixx, showcasing their awesome space.
LEARNING THE IN’S AND OUT’S
I walked into the doors of Company Man Studios not knowing what to expect. Starting a new job is both exciting and nerve racking. I have been here a few months now and I already feel like I have become fully integrated into this amazing company. The charm the office has is unlike others. And, without a doubt, Rob (Founder and Executive Creative Director) knows how to make you feel welcomed and part of the team of extremely creative people producing amazing things.
Sitting down with our senior editor Edna is always a delightful experience. I was able to sit in on a few edits including one for Achieva Credit Union. It was a great opportunity for me to see the process of the footage Jon (Director/Producer) shot turned into an edit from start to finish in post-production. As well as the client interaction that happens throughout the process. The turnout was amazing leaving both the client and our team proud of the work produced.
As I traveled around our office I made my way over to our two exceptionally talented animators. Kevin (Animation Director) and Jazz (Designer / Animator) know how to flow from a storyboard to the screen with ease. Producing fun and informational characters to help our clients like Tribridge easily get their message out about their company. Next up was a trip to the CXIS office, which gave me new insight on the continued abilities that Company Man Studios has. Making plans to transform the office space with Nathan (Senior Art Director) and Terry (Art Director) into a client friendly and welcoming environment. Putting plans into motion for future print and design changes to give their office the look they need.
In a short amount of time, I’ve been able to be a part of numerous shoots, listen in on voiceovers, watch animations come to life, read finished scripts, view websites go through revisions and sit in on post-production edits. The capabilities of this company surpass what I thought when I walked in on my first day. Everything from production, print design, web, info animation, billboards and the list continues. Understanding what everyone does allows me to be able to seek out the correct potential clients – and the fact that Buddy Brew is next door doesn’t hurt either!
WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER
Teamwork screams importance at Company Man—and not just with each other. It’s important that we have a collaborative approach with the clients, as well. We love to be able to sit down and talk in person with our clients about the content they would like to create. Whether it is working on the next promotional campaign for Achieva or scouting locations for Saint Leo’s commercials, everyone is available and ready to go. The environment that Company Man Studios has created is unlike the rest. I could see this from the moment I walked in and continue to notice it more and more every day that I work here. If you don’t believe me check out our 2016 recap video. Not only does it capture our awesome company culture but you get to have an inside look at the behind the scenes of projects produced throughout the year. Looking forward to an even greater 2017!
How do you set the tone in your video to strengthen your message?
Think back to some of your favorite movie scenes. Chances are, they evoke emotion. But why? What elements in the filming of that scene are used to strengthen the desired message? And more importantly, how do you set the tone in your video to strengthen your message?
Here are just a few of the tried and true methods that are easy to follow and help to set the proper tone in your production. Think of your image in three parts that all need to work together; color, composition, and contrast.
The first: color.
This refers to… you guessed it, the color of the image. Everything from black and white to vibrate primary colors will help to set the tone. Think of Sesame Street, those bold primary colors help to tell the viewer that the program is fun and lighthearted. Now, think of a crime drama. The color palette is probably no where near that of Elmo and the gang. The two images below, without any reference immediately tell the viewer two very different stories.
Once you have set a color palette for you video, you can then focus on the composition of the image. Where in the frame should your subject be and how they relate to the other elements around them will continue to drive the tone of your work. A white background with a single product in the middle (thank you Apple) says simplicity without having to spell it out. An interview of a craftsman in their work shop gives context to the image and immediately tells the viewer the interviewee is directly involved with the elements surrounding him.
Finally, contrast, which could also refer to the lighting, will quickly indicate the tone you are trying to convey. Similar to color, bright lighting will often set a happy tone where a dramatic contrast in lighting can convey a much more serious tone. We see this in interviews all the time. For example, in informative interviews the interviewee is normally lit with only a slight contrast on either side of the face, but when an interview has to do with a tragic story, often the contrast in lighting from one side of the face to the other is dramatically different.
It’s important to keep in mind that there are many other ways to set the tone in your video, and for every good rule, there’s a good reason to break it. That being said, color, composition, and contrast act as a starting place to help convey your message through video. By keeping these three concepts in mind while planning your shoot, you will ensure that the end result will ultimately be a stronger message delivered.