So, what’s it like to build media content for a purchasing software company? In a word: hard… but to add another I’ll say interesting as well.
I should probably elaborate.
I come from a filmmaking background; so shots, drama, tension, story are all things that I live and breathe by, and although I’m in no way an expert on these things, they are what I understand and how I can communicate best.
So, you plop a wannabe filmmaker into a relatively corporate environment, with a product you’re supposed to (for lack of a better term) “sell” which has a limited marketability for general audiences,,, what do you get? Well, a whole lot of confusion — at least at first.
From the get-go, I had a handful of projects to take over as well as the duty to help come up with new original content that would help increase online engagement with the company. So, I took on the tasks at hand the only way I could: step by step.
The one thing I could do right away was increase the production quality of their videos. Judging from the content they had before bringing me on, I could tell they knew how to aim the camera and push the record button. And there’s nothing wrong with that; there’s always a learning curve and people with no training can’t be expected to take into consideration half of the things a person with the proper training will; and that goes for practically any field, not just filmmaking.
So, the quality’s gone up, not by an incredible amount but they’re less amateurish now. After all, the equipment at my disposal is a DSLR camera (T2i) no better than the in-house one, two lenses (a 18-55mm Zoom Lens and a 50mm Prime Lens), a busted up old tripod, a single sound recorder (H4n) and a homemade fig rig (which is basically a steering wheel where you put the camera at the centre for stabilization). So, I’m set for a run-n’-gun guerrilla method but in the spirit of thought of every filmmaker: it can always be better.
Oh, and did I mention that our new content needs to cost as little as possible? In fact, free’s best, obviously. Which is understandable since this is a start-up after all. But believe it or not, it’s not that much of a hindrance since I strive off of doing what I can with what I’ve got. Which is something every wannabe filmmaker should take into consideration. There’s always gonna be a fancier equipment with schmancier features that’s gonna make everything look like a visual orgasm without you having to do a thing; but if you hold off until you have all that to shoot your supposed magnum opus you’ll have no experience to draw from and even worse you probably won’t even know what you’ll want to get out of that equipment. You gotta learn to walk before you can run.
So, now I have to help create original content to engage with general audiences to increase our visibility, all while at the same time attracting new sign-ups… Crap.
Let’s face it, purchasing, spending visibilities and accounting aren’t exactly hot topics that people are clamouring over each other to read up on, least of all watch. So, this is the greater challenge our team has to tackle. Under normal circumstances this obstacle would prove a bit much for most filmmakers. After all we strive while being creative and it can be hard finding your creativity in business environments. But this is where you run into the trade off: the environment.
Remember how I said that this should be a primarily corporate environment? Well, it’s not. And that’s what makes the biggest difference. Creatives fear being part of a more business oriented system because we feel our creativity can’t flourish here, and that’s not totally unwarranted. We’re temperamental creatures with strong opinions and even stronger opinions and that oh-so overly clichéd aversion to “selling out”. But here it’s different, there’s no hierarchy dictating what everyone should be doing down to a tee, but rather a group of teams each aiming for their own goals which will in turn aim for an even greater collective goal altogether. That’s awesome. It can be messy but we strive on experimenting. We run with some rather crazy ideas that don’t always turn out as we hoped but we have the opportunity to do so, that’s the difference. Elsewhere you’d run into a million other obstacles, about miles and miles of red tape just to get a measly little idea even considered.
The freedom to do all this allows for us (not just myself) to be creative, to learn from our mistakes and grow as professionals in the workplace. Do I get to be as creative as I want? Well, no, I am working for a purchasing software company, remember. But I have enough freedom to at least try out more than a few interesting ideas and that alone is a pretty unique opportunity.
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