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The Inside Story: Creating a Demo That Works, Part Three
Posted Apr 25, 2006 Print Version     Page 1of 1

What is the real value of video? Many of you, I'm sure, are crunching the numbers on a calculator while you read this. But I'm not thinking of it in numeric terms. By value, I mean the quality that renders something desirable or valuable. I think the real value of video is the effect it has on the viewer. Video can touch the heart like nothing else on earth. Why? Because it can tell viewers a story while it entertains them. It can touch the heart and the mind at the same time.

I ended my last column by bringing up the why "hook" in my demo: why get married, and why get a video? Your demo can answer both questions with pretty pictures, no question. But the story that your demo tells to potential clients is what will convince them to purchase your services. In my demo, I present the full arc of the bride and groom's wedding day and their wedding story.

The demo starts slowly with an air of great anticipation of the upcoming wedding. It becomes clear, right from the beginning, that every wedding has a story, and that you should choose my company to tell your story. The music, the visuals, and the sound bites from the various couples make it easy for a viewer to watch and enjoy the moment.

The emotional high point of the day is, of course, the ceremony itself. The emotional high point in my demo occurs as the bride is about to walk down the aisle with her dad. The bride says, "Before we walked down the aisle . . . and we were standing in the back of the church . . . my father told me again how much he loved me and how happy he was for me . . . and that he knew that he wasn't losing a daughter. . . . He told me that I would always be his little girl." Her voice breaks a number of times during the sound bite and each pause is left in for its emotional impact.

This moment is what the bride has dreamt about all her life. The visual I use to highlight the emotion is a tender moment shared between a bride and her dad. You can see all this and even more in the looks and touches the two share. The music is just as important as the visuals and sound bites at this moment and it reaches a crescendo at the same point as the story.

This is just one example of the many sound bites I use in my demo. Reading it instead of hearing it doesn't do it justice, no question. But this one sound bite really is the emotional core of what my demo, my message, and my work is all about. It's that simple.

As with any wedding day, my demo picks up the pace and excitement as the couple celebrates during the reception. By the end of the day, and by the end of my demo, the mood slows and finishes with an introspective look at where the couple has been and where they are going.

It's a complete story. That's powerful selling that doesn't come across as a hard sell.

Pablo Picasso once said he wanted his paintings to evoke nothing but emotion. This is exactly what a demo should do for a viewer. I don't have to tell my potential clients what to feel or why they should feel it. When they experience my work, they know they've felt something. That's why you don't see any overt selling going on. The emotion of what they see and feel will do the selling for me.

In my work, my stories focus on the bride and groom's memories and emotions. LaDonna Moore of Dallas, Texas, takes a slightly different, but equally compelling, approach. She includes the couple's parents in the storytelling process. LaDonna's amazing demo is a clear illustration of the power that sound bites can bring to selling. LaDonna's emotional interviews with the parents of the bride clearly convey the value of video to her family and how the video proved its value, overwhelming their initial reservations. "The video was the one thing we thought . . . okay, we can live without the video. It would have been the biggest mistake we ever made. My children will cherish this for the rest of their lives . . . their children will cherish it, their grandchildren. I was amazed at how incredible this video turned out. If I would have had to pay twice what we paid, I'd still feel I got my money's worth."

According to LaDonna, her sales and marketing approach has nothing to do with technology. For her, it isn't about the cameras or the editing system she uses, it's about the emotions her clients feel watching her videos. "The excitement, emotion, and thoughts that you hear in the testimonials are genuine, and that's what really speaks to brides," she says. "They can say to themselves, these are real people who are answering the same questions I'm asking."

Adding a demo to your marketing/sales arsenal gives you many new avenues to pursue for getting your work seen by others. At a bridal show, the very nature of the event doesn't allow time for potential customers to fully experience your typical "full-length" productions. A tight, easily watchable demo presentation in your studio gives you time to gather valuable information from your client without having to take all day to complete your sales pitch.

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