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What a Concept: Grasping the Concept
Posted Mar 29, 2006 Print Version     Page 1of 1

"Your wedding day sounds like it's going to be incredible," I told my new client. "Based on what you've told me about how you met, I think you should consider making a Love Story."
     "Uh," Bill hesitated and looked sideways at Nina. "We're not really into that cheesy, running-through-fields kind of video. It's not our style."
     "That's not our style, either. Here's what I was envisioning: Killer soundtrack. Quick cuts. Nothing corny and definitely no cheese. I'm talking about a Love Story concept video about how you met. I'm thinking MTV meets Woody Allen. We'll leave your guests in tears . . . from laughter."
     Bill's eyes lit up and Nina leaned forward. They were captivated. "I like that," Bill said. "But what's a concept video?"
     "I'm glad you asked."

Concept videos offer event videographers the opportunity to expand their horizons, stretch their imaginations, have a ton of fun, wow their audiences, and—here's the clincher—make more money. A concept video is typically a short, narrative movie that tells a story or communicates a message. It is inspired by your experiences, relationships, and everyday life. Concept videos are often made into spoofs of pop culture, television, and cinema.

We all strive to create unique positioning for our offerings. Whether your client is a couple or a Fortune 500 company, a concept video offers the opportunity to provide a unique service that sets you apart from the competition.

In the WHAT A CONCEPT column, we will dive into the creation, implementation, and presentation of concept videos. Creativity is a fluid concept, but we'll uncover where to find ideas and how to translate them into marketable movies. Implementation covers pre-production, production, and postproduction. You'll need specific tools and strategies at each stage of implementation to make a concept fly. Finally, presentation encompasses sales and marketing techniques that are unique to concept video. Bottom line: this is a business and if it's not bringing in customers and income, then it's just an expensive hobby. So let's get into it.

Voltaire once wrote, "Originality is nothing but judicious plagiarism." I'm not advocating that you plagiarize. What I think Voltaire is voicing is a common belief that there isn't really anything new under the sun. New ideas are really old ideas with a new twist. Creativity and originality develop in a new form or expression of an existing idea that you can implement in your work. Once you start looking, you'll notice that the best ideas for concept videos come from everything around you including events, people, news, and pop culture. Inspiration can be mined from seemingly small things, whether spoofing a popular television show or satirizing the stresses of a newlywed couple.

Bridal Boot Camp, a concept video we produced that won a Diamond Artistic Achievement Award from the 4EVER Group, was a product of one of these inspirational moments. What is the most clichéd advice every best man gives and every DJ asks of the groom? The two most important words in marriage: "Yes, dear." After hearing that joke for the umpteenth time, I knew I had to do something unique with it.

Wouldn't it be funny to tell the story of a stereotypical drill sergeant trying to teach a battered groom how to say those two little words that no newlywed man says often enough? I imagined the possibilities, and the Bridal Boot Camp concept was born.

From there, I began to brainstorm other scenarios: learning to waltz from the same tough drill sergeant, groomsmen alley-ooping garters on a basketball court, bridesmaids passing bouquets for a touchdown, etc. The ideas just kept coming.

After I had the concept, the next step was pitching the idea to the client. I'll cover the details of the pitch in a later installment, but once I found the right client, they loved the idea and we were off and running. I will tell you this, though: passion is the key.

Once the ideas start flowing, it's important to find a way to keep track of them. I like the suggestion of CVP's Brett Culp—buy a cheap notebook and keep an idea journal. Alternatively, you could create a file of 4"x6" index cards like I used when I was in film school. Any time I got an idea, I jotted it down on an index card and filed it away. I still have that box of ideas and know that someday they may come in handy. If you prefer, you could use a mini-tape or MP3 recorder to capture your thoughts verbally. Whatever you do, make sure to periodically review your archives. This review process stimulates new ideas and keeps you energized and inspired.

The opening story about Bill and Nina (not their real names) actually happened. After showing them one of our edgier videos, they were sold. My pitch resulted in a 50% increase in the sale and the client received an unforgettable movie-making experience, as well as a memorable video that delighted and entertained friends and family.

You can create the same results with your ideas. Concept videos have enormous potential and are a proven way to increase your business and profits, set yourself apart, and instill variety in your work. I invite you to follow me in the creation of your own concept video collection. You'll be glad you did.

Next time in WHAT A CONCEPT, we'll tackle the pre-production process.

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