Cheap, drive-thru video: what little monsters we’ve unleashed!

Being a veteran of the very late 20th century when companies paid an average of £30K / USD $37.5K for a basic “corporate video” and in return received a top-class, professional production, I can’t help but be gob-smacked by the way businesses are whining these days.

Cheap business video on HTWB

Cheap business video: panacea or pain in the *ss?

This of course is about their paying more than a few hundred pounds/dollars for a business video, because they believe – and it’s true, sort-of – that all you need is to shoot it on an IPhone, edit on a laptop, and shove it up on YouTube as well as on their websites. Done and dusted in an afternoon.

And if you want something more sophisticated, you can hire that guy from the next town who just bought himself a fancy new video camera and could put Quentin Tarantino to shame, now that he’s read the instruction booklet.

Is this really the ultimate panacea for getting SMEs into the movies? Or is it the quickest, most monstrous way for those SMEs to flush their professional credibility down the toilet?

[Read more…]

Creative training videos: the renaissance at last?

Once again we welcome Farai Chirimuuta, video supremo based in Milton Keynes, England, who has delighted me by suggesting that the time has come for the rebirth of what I consider to be the most effective and inspiring of all training media … the capturing, enrapturing “training video.” But before I hand over to Farai, let me share my own two cents’ worth…Sz xx

Creative training videos: the renaissance at last?

Creative training videos: communication in a richer landscape that words alone cannot hope to compete against.

In my observation and  experience (although I write training material for business clients, as a volunteer cancer survivorship worker I watch and go to a lot of medical/healthcare training sessions as a learner) current training offerings may be cheap to produce and easy to be measured for effectiveness. But how much effectiveness? Does the fact that learners can recall XX percent of the teaching points at the end of the session in the feedback forms mean the associated messages will stay with them beyond tomorrow?

Not now. Not today when so much training is tick-box, multiple-choice either on-screen or delivered to a script when it’s live (and Heaven help you if you ask a question that’s not in the script: nearly always, the professional trainer won’t know the answer.) So much of it is bland, boring, done to the book… [Read more…]

Help from your new Content Strategist: what I’ve been doing for 10 years…

The term “Content Strategist” sounds awfully pompous if you live in modest-speaking Milton Keynes, England. But having been doing this job for the last 10 years working with SMEs and Micro Businesses (helping them determine what and how to communicate to their markets in the first place – not just writing it for them) I finally caved in and renamed myself. I am now a..


Help from your new Content Strategist: what I've been doing for 10 years...

When I’m not being a “content strategist” I ride and help judge horses. (NB: here the horse is on the right.)

But enough already with the self-congratulation. Here’s how my meagre offering works out in practice, and how it helps smaller businesses to avoid much of what the bullsh*t merchants and so-called social media gurus shove down our throats every day. (Did someone mention “common sense” in the world of digital marketing? Thought so…) [Read more…]

How to use makeup to look your best on camera

Saying your words to a video camera can be a bit nerve-wracking, which is why here on HTWB we’ve looked at a number of tips on how to perform, what to wear, etc. Now, we’re very lucky to welcome some advice from top international makeup artist and beauty writer Gail Spooner who shares some brilliant advice on how to make yourself look great for the camera, whether for video or for a still image. And yes, that includes you men, too… 

How to use makeup to look your best on camera

Gail Spooner works on a client’s eye makeup

Whether you’re male or female, it’s important to present yourself in the best possible way. This includes our choice of make-up and how we apply it but not all of us have a team of make-up artists and stylists at our disposal. The camera can pick up our flaws and even worse, highlight them and high definition will magnify these 10 fold! So… [Read more…]

How to market yourself in the music business

Please welcome a new contributor to HTWB, Milton Keynes (England) based film maker and thought leader Farai Chirimuuta. Here Farai shares his advice on marketing for up and coming musicians – gained from his extensive experience of making music videos and guiding performers through this competitive and often cut-throat industry.

How to market yourself in the music business

First and foremost, it is essential to have branding sorted.

Aspiring musical artists of the modern climate, serious about pursuing a musical career, have so much more to consider before getting signed by record labels than in previous generations. [Read more…]

How to look your best on live streaming video

Yet again please welcome the multi-talented Steve Crawford who, in addition to being an ace performance poet and expert in sign-making and allied skills, until recently ran a very successful video production company. In the light of our increasing focus on both pre-recorded and also live streaming video, Steve has kindly shared with us the tips he put across to his video clients to ensure they looked their best on camera … whether there was time to prepare or not (much.)

How to look your best on live streaming video

If your hair is dark, stick to the medium range to dark colours, still taking care ideally to avoid black. ©ITU/ I.Wood

So you’re scheduled to appear on camera and really want you to look your best. This is especially important if you’re representing your business or an organization. You can improve the results, by following the simple guidelines I’ve listed below. [Read more…]