Posts filed under ‘content’
When SilverDocs became AFI Docs, the once highly successful documentary festival did more than change its name. It changed its brand. And not in a good way.
For over a decade, SilverDocs was a roaring success. The public-private partnership between AFI and Discovery Channel brought groundbreaking–and often future Oscar-winning–nonfiction films to the silver screen in a well-regarded documentary festival that supported the active local DC area film community, while drawing thousands to a newly renovated Silver Spring, Maryland cultural district. As a member of that local DC production community, I have been proud to see colleagues’ films screened, and see them debate with nationally known mediamakers on panels and in hallways. Our local chapter of Women in Film and Video, with 900 members, played an integral role in many of the events surrounding SilverDocs. Sky Sitney, the passionate and gifted director of the festival, took it to new heights of nonfiction program content and relationship-building.
Flash forward to the creation of “AFI Docs presented by Audi”—which already sounds like so many other corporate sponsorships such as FedEx Field and PNC Bank Arts Center. The festival turned away from its warm hug of the film community and became a more “industry-driven” project, according to a Washington Post interview of Nina Gilden-Seavey, Silverdocs founding director. The result was not just a damaged brand in the eyes of the local community. It was a bad employment brand, because the new mission was one its visionary leader couldn’t support. So Sitney has quit to pursue other ventures.
Rebranding can be a tricky endeavor. It’s a balancing act between where you’ve been and where you want to go. The trick of any rebrand is to avoid New Coke syndrome. You want to be sure that your community, and especially your leadership, can come along for the ride. (Hint: If you’re still being called “Formerly known as…” a year after your rebrand, it’s time to rethink the plan.) That’s not to say that change and progress aren’t a good idea for institutions. But an organization without its people won’t succeed in today’s interconnected brand landscape. And it takes more than sponsors to make a good nonprofit run well. Let’s hope AFI Docs will find its way to rebranding its rebrand, before it isn’t any brand at all.
Amy DeLouise is a multimedia producer who consults on branding and marketing for businesses and nonprofits. You can reach her at amy [at] amydelouise [dot] com.
- Results- A professional video producer or photographer is only as good as her last happy client. The focus is always on what will make your message most compelling, effective and memorable.
- Knowledge- Professionals need to know how to work with a wide range of technical tools and creative techniques. A professional keeps up with new developments in everything from lenses and cameras to font design and animation trends—all to know the best equipment and techniques to tell your story with impact.
- Releases—There are Rights of Privacy and Rights of Publicity to consider—among others—when doing a photo shoot, even when it is on your own company’s property. A professional photographer or video producer will know what releases are needed for your project.
- Liability— Professionals carry liability insurance to cover any property damage during your photo or video shoot.
- Gear — Professionals have the right equipment to get your job done, even if there are variables like a sunny day turning cloudy, or a sudden change of location (which may change the lighting and sound environment).
- Efficiency— Professionals are experienced at working in “real world” environments, and will know how to design the shoot for minimal disruption at your workplace or event.
- Budget – Professionals document the scope and cost of each job. They work to stay on budget and inform you immediately if a change will alter the price.
- Copyright— Professionals understand copyright law and how it impacts the use of images and music. Ignoring these laws can cost you much more than the price of your professional hire.
- Customer Focus— Professionals treat you, your staff, your vendors and your clients with courtesy and respect.
- Deadlines — Professionals meet deadlines.
Thanks to the American Society of Media Photographers website for inspiring this post with their great list.
© Amy DeLouise and Amy’s Brand Buzz, 2013. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Amy DeLouise and Amy’s Brand Buzz blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. Video content may be copyrighted by others and may not be used without written authorization. Seriously.
I’m just back from Vegas for NAB—the National Association of Broadcasters Convention. What an awe-inspiring assembly. By the numbers: more than 92,400 attendees, with more than 24,000 from around the world; 1,600 exhibitors in 900,000 net square feet of exhibit space; plus 1,700 press. The people were broadcast execs, Directors of Photography, audio engineers, producers, directors, and more. Exhibits ranged from DJI Phantom mini-helicopters to suspend Go-Pro cameras to the latest Black Magic pocket camera , plus the latest in Digital Asset Management systems, sound systems, lighting rigs, you name it. Over at Post Production World, where I was teaching, packed classes included Digital Publishing, an all-day Time-Lapse and Panoramic DSLR workshops at Red Rock Canyon and Nelson Nevada Ghost Town.
What does it all mean?
The art of storytelling is alive and well. For a while, we thought the internet killed stories. It certainly made it harder for print newspapers and nightly news shows to compete with a new 24/7 news cycle. But now, the digital revolution has democratized the art of creating content. And NAB is proof that there’s a storyteller’s tool for every price point. And while the conversations were about new gear or bandwidth or asset management or distribution platforms, at their heart, the discussions were about how to get great stories to audiences who are consuming them at an exponential rate.
Sure, we can sometimes let the newest gadgets distract us from the Real Tools of storytelling: great ideas, great scripts, great interviews, a dab of decent project management (some of the things I taught) to be sure we’re telling the best stories in the most compelling way. But the accessibility of low price-point cameras and editing tools had clearly made its mark. I saw a new generation grabbing the reins and putting their content out there (mini shout-out to Kanen Flowers here) with or without the traditional distribution channels that used to comprise the “broadcast” industry.
My only complaint about NAB? No lines at the ladies rooms! (Seriously—they’re like empty caves at all hours). As a past president of Women in Film and Video/DC, I’d say that there’s still room for more women at the table, especially in broadcast management and the technical fields. Just sayin’.
So if NAB was evidence of a Renaissance in the Art of the Story–and I think it was–then thank goodness what happened in Vegas won’t stay in Vegas. Adapting what our fondly missed film critic Roger Ebert always said, I’ll see you at (or behind) the movies.