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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old May 17th, 2012, 02:22 AM   #1
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video biography

Hi all,
I'm starting a wedding and event business and was thinking of doing video biographies too.
Not a lot of businesses do it over here and people don't really know about this service.
I'm looking for info to start this and how to market it.
Any help appreciated
Thanks
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Old May 17th, 2012, 04:56 AM   #2
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Re: video biography

I tried for quite a while to market Video biographies, with no success.
Everyone responds to the idea with incredible enthusiasm, but the jobs never come through.
I never understood exactly why . . . but i think people are daunted by the task of recounting their life on 'tape'

It's a real shame when Little Johnny's sports event is worth more than Grandpa's life lessons and path to the present.
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Old May 17th, 2012, 06:23 AM   #3
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Re: video biography

I think the main problem is that people, especially parents seem quite happy to shell out thousands for a wedding for their daughter (or daughters) as they place an enormous amount of importance on it!! Life stories, on the other hand, although they could be far more significant than just the one single day of a wedding pale in significance....It's simply the way people arrange their "pecking order" and elderly parents who might soon be gone have fascinating stories to tell but for some reason their importance is grossly under-rated. We got involved with Video Story Tellers which does much the same thing and there was much reluctance over here and not even enthusiasm!! Maybe Earl at VST could point you in the right direction Take a look at : Welcome

We are the associates for Australia but so far the enthusiasm has been very poor....you might find that a different approach might work?? VST target older people that have many stories to tell but little finance!!

Your thoughts would be very interesting in regards to what target market you were looking at..I'm always open to fresh ideas ...maybe the more affluent "yuppie" market with a bio on their childhood...I really don't know???

Chris
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Old May 17th, 2012, 08:10 AM   #4
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Re: video biography

Hey Alex,

This is a very interesting concept but I'm a bit curious to know how you tell your stories. Do you interview the person and then based on what they tell you, you would hire young actors to play their role?

Feel free to share some thoughts.

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Old May 17th, 2012, 08:37 AM   #5
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Re: video biography

I believe there is a market for this service. I have come across websites of video businesses that do this very thing, but I can't recall who it was.

As I recall one website charged $5K or more. It was clearly marketed to higher end clients. It was done in A&E style, very compelling stuff. .
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Old May 18th, 2012, 10:37 PM   #6
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Re: video biography

It's an interesting idea, and probably a market among wealthier clients. But it seems clear that people don't really care about recording loved ones lives. I mean, how long has an affordable way to record audio or video been around? But you still don't see people doing it. If people aren't will to do it with a cheap camera to just have it documented, I doubt they're willing to shell out thousands for someone else to do it.
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Old May 19th, 2012, 01:41 AM   #7
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Re: video biography

I've done this with elderly family relatives with some success. The first one years ago was an Uncle who was the outgoing member of the family and had no trouble in recounting his early years. But he actually wrote it all out weeks before and when I got there I was aghast to realise he was going to sit there and read it all out.

But the upside was, it was a prompt for him, he'd edited it and got confirmation of dates from other family members. I basically got him to just start, with his notes beside him and after 2 minutes he was off and running. I recorded 80mins, in 10 min takes, with water stops, checked his notes and away again.

One thing I speced was no other family members in the room just him and me, sitting right behind the cam looking right over the top of the lens, so he had someone to talk to. It worked, he recounted his fund of funny family stories (I'd heard before), and he passed away a few years ago aged 91 yrs young.
His new grandkids now have an Uncle who talks to them and he will to their kids. I of course, did it for free.

For No. 2 another elderly Uncle who wasn't so verbose, I cut to family pix from his album as he talked about his early life in the UK.
After he saw it, he wanted to redo it as the nerves had passed. I did and he was better, more concise, but not by much.

I think, to start a business, you'd need to have a short demo video and a brochure of your procedure. Eg: 2 prior home visits to set the project up.

1) Find out if your talent can actually talk .. get them to write a list of events to talk about, family pix to include, even record a sample for them.
Set a suitable date, no family present, not even his wife. A week before the next visit, phone him to see he's working on it.

2) Check his notes, work out how long it's going to be, does he seem more relaxed than last time? Subtly work on that.
Find a location, his favourite chair in the sun room, no lights, no pets present, wired lav mic not a boom. Listen for any possible outside noise,
like a noisy garage next door. Make sure he gets a good nights sleep with no problems on his mind. Morning or afternoon recording?
Light makeup only if necessary. No alcohol and he can't use bad language or degrade anyone. Dress: light coloured shirt, no stripes, patterns,
or spots.

3) Record day. Arrive early to set up, test gear, disable the cams record tally light. Don't worry if the lav mic is in shot, he can explain that to the kids,
hide its cable behind his shirt front. Record in easy 10min stages and listen to what he's relating.
Sit looking at him over the top of the cam, (as above) so he's talking directly to the viewer. At the first water stop, positively comment
on what he's just said, it relaxes your talent.
If necessary a tea/coffee break about 1/2 way thru, when you check the recording. If he makes a goof don't stop, keep rolling for a restart
and edit in post. Keep smiling.

Let him see about 2 mins when finished, but the whole program if he requires it. I wouldn't supply a sample DVD, he might play it to family
who might poo on it.

And I wouldn't have a contract, just a quoted finished price on delivery of the DVD copies. But practice on family first.
I don't think you'll make a million dollars doing this, but it could build up, if you get started right and get some great references.

That's how I would do it, and I'm about to record my elderly first boss doing the same thing. Hope this helps.

Cheers.
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Last edited by Allan Black; May 19th, 2012 at 03:54 AM. Reason: Dress.
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Old May 19th, 2012, 01:46 AM   #8
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Re: video biography

Legacy Video, Family Video Memories and Life Story Video product options from Your Story Here LLC.
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Old May 19th, 2012, 03:52 AM   #9
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Re: video biography

That site is pretty comprehensive Jeff but I always wonder what they would charge for something like that..there is a lot of compilation and filming to produce a one hour DVD ...I wonder what sort of price range one could charge and would it be a figure the man in the street could afford or be prepared to pay??

Chris
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Old May 19th, 2012, 04:13 AM   #10
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Re: video biography

Thanks to everyone for your comments and advise.
I think I'm going to start this by filming a family member then go round local retired people clubs where they meet.
When I speak about this project, most people find it's a good idea but I haven't met yet someone who said they'd like to do it themselves but it's still early doors.
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Old May 19th, 2012, 04:18 AM   #11
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Re: video biography

I was looking at videouniversity.com for marketing guide on wedding and corporate.
Their package seem good but I was wondering if any of you knew it.
It's quite an investment and don't want to waste money of course.
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Old May 19th, 2012, 06:42 AM   #12
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Re: video biography

Personally, i don't like the look straight into the camera look. I'd go with a traditional just off camera axis.

When i offered this service, i billed it as an affordable video biography - $1250. No takers. Didn't sell one.
I gave away several to seed the market via charity auctions - 3 times they were bid on and raised money.
Only one winner actually called and went thru with the shoot. I was astonished. Many believe that their story is not worthy; or their daunted by the task.
I offered a 30-40m cut and included gross footage on disc for more interested viewers to see all of it uncut.
It takes at least a week to put it together in an interesting format with scanned pictures and music. Of course, that was with 2-3 hours of footage - no prep, just sit down and tell me how you got here. I rolled the camera and sat down next to it and had a conversation. Some people are nervous and i didn't have a problem with letting them have a cocktail to get comfortable and loosen up. Call it a day if they get squirrelly, though.

Even now, when it comes up in conversation, i stress to clients to just get it recorded . . . edit it later! When the family member is gone or not lucid anymore you missed your opportunity to share them with later generations and revisit their personality. People don't get it. That said, i still have to get my in-laws on tape - so, i'm guilty, as well!
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Old May 19th, 2012, 08:00 AM   #13
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Re: video biography

Hi Mark

I wonder how many families actually would be prepared to dish out $1250 for a video bio??? Seriously it IS cheap for a weeks work from you (way too cheap actually!) but unless it was a unique situation I can't really see normal families spending that sort of money despite the fact that it's worth a lot more!!

I still think it would be a toughie to sell...the VST marketing approach is to go into a community centre and line up 10 or 20 candidates and give them a 15 minute shot at glory and essentially spend the day there doing all 20 and sell 20 DVD's at $30 each .... That would be classified in my book as just one story that happened during their life rather than a bio which would span their life over a reasonable period..a lot more tricky to do and obviously a lot more work to both sell and execute!

Alex??? Do you have a passion for doing this or are you maybe just looking for something extra to do during the week??? Commercial work would be easier!!! I do Real estate shoots which sell themselves and also are repeat business

Chris
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Old May 19th, 2012, 10:50 AM   #14
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Re: video biography

Well done bios I've seen are very expensive, and I suspect are largely marketed by word of mouth among established families with legacies to preserve or for people who have achieved success in a field of endeavor. This would not, in my opinion be something of interest for the man on the street. Most people find their own lives fascinating, but truth be told the average person's life is quite boring and would be of little to no interest to to anyone outside of immediate family.

I think the local company here that I can't locate at the moment starts at 5K and goes up to 10K or something, I can't remember the figures, but it is pricey.
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Old May 20th, 2012, 02:39 AM   #15
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Re: video biography

Alex I think your challenge in this is going to be the price point more so than anything else. Too little as Chris mentioned and you can't do justice to the story. To much as Mark and Jeff relate, and you have no customers for it.

So IMO, you have to price this at a level that compares to the value of a gift that the kids would buy for mom or dad. It is going to be the kids, or grandkids who are going to order and pay for this, far more often than the subject, IMO. If the kids would normally spend $1200 for mom or dad for their birthday, then you would be home free. If all they would normally spend for that birthday gift is $100, then you got a problem selling this.

I also feel the time or occasion to be selling this is geared to those times when gifts are exchanged. So it's a Christmas or birthday or anniversary gift for the kids who have no clue what else to buy mom or dad this year. If you try to market this instead just as a forever keepsake that will be cherished for years to come, people tend to put things off, so "some day they are going to get one", but "someday" never comes.

The reason you can sell wedding videos for a lot of money, those happen once and on only one day, at least that's the plan going in. :-) So people are given a choice, buy the wedding video now, or forever be sorry. With this, they could buy it any day, right up until the subject is no longer able to tell the story. So there is no pressing urgency to purchase now, especially for a high price point, unlike the wedding video.

So that's my opinion. Your competition is all the other choices for Christmas, birthday or anniversary gifts, and that is also your price point. Good luck !!!
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