Tim Ryan is Featured Guest on Businessology Podcast

TAR Production’s Founder and Director, Tim Ryan, was a featured guest on the Businessology Podcast.

The Businessology Podcast is beloved podcast in the creative, design, agency and now production world. Hosted by Jason Blumer of Blumer CPAs, he and Tim do a 1 hour deep dive into the world of video production, the similarities and differences in running a video production firm and a design agency and more.

Listen to TAR Founder Tim Ryan on the Businessology show

The Businessology Podcast has a great group of other guests and I was honored to be part of the show. I, myself, am a big fan and listen to every episode I get a chance too.

Show Notes:

1:30 Intro to TAR Productions

2:45 Similarities and differences from Video Production companies and creative agencies

4:45 Working with niche freelancers

6:00 Networking in production

9:32 Similarities in processes with designers

13:35 Never say “fix it in post”

15:20 Consistency in business

18:38 What clients always want

19:02 Why we reinvest in every project

20:10 How clients perceive your work

21:00 Value pricing in video production

22:53 Explaining Production Value in proposals

25:30 How to sell video production

28:00 Video is a medium on the rise

30:57 Does content marketing work for video production companies?

35:22 Power of Behind the Scenes photos

38:00 Behind the Scenes time lapse from our shoot

39:15 Why I educate our competitors

41:00 Competing with amateurs who work at much lower rates

43:00 The brutal side of owning a creative business

45:30 Tricks and tips for selling video production

46:50 Talking about budget

51:00 Feedback from prospective clients on proposals

57:00 Inherit value we bring to projects

1:00:00 Process working with clients vs process working with team

1:03:30 Getting your portfolio to where you want and having it sell itself


We touch on so much in this episode! Tim runs a video production company to help clients tell their stories. Since we don’t have too many video production company owners on the show, we took time to compare a video production company to a web/design agency. There are similarities and differences, and we glean some learning from this truth.

Things Tim Ryan is always working on:
– Consistency in keeping the work coming in.
– How clients buy video production services (is it a commodity?).
– How Tim creatively networks with contractors so he’ll know who to hire next.
– Value awareness of the creative business owner, and how to use this to price a client.
– So much more!

Show Links:
TAR Productions
TAR’s Vimeo Profile
TAR’s Twitter Profile
TAR’s Linkedin Profile
Behind the scenes time lapse product shoot with TAR Productions

Any questions for us from the show? Let us know below and we’ll start an online conversation.

Farewell Summer Surf Series

Jumping In

This summer we decided to initiate something cool at the office. The days are long and warm in San Diego and being a video production company means we sit and stare at computers for many hours on end.

We live in such a beautiful part of the world, and since our office is right near the beach we felt obligated to take advantage of the opportunity at hand.

The water is a warm 76 degrees at the end of September and this impending El Nino has made the waves great.

But alas, all good things must come to and end. And since the official end of summer was this week in the Northern Hemisphere, we created another fun video as we warp things up. We’ll see you next year for the Summer Surf Series 2016.

[OptinLink id=2] [OptinLinkButton button_type=flat link_type=optinlink color=#0088cc border_radius=3 button_text=”Get our Free travel checklist”] [/OptinLink]

What kind of fun office things happen at your office?

Analyzing Samsung’s “We Are Greater Than I” Ad Campaign

Surfing has always been a lifestyle sport; it’s not an experience or just something you do, it’s life. And it has the power to control so many aspects of your life. From making you wake up before dawn, to last minute decisions that can affect the next several days of your life.

It’s Mother Nature, and we’re all at her mercy. When a swell arrives, suddenly everything becomes less of a priority. Or when the waves are bad, suddenly surfing is not an everyday priority.

Because of this instinct there has always been a tension with outsiders. Hollywood has never “gotten it” and non endemic advertisers have always been mocked for trying to capitalize on a “market.” But inherently this is impossible because we as surfers, see right through this. Their representations of us has never been defining or accurate.

The World Surf League (WSL) has gone through several changes over the last few years, largely in response to a rumored rebel tour. They got new ownership, changed the format of professional surfing, their name, and how the tour is presented to fans.

Some liked it, some hated it. Either way, it worked. The sport has grown, the surfing has improved and, of course, there’s more money to be had. There are also less parking spots at the beach these days.

The WSL signed up Samsung as their global partner, which is providing plenty of sponsorship dollars for the tour. Samsung has one goal: to sell more phones. To do this they want to reach as many people as possible and because they seem to have an endless budget they can do a lot with their advertising.

I cut my teeth in filmmaking in the action sports industry. I grew up surfing and have a formal education in film and more than a decade experience in production working with consumer products and lifestyle brands. Because of my background and experience, I’ve always dreamed of ways to showcase surfing in a legitimate manner, something Hollywood and non endemic brands have forever failed to do.

Until now. Samsung’s “We Are Greater Than I” campaign is pretty great. It’s the right mix of core surfing with mass appeal, something surfing has inherently failed to do.


Breaking Down We Are Greater Than I

The “We Are Greater Than I” campaign tells a story. It’s heartfelt and attractive. It’s understood by core surfers and intriguing to outsiders who only know of surfing as riding waves in the ocean.



Visually, it’s very pleasing. The composition of the shots are beautiful, and the coverage provides the audience with a good idea of each scene. Today’s audiences are smart and advertisers know this.

Advertisers know that audiences can piece together stories quickly with little context. The campaign has several different scenes, ranging from intense freezing cold environments, to shaping rooms, surfboard graveyards, and developing world country duck taping.

Anyone watching this commercial can identify himself or herself in there. The more experienced surfers will know what it’s like to surf in harsh environments or remember the fondness of learning to surf.

Beginners or Hawaii-vacationers-taking-surf-lessons-at-Waikiki will know what it’s like the first time you carry a board into the water and know the effort and drive needed to become a professional. The those who only view surfing from afar can appreciate it with aspiration.

These sensory elements are written all over the campaign. It’s smart, effective marketing strategy directed at a large, diverse audience.



Sound Design

To further drive this home the sound design is also great. The music is tense and serious, but has an element of inspiration and motivation. It makes you feel like you can do it, whether you might actually be able to or have no realistic chance of ever making it out of a deep one at Cloudbreak.

In reality, it doesn’t matter either way. It works. Connections are about making you feel something. And if Samsung makes that connection they will sell more phones.

In just a second or two each, they are able to connect with many different types of audiences. Those who have seen surfers making do with the bare remnants of a surfboard to those who have been asked to leave by “surf fascists.”

The sound design is how they reach and connect to such a wide and diverse audience.


The script stretches it somewhat, although the writing is great. It is somewhat repetitive and starts to enter that world where Hollywood doesn’t get it. It’s lofty, almost too lofty with lines that thank Kelly for “making it look too damn easy” and shows someone attempts a frontside reverse air. But it does remind us all of why we surf, and drives the story along with flow, which are ingredients for great script writing.

This is where they really appeal to the non core crowd. They bridge the gap between those that really know and understand to those who want to know and even to those who have no idea.


Does Samsung Surf?

Samsung is trying to connect with the audience through one or more of those scenes. If you can relate to one scene, Samsung hopes you’re much more likely to show interests in another scene or the rest of the commercial, as well as a smartphone or other electronic device.

But does Samsung care about surfing or the industry? Probably not- well, maybe they do. Just as much as they care about cycling.

The campaign is great because it’s well done, has great production value, and connects with it’s audiences. It’s thoughtful and meaningful and it will likely sell a lot of phones. There are a few disconnects and some room for improvement, but it’s the best campaign I’ve seen surrounding non endemic surfing.

“We Are Greater Than I” is an effective campaign that will inevitably bring more money into the sport of surfing. It’s going to bridge the gap between surfing as we know it today to the wave pool future where anyone in the world can surf.

If you think surfing is selling out now, we’re just getting started. Corporations are entering the sport to make money and when they see that the geographical limitations can be removed, it will open up a much larger market they will be the first ones to enter. Surfs up.


The New Wave

Samsung isn’t alone in their efforts. Advertising has changed. Not only with how brands can reach consumers but the way they’re doing it. They’re partnering with smart storytellers who can create that connection in a brand-positive way.

Expect to see more of this trend in the future. Once more marketers realize the effectiveness and catchiness of similar campaigns they won’t be far behind. It is a more enjoyable way to learn about a product. I don’t think selling out is accurate, but trendsetting (from an advertising perspective.) I should know as I work with brands on similar campaigns and can speak to the effectiveness.

Surfing is growing up. It’s no longer niche, it’s mass. It’s still core, but there will be layers added and marketers will take note.

What are your thoughts on brands taking risks with advertising and branding content? Let me know in the comments below.

Sierra Time Lapse

A Quick Getaway

A few weeks back my friend, the talented graphic designer and web developer, Bryce Frees, and I went into the lower Sierra Mountains for a 2 day backpacking trip for my birthday.

Sierra Sunset, part of a beautiful time lapse

We left late at night and didn’t have much of a plan. We ended up in Onion Valley and with the help of this guide hiked our way up to 11,800′.

The purpose of the trip was two-fold. 1) to get away from it all for a couple of days. To unwind, disconnect and breath some fresh mountain air. And,

2) to shoot some awesome photos, videos and time lapses.

Sierra Mountain range peaks. Part of a time lapse

Lower Sierra rocks, a moody time lapse

We had access to some new cinema lenses and really wanted to put them to the test. It was nice to leave it all behind and be creative in the wild. No emails, computers, cell phone to distract us. It was awesome. Here’s a quick video from our trip.

Do you ever feel the itch to get out there and unwind for a few days. Let me know your tricks in the comments below!

Is Your Company Making Content for the Small Screen?

It’s clearer than ever that video marketing is becoming more and more important each day.

Online video will make up 55% of web traffic by 2016, and it’s likely to continue gaining momentum from there. The question is, will your company gain momentum with it?

In addition to the prevalence of video, we’re also seeing a direct correlation between video and mobile marketing. Consumers are using their smartphones to consume and share online video more than any other type of screen.

The small screen isn’t just the future, it’s the present reality.

As a result, it’s time to think about the mobile implications of your video projects, as well as how you can be prepared to take advantage of the small screen.

Make content for the small screen, our phones go with us everywhere.

A Look at Smartphone Content Consumption

People are using their phones to engage and purchase from brands, as the following statistics convey:

  • In 2015, U.S. mobile marketing will generate $400 billion (compared to $139 billion in 2012). (source)
  • Mobile ads perform 4-5x better than online ads. (source)
  • Videos increase the understanding of your product or service by 74%. (source)

This level of consumption should communicate the worth of a mobile marketing investment. For local businesses, this style of marketing gives you direct access to consumers while they’re out shopping. It’s a persuasion opportunity you just can’t get with traditional digital marketing.

The bottom line is this: your company can stand out when you build a presence on the small screen.

Not only should you use this opportunity to drive the creation of your video content – you should consider an entirely mobile-first approach to all your marketing efforts, from your website design to your social media campaigns to your paid advertising initiatives.

It’s obvious that consumers are making a demand for content on the small screen.

How will your company meet that demand? Will you make the smart move or play it “safe” and miss out on hundreds of potential opportunities?

It’s obvious that consumers are making a demand for content on the small screen.

Creating Video for the Small Screen

Great marketing reaches the customer where they are. And in today’s mobile world, your audience could be anywhere when they consume your content. This dynamic view of consumption requires companies to have a mobile-first mentality.

Everything from branded entertainment to informational explainer videos can add value to the mobile user. One of the most important things to remember is to make the content relevant to the platform. Many networks are pushing their video capabilities:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • YouTube
  • Twitter
  • Vine

Each network features its own nuances. For example, the type of video you produce for Facebook won’t work on Instagram.

Lifestyle brands and consumer products should not only pay attention to the mobile device, but also the platform you’ll use to publish the content. This type of context is extremely important for impactful mobile video marketing.


When do customers not have their phones with them? Branded Entertainment is a huge opportunity

We love to share with our friends what's on our phones. Media optimized for the small screen is a must.


The Case for Mobile Video Marketing

Out of all the different types of mobile content, video marketing is most promising. Not only does it meet a current market demand, but it’s projected to grow at a rapid rate in the coming years.

Yet despite these projections, many are stalling their participation on this medium.

Failing to use video content is a mistake for many reasons. As more companies realize the power of this media, the competition for attention will become fierce. If you get in now, you’ll have the opportunity to build authority while engagement levels are still skyrocketing.

Now, that may sound like a cheap pitch for a scam, but trust me – it’s not. The mobile video audience is paying attention. And if your company makes the move, it could be the one that reaps the rewards of early action.

The statistics speak for themselves…

1. Smartphone Users are More Likely to Watch

Mobile video viewers are 1.4x more likely to watch than desktop users. (source)

When it comes to video, mobile wins the attention game. Smartphone users want to get information in a quick and easy format, and video caters to that desire.

If your company wants to influence the mobile user, invest in video.

They may not read that 2,000-word blog post, but 59% of viewers will watch your entire video if you keep it short and sweet.

2. Word-of-Mouth Sharing Increase on Mobile Devices

92% of mobile video viewers share videos with others. (source)

Have you ever grabbed your smartphone to show a friend a recent video that caught your attention? That’s word-of-mouth marketing at its best.

Gaining brand awareness doesn’t always happen through social media shares (though they’re certainly a beneficial aspect of mobile sharing). Sometimes your best ambassadors go unnoticed because they share you content with others in real life.

If you make share-worthy content, people will notice. You can quickly turn dormant prospects into raving advocates through engaging, entertaining video content.

The phone goes with us everywhere.

3. Develop a Stronger Personal Connection Through Video

Smartphone video viewers were 2x more likely than TV viewers to feel a sense of personal connection to brands that show video content, and 1.3x more likely than desktop viewers. (source)

Ultimately, all marketing tries to achieve one thing: build a deep connection with prospects so they’ll become customers for life.

Companies can achieve that with mobile video.

Think about the environment you’re in while watching video on your phone. You sit down with the device in your hand, and it draws in your entire focus. It’s a very personal experience that captures your attention in a way that desktops can’t.

If you’re out to develop real connections with your customers, don’t overlook the power of video marketing. After all, if a picture is worth 1,000 words, how many words is a video worth?

4. Assist With In-Store Product Purchase Decisions

More than 50% of the mobile video viewers use video to help them make product decisions in stores or on company websites. (source)

The statistics I’ve previously mentioned add a lot of qualitative value to your business. But it doesn’t stop there…

With more than half of people using video to make in-store decisions, your video marketing project can yield tangible financial results for your business. And at the end of that day, that’s what we all want: increased revenue and returning customers.

The smartphone video market won’t threaten the filmmaking industry any time soon. But it will impact the success of your company’s marketing efforts. It’s time to make the investment in video marketing.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Start making content for the small screen now.

How Reading Fiction Makes You A Better Storyteller

A journey of my own

When you read a book, do you imagine the world the author is describing? Do you imagine what a character would be like to interact with in real life?
Reading fiction is some of the best storytelling around, and that’s exactly why I’ve recently come full circle into reading fiction again.

Imagination of Fiction

Non Fiction

As a business owner, I’ve spent the last several years constantly reading books on marketing, strategy, business & negotiation tactics, and blogging – basically, anything related to sales, business, digital strategy, and technology. My Feedly is full of blogs on these subjects pushing out several posts a week and I try to at least skim 90% of them.

This is extremely consuming. There’s definitely a lot of value in there, which is why I continue to read them. But recently, I’ve come to several realizations that make me better at managing my time and that have improved my storytelling technique in the process.

I’m on my phone several hours a day. If I’m not on my phone, I’m likely on my computer at work or on my laptop at home. It’s usually one of the last things I look at before going to sleep.

Lately, though, I’ve been seeing a lot of studies indicating that this is unhealthy for your sleep.So I decided to change it up. In college, I was reading fiction novels non-stop. I remember being so enthralled with Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code that I stayed up all night for 3 nights in a row to read more and more. I read it all in about 4 sittings total.
I had never been to France or Paris or seen the museums the book references, but I did imagine I was making a movie about a book. When I saw Ron Howard’s movie, I was shocked to see how close my imaginary view of the book was to his movie based on the book.

Short stories are perfect for adaptation to feature films.



Of course, imagination is easy, but actually doing it is a whole other story. Thinking back on a fiction book you like, it’s fairly easy to imagine the scenes playing out. But each shot, edited together, with music, sound effects and the way the actors play each character is a ton of work.

Novels are generally several hundred pages long and the stories are very detailed and developed. They often don’t make sense to adapt into movies because you’d have to leave so much out; otherwise, you’d end up with a 10-hour movie.

For this reason, novels tend to make better TV series or miniseries. HBO’s Band of Brothers and Netflix’s House of Cards are great examples of this.

Do you know what’s great to adapt into feature films? Short stories. The plots are less elaborate and are generally on par with a movie’s length, which is about 100 minutes on average.


Favorite Authors

The author who really got me into fiction is Jeffrey Archer, a master storyteller who’s always including attention-capturing cliffhangers that make you want to read more. When I was 17 or 18, I asked my dad if he had any good short stories, and he gave me one of Archer’s books. My favorite wound up being one that was called One Man’s Meat, in which Archer includes 4 different endings.

Fiction never gets old

Coffee + fiction = Amazingness

This, to me, illustrated a profound sense of storytelling – one where you could take the story in 4 unique directions. It was great to compare actions and plot lines among each ending, opening the door for me as a storyteller on which way to chase a story in a documentary environment.

I began to adapt books I really enjoyed into movie scripts simply for the experience. This is much harder and a lot more work than imagining what you think the movie should look like, as you have to condense a lot of details into a brief script and translate descriptions into character moods, dialog or actions.

It’s also tiring and time-consuming. Whenever I would do this, I wouldn’t have the book open and try to copy everything. Instead, I’d reference it for the finer details, but as the exercise was supposed to improve my writing – specifically my scriptwriting – I left the book closed.

I’ve always prided myself on my directorial skills. So when I would write scripts, I’d be thinking ahead to who I would ideally cast and the shots or framing I would use to cover a scene.

Life Lessons

I even went so far as to contact Archer’s publishing wing for permission to adapt a story for my senior project. I had the script ready to send upon their request, but although I didn’t know it at the time, he has different representation for his novel and his short stories, and presumedly his plays, too.
I was aware that there was this much involved at age 21, but – as they say – ignorance is bliss. But I was persistent. I stayed up to 2 am to call the publisher (as they’re based in the UK) – a process that taught me a lot about the business side of things.

Dreaming of Fiction.


Reading fiction allows me to dream. The freedom to explore shots in my mind and how to piece a visual story together is a powerful act or surpassed by actually making films. I love reading someone else’s work without any idea of what’s next. Curiosity for the next chapter, scene, page or sentence. What will it bring and what does it mean? How does this shape the way I would shoot this scene. Would I illustrate it the same way as my peers?

This practice isn’t something that is learned or taught, it’s something that is done. It’s difficult to explain, and, heck, even to understand. It’s just something that is done. When you get on a bike do you think about how to ride it? Or do you just hop and start doing?

Once this thought process routine is set it’s hard to stop. As a visual learner myself, whenever I read something I’m picturing it in my head. Fiction is no different, but more detailed and thorough. It provides me with the material to line up scenes, block characters, direct actors and ultimately tell a story.

This is the same process when working on commercial projects for clients. I’m dreaming, seeing in my mind before it all comes together. It’s just a matter of putting these thoughts on paper in an organized fashioned.

That’s how we created our process. By doing this over and over again I realized that we approach projects in a similar fashion each time. This provides consistency, give both parties and expectation on what’s to come and allows us to achieve the incredible results we’ve seen thus far.

Do you read fiction and imagine what the scene would look like in a movie setting? What are some of your fiction favorites?

What is Branded Entertainment (And Why Should You Care)?

By some estimations, 61% of consumers are more likely to buy from a brand that delivers custom content. And the only thing people love more than custom content from brands?

Feeling entertained.

We live in a world full of responsibilities, discouraging news and bills. People use entertainment to escape the drudgery of daily life. And if your brand can find a way to become that haven, you’ll win customers for life.

Using branded entertainment is one of the smart ways to use video for your business. It offers several different benefits and can take your marketing campaigns to new heights. Are you ready to get started with this video marketing tactic?

What is Branded Entertainment?

Wikipedia defines branded entertainment as follows:

“Also known as branded content or advertainment, [branded entertainment] is an entertainment-based vehicle that is funded by and complementary to a brand’s marketing strategy.”

Ultimately, the content gives the brand an opportunity to connect with its audience in a unique, engaging way. By using media to tell an entertaining story, you establish a connection between the positive feelings viewers felt while consuming your content and your brand

Weeman Branded Entertainment

Branded Entertainment Benefits

Most companies use partnerships with creatives, artists and professional media companies to craft custom branded entertainment content. These alliances allow companies to publish a truly engaging piece of content. Without them, you’re left to the limited creativity of your in-house team.

While that may not seem like a challenge for those in creative industries, it’s more difficult for brands in “boring” and “unsexy” industries. And, in all honesty, even creatives often find it challenging to create entertaining content for their own brand. Trust me – it’s much easier to be creative for others than for yourself!

Want to create a campaign for your brand with us? Click here to get in touch with us

Everyone has a story to share, if you don’t think so you’re likely not asking the right questions. Furthermore, everyone’s story has an audience who genuinely wants to hear your story.

When you’re able to identify what your story is and who wants to hear it you’ll find you have much greater success with your branded entertainment.

When done right, branded entertainment can offer your brand a number of different benefits:

Reinforce Your Brand’s Story

Every brand should have a narrative that extends beyond its advertising campaigns. Things like story arc, characters and plot development strengthen the overall impact of your brand.

Using branded entertainment is, inherently, a storytelling technique, so it stands to reason that using it will cause you to evaluate these portions of your brand. The result is a reinforced brand story that feels more honed and focused on your core values, message and mission.

Influencers need content to share to their audience- your audience.

Coffee (Branded) Entertainment

Ice Cream (Branded) Entertainment

Tap Into Established Audiences

In this day and age, you don’t need a Hollywood budget to produce a remarkable video. And you don’t need a celebrity endorsement to tap into huge audiences. The digital era has spawned tons of micro-celebrities that have millions of fans that they built from scratch.

Your brand can connect with these influencers and tap into their large network of raving fans. There are even specialized tools that make this process even easier for small and medium-sized businesses.

Remember, these influencers need content to share to their audience. Aligning yourself with an influence is probably easier than you think if you approach it as a symbiotic relationship.

Finding your target audience and the influencers in that space can help grow your brand, audience and overall reach by leaps and bounds.

Give People a Reason to Pay Attention

Ogilvy refers to this benefit as emotional engagement or brand engagement. It’s the element of entertainment that captures our imagination. And when that happens, your brand creates a level of intrigue, provokes the audience to action, and invites an open dialogue.

And I don’t know a brand in the world that wouldn’t love that type of engagement.


Examples of Branded Entertainment

We recently shared some really great examples of viral videos. It’s important to realize that while branded entertainment can go viral, that’s not the ultimate goal of this tactic. While viral content reaches out and attracts a wide audience, branded entertainment strives to go deeper and build lasting brand strength.

With that in mind, here are a few outstanding examples of branded entertainment.

The Lego Movie

Do you realize that when you sit down and watch films like The Lego Movie or Marvel productions, you’re really just watching a 2-hour advertisement?

These kind of movies are the epitome of branded entertainment. They captivate the audience and establish an emotional connection with the company. Businesses can use this same concept without going to this extreme. How can you tell a story using the people and ideas that drive your brand to success?

Dove “Real Beauty” Sketches

These videos work so well because they tug at your heart strings, and because their imminently relatable to most women.

In the clip above, Dove peels back the curtain and shares an important message that directly impacts their ideal customer: real, everyday women.

How can you use a similarly entertaining video to propel your company’s deeper messages and values?

Old Spice’s “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like”

This commercial started out as a simple campaign spot for Old Spice. But once it generated so much attention and success, the brand decided to continue this story. What followed was a series of videos developed in a Response campaign.

Your business can use a similar approach to storytelling. Don’t stress about finding the perfect story arc right away. Test different things and see what clicks with your audience. Once you find the fit, capitalize on it and continue the story.


How to Implement Branded Entertainment for Your Brand

Now that you’re feeling all hyped up from those awesome examples, it’s time to learn how to apply branded entertainment to your brand. While there are certainly deep intricacies for each of these steps, today, we’re going to make things as easy as 1, 2, 3.

1. Set Goals for the Campaign

Every marketing effort should start with clear goals. Do you want to increase purchases for a new product? Would you like to develop stronger brand awareness in a certain demographic? Take a moment to specifically outline the objectives and goals before moving forward.

Every other step in this process hinges on this moment.

What do you want to achieve?

2. Develop an Entertaining Idea

Set up a brainstorming session with your team and partners. Now, it’s time for the fun part – coming up with your brand’s story concept.

Enjoy this part of the process. Sit back, relax and bounce around a lot of terrible ideas so that you can find that one diamond in the rough that’ll make a big difference for your company.

Branded entertainment for @culturebrewingco

BTS photo of @culturebrewingco branded entertainment spot.

3. Produce the Content & Launch

It’s hard to make a real impact with a low-quality production. If you’re going to do it, make an investment to get it done right. When looking for a high-quality production team, make sure they have the following qualities:

  • Natural, experienced storytellers
  • A track record in award-winning videos
  • Experience with branded entertainment

The right company will help you out from start to finish. Don’t underestimate the power of a knowledgeable team to assist you with this process.

They also should have a process in place to help you identify key attributes of your company, brand and audience. Knowing who to target, and coming up with creative ideas to connect with them is hugely important to the success of your campaign.

Once you’ve finished the video, that’s it! It’s time to release your valuable branded content to the world. Congratulations! Now, it’s time to get started on your next big idea…

Now that we have you convinced, let’s create a campaign. Click here to get in touch with us

Power of Storytelling through Video

We live in an ephemeral society.

When you first meet someone, do you instantly forget their name? With so much content (read: noise) available at our fingertips and everywhere we turn, how do you focus on something? Imagine being able to make that lasting impression on someone – a customer, a hiring manager, a future date or a new friend – and have them remember you at some point in the future.

I remember growing up and my Dad always remembering someone’s name. He knew names of all the neighbors, people at the bank, businesses next to his. I would sit there and admire how he would always address someone by their first name. It showed respect.

Now later in life I understand the value of this. It’s much nicer to greet someone by their first name, even if you have only met them once or rarely see them. It will make an impact on your peers and will inevitably return positively to you down the line.

We easily get caught up in it all. It’s not hard for me to identify someone who doesn’t remember my name. It’s unspoken, but not unnoticed. Being too involved in our devices takes us away from interpersonal conversations.

I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely guilty of trying to consume way too much. I spend hours every single day on various devices reviewing social networks, blogs, news feeds, and text messages. Besides being overwhelming, it can get a little addictive too. When does it stop and where does it end (hint: it doesn’t)?

Setting for STORY.

It might surprise you to hear that the answer to these questions can come from video production. Stick with me for a minute – I’m going to show you how we create lasting impressions with the videos we create, based on what drives that connection and what we look for in pre production.

My sophomore year of college, I was introduced to a fellow film school undergraduate by the name of Conor Colwell. He’s one of the smartest people I know and someone I respect in many ways. His intelligence level being far beyond mine made me struggle to keep up with him in conversations. It seemed Conor could talk about any subject with knowledge and eloquence. He’d mention something that would take me a moment to process, and then he’d continue his thoughts – while I was still processing what he said a moment ago.

Honestly, when I first met Conor, I was a little embarrassed because I felt stupid next to him. I didn’t think I could be his friend because I’d never add to his meaningful conversations. That was tough to deal with because I had a lot of respect for him and wanted to learn from him.

I tried really hard to focus whenever I was with Conor and, eventually, I was able to converse with him more comfortably. And when I didn’t understand something fully, I’d ask him to look for ways to help me understand the subject. Conor became, and remains to this day, one of my best friends and, later, a roommate of mine.

What helped me get over my fear of sounding stupid was my ability to wield one important request: explain this to me like I’m five years old.

When you tell a story, you have to do the same thing. This doesn’t mean that you can’t get deep into esoteric details, but don’t assume your audience knows what you’re talking about from the start. If you aren’t upfront with your explanations. You risk them losing interest or being confused – all of which results in what turns out to be a wasted effort.

Explain this to me like I’m five years old.

In video production, and pre production specifically, it’s important to break down what your story is really about. We typically will find a few keywords that remain top of mind during throughout the project. For example, we’ll use: Experience, Brand, Location.

During a documentary shoot, when we’re not working off a script, we’ll ask ourselves what shots can we get that will help tell this story. Can we push through a doorway and reveal our subject in front of 1,000s of fans to show the experience of a live performance? Can we use a drone or aerial videography to highlight the location?


Early Lessons

Early in my career, I worked for many action sports companies, shooting their athletes. I traveled non-stop for 3 years, mostly to international locations with professional surfers. I would visit their countries and we’d often stay with their friends who would host us if we were visiting somewhere else.

Every country, town and host was new to me, and many a completely new experience. When I started, I would usually extend my hand and greet them with something like “Hi, I’m Tim.” This might seem normal to you, but I had no idea I was so off so many times. After being greeting with a quick nod from the other person, I began to figure it out – I was speaking English, my native tongue, in their country.

I felt foolish in Morocco, seeing everyone hug as a greeting, or in Puerto Rico, kissing on the cheek. I was an odd man out, and while a quick handshake is polite, if you don’t follow up and create interest, there’s not much that you’re offering. This is exactly why no one remembers your name – you’re not doing anything to stick out and be remembered by.

When we introduce new characters on screen, I always think about creating a powerful opening – something that builds a lasting – connection with the audience. In our latest video for Helping Haitian Angels, Debbie, the co-founder, starts by saying “Unequivocally, they give me ten fold what I give them. It’s not even close.”

We don’t yet know who she is, but we know she’s American and receiving much more than the starving Haitian children we see on screen. Doesn’t this make you want to know why she’s saying this and who she is?

So far, this video is directly responsible for more than $1M in fundraising. People have been so moved just watching the video that they donate without any questions asked, to the tune of $250,000 by one donor and $100,000 by a couple of others on separate occasions. Incredible!

Video storytelling.

Podcasts = audio storytelling

The Power of Undulation

Storytelling is hugely affected by undulation. The emotions you provide your audience with create psychological mood swings that make you focus more and feel as if you’re living on the edge of your seat.

Undulation means to move with wave-like motion – pulsing through the crests and troughs, and riding up and down. You’re happy, sad and then happy again. Movies, especially Hollywood movies with their 3-act structure are famous for this, which is why it’s something we chose to apply successfully to the Boys to Men video.

In just 3 minutes, we opened with deeply emotional quotes from a few young men explaining their lack of a father and the pain that’s caused them during their entry into adulthood. We then pick up the pace of the edit with happy music, surfing and smiles, then close out the video reminding the audience of Boys to Men’s need and a call to action.

To make a connection, we need to give our audience a reason to care – a purpose. If you’re planning to create your own video, you need to slow down and find a way to cut through the noise, create a powerful intro to build intrigue, and develop a call to action to create, well, action.

With Boys to Men, we’re able to bring you into the realities of the life these boys are living. The pressures of the real world, gang banging men put on them and the outlet the non profit is able to provide.

We see 13-year-old boys about to cry talking about how they don’t have a dad, don’t have someone to play catch with them or tell them something as simple as “Good job, son.”

They have their friend’s older brothers telling them how cool their new gun is, or how much fun they had when they stole alcohol from a liquor store.

Beyond this, the story well told creates depth, something these young men don’t have the foresight to see. They can’t see past the life in a gang, but our story goes shows you what a little love and attention can do for them.

Our process is built around this. Diving deep into the Why of a story and how to make that effect come across in a limited about of time.

We typically start off each project with a quick brief – 10 quick questions that cover everything from what the project is about to 3 key goals. The brief starts out with general questions (remember, nothing is assumed) and gets more specific.

Movie scripts that undulate.

We ask each person involved to fill out the brief separately and compare notes. This allows organizations to unearth differences of opinions and gets everyone on the same page. By the time we receive it, it’s usually in pretty good shape for us to dive in and start finding our story angles.

Depending on the project and the answers we get on the brief, a project could go a myriad of ways. This is the foundation of our kick off call and initial creative.

We use this to find our keywords mentioned above and sets the course for the project. We use this kickoff meeting to brainstorm more ideas, figure out how we’re going to bring this story to live and, more importantly, why.

With Boys to Men, we knew we had 1 day to shoot and the subject matter was pretty serious. We decided on shooting each interview with tight framing on the boy’s faces to focus on the emotion. We shot with a wide open lens, using full frame cameras to blur everything in the background, so the audience’s focus would only be on the boys talking.

We picked up the pace, or undulated, with all the boys and supporters of the program surfing. This change was not only visual but audible, too, with the entry of happy, pop music.

And the end is tied together with a reminder of the need, a call to action to help support the program. The emotional loop is complete, and the audience responded incredibly well.

Stories connect us. Humans have been telling stories for centuries, all they way back to cavemen drawing images in the sandstone. Naturally, we enjoy a well told story.

Once we create that connection powerful things happen. Our audience is moved to take action, support us and share our story with others. Short stories for the Internet are perfect for this.

With social media so abundant and sharing so easy we can use our audience, fans, customers to help spread the word, creating a new, larger audience, more fans and customers that purchase or donate or take action.

It’s a powerful cycle, and when the story is right, and the execution is right you can easily have a video go viral.

Boys to Men was able to 2x their donations from the previous year. The supporters had a means to connect with potential donor and show them what the program was, who it was for, and the incredible impact it’s having on teenage boys across San Diego.



A good story is one that connects to your intended audience and inspires them to take action. Speaking to your audience’s emotions improves your storytelling immensely, which is why research in pre-production is so important and can set your project up for success.

Find stories that have inspired you and break down the creative elements and approach to the story.

I’ve been fortunate to grow a company and tell stories for everyone from global, billion dollar brands to small organizations, making an enormous impact in their communities with these tactics.

What storytelling techniques do you use? What kind of success have you had. Let me know in the comments below.

Summer Surf Series

It’s a Bloc party.

We kicked off summer this week at TAR HQ with all our friends from Bloc. Each and every Wednesday we’ll be surfing at one of the local surf breaks next to the office.

Since we work, literally, on the beach, we decided to organize a weekly group to get some exercise, rest our pixel burning eyeballs and rejuvenation. We put in many days of long hours and don’t take advantage of the office location enough.

surfboard floating waves

Floating - I could get used to this.

Futures Surfboard Fins

If you’re in the area (you can find us here) stop on by and join us or shoot us an email and we’ll send you the skinny on the week’s surf session. All are welcome.

It’s all about the Fun

The summer surf series will go on throughout the summer here. It’s not about getting the best waves, it’s about getting out of the office and having a good time. The photos and video almost show how much fun we had, but we all had a blast! The little GoPro was fun to take in the water, it reminded me of how hard it is to shoot underwater.