The Blog


Decisions are pivotal to all aspects of life and business. We make multiple decisions each day whether we realize it or not. There are obvious choices and those that we mull over, discuss and second guess. Is now the time to add a new piece of video equipment or online tools to enhance our social media efforts? New employees? Then there are those that get made on autopilot with not much thought at all such as setting a deadline for a project. Each is impactful and often times those that seem small have the greatest impact.

2012_05_VisionDecisions can certainly provide a level of anxiety especially when multiple people are involved and financial well-being or investment are part of the equation. That’s where it becomes imperative that the end goal and vision of the business remain the central focus. Far too often, personal preference tends to creep in and disrupt the decision making process. Not that personal preference should be eliminated from the discussion, but if it’s contrary to the overall vision then it need not be applied.

I observed a situation recently where a team was put in place to evaluate a member of an organization. The team members were responsible for providing feedback. However, all feedback was made available to the individual. This lack of a filter created a destructive environment that resulted because one team member provided feedback that was weighted more toward personal preference. The ensuing discussion and end result was not healthy for the company at all.

Listening to multiple viewpoints and ideas is critical when it comes to employee buy-in and decision making. This buy-in is as important as anything for a number of reasons. It should be a major priority and goes hand-in-hand with clearly laying out the vision. This ensures that each employee and partner is on the same page. If that’s been accomplished, the process of generating productive and constructive feedback has begun. Feedback that will help propel the business in the right direction.

Opinions and personal preference are important, but not when they compromise the integrity of the overall vision. Keep those out of the decision making process as much as possible.


Some projects move at the snails pace while others bolt through production. Our recent
commercial for Unlimited Possibilities didn’t hit a single speed snag. In a span of 15 days, we
met, we planned, and edited the finished piece you see above.

fence and houseFrom the get-go the Spiracle Media creative team was tasked to come up with a :30 second spot that touched on four main points. We needed to highlight the home atmosphere of the specialized assisted living facility, the fixed pricing, the resident/staff ratio, and the emotional impact it has on family members. Whew… That’s a lot to corral into a tiny video.

The production day lasted five hours. The interviews were the most time consuming. We did those with two cameras. Our main camera was a Canon 70d with a Sigma 18-35 1:8 lens. It was placed to the side of the interviewer. Our second camera was a Canon 60d outfitted with
another Sigma 18-35 1:8 lens. We placed it nearly 90 degrees off the main camera and closer to the subject. The operator of the second camera normally does a subtle pan during the questioning.

We’ve been shooting more and more interviews like this. It helps us with editing and gives a
more polished look to our final products. The hardest part of implementing this technique is
syncing the video in post.

We were stoked to see the video when we got back to the office. It looked great. Good video
usually leads to good editing.

infoWhile we were going through the sound, we were moved by what one of the subjects said. She described her mothers anguish seeing her friends being placed in less than acceptable assisted living facilities. In the interview you can hear her daughter’s voice crack and see her eyes fill
with water. You can hear relief coming over her when she recalls what it was like finding Unlimited Possibilities.

At this point we made an executive decision. Instead of hitting on all the points our client originally wanted, we decided to make this one sound bite our commercial. It’s a risky move. Our client was either going to love it, or scold us for not following instructions. We sent the draft and held our breath.

They loved it. Our intuition was right. We made some tweaks, but the final project didn’t change much.

That’s the way it goes sometimes. A speedy process is often the result of good clients, great
communication and trust.

You probably heard your college advisor(s) say network, network, network. There is no doubt that who you know has a direct impact on success and advancement. At least that’s the case for most of us. Hard work and talent will only get you so far. You need help along the way whether you believe it or not. No one makes it totally on their own. The same is true for a small business.

Networking

When we started Spiracle Media in 2011, it was our network of contacts that were essential in getting us off the ground. We knew quite a few people from our time as Charlotte media members. However, it wasn’t a hard sell that got us the business. It was about building on the foundation that had been cultivated over time.

I think there is a misconception out there that networking needs to reap instant results. That approach is totally off base. A business transaction is still a human transaction between two people or teams. As humans, we want to feel a deeper connection and that’s no different in business. You might continually network with someone that will never yield a direct business transaction and that’s just fine.

Networking is about much more than making money and locking down contracts. It’s about sharing advice, stories and making a genuine connection. That’s the mark you need to aim to make with every client or associate you encounter. If you treat people the right way, they’ll notice. They’ll become recurring customers, providers of referrals, drivers of your extended network and contributors to your knowledge base.

Some will share nothing more than advice, wisdom or friendship. Those components will prove to be most valuable in the long run. Everything is better when you surround yourself with friends. Business is no different.

Want an internship? Email info@spiraclebuzz.com

Video testimonials remain one of the most effective ways for a company to show off the impact of an initiative or product. We spent two days in Boston in June capturing sessions from EverFi’s Annual Research Summit as well as interviews that could be used in individual pieces like this.

In the news world, covering ribbon cuttings is one of the pains of the profession. When you’ve reported on one, you’ve reported on them all. The setting usually entails an outside environment, throngs of people, a giant pair of scissors, and clapping. Lots of clapping.

We know this backdrop well. The Spiracle Media team is made up of reformed reporters. We’ve all covered our fair share of ribbon cuttings. As blasé as I’m making it seem, the ribbon cutting last month was anything but typical.

stunned inside bathroom

Sergeant Drew Mullee lost a leg more than a year ago when an IED exploded while on patrol in southeast Asia. Our good friends at Patriot Charities worked around the clock for months building a new abode to give to Mullee and his family. Their new digs are adorned with flat screen TVs, furniture, and no price tag.

When the ribbon was cut and keys were passed on to Mullee, the clapping seemed on beat with the camera shutters capturing the commotion. Somewhere lost in the lenses was our Sigma 18-250.

god bless america-2Even though we were working for Patriot Charities that afternoon, we had to play nice with the 6 other media outlets covering the ceremony. In typical Spiracle Media fashion, we helped organize the malay. We asked all the questions, helped guide the family through the home for the first time, and got to the root of the story. All our news experience seemed to pay off.

In the end, our video shows the event for what it was. It also shows the joy of receiving such a large gift.

We feel so fortunate to live in a country and community where heroes like Mullee can be appreciated. We’re also overwhelmed with the selfless contributions our business partners regularly make.

Throughout the course of a day, we make several decisions. Most of them snap judgements that need no further thought. Other times we sit and ponder what things would be like based on the selection of a particular course of action.

What will make our business click at a higher level? How can we improve the value proposition that we offer our partners? What’s the next big thing in video or social media and how do we stay ahead of it?

I have witnessed and read about the decisions of individuals that have reaped amazing results as well as those that haven’t worked out too well. One thing that I have always respected about the decision makers even in failure is that they were courageous and strong in their conviction. They owned it.

OWN IT_brushed

Decisions
Own your decisions. Snap decisions are sometimes best, in fact most of the time your gut is correct. We tend to spend too much time evaluating what seem like big decisions rather than acting swiftly. Being too cautious about everything can hurt your productivity and drive you crazy.

 
Mistakes
Own your mistakes. There is nothing more frustrating than someone who doesn’t take responsibility for their own actions. As a business owner or decision maker, that’s part of the deal. With increased responsibility comes the need to make choices. Be careful with throwing others under the bus. Always protect your employees as they are the lifeblood of the operation.

Improvement
Own getting better. There should always be a sense of urgency to the way you go about things. Urgency in self-evaluation and awareness of your surroundings is imperative. The idea that things are going well does not alleviate the need for improvement. If anything, it should mean quite the opposite. Improvement means staying in a position of productivity.

Being a Fair Friend
Own being a fair friend. Friendship or mutual respect should provide the baseline for every relationship. Take time to know those around you, especially your clients. Genuine companionship will always reinforce business and come full circle. People will always remember how you treat them. Don’t give them a choice when it comes to your character.

One thing that I didn’t mention was success. I don’t want you to own it, but I want you to certainly enjoy it. There is a certain peace of mind that comes with success, but it can also present its own peril. You can easily get caught up in it and miss critical factors in the present moment. Success on the current path doesn’t lead to long-term sustainability for the majority of us. No matter how good our services or products are, tweaks and changes will be needed at some point.

When that time comes, own it.

Quality and price have always gone hand-in-hand. You can cut corners in some areas and sometimes you have to because the money just isn’t there. That’s reality.

When it comes to producing video content, there are plenty of talented freelancers and yes, even Uncle Tony has a new camera that he has been playing with. They might be a great fit for capturing an event or working on a one off project, but not for telling the story of your brand.

As a business, you need more than that. You need a team that’s going to have sufficient time to evaluate and capture the essence of what and who you are. As video continues to influence customer actions, the quality of storytelling and presentation matters. Better video has a longer shelf life and creates a stronger impact. Bringing the consistency of your messaging to video is critical.


Unlimited Possibilities Commercial

This isn’t our hobby, it’s what we do. I think that stigma still exists out there for many of those making the decisions. They look at video as a complete add-on rather than a necessary part of marketing. On the other hand, there are plenty of businesses that get it and we work with a number of them. YMCA of Greater Charlotte and EverFi to name a few.

We lean on a team of two for our location shoots. This isn’t done so we can add to the price, but to enhance the end product. It’s that much better with a second camera and second shooter/producer. There are plenty of things that need to be done at the office, but this is how we choose to deploy our resources.

Quality vs. SavePrice points have always been a painful topic internally, but we are confident that we fall in the sweet spot where quality of content and cost marry together. I get it. Cost matters. It matters to us when we hire a new employee or purchase new equipment. But as my pap used to say, “it only costs a nickel more to go first class.” Well, it costs a little more than that now, but the point is still the same. Saving a few hundred dollars in this case could come back to haunt you.

Spiracle Media provides experience, partnership and maximum effort on every project. That’s naturally part of the deal. It’s contained in the fabric of who we are and who we choose to be. At the end of the day, whether it’s with us or someone else, you get what you pay for and that one’s on you.

Making the transition from a life in the media to business owners was a little tricky at times. When working in television you always finished the day with a package grandin-road-artisan-package-with-bow-large-d-20121017210630467~6980923w that you could put a bow on before going home for the night. A lot of times in business you don’t get to put that bow on for weeks, if not months. While there were some growing pains in those first few months of business, we quickly realized one tenant remained in tact from our days of television, it is all about relationships.

With that in mind, early on as a company we decided to search out partners, not clients. We want companies, universities and organizations that see value in what we offer and give both sides a chance to build a relationship that makes the outcome that much stronger. Yes, the term partner evokes images of a warm, cozy working relationship and at the end of the day, that’s what we are striving for in every project we consider.

A great example of a partner relationship that has been beneficial to both sides has been our work with the YMCA of Greater Charlotte. The marketing team at the Y has such a great handle on sharing messages about the important work they do in the community, it has been a pleasure to work with them.  After spending nearly two years working on multiple video projects with their team, we feel very confident when they put a new project on the table. As Molly Thompson puts it, “it’s almost like walking down the hallway to a co-worker that already knows everything you need done and they do it well.”

Knowing that we have partners like this makes the mission of Spiracle Media that much clearer.  The definition is a person who shares or is associated with another in some action or endeavor, the YMCA and a number of our other ‘partners’ fall right in line with that.

If you are looking for a long-term relationship with a digital media provider, please take some time to contact us and let us know how we may be able to help, or let’s just get coffee.

Last month, Spiracle Media spent the day in Virginia Beach taking part in what turned out to be a really cool event spearheaded by client EverFi and enjoyed by over 800 attendees. The job included capturing Pharrell Williams and the announcement of a partnership between the singer/producer’s charity, From One Hand to AnOTHER and EverFi.

Our background in television played an important role in documenting the event as we felt right at home in the fast paced environment. After spending the morning and early afternoon shooting scene setters around the school, the next few hours were a blur following the arrival of Pharrell at his alma mater, Princess Anne High School.

And yes…we did ask for a pic.

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