Working from Phone - Apps for Freelancers and Filmmakers

   

 

 

by Emily Webster, Production Manager

Hi guys, just a quick post today, discussing my favourite apps for productivity and getting things done, no matter where you are. These are good options for small businesses or even freelancers looking to get themselves organised, instead of distracted, by their phone. I also wanted to touch on the relation between productivity and apps themselves.

We at Moth Media are a big fan, of course, of the GSuite, everything from Google Hangouts, to Docs, to Calendar and of course, of Drive. I find the easy switching between apps and cross-functionality very useful and we rarely have issues, besides the occasional “oh no I saved this in pages” problem. I also find the customer support very efficient and helpful. My best tip for this relates to Google Calendar- keep it active, and set up a specific shared calendar between the team.

For communication, there is no other better option for a small mobile team than Slack. The multi-channel functionality is one of the best chat organisation system I’ve used and even being a bit forgetful, it’s easy to sort your thoughts. Slack works best when everyone is on board and participating. The best advice I can give you with Slack is to go out, figure out all the different functions of the app and teach these to your team, and make sure they understand. People sometimes have a hard time getting started with technology, but a little encouragement and tutorials go a long way.

One other app is Releases by Snapwire- quick and painless release forms to get talent releases done and dusted. It's made for stock image websites but easy to adapt. The only change I would make to this app is licensing to the company itself rather than a specific person, but I understand why that isn't an option.

You’ll notice this isn’t a long list. There’s a reason for that! There is no magic app or system that will keep your business running and find you clients and make you millions. I know many swear by certain time-management apps or sorting and administration system apps but I think of many of them like fad diets. They might help you in the short term, but long-term if you want to make a change and find success, you need to make a change to your overall behaviour and thought process towards your goals. For sure, keep in the know, check out apps and integrate them into your systems, but make sure you work on the systems first. 
Remember, an app can aid your progress, but only you can start it, and keep pushing.

Other app lists for freelancers and filmmakers:
The 12 Best Time Saving Apps for Freelancers on CreativeLive
6 Essential Apps for Filmmakers to Hone Their Craft on IndieWire
5 Handy Mobile Apps to Make Your Filmmaking Endeavors More Productive on NoFilmSchool  (old but good)

 

The new world of short attentio……..Wait, what were we talking about?

 

by Rhys Salmon, Creative Producer

“The times they are a changin’….. “ Well in the Digital and Video Production world they certainly are! And with one outdated reference out of the way, let's have a look at why this is currently so important for us to help you to understand.

This is Generation Y, the generation of short attention spans, smashed avo brunches and next to no knowledge of Bob Dylan. Why is this important to talk about you say? Well, these are the people who you may be trying to reach, your "target audience", and like a meerkat in the sugar bowl they are ever so elusive!

We rush around in our lives each day, using multiple digital devices while battling the feeling that we never have enough time to get everything done. Apps such as Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook demonstrate new digital based techniques to get people to pause for a second. For those businesses listening and ready to utilise the success of these popular forms of social media the message seems to be:

“Get my attention, make your point and then tell me where I need to go.”

So what does this statement mean? Let's break it down into bite size pieces and look at the ways Moth Media can help you implement them:

 “Get my attention!”

We are here to help you make your voice heard in a room where everyone else is yelling. We spend all day assaulted by commercial content, so why is it that only certain things manage to break through? Fact: we are always drawn to our existing likes and interests. Understanding your target audience and making commercial content for them is extremely important; don’t try to please everyone. Understand your clique and illustrate this visually. You sell cool motorbikes? Then the first thing we should see is a cool motorbike doing something even cooler! I don’t know much about motorbikes in reality (let alone cool ones) but if I did and I saw a cool motorbike doing a backflip over say, a pool filled with piranhas? Guess what: You would have my attention! I’d be watching that video, sharing it online and showing all my friends.

 “Make your point!”

Come on buddy, don’t waste my time! We all consider ourselves busy, so work to this. Vine videos were a great example of how quickly we can impart information to an audience, so make sure you know what you want to achieve. Have you ever watched a T.V. ad and years later still remembered how funny or catchy it was but not what it was meant to be selling? It happens more than we like to admit. So don’t lose your message, strong branding should go hand in hand with any comedy/interesting elements of your video.

 “Tell me where I need to go!”

"Congratulations, you made it through the video"……*viewer continues to scroll through their Facebook feed* 

This is where we need to make sure we continue to engage the viewer and let them know how they can get involved; "Click on this link to visit our website", "click here to order now", "follow the link below to see the full video" etc. Having gone through all the hard work to get their attention we must ensure it all pays off.  A strong plan in place for what happens after the video makes it easier for your customers to take the next step and stay with you.

This blog post is just a brief overview of the steps that need to be taken to ensure a successful social media video. In future blogs I’ll take a closer look at what we at Moth Media can do to help you get your video where it needs to be. In the meantime, check out the links below for some great examples of social media marketing done right:

Old Spice, 30 seconds of brilliance (that’s what she said):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owGykVbfgUE

Chatbooks, a longer video but incredibly entertaining and a great example of a call to action:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTTs7ewuDY8#action=share

Airbnb, the information tab is accessible the whole time and you can also book right away. These features are packaged with a great minute long video to get you familiar with their business:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_1itDHomgE&feature=youtu.be

Why Documentary Style Can Work For You

by Simon Todd, Lead Cinematographer

The documentary film making style is among one of the most versatile across so many video formats, from corporate internal communications to social media advertising, and long form story packages for broadcast media all the way up to feature length masterpieces. I believe that its versatility comes from the way information is communicated so concisely and accurately whilst allowing for a wide variety of creative styles. It doesn't have to be a cut-and-dry information overload, but if that's what you want then it can do that too!

When I talk about "documentary style" what do I actually mean? Well, generally speaking the basic structure involves one or more subjects being interviewed on camera, with overlay footage (footage that is literally layered over the interview clips in the editing timeline) relating to what the subject is talking about. That isn't to say that this is the only type of documentary you can make, but it's one of the more common styles and is really very effective. Other styles include following a documentary film maker or reporter as he or she explores the topic of the film and we as the audience learn about the story as they do (think Louis Theroux). This type often includes voice-over recording during post production by the very film maker who we've been following, or other styles could have no interviews and be driven purely by a disembodied voice-over and a strong visual story telling element.

Whichever style of documentary you opt for one theme remains consistent - a clear communication of information told by the interview subjects in their own words. There's no second guessing what the meaning or the subtext is. Unlike creative narrative (or even some creative advertising) there's usually very little visual metaphor going on, subtle art direction elements or lighting set ups to create meaning, often it's very straight to the point. Don't get me wrong, documentaries are an art form in their own right and the production process is still very detailed however it's easier for it to be more efficient.

Which brings me to my next point, that this style of video production is often more cost effective for businesses. The interview elements are the only really big set ups for the production in terms of lighting and set dressing. Almost all of the overlay footage can be naturally lit, "as is" because you're documenting this person's daily life (perhaps just a couple of lights or a reflector may be required). This means that you can shoot more content in a shorter amount of time than other styles giving you a more fleshed out and visually appealing product for less money.

But just because a short doco can be shot on a tighter budget doesn't mean that you have to skimp on quality. If anything, with proper detailed pre-production planning, the greater ease of documentary shooting can allow your creative team the time to craft some truly breathtaking visuals. However this video style also allows for a mixture of high quality camera footage as well as found footage or "file vision", video that was shot years ago on a consumer level camcorder but is powerful in its own right from a story telling perspective (think Amy or All This Mayhem).

Clearly I'm a little biased to shooting in a documentary format, and obviously it doesn't suit every project, be it corporate, commercial or creative. If you're wondering whether or not the next video you want to make could be filmed like this, then check out the below examples to get a better feel for this style of production and what it may be able to achieve for you or your company.

 

Letter Press To Impress

Angela's TAC Recovery Story

The Truth Is with Hamish McDonald

Talking till It Works

by Sam Darby, Creative Director

If there is anything I’ve learned from starting this business, it’s that knowing how to work with people is key. Not just your own team and crew but your clients and the onscreen talent. 

One of the hardest and most face=palmingly obvious lessons I learned, very early on was communication. Having a mutual understanding across all parties can solve practically any production hurdle. You've got to communicate not only your ‘red hot’ creative vision, but even the basics of your production process. It can be bizarrely easy to forget that not everyone on Earth went to film school or have lengthy exposure to Videoland. Perhaps even more hazardous, however, is working with people who have had some exposure and the automatic assumption they  must understand YOUR process. 

Every operator will undoubtedly have their own way of undertaking a job and it's up to you to communicate it to the people around you. I find it extremely useful to set out expectations. Better to surprise a client with the high quality of your product than have them surprised that the edit is going to take two weeks longer than they were expecting. 

The same goes for the crew, especially if you’re working with freelancers. Maintaining a standard of quality across your portfolio is really important, and if the people working with you aren’t always the same, it’s super helpful to come to an agreement on the way that you’ll carry out a job. Everything from the length of your working days and production schedules, to the look you’re going for and the way you structure your files for an edit is imperative to communicate from the get-go.

The deal with good communication is that it goes two ways. Listening to the people you’re working with/for can not only inform you of where their head is, but can improve and expand your own process. When working with clients, come to them with a list of questions that covers all bases.

People often know what they want, but don’t always have any easy time of getting it across. It can relieve a lot of headaches by taking the time to get on the same page early on; Find a way to extrapolate a clear message from the people you’re working for. 

Which brings me to onscreen talent. I’ve worked with actors with boatloads of onscreen experience and I’ve worked with plenty of first timers. As stated (possibly overstated) above, an emphasis on concise communication will help get the strongest performance out of your talent. I should stress the word concise as it will mean different things depending on who you’re working with. An experienced actor might want know specific blocking instructions and shooting style, whereas a first timer might be content knowing that you don’t have an extreme closeup on their ear hairs. Too much information can be overwhelming so it certainly helps to read the room. If you’re comfortable with your own job then that can translate. If you’re a manic stress head then perhaps working closely with talent is best saved for another calmer time. 

This might seem a bit like a guide for dummies and, maybe for some that’s true. But I’ll admit I’ve been guilty of assuming way too much in the past and I’m at most only 30 percent dummy.

Go and make things.