You’ll often see images like this in magazines. Close up portraits with a grunge look. Here is how I did it… You’ll get more benefit watching it in 1080p on Youtube, here: http://youtu.be/bU7Hs-OUYQs
This is how I get late at night.
Part lonely, part into my work, part just letting my ego run free without judgement, but mostly honestly displaying how I feel in the moment.
The above image sums up how I feel when watching movies.
“Movies carry some sort of psychic charge that no other art form – perhaps no other spectacle – can quite match.”
I love that line.
It’s from “The Power of Movies: How Screen and Mind Interact“ by Colin Mcginn.
I’m sitting in Pacific Beach at Cabo Cantina, outside San Diego, with my old high school buddy Mike Walgrave, drinking Sol.
To help with this blog post, we’re talking about the power of movies, and imagination.
His mom, like many of our mothers, used to tell us to use our imaginations when we were bored…
It’s no secret that much of my creative inspiration comes from movies.
I have a 55″ TV on my desk, with movies playing while I work.
Branding ideas come to me constantly from watching movies.
If you ever want a quick education on branding, take a few nights, and watch the first scene of dozens of movies.
You’ll find that the first scene, designed to setup a character, or several characters, is a study in branding.
Watch the first scene of, “The Godfather”.
It’s immediately clear who gets the respect and power.
Now, that wouldn’t be a scene that an independent entrepreneur, or almost any Hollywood film director could replicate, but it can be used as inspiration.
As an entrepreneur, living within a small creative budget, we need to learn what we can do that will still allow us to create a cinematic atmosphere.
With the low cost of DSLR’s, we can shoot great video.
My footage (photo, and video) comes from my Canon EOS 7D.
I’ve found that narrated video is the best way to achieve a cinematic effect.
It’s not feasible to act out a scene and think that it’ll be cinematic.
A-list actors get paid tens of millions of dollars for a reason.
They are great actors.
Entrepreneurs (unless doing a spoof) are better off narrating, and then shooting great footage to match the narration.
You’ll notice that reflected in the first 3 minutes (the branding portion) of my, ‘Style’ video.
It perfectly captures the brand I’m trying to portray.
All with no acting, and with me appearing live only at the end in a creative transition from narration to live video.
Think of a Ken Burns documentary. Completely cinematic, no acting, and much of the documentary is a pan of old images.
The great script, narrated with images being panned throughout, creates a feel that captures the viewers imagination.
It’s all about imagination.
For an exercise in branding, take some time, and watch the opening scene of your favorite movies.
See how they setup the main characters, and think of how you could modify that technique for your own branding.
This also works well with the pilot episodes (first episode) of TV shows.
The first minute of the pilot episode of Sons of Anarchy sets up Jax well.
Can you replicate that sort of shot?
But am I the sort of guy who gets inspiration from shots like that?
Yes I am.
I’m completely immersed in the characters, and the emotions of the film. (The lovely Katerina Morjanoff is my date to this film.)
I nearly always include symbology in my images.
For instance, the ‘V’ between Katerina, and I is an ode to Leonardo Da Vinci’s, “The Last Supper” with the ‘V’ between Jesus, and what is said to be Mary Magdalene, and not John.
There are many other symbolic gestures I included.
See if you can pick out the various meanings (religious, interesting, superficial, and some personal that only close friends would understand) that I have placed in this image.
This post is meant to spark debate (post your ideas in the comments), so I’ll keep my ideas short.
However, I’ll say this:
It takes effort, patience, time, and intelligence to become a good entrepreneur.
Telling people otherwise is deception.
Here is a recent post of mine that sums up my feelings…
Since it’s not always easy to know who to trust, I’ll let you know the people in this market that I trust, and leave you with bits of their wisdom that’ll help you know why I trust them.
They are genuine.
Here is a recent status from Kevin Nations…
You can learn more about Kevin in this post called, “Kevin Nations in Style in New York City”.
Jason Moffatt, who I’m sure you’re all aware of, literally opens up to the world.
It’s such an admirable trait to leave yourself open for strangers to peer inside.
Here is the video he made to acclimate the crowd to his journey before he gives speeches:
Josh Bartlett, the creator of Easy Video Player, gave a speech at Trey Smith’s Software Seminar where he shares a tough, pivotal decision in his life that took him from his former corporate career, to running his 7 figure software business.
[It's a Facebook video, not an Easy Video Player video, so it may not work here for some people.]
It works flawlessly.
That link isn’t even an affiliate link. I just love the service, and think everyone should use it (Allegedly, I may have professed this love of Easy Video Player to Josh at Yanik Silver’s Undergound Seminar in D.C. after about 10 Jack & Cokes…allegedly.)
Of course, there are many more great people, but I want this to be short, so you can think about the relationship between marketing and deception.
Please post your thoughts in the comments.
All comments on either side are welcome.
Lately, when I’ve been writing posts, serendipitous things have been happening right after publishing the post.
Within 30 seconds of publishing, Rebecca Geiger privately Facebook messaged Jason Moffatt, and I the following (she kindly allowed me to post this):
Her message to us couldn’t have reflected the meaning of this post any better, and her video displays the type of authentic openness in marketing that I enjoy.
This audio waveform is from an interview I did recently…
The top bar is the full conversation.
The bottom bar is the speaking of the person conducting the interview.
In the full conversation waveform, the large spikes are when the person conducting the interview is speaking, and the others are when I’m speaking.
I simply cut his portions out, and lined them up next to the full conversation, so it would function as a graph.
The full conversation, in Photoshop, was 6.012 inches.
His portion of speaking was 4.047 inches.
He spoke 67.3% of the time.
In other words, since our talk was almost exactly 60 minutes, he spoke just over 40 minutes of the interview.
My speaking was 20 minutes of the interview.
I have no judgement on the matter. The person interviewing me is a fine person, who will certainly see this, and may feel hurt.
This is a visual analysis that helps me affirm why I, for myself, consider it important to listen more than I speak.
I’ve always been introspective. I still am.
I observe, and calculate.
When there is something to say, I say it. When there isn’t, I don’t.
However, on interviews, I’m more than happy to speak. It’s an opportunity to get my message out.
In this conversation, the interviewer was listening, when I spoke, but was more interested in having himself speak.
This may be another reason why I am a misanthropic asshole.
So, I also decided to apply this to people who message me on Facebook.
Since my goal on Facebook is to brand myself to many people, I rarely initiate conversations on Facebook.
I’m more interested in posting interesting status updates, and branded images that gets people talking on my terms.
When other people initiate the conversation, I respond, but it often turns to them simply talking about themselves.
Example: Here is the last 10 days of a conversation.
I copy and pasted the other persons side of the messages in one text document, my side in another, and did a word count on the documents.
Total words messaged between us: 2781
Me: 660 words messaged in 10 days.
Other Person: 2121 words messaged in 10 days.
Percentage of messaging between us breaks down as:
Other Person: 76.2%
I’m more interested in listening, than talking.
But am I a man who thinks that talking, and listening, can take a backseat to doing?
Yes I Am.
I recently did a test image to see how viral I could get a photo to go.
To clarify, I’ve done quite a number of viral images, but they were of the religious, or political nature, so had no benefit to my business. However, those have gotten upwards of 2700 likes, more than 1000 shares, etc…it’s trickier to do it in a business capacity.
Here is the Branson vs Trump image:
The description said, “Who is the better entrepreneur? Click, “Like” for Richard Branson, and “Share” for Donald Trump. Let me know why in the comments.”
In addition, I used the promotion tool on Facebook, and selected the $10 option.
What it does is continue to move your post to the top of the news feed, periodically throughout the day, for several days, until the $10 is spent.
On this test I wanted to see how many “likes” I could get, so I positioned Branson first, as the “Like” choice, since I knew he’d drastically be the favorite over Trump.
Next time, I’ll position the favorite as the “Share”, so I can get more shares.
Since I am only just beginning to promote this fan page, there are currently only 666 fans.
So paid promotion is a great option to increase the viewership.
The results, as seen in this screen grab, were the following:
Budget Spent: $9.95
Reach: 6,514 people.
Likes: 133 total. 112 from paid promotion.
Shares: O (Again, next time I’ll have the more popular figure as the “Share”)
Comments: 28 total. 24 from paid promotion.
As a first test, I learned some things that I’ll use for future ideas.
Since just promoting a photo does nothing in terms of generating business, next time I’ll add a link in the description.
In this image, I could have said, “If you want to learn how to brand yourself online like Branson, or Trump, go to http://………….”
The link would have gone to my ‘Style’ eBook where they would learn my branding style, then have the opportunity to hire me to help them with their branding.
P.S. Here is a viral image test I created in the past during this particular meme craze. The true results aren’t expressed fully, since many people saved it, and uploaded to their own walls, but it still got around.
Watch this video. It’s the trailer for, “Trust Me, I’m Lying - Confessions of a Media Manipulator”, by Ryan Holiday.
Here is the book cover:
I’m a big fan of the style of, “Sin City”.
The branding of this book follows it perfectly.
Plus, the ideas of manipulation are so juicy, it makes you want to know the inside details immediately.
Go to the, “Trust Me, I’m Lying” website for more details.
I admit it.
Bill Gates is better than Batman.
And I’m not just saying this to get back at Bruce.
[Original full size Facebook image can be seen by clicking here.]
I’m making this statement because of the following infographic:
I like companies that find unique, viral ways to engage with people.
Intel is doing that with their, “Intel – The Museum of Me” program.
Here is my result.
To try it out, go here: http://www.intel.com/museumofme/en_US/r/index.htm
Movie Trailer page designs give me great ideas.
Go through iTunes, and click on various movies.
You’ll see wonderful designs.
Designing my style based on ideas I get from movie studios can make things easy, or hard.
In one sense, all I have to do is flip through a magazine, or now swipe through magazines on the iPad.
When I see something that catches my imagination, I recreate it in a way that works for me.
If you’ve seen my, ‘Style’ Facebook fan page tab, you’ll notice that it’s more like what movie studios would create, than what self employed entrepreneurs would create.
On another sense, seeing something you really like, means that you have to have the skills to recreate it.
Movie studios have someone as the actor, has someone film the footage, another to edit the footage, another to be the photographer, and another to design the artwork in Photoshop.
In my business, I play actor/model, videographer, video editor, photographer, and designer.
That’s not including being the marketer, social media manager, accountant, and every other entrepreneurial hat.
Many people reading this can relate.
However, with a big enough desire to learn, it can be done.
Compare what you see above, that I did myself, with these movie trailer landing page ads that I found in magazines the last couple days.
It’s worth noting that I did not use these as example.
I created my, ‘Style’ design back in October of 2011 based on other movie designs.
These tabs, however, are providing me future ideas.
Notice that each of these has a call to action.
Two of them are calls to action to, “Get Tickets”, and the, “True Blood” promo is to tune in, or visit their Facebook fan page.
I love this approach, and you’ll see me using it more and more.
What movie ads have you liked?
Post a link to them below…maybe you’ll see a similar style in one of my future designs.