Being a videographer is one of the best jobs in the world (in my biased opinion). No day is the same, no client is the same - every job is different. The reason I've decided to document some of the jobs I have had over the last couple of years is to clear up and shed some light on what the job entails, the endless bumps in the road that are endured and sometimes enjoyed (I like a challenge!) and why, when asked for set prices, I struggle to give them. If you choose to invest in videography to improve your marketing campaigns (which you should be doing in 2018!), the path we go down together isn't going to work for everyone. The style, pace, colouring, composition, structure and overall message used to market a big manufacturing business to gain investors isn't going to match the video created for a cute high street shop selling stuffed toys to children. In the same way, even if the business is the same, one may need the video to gain investment, the other may need it to sell products. These are all the things a videographer has to think about within the first 10 minutes of our initial meeting, and that's why set prices do not work. However, I work with all sorts of clients for all sorts of campaigns, very large and very small and, inevitably, I have some interesting stories from these jobs! So, it dawned on me... why not share them with the world?
When I found out Sylvanian Families were giving me an opportunity to work with them I was elated! They were one of my first big clients and sometimes bigger companies prefer huge production houses with 100+ staff to take over their marketing videos, so landing the big boys was a huge deal for a small videography company. I am very happy to say since that initial elation at landing the job, Sylvanian Families has entrusted me to work with them time and time again, and they are an absolute pleasure to work with, and I'm always interested to see what their next marketing campaign will be and how I will be involved - it's always top quality!
One of the jobs I have done with Sylvanian Families was a Club Event. It wasn't very well-known that Sylvanian Families did this and they wanted to increase exposure and knowledge of these lovely gatherings they arrange. Their club events are when they set up in halls around the country on different days and invite children, parents and fans to come and look around; they set up different Sylvanian Towns featuring all of the associated dolls that go with them, as well as having people dressed up as Sylvanian Families characters that the children can have photos with, and many more activities around the event. During the day, they have stalls set up where people can buy merchandise while they're there. It's a lovely day out for the family and so they wanted to promote this to increase attendances for future events, pushing the video out across their social media pages.
Sylvanian Families had their hands full arranging this event - the stress of the logistics around getting people, merchandise, tables, chairs, decorations etc. to the location, managing the health and safety and legal side of running an event like this with accident-prone children running around excited, and much, much more to think about, as event organisers know. Now, one of the most important things to me as a videographer is giving my customer the most stress-free video shoot possible. I will take responsibility off their hands when I can - if they don't know what they want I'll help them identify it, I crack on with my filming while they get on with their jobs, I'll happily chat to and coach their customers/clients/colleagues if the job requires me to do that, and then at the end of it they'll have a fab video which is everything they wanted with minimal legwork from them (unless they want to be more involved!). It's very important to me, and so when I realised Sylvanian Families had too much on their hands to make time to provide me with a pre-shoot brief, I accepted that and took it in my stride. We'd chat about what they wanted from the video, what their goal was, and though a brief is much more preferable to ensure we're on the same track, I accepted this wasn't going to happen and took it upon myself to create my own brief for my job of the day. It's a bit risky, but like I said - all clients are different and I do like a challenge! I was extremely happy when I sent over the first draft to Sylvanian Families 2 days after the event and they loved everything about it. After a few small revisions, they had their quality product with minimal legwork. Happy client, happy Sam!
As a videographer, one of the more challenging things about walking around with a camera in your hand is that it makes people nervous. It's understandable. Who's that? Is he employed with this event? Where will the pictures/video end up? Do I look presentable enough to be on camera, or has he just caught me picking my nose? All the usual stuff! So to avoid any upset or confusion, and because it was a child-focused event which is even more sensitive, we thought of the idea that upon arrival and entrance, people will be handed either a green or red landyard. The red landyards were people that didn't want to be captured on camera, and the green landyard meant they didn't mind! Problem solved, I knew who I could film and who I couldn't, and the people with red landyards were free to enjoy the event without watching out for the man with the camera!
I thoroughly enjoyed filming this event and seeing how much joy the Sylvanian Families dolls and company bring to their fans, and I'm honoured to now be their go-to videographer. Even working with the same company time and time again, none of their campaigns are the same; they keep me on my toes every time... and I love it!