I <3 The Internet

Before I start my first post ever here on the elite Tweedee Productions blog, I feel like I need to introduce myself.

Sarah_Hesch_Photo

Hi. I’m Sarah. I’ve been an associate producer at Tweedee for about nine months now. My desk is in the back of the studio, so if you come to visit our offices, that’s probably where you’ve seen me. And if you’ve filmed in our studio, I was probably the one running your prompter (assuming you were using it). When I’m not at work I enjoy writing (fiction and screenplays), cooking (with mixed results) and playing with my cats.

Okay, now that we are acquainted, I can jump right in.

I love the Internet. It represents what Wyoming and California meant to the cowboys and 49ers in centuries past: ultimate freedom. If you’re looking for something, odds are you’ll find it on the Internet, and if you have something to share, you can probably find someone who will distribute it for you—or you can even do it yourself! For people like me who conduct business on the Internet while simultaneously organizing a social agenda in the same location, it is practically a second life.

This level of freedom and involvement does present a problem for content creators though. With so many options and stimuli, how do you break through all of it and get YOUR stuff to the people you are trying to reach? It’s something marketing executives and advertisers have been struggling with since the Internet became a breeding ground for many “Next Big Things,” and so far there doesn’t seem to be any magical solution for guaranteed Internet success. However, there are a few things that you can do to ensure your project won’t be a total Internet fail:

1) Develop an interesting concept. Whether it’s a picture of a surly cat with a snarky tagline or a web series with a budget of thousands of dollars, it’s got to be interesting. If we know anything for sure, the Internet does NOT suffer boredom.

2) Only employ people who will get the job done. The end product is only as good as the people who work on it…and do you have ANY idea how long it takes to put together a decent 60 second animation? Because the Internet provides no real deadline, people can all too easily fall victim to laziness or frustration. So whether it’s a six person team of professionals, your college roommate, or just you and a laptop, you’ve got to be sure they are people who will see the project through to the end.

3) Maintain quality throughout the process. To answer a previously posed question: a 60 second animation can take anywhere from a few hours to several weeks to complete, depending on the skill level needed, the resources available, and so on. When you’re dealing with that kind of time frame and attention to detail, it’s all too easy to start taking short cuts. DON’T GIVE IN! If you do, the Internet will know…because the Internet knows everything….and you will end up paying for it in the end.

4) Spread the word! A common misconception is that getting a product on the Internet is the most difficult part of the process, and that once it is out there for all to see, the money and fame will start to roll in of their own volition. This is WRONG! Once you have your product out there, you need to take it upon yourself to make sure that everyone knows about it! Share, Tweet, Pin, Skype, Link…do whatever you have to so people know what you’ve got and get excited enough to tell everyone they know about it too. Because if you don’t care enough to get it out there, no one else will either.

If you follow all of these steps…okay, yes, your project might still fall into Internet oblivion. But at least you’ll give yourself a fighting chance. With high standards of commitment and with a little bit of luck, you could have the next LOLCats, Justin Bieber, Gangnam Style or Harlem Shake.

Now go forth and CREATE!

…and let us know if you need any help 🙂

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Things Are Getting Better

This past year Tweedee Productions has done work at several manufacturing companies throughout Wisconsin.  We’ve crisscrossed our great state from Fennimore to Green Bay, Milwaukee to Rice Lake for various clients.  Most recently we shot at a plastics manufacturing plant in Baldwin.  The news that we’ve been hearing is that “things are getting better.”  Companies are hiring, working multiple shifts and cranking out products.  The owner of the plastics company told us that they have been working 24/7.  In some cases, employers cannot find enough qualified workers to fill the jobs they have.  Not a bad thing in the short-term.  Nationally, recent economic reports have been encouraging.

It’s been interesting commiserating with other business owners over the tough times we’ve all gone through.  Many have told us that 2008-09 were the bad years which was also true for us.  In some cases business virtually ground to a halt and many of us wondered if it was wise to keep the doors open.  In our case, I’m glad we did.

During what has been called the “great recession” the thought occurred to me that the companies that are able to weather the storm will be stronger in the end.  When operating in a bad economy, you learn real fast what works and what doesn’t.  You learn that all major decisions are critical and that there’s not much room for error.  Ultimately, you learn to have faith in your skills and that things will get better.

Fortunately for us, our business survived.  The lessons learned over the past few years have paid off.  The last two years have brought us great success as we’ve experienced sustained growth for the past 30 months.  We’re now able to do the things that I love to do like rewarding our employees and giving back to the community.  I realize that many folks have suffered, careers were lost and companies closed.  I’m grateful we have been able to continue on.  I feel the best is yet to come!

CEO/Founder, Tweedee Media Inc.

do words rule?

i’ve been noticing a trend happening.Image

we’ve been getting more requests for what i refer to as “motion graphics mixed with power point”.

but, come to find out, it has a fancy name: infographics.

now, i like moving video, but apparently some folks really want to avoid video completely & use words and images instead. what a crazy idea!

but, you know what – it can work.

images & words can be very entertaining beyond just being informative… check out this Local Punched piece we did. it’s very active – entertaining, yet gets the message across.

here is another popular concept one of our clients, McGraw Hill, likes to use. i must admit this is WAY better than just reading a dry web article or watching wallpaper video that doesn’t really match the narrative.  and infographics can be WAY less of a financial investment. just imagine the cost of using real actors in the McGraw Hill piece. that would be crazy expensive.

obviously video will always be better to tell an emotional, personal story… but it looks like infographics are here to stay.

and for good reason.

-sandy

the flu sucks.

not just because you can’t eat, you’re puking and your fever is so high you can’t get comfortable. the flu sucks because it gives you too much time to think.

maybe it’s just me.  but whenever i’m sick or unable to sleep i obsess about stuff. trying to figure out how to do a project differently, maybe more creatively, maybe more efficiently.

some of my best thinking happens when i’m sick or sleepless. not that i’m encouraging people to get ill. but i do encourage, mostly myself, to just take a moment of quiet time. a moment to just let my body rest and my mind work.

might be easier if i just meditated.
i’ll have to think about that.

sandy just needs a minute to think about it.

sandy just needs a minute to think about it.

show it to me

Sandy shedding some light on the internets.

a friend pointed some research out to me… The Nielsen Norman Group, a consulting firm whose founder was deemed by the New York Times to be “the guru of Web page ‘usability,’” has done extensive research into what makes websites successful:  1)nothing higher than a sixth-grade reading level on the home page;  2)more “scannability” — highlighting, color-coding, bullet points; and  3)one idea per paragraph.

but maybe the most interesting bit was if you’re trying to reach young people – they don’t have the reading ability, patience or research skills to successfully complete what they set out to do online. kids now-a-days have a very different learning style. they don’t read, they watch – tv, youtube, web video.

my take-way (from reading all those words): the best way to reach your online audience? VIDEO.

no one, if you’re 8 or 80, wants to spend tons of time wading through a boatload of verbiage.  get my attention, get to the point and don’t waste my time.

we tried this experiment with the tweedee productions website. instead of a bunch of words, we did videos, lots of videos. we kept them short, interesting (in my opinion) and entertaining. we tried to eliminate as many written words as possible.

some of our clients have seen the light. they’ve started doing video newsletters instead of emailing newsletters full of words, articles and clip art. the vnl allows them to highlight their important industry news and map out articles of interest that drive clients to their website for all the details.

with the holiday season upon us…. instead of bogging up your snail mail with cards you’ll toss in the trash, we’re sending out this video greeting. no natural resources wasted. its short, sweet and filled with the spirit of the season.  happy holidays.

now if you’ll excuse me, i have to get back to my youtube.

The Tweedee Players Present: It’s a Wonderful Video

“You’re right to say he’s no businessman, Mr. Potter!” -George Bailey, It’s a Wonderful Life

I think we sorta knew that it was a crap shoot. We wanted to give every person/business a chance to work with us. We put together one of our little movies about creating Holiday Video Greetings. It was a pretty horrible idea.

We are offering Holiday Video Greetings for $249.99. We put it out there just in case somebody wanted to make movie magic. In fact, we’re probably losing money by creating these. Worst business decision ever.

BUT, it is an offer made to you because we want to work with you. We love what we do and we’re looking for opportunities to work with a wide range of clients in a wide variety of ways. This was another way of trying to work with you. We want to help you see how fun and effective this work can be.

Was it a great business decision? No. It was a good idea because we’re always trying new ways to bring you here to try to put video to work for you, like it has for dozens of our clients.

We want to be remembered the same way George Bailey remembers his father. As the guys who made a fun, effective project possible. It’s not exactly the Savings and Loan business but we’re trying to make video accessible to all.

Just a minute – just a minute. Now, hold on, Mr. Potter. You’re right when you say my father was no businessman. I know that. Why he ever started this cheap, penny-ante Building and Loan, I’ll never know. But neither you nor anyone else can say anything against his character, because his whole life was – why, in the twenty-five years since he and Uncle Billy started this thing, he never once thought of himself. Isn’t that right, Uncle Billy? He didn’t save enough money to send Harry to school, let alone me. But he did help a few people get out of your slums, Mr. Potter, and what’s wrong with that? Why – here, you’re all businessmen here. Doesn’t it make them better citizens? Doesn’t it make them better customers? You – you said – what’d you say a minute ago? They had to wait and save their money before they even ought to think of a decent home. Wait? Wait for what? Until their children grow up and leave them? Until they’re so old and broken down that they… Do you know how long it takes a working man to save five thousand dollars? Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you’re talking about… they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath? Anyway, my father didn’t think so. People were human beings to him. But to you, a warped, frustrated old man, they’re cattle. Well, in my book he died a much richer man than you’ll ever be.

-George Bailey, “It’s a Wonderful Life”

What are you waiting for?

Watch Tweedee Video Holiday Greetings!

Steve Donovan, Senior Editor, 19 time marathon finisher, 39 time Christmas Celebrater

Religion & Politics

Religion and politics are two of the subjects we try to avoid on the Tweedee Productions company blog.  I’m going to break that rule.  Well, sort of.  I’m going to talk about politics, sort of.  In this political season, it only seems appropriate.  Let’s talk about flying a candidate’s flag – a.k.a. the campaign yard sign.  As a citizen of this country, I fully enjoy the freedom I have to express my opinions.  Yet, as a small business owner, I wonder how wise it is for a small company to display a particular candidate’s campaign sign.

Don’t get me wrong – any business large or small has every right to declare allegiance to a particular political philosophy.  It’s as American as apple pie and Ted Nugent.  A drive around our fair city will confirm that many businesses use their public visibility to promote a particular candidate.  But I always wonder who within the business makes the decision to support which candidate?  The owner?  Does the staff vote on it?  Does everyone who works there share the same point of view?  Will they like me if I shop there?

But I find the most important question is, why alienate as much as half (or even more) of your customer base by publicizing your political viewpoint?  I for one, feel less inclined to support a business that displays a political philosophy that is different than mine.  It’s almost as if that business is saying it doesn’t want “my kind” as a customer.

And equally important is the notion that your employees may be pressured into supporting “your” candidate.  Are they allowed to display a candidate’s sign from an opposing party?  Can they openly express their views without repercussions from management?

It’s for these reasons that as an owner of Tweedee Productions, I do not believe in displaying political signs at our place of business.  I do not want to alienate our current nor limit our potential clients based on my political views.  Most importantly, I do not want my co-owners or employees to feel that they have to agree with me politically.  Our employees have every right to openly support any candidate they wish while at work.  And I truly appreciate the diversity that opposing political viewpoints bring.

Anyway, enough politics here on the company blog.  Next week, the election will be over, and we’ll get back to talking about exciting stuff like the latest video codec.

I’m Gregg Schieve and I approve this message.  If you’re wondering how swing politically, check out my personal Facebook page!

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