How to Make your Video More Interesting

Mike ThreeSixty: Are You Doing It Consistently?

Mike ThreeSixty: Body Language is the Key to Video Success

Mike ThreeSixty Stands in Your Shoes!

Oh, And Make Sure It Goes Viral!

So you want to make a viral video. Oh, and you only have a very limited budget.
Well, producing a video is a big endeavor in the first place. You need a good story, or at least some interesting information to convey. You need decent lighting and sound. You need patience and time. Sure, you can get by with very little these days. Most phones can shoot and edit video, so equipment is not as big an issue as it was just a few short years ago. Sound, on the other hand, is still a big hurdle. With a little research and some money, you can get good sound…but not with your phone. All that being said, to also want your video to go “viral,” meaning having it garner 10,000 views on Youtube, or more; well, let’s just say that puts your challenge in a whole new dimension.

When I get a request from a client to produce a video that goes “viral,” I always want to laugh out loud. That’s like saying, please go out and find a $100 bill somewhere. Maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, in terms of a metaphor, but you get the idea. Unless you have a huge following, meaning a built in audience of thousands of subscribers, just heading out of the gate with the intention of having a video go viral is ambitious.

Nevertheless, here are some hints that may point you in the right direction:

  • Tap into something that has a strong emotional connection, like inner beauty, true love, nostalgia…something deeply human.
  • Create a ‘Prankvert.’ This is a set-up in which an innocent bystander gets lured into a prank. The most important elements of a ‘prankvert’ are hilarity and surprise. You can try to take this one step further by making the prank ‘exhilarating’ in some way.
  • Tap into a trend, but only when it is very young.  Like the Harlem Shake trend. Even though there were about 40,000 variations on this dance craze video, collectively they were all seen about 175 million times. Don’t try to create a copycat video after the trend has faded. That’s the trick.
  • Think about timing. For example the ‘Spock vs. Spock’ video for Audi that came out just before the new Star Trek movie. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have actors Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto on hand. The success of ‘Spock vs. Spock’ really was due to the timing of its release.
  • The old standby: cute animals. Take for example this video of a Shetland pony doing the moonwalk.
  • Create an animated info-graphic, preferably about income inequality. Those usually do quite well, depending on key elements like good animation and a professional voice over talent.
  • Do an expose on a criminal underlord in Africa.

(Thanks to HuffPo for doing all the research!)

Is Lighting Really That Important?

I love this funny, creative video on how to achieve quality lighting effects with inexpensive lights you can buy at Home Depot.

Does Sound Really Matter That Much?

I always impart upon people I work with how important the audio is to your video. So many times when they are planning to produce a small, homemade video for their blog or website, they don’t think about the quality of the sound.

Well, this is an absurd example, but it makes a point. Without the music to Gangnam Style, the video becomes dull and comical. Add a few well-placed sound effects, and it becomes a very surreal, bizarre piece of work..

What’s Your Plan B?

Recently I’ve been reading about getting a Plan B in other blogs, and I even created a video for a client about the importance of a Plan B. I had no idea I would come up against this very problem myself.

In fact, days after the completion of the “Plan B” video in question, I was contacted by a Houston advertising firm to create a web commercial-slash-intro video for a new website for a national skin care company.

After I bid the job and it was awarded to me, I quickly began the process of casting and scripting and getting ready for my video shoot. Sometimes I’m asked to work within a strict budget, and this project was one of those times. The client wanted me to find four “regular, everyday female” models between the ages of 35 and 40 and make them look radiantly beautiful…without a heavily made-up look.

So the first step was finding a make-up artist who could tackle this kind of work. I knew after I completed this task, everything else would basically fall into place. I had worked with a woman recently on an interview-style shoot who was quite good, so I contacted her and was relieved to hear she was available and fit my budget.

After having booked the make-up artist, I began the casting process and found four lovely, everyday looking women with radiant smiles and beautiful skin (see photo above). I booked the studio where I would be filming and scheduled for all the talent to be there in a week. (Did I mention this was a rush job?)

Since the models were not professionals, and I did not need to go through a modeling agency, the negotiation of fees was a challenge.

After I had crossed all my t’s and dotted my i’s, I felt I was more than prepared for the big day.

On the day of the shoot, I arrived extra early to the studio and set up my backdrop and lighting. The shoot was scheduled for 10:00 A.M., and it was already 9:30. That’s when the executives from the agency arrived. (Why did they have to arrive so early!?  In fact, why did they have to be there at all?  Just to make me more nervous?)

Shortly after that, the first model arrived. She looked wonderful, but I knew that I had to get her into make-up right away…. Hello? …The make-up artist was nowhere in sight. I started calling her to see if she was lost or was running late. No answer. All of a sudden, the second model showed up!  Everyone’s timing was like clock-work, because I had staggered the models so that I could shoot them one at a time, and so that they could get in make-up one by one.

But still no make-up artist. Now I was beginning to panic. What if she didn’t show up? I didn’t have another one lined up!  Oh, no!  That was the Plan B I had been hearing about so much recently. And I didn’t have one!

After about an hour I realized the make-up artist was just not going to show up. I had to send all the models home and ask them to come back in the afternoon. That gave me a little time to find another make-up artist. Luckily, the models were all very accommodating, and I ultimately only had to pay them for the extra hour.

Once I found a back-up make-up artist (alleluia), the rest of the day went very smoothly. But I knew that I had been lucky. I was only out the one hour in fees to the models, and I produced a top notch video. Unfortunately I cannot show it here, because it is still in the client’s hands, and they have not launched the website yet. You can bet that when they do, I will post it for you…and for me to always remember to get a Plan B!

Here’s the Plan B video I created with Karen McCullough:


You Need a Youtube Channel! What Are You Waiting For?

I’ve been saying this since I joined YouTube in 2006. The thing is, most small businesses aren’t taking advantage of this remarkable tool. By creating a YouTube channel, a business can immediately begin to see it’s benefits. It is an advertising platform, a social media platform, a content platform as well as a storage site for video. By linking it to your website, it’s a great way to increase traffic and improve your SEO. Your channel can provide back links to all your other social media accounts like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, strengthening your company’s web presence.

By creating a branded Youtube Channel, you are in essence creating another website for your clients to see and learn about your business. But this website is part of the nation’s second largest search engine following Google. Think of the kind of content that you can post related to your business: product launches and developments, introductions to your staff, how-to’s and tutorials, editorials and video blog entries, public relation messages and communications, advertisements and any other video content you can think of. It’s like having your own television station.

If you are a professional speaker, you shouldn’t even be reading this! You should be on YouTube now, creating your new channel.  By clicking on the image above, you can take a peek at speaker Cecilia Rose’s channel.  I helped Cecilia create this, and since it has gone up, Cecilia has had an increase in speaking engagements and customer traffic.  It’s easy to do, and if you need help, just send me an email.  (My contact link is at the bottom of the page.)

In an age where content is king, a YouTube channel is a no brainer.

How-to Make a How-to Video

My first suggestion for 2012 is to make a “how-to” video and post it on your blog or website. This would be especially important if you have a service business such as landscaping, home repair, decor and design, etc. The number one reason for doing this is that adding video to your website is always a good thing. As we have discussed in your page longer and create more interest.

I could go on with the benefits of video, but instead I’d like to show you a very simple ‘how-to’ video that I created with a client of mine, Glenwood Weber.

Creating this video with Glenwood took us 30 minutes. Now he has video content to put on his website, and visitors can immediately see what an expert he is and how personable he is; and they’ll want to work with him.