Marketing & Promotion for Beginning Video Artist
Hi. I'm just beginning in video and am working with the tools I have trying to save up for the programs that could make my life "heaven"! I do have Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop & plan to purchase Adobe Creative Suite 4 Production Premium as soon as I can. Here's a sample link to what I'm doing:
("Renaissance Man", "Joanne Rafferty" the law office sample are the latest in the progression - hope it's showing!)
I have been a graphic artist and fine artist for my entire career. At 52, I'm making a career change to video. Since it's not likely that I can intern, etc. as someone who might do in their twenties (not fatalisitic, lol - just realistic), what do those who are very experienced think the best approach would be in proceeding?
Where would you suggest I begin, with the knowlege I have currently - in my own community? My plan is to produce the best work I can now and then build upon that as I can afford the software/equipment.
It's the "chicken and the egg". Need the work to get the software/equipment (and pay the bills) and need the software/equipment to get the work, lol.
Also, can you give me a range of prices (just ballpark) for what the type of work you see in these videos go for? I want to make sure I'm not undercharging for my time.
Thanks for your help!,
I liked your one art gallery commercial for Chasens, and it gave me the following thought.
If you are looking for some kind of overall direction, my initial impression is skip music videos and law commercials: you could do more youtube art videos where you interview artists and get some sense of their personalities combined with samples of their work and of them working. Since you are a visual artist, you would likely have a good rapport with the subjects and their material and be able to ask them intelligent questions and take meaningful detail shots to point out some unique part of the artist's talent or perspective. Take the best parts of their answers and conversations and montage that with screen shots of their work to create 5-to-10-minute capsule documentaries.
Put those on Youtube and you could try getting galleries to sponsor them, even to play them on a looped display in the gallery, as well as paid-for air time on the cable leased-access channel. Such a regular feature could help drive people to the gallery to buy, or to buy from the artist's own web sites.
Think of it as a virtual weekend art fair, where you browse past the tents and stop to read the little blurb cards at an exhibit you particularly fancy. I think based on the samples I saw of your work, such projects are within your capability, with a little more effort.
The other aspect of this that may be a good fit for you is that this would be a less competitive niche, one with more time to let you perfect your work on your own terms versus more commercial deadlines, and one where you already have some advantage from your existing background.
I think this is a more fruitful and perhaps potentially more personally satisfying path than for you to try to break into a highly competitive and saturated commercial production market, where as you say, you'd be playing catch-up on gear and experience and technique.
Some specific critiques, take them or leave them:
I would work some more on better cropping of and placement of vertically-oriented art shots within the horizontal frame. That is a hard thing even for experienced editors to do... there are various tricks and methods we use, you can ask more about those in the art of editing forum. I am guessing some of this also comes from your already- mentioned lack of better tools to be able to crop and keyframe those frames better.
I think you can make better use of the screen's space by adjusting your mass relationships, color weights, fonts, using deliberately non-centered positioning, and balancing composition using the rule of thirds, and this is something that comes with practice and experimentation, as well as frank imitation of the work of previous masters until you develop a unique "voice" of your own. Pre-visualizing thru rough pencil sketches may help save you time here as well.
For the music videos what you want to avoid is a powerpoint-to-tape look and an overly-literal interpretation. Abstraction and ambiguity add interest as the viewer tries to fill in the missing white space or missing pieces. And non-literal imagery gives you the chance to add another layer of meaning or interpretation to the work. Look at it this way: a music video is three things, the lyric as a pure poem, put to music to give it an extra dimension or emotional subtext, which you then put in a context with the visuals that alternately reinforce the other two legs of that triangle or deliberatly oppose it, to tell a story that's three-dimensional, that's more than the sum of its parts. We are making art that is a mix of image plus sound plus time. Make all three work for you.
I found the music videos on the sample page a little too "on the nose" with their literalness. It made me think it was going for a specific and pointed visual gag, but there was no payoff to that expectation.
Don't think for a minute this is a knock: this literalness is a phase every growing editor goes through, absolutely. I went thru a phase I call my "Jolt Cola Period" in the early 90's where one of my metrics for good cutting was how many cuts I could make in two and a half minutes of finished running time, under the spell of a can or two of those "creative juices". "Wow, this one has three hundred twenty cuts in the EDL, I must be good!" :-)
After a while though, you get bored with making cuts always hit on the beat, mechanically, robotically, predictably, and making the visual always a stone-literal portrayal of the lyrics. That's where you move up from pure technical cutting to artistic cutting. These days, I try to make cuts that nobody even notices are there, that just feel as natural and transparent as eyeblinks. If you have not read Murch's books on editing, I invite you to look thru them for some simple yet profound ideas.
If you're going to do more montage work like the music videos on your sample page, better be sure any clip art you are using has been legally cleared, or two things happen: One, pros and people hiring will not want to take you seriously, two, you are asking for legal troubles and expenses you don't want.
I hope that wasn't too brutal. You are very brave to come out here and show your work; I don't have the guts to do it yet myself. Like I said up top, I think you are positioned to be able to do some good and maybe profitable marketing stuff in the niche area of artist portfolio/profile mini-docs for the web, direct marketing, or for gallery use. That's where I would invest my time if you ask me, don't try to run in all these other directions at once with the music vids and commercials. Master one unique thing first, and make it something that isn't already too crowded with competitors, and your relative age is no longer a factor, your expertise is.
Best of luck and do come back later on and let us know how things turn out for you.
Thanks Mark. A special thanks for being kind and also direct - that's an art form! You weren't "too brutal" but frank enough to help me learn. I appreciate that. You've pointed out some great things to help me move forward.
One thing that strikes me, Jody, after seeing your work, is that you tend to think as a person who comes from a background of print and still images. It is almost as if you are presenting "slides" rather than thinking of motion as an artistic element in and of itself.
(I can relate to this, as I came into video and motion graphics from a background of print, and so it took a lot of work to break out of the still-frame mindset.)
One thing that I wish had been available to me at the time would be the COW Library of video tutorials. Find one that is a technique that you would like to do and work through the steps. This way, you are increasing the "chops" that you have in your design palette and options. The more techniques you understand, the more options that you have at your fingertips.
One of the best ways that I know of to understand the fundamentals would be to begin watching the Creative COW After Effects podcast, even if you do not yet own After Effects. (You said that you were going to be getting the Production Bundle.) Much of the battle in learning new things is mental. By immersing yourself in the early podcast episodes -- and working towards the newer episodes -- they will introduce you to ideas and concepts that will give you many inspirational jumping off points for your own works.
Have fun, Jody.
Creativity is a type of learning process where the teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.
Great points and right on target! Thanks for taking the time to help a newbie! You make a very valid point about the slide show approach. Hadn't thought about that, but it's true. I'll start tuning into Creative COW After Effects podcast and learning all I can. Thanks!
We communicated directly on questions brought up in your post and I encouraged you to ask the group, so much of what I have to say will be redundant for you, but hopefully good for the discussion as a whole. (See, that Mark Suszko is one smart fellow -- Artist videos -- what a concept! And Lindeboom... he's no slouch either when it comes to bright ideas.)
You mentioned wanting to "break into" the business and I have suggested that you are unlikely to be able to gain an entry-level position in a business which attracts so many in their twenties. Not saying that it's impossible, just extremely unlikely and, in the long run, probably more difficult than the end result would justify. So what's the alternative? Stay on the path you're on and ramp it up. Hire yourself and get out and sell.
Priced reasonably and offered as a completed package there are any number of businesses, organizations and even individuals who will pay for videos. For example, your animation of stills could be used to make "Hall of Fame" / "This is Your Life" pieces for your local Chamber of Commerce, for civic organizations, and likely for families wanting to commemorate a special birthday.
These days you can't rely on one thing. As stated above, you have an obviously broad skill set, so use it and push it further. Spend nights and weekends getting your software skills to the next level.
I too suggest that you work on your graphics & titles. Capture things you like off TV, be they spots or news graphics and work on re-creating them just to get a sense of their visual balance and alternative ways of seeing and building things. Do the same with your web site design work. Try to move beyond Front Page, as I suspect the reason so many things done in it look alike are its severe limitations. Along those lines...
It may be very worth your while to take (or teach) a community college course, if only for the college ID. That would enable you to purchase many software products at an "education" price -- in the case of Adobe products that's about 80% off.
Welcome to the world of posting on the COW. I'm sure you'll get a wealth of good ideas, along with some of the best tutorials in the business.
I am also a newcomer to the video field and would like to share what I have found (so far). I was an engineer for many years, and while that was fun and all, I really wanted to try something different. So in my late 40's, I decided to go back to school. I am fortunate to live (relatively) near a community college that offers Film and TV production courses. I have to say that I really like it, and would recommend CC as a path to explore. They have equipment and classes where you get to use it (cameras, switchers, lighting, and so on). The cost is very inexpensive. The teachers understand the difference between the typical 19 yr old and the "older" professional, and help you fit in.
A couple unexpected bonuses. They have an Career and Intern office that assists with getting you internships in the local industry. I was like you and wondering if I would be able to get an internship at my age. The staff there thought I would fit right in. So I am applying for one this Jan. The student ID gives you discounts to city transit, computer hardware (including macs), and video production software (as Nick pointed out). The software licenses are "educational" however, and some have restrictions on "use for profit" and on upgrading.