Having been moderately successful in marketing other businesses over the years I am now in a new location, that happens to be in the middle of the caribbean, and finding it difficult to market my creative media abilities to the business owners. True, I'm in an area where time and decisions tend to run slowly; laid back, but I would welcome input on tips to increase my presence here.
I've produce some projects for which I was paid and some projects in which I have 'donated' my services to non-profits in hopes of spreading the W.O.M. among the potential client base. I've handed out numerous cards, demo reels and made many contacts with businesses.
My main interest is in commercial production, short documentaries and promotions which would help generate tourism to the island. Although weddings seem to be the largest target for media I view such projects on par with 'herding cats' for compensation. I've produced several in the past and would rather try scuba diving without a tank.
Thanks for your time and thoughts.
There's a huge buisness in crewed and "barefoot" sailbiat cruising in that region, but I rarely see any god video of that. Last one might ahev been a Food Network special Alton Brown did, but even that was more centered ont the food and less on chartering the boat and visiting places in the islands with it. There may eb something in there... considering the cruisers have money and are looking for all kinds of fun, on deck and ashore. I hesistate to suggest a "reality" show, but that would be one option. Straight, fun-loving docs would be another.
Oddly enough early in my career, back in the eighties, when I was only in the ad agency business I needed a videographer for St. Croix shooting and the closest we could find was on St. Thomas. Next closest of course was San Juan. At the time we represented The Buccaneer, the VI Seaplane Shuttle, the largest local dive operator, St. Croix Marina/Island Marine Supply of St. Thomas and Tortola and various other smaller operations. We even had a locally-based account exec who, not surprisingly, brought in zero new business.
While Mark's ideas are good, as usual, your biggest problem is that you are on what is essentially a very small town. To get more business you need to expand your market. If you want the chance to do ads and or property videos you need to also become a presence on St. Thomas. If you want bareboat or other shipboard projects, you need to be known by charter operations on Tortola and, to a lesser extent, on the other BVIs. You should also look into ways of getting south to some of the Windwards. Unfortunately, like STX, these are also very "small towns" until you get to places like Barbados and Trinidad.
You could venture into Puerto Rico, but that's likely a saturated market as it does have a city. Being a short plane or ferry ride away from Tortola you might want to let The Moorings main office in Florida know that you're available in the area to inexpensively get footage for them. (They'll be looking for real beauty shots though and demos of local commercials and weddings will just turn them off.)
You may be able to locate US and European charities who want fresh footage of the sad (and oh, so slow) state of recovery in Haiti. It's much cheaper to send someone over from another island than it is to fly someone from Miami or New York, so that can be your angle. (They'll be looking for serious doc-style footage, again no local commercials or weddings.)
You mentioned "diving without a tank" which brings to mind the fact that you probably are, or easily could become, an experienced diver. Many SKYdiving schools offer a service where you can pay for your first jump to be video taped by a skydiving videographer. With a small camera and housing you could offer a similar service for "resort course" divers. Two or three of these a day could be a decent supplement to your business. Make it a "donut" with island footage and Buck Island B-roll of fish and coral as the intro and outro and the DVD will be worth more. Offer to one-off as a file upload-able to smartphones / iPads, etc and worth more still.
On both the charter and dive operators be sure to build in a "commission" for them and avoid stepping on their toes if they're offering anything similar.
Anyway, just a few ideas based on a small inkling of knowledge left over from my past life.
Nick, Mark, Great ideas and my wheels definitely needed your 'WD-40' input to get them spinning. Thanks!
Haven't had the 'clams' to upgrade to HD yet and hope that won't be a big hurdle. Another hurdle is overcoming sea sickness and claustrophobia but that just takes time.
Funny you mentioned the Buccaneer. Since I arrived and had to eat I took a job at one of Elizabeth's properties; Gallows Bay Hardware. While there I've been trying to convince her of upgrading her videos and offering marketing suggestions. So far, no response.
Thanks again. I'll keep you posted.
[John Nelson] " Another hurdle is overcoming sea sickness and claustrophobia but that just takes time."
Well, then in your case underwater video may not be such a good idea. To be a successful shooter, even in just ten or twenty feet of water, you have to be extremely familiar and comfortable with scuba and with boats. The last thing any Captain and divemaster crew wants is to have to worry about someone who's not a customer.
My dive operator clients would always allow me and my still cameras to go along on dives with paying customers because, as one explained, "Well you're a divemaster so we know we don't have to worry about you." I wasn't a certified divemaster, just a very experienced certified advanced diver.
Not too off topic, but to shoot well underwater you have to have complete control of buoyancy, complete gauge and depth awareness and basically the knowledge not to do anything dumb. Mastering these things is what allows you to operate the camera safely and get the shots you want. Otherwise you can endanger your own as well as other lives. Not to be too heavy about this, but a camera in the hands of an amateur diver can turn deadly when the diver pays more attention to the camera than to what's going on around him. Depths and currents are far more deadly than even sharks. Honest.
Maybe you can sell topside videos to tourists. Also, the idea of being able to provide a mobile version for phones and pads is magic to most people not in the video know. They'll pay for it! Especially on a memorable vacation.
[John Nelson] "Haven't had the 'clams' to upgrade to HD yet and hope that won't be a big hurdle."
You should address this as soon as possible. Most people with the money for a USVI or BVI vacation will have an expectation of HD -- even if they have no idea that the much less expensive HDV isn't quite the same. SD probably won't cut it with too many and certainly won't justify a premium price.
And good luck with Elizabeth. If she's anything like her father was you may have a hard time getting her to do anything other than what's absolutely necessary. I fear that it's an Armstrong thing, but have experience with only one generation.
Nick, some day I'll hit the lotto big and I will SO want to go party with you in the BVI and etc. :-)