The Art of Facilitating Creativity

November 16th, 2012

15784168266_80c7288b1a_bI’ve been involved in dozens, if not hundreds, of creative situations throughout the years. I’ve worked with many creative people and seen many different styles of creativity and I’ve noticed some common denominators of all creative processes, sessions, activities and situations. One of the things that I have seen from a lot of people who are engaged in creative endeavors is being very playful. I think one of the problems with corporate America today is that we’ve forgotten how to be playful in the workplace. Too many places are worried only about the bottom line, and making a profit and they’ve put pressure on their workforce and that has squeezed out ‘playfulness’ from the workplace. Now, I’m not insinuating that we should all play all day long at work, because that’s not what I’m trying to suggest. Rather, a playful work environment is a space that you create in the workplace where employees are allowed to be playful and have fun. Clean fun, safe fun, fun that’s not harmful. Sure, it’s okay to play practical jokes and laugh and be giddy – there’s nothing wrong with that in the workplace. The problem is, employers look at that as being unproductive, and it stifles your company’s creativity. Your employees are your best resource, and your best motivation for your employees is to allow them to be playful because if they’re playful in the workplace they will be more creative. That’s step one in the creative process, based on my observations over the years.

The second common denominator of the creative people that I’ve worked with over the years is that they create a ‘creative space’. In other words, the opposite of what I’m trying to say is, if you walk into a closet and close the door because you feel that it’s going to be a sensory deprivation situation, that is the opposite of a creative space because you’re closing yourself off and you’re closing your mind to the world. Rather, create a space that has items that you like in it, it’s decorated and it makes you feel good to be in that space. It could include candles and incense; it could include rocks and minerals; different types of pictures and artwork; toys and trinkets that have a pleasant memory attached; crossword puzzles – anything that allows you to feel happy and comfortable in that space. Because you can’t be creative in an environment that is ‘anti-creative’ – it’s impossible.

Another component of creativity is to have creativity partners. Somebody that you can be creative with. Perhaps your company has teams of two, three or four people to whom you assign tasks to be creative. Like at Primeau Productions we have creativity teams, where employees are paired together or work together in  order to come up with more creativity than they would individually and by themselves. Highly successful entertainers like David Letterman or Conan O’Brien have creative teams that write content for their monologues and their programs. Comedians like Ron White and Jeff Foxworthy and Kathleen Madigan have creative teams that help write their material. Sure, they’re part of those teams and, sure, their life circumstances are part of the material that these creative teams use to develop more creative material but by pairing yourself up with at least one other person to help you be more creative you’re expanding your possibilities.

And some rules to consider when being creative with other people. Number one: don’t ever criticize anyone’s suggestions during the creative process. Rather, develop and build on each other’s suggestions. So if a creative partner says something that you think is hideously wrong, don’t say that – instead, say ‘hey, you’re onto something there – what else can we do to make it better?’ If you look at successful ventures, like any motion picture or talent or musical group there is more than one individual that contributed to the creativity for that endeavor. And those creative minds coming together is far more powerful than each individual would be alone. There have been a lot of scientific studies done at many different universities dating as far back as a UC Berkeley study back in the ‘70s by Dr. Donald W. MacKinnon. And they’ve studied and explored the creative processes and come up with actual scientific data as to what it takes to be creative. What I’m hoping that you get reading this blog post is that it’s important to go back to creativity, especially in times like the ones we are in when unexplainable situations happen, like hurricane Sandy, that devastate people and creative ways need to be developed in order to solve seemingly overwhelming situations.

Whenever I’m faced with a problem, as CEO of Primeau Productions, I never make a decision until I feel that I have a variety of answers and possibilities. If I’m given a situation or a problem I often take two or three days before I make a decision about solving that problem. It’s the same with creativity. You can’t sit down at a table and say ‘okay, I’ve got to be done being creative by 2:00’ – that’s not how it works! You have to have your space, you have to have your team, you have to have your circumstances, your task, and you start to build on all of the resources that you have in order to design a creative structure to whatever it is that you’re trying to be creative with. At Primeau Productions it might happen to be a documentary that we’re working on, or a professional speaker demo video. It could also be a campaign that we’ve been asked to create for video marketing.

No one person can be as creative as a team of creative people. Bringing creativity into the organization helps to breathe life back into the organization and allow incredible growth and success as a result of that creative environment.

Creativity is not something you either have or don’t have – I believe everyone on the planet has the ability and resources to be creative. Even spirituality can lead to creativity. I also believe that creativity can be developed over time, like muscle – once you tap into your creative energy you will discover what you personally need to continue to build and flex your ‘creative muscle’.

photo credit: Eugenio Cruz Vargas en su taller via photopin (license)

Professional Speaking Video Production Mistakes

November 5th, 2012

3137026754_4126848ec1With over twenty years of experience producing professional speaker demo videos, we have come to realize the most important ingredient in producing a successful speaker demo video is the clip selection process. I know of many successful professional speakers who spend one, two and three times their fee to put together a demo video. And I often meet both “seasoned” and beginner speakers who say “I’ve heard your name before – I’ve never worked with you because I’ve heard you’re expensive.” Professional video production can be expensive – however, it can also have a high return on investment. Of the professional speakers that I know who put their own demo videos together, very few can claim that their video brings them an adequate amount of business.

A high percentage of the professional speakers who we’ve worked with over the years like to be involved in the clip selection process. That is good because their eyes and ears see and hear from their public. As a video producer, I do not see and hear that feedback. Because of this, the professional speaker input in the clip selection process is very important. However, the biggest mistake professional speakers make is that they try to dictate what they feel are the best clips and the best clip order when putting together their demo video. Why do I say that’s a mistake? Because you wouldn’t have one person running a successful business or corporation – you have several. People influence you as a leader when you make decisions, just like focus groups are used to get a public opinion about a product or service and the way that the marketing is going to be packaged and positioned.

Now, professional speakers pretty much decide on their own what their price should be. But when it comes to picking clips, you’re really dealing with your package, your product and your position. And when it comes to marketing, decisions should be made by multiple people, especially people who are experts at understanding how to put demo videos together.

I believe it is very important to consider the big mistakes that I have seen professional speakers make by dictating their clip selection and clip order in their demo video and instead of allowing the video professionals to do their job. The mistakes are big because the single most important ingredient in the professional speaker demo video is the clip selection process. The clips that are picked and the order that they’re put in have to tell a story that the public gets by the end of the demo video. The public should understand what it is that you do and how you can benefit your marketplace. Your demo video is now a porthole to your other video content on the Internet: your Vimeo channel, your YouTube channel, your Facebook page, your Pinterest account, your LinkdIn account.

photo credit: Eugenio Cruz Vargas en su taller via photopin (license)

Tom Hegna – Retirement Keynote Speaker

November 2nd, 2012

100_1860I have a great job because it gives me opportunities to meet some of the best professional speakers, authors and entertainers in the world. My company, Primeau Productions, produces marketing video to help these people gain more visibility on the Internet for their speeches, performances and products. Sure, the income is great and our company is very successful, but the bonus that I did not expect is the learning experiences that I’ve gained while working with these great people.

One such encounter occurred in the summer of 2012 while producing a conference here in Detroit for NAIFA (National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors). One of their keynote presenters was a man named Tom Hegna. I had never heard of Tom and was looking forward to his keynote because so many people on the NAIFA board were excited to have Tom coming to speak to their conference. They had told me Tom had spoken several times for the Million Dollar Roundtable, and, based on my experience working with professional speakers, I knew that getting on the roundtable stage is a huge accomplishment. Tom had spoken for the Million Dollar Roundtable several times around the world, so I knew this guy had to be something to see. When Tom took the stage he was absolutely dynamic, attention-getting and entertaining, all within the first sixty seconds of his presentation. I took notes and learned so much while producing the show that I had to go shake his hand after his keynote was complete. He was doing meet-and-greet at his table where he had his new book displayed, “Paychecks and Playchecks.” I shook his hand and complimented him on his presentation. I had to qualify my feedback, mentioning that I had been working with professional speakers for almost thirty years, producing audio and video marketing and product materials for the professional speaking industry, as well as being on the board of the local National Speakers Association chapter and having served on several committees for the NSA. Tom had mentioned that he always wanted to get into the professional speaking industry so we connected again after the event and I gave him some suggestions on what he needed to do, one of which was to put together a great demo video.

Primeau Productions recently completed Tom’s demo video and you can see it below this blog post. Throughout the production process, my creative team and I selected all of the ingredients in Tom’s presentations and put together a script outlining some of the best sections from the many video presentations he had available for us to pick clips from. The Primeau team learned from the production process of working on Tom’s video just like we learn from all of the video productions that we create and develop. The team not only has the opportunity to earn as a result of our work, but also to learn. I jokingly tell my team that we get to earn while we learn by working with these great people. It is certainly a gift to have this opportunity with so many talented people.

I anticipate Tom Hegna to become a very sought-after keynote professional speaker because of his knowledge in an area that I suspect there is no competition in the professional speaking industry. Every single organization can benefit by giving the gift of Tom’s presentation to their people. Tom speaks about retiring the right way and how to live “happily ever after.” It’s not just about anticipating the outcomes of 401Ks and it’s not just about anticipating what your income needs to be in order to survive in your senior years. Instead, Tom speaks about strategies that you can implement immediately to avoid mistakes and running out of money, which a lot of people fear, including myself.

So I hope you enjoy this demo video, which Primeau Productions recently produced and learn from Tom just like we have, so that you can retire the right way and live “happily ever after.”

Tom Hegna – Retirement Speaker – Speaker Demo Video from Primeau_Productions on Vimeo.

photo credit: 100_1860 via photopin (license)

Employee Motivation with Steve Rizzo

November 1st, 2012

14220539866_fc2c817ce8_nOne of the biggest problems facing companies today is employee motivation. Whether we like it or not, employees bring all of their problems, situations, experiences and personal relationships from home to the office. One of the things that long-time Primeau Productions client Steve Rizzo does as a motivational speaker is to teach people how to look at life from a different perspective. Steve refers to this as “the humor perspective.” Now, this may make some of you reading this blog post angry because you think “yeah, sure, this smart, bald Italian guy from New York is gonna tell me what I need to do to make my life better?” Well, chances are the negative attitude that you have already is what is holding you back most from achieving all the successes that you want out of life. This lack of success is extremely demotivating.

The psychology of motivation began a long time ago with some of the great writers of our time: Norman Vincent Peale, Napoleon Hill and Earl Nightingale. The basic concept here – which isn’t mine, nor is it Rizzo’s – originally came from Earl Nightingale when he created the recording “The Strangest Secret.” That recording is still available today and I highly suggest that you listen to it. The concept behind “The Strangest Secret” is that what you think about comes about. That is one of the building blocks that I’ve used throughout my entire career.

Rizzo shares his experiences and helps the audience learn via stories that are sometimes serious and other times incredibly funny to help the audience learn. It’s a fact that people will learn more when they’re having fun. So not only does Riz create a fun environment when he does his keynote presentations, but he also teaches his audience – once he’s earned their trust and respect – what it takes in order to have a positive attitude and how to use humor to maintain that positive attitude from day to day.

I’ve even seen the result of his message in the forms of letters and emails from audience members as well as people on his staff.

Take a look at the video below and I think you’ll understand the value of a positive mental attitude and the way it can affect employee motivation.

photo credit: Wells_Fargo_05P via photopin (license)

Internet Video Viewing Analytics Survey Results

October 5th, 2012

2220267854_532f9d35df_nPrimeau Productions conducted a survey during September 2012 to learn more about people’s Internet video viewing behavior. We’re pleased to publish the results and to announce the winner of the Internet Video Viewing Behavior Survey Sweepstakes: Richard Avdoian. As his prize, we will produce a 2-3 minute video production with custom motion graphics and music for him.

Read the results of survey below. Click on the graphs to view them in larger formats.

1. On a scale of 1-5 (with 1 being the most and 5 being the least), how much do you enjoy watching online videos?

11.8% responded 1, 21.3% responded 2, 26.8% responded 3, 27.6% responded 4, 12.6% responded 5.

Read the rest!

Professional Speaker Demo Videos Copyright and Permission Use

October 5th, 2012

file0001646331361Any video recording–including professional speaker demo videos–must maintain integrity on all video footage, music and other prerecorded media that is used to create the demo to avoid copyright infringement. This now includes audience faces as well as music, pictures and video footage.

For the record, I am not a lawyer and my motto when producing demo videos is “when in doubt, leave it out.” In the following post I will share my experience with copyright permissions and video production integrity.

When Primeau Productions produces a demo or promo video, most people know you cannot use a copyrighted song or picture downloaded from the Internet. I know from experience not to take chances using anything that you do not have permission to use and that is not licensed in your demo or promo video.

The above facts and observations are now trumped with another copyright issue that was not an issue until recently: the faces of your audience members.

For years we always used client approved audience shots in our professional speaker demo videos.  Today however, we are more careful than ever before because we have become a litigious society.

I was recently contacted by National Speakers Association member Jolene Brown, CSP for my opinion on video recording a live event and including her client audience in the product videos. Her video supplier in Iowa, Andy Small, had reservations and did not want to film the audience faces. Great job, Andy– professionals must always use caution when recording people without their permission. Audience shots have been a huge dilemma over the years and here is what resulted from our conversations.

Read the rest!

Detropia : A Film About Detroit, Michigan

October 2nd, 2012

By Lauren Primeau

file3171282780335For what has seemed like forever, the city of Detroit has acquired the unfortunate reputation of a city fallen from grace. Yet a recently released film titled “Detropia” has taken a stance against challenging this notion. Directors Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady of Loki Films take an in-depth look at the history of Detroit starting from its golden days of being known as the city responsible for putting the world on wheels to its slow but steady decline well into today. As depressing as this may sound, the film does take a look at just what needs to be done not only in Detroit, but in other cities as well in order to revive our great nation. Far from giving up hope, a number of citizens within this film express their determination and dedication to reviving this city via its strong artistic community–specifically with the Detroit Opera House.

The film starts off with a shot of a farm house being demolished in order to comply with plans to downsize the city. Perhaps its because I am a native to this city, but to see homes such as these, that have been abandoned as part of an urban plight, disapear from the landscape is truly heartbreaking. It’s shots such as these that truly act as a wakeup call not just for the citizens of Detroit but for our nation as well. While this film does focus on the slow desolation of Detroit, it is simultaneously speaking to the citizens of these here United States. As one domino falls, it is unquestionably dire to prevent all others from following suit. Though the city has faltered, and downsizing seems to be the only option according to city officials, the spirit of the city is far too determined to give way to downsizing Detroit until it disapears all together.
More information about the film can be viewed via the following website:
http://detropiathefilm.com/video_trailer.html

View the movie trailer below.

 

Employee Motivation through Leadership and Respect

September 24th, 2012

file0002096852379EMPLOYEE MOTIVATION

By Ed Primeau

Primeau Productions is a company that has worked with professional speakers and the meetings industry since 1984. One of the most remarkable phenomenon that I have experienced over the years while working with professional speakers is the effect that motivation and inspiration have on attitude and performance in the workplace. PrimeauTV is a video delivery system that is rich in video content that is both motivating and inspiring.

Before I begin my message on employee motivation I’d like to comment that de-motivation is probably the biggest killer of productivity in the workplace. Managers that lead through fear and lack of respect will take a company down faster than lack of sales, although I suppose that could be debated. One of the tips that I learned from Floyd Wickman years ago is ‘praise in public and criticize in private’. Whenever an employee has done something that you are proud of make sure you compliment them in front of fellow employees. Conversely, whenever you have something you need to criticize an employee about, bring them into your office and close your door because you don’t want to criticize anybody in front of other people. It’s not a good employee motivator.

The late Stephen Covey, his first habit from ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective Leaders’ is “seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Once I became familiar with this concept it became a habit in my life as a leader at Primeau Productions. Too often people come into the office and talk about all of the things in their life before asking the fellow employee and showing concern for them and their lives. It’s best to seek first to understand, then to be understood – “How are you doing?”, “How was your weekend?” “What’s going on in your life?” This even works when you’re having a disagreement in the workplace. Listen to the other person. It allows the person to express themselves about their discontent or concern before you jump in and step on their words with your opinion and your feeling. It’s always best to seek first to understand, then to be understood.

Teddy Roosevelt had a great quote that applies to this concept as well. “People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.” You can be a big know-it-all and go around your organization talking about all the things that you know, bragging about your life,  your sales, your successes, but that has no benefit to you, the other employees or the organization unless you show that you care and you display the fact that you care effortlessly.

These three quotes from these three great people are an excellent focus for employee motivation. One of the things you might want to consider is to have your employees send you their favorite quote so that you can frame it and hang it on the wall in your workplace so the employees will see that positive message throughout the work day. Another activity that you can have to motivate your employees is to give them their goals for the day in the morning and not micro-manage their activities throughout the day. Today with social media the way that it is, and texting, it’s best to let your employees live their life the way they need to throughout the work day, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the goals they have been given by you that morning. That is much more motivating to an employee than having the fear that somebody’s watching them and that they’re not allowed to text their spouse throughout the day. Encourage time for your employees to watch motivational videos during the workday as well. You might even find a motivational video that you feel is appropriate to your company’s situation or to your employee’s life and email the link to that employee. That’ll demonstrate that you care because you’re sharing something with them that may help their attitude. And employee motivation is all about attitude. When your employees come to work and you have created a good work environment they will perform so much better for you and your company than they would in an environment that is not conducive to that kind of learning experience and harmony.

Primeau TV is dedicated to creating video content that is both motivating and inspiring on demand. Coming to Primeau TV in the future will be the Napoleon Hill “Master Key to Success” video series, in both English and Spanish, as well as some never before seen 16mm film video of Napoleon Hill lectures from the late 1950s and early 60s. Subscribe to this blog so that you will receive future updates about Napoleon Hill and other Primeau TV motivation.

Video Resume Services: A Solution to Unemployment

September 19th, 2012

As a video production company operating in Detroit, Michigan (one of the cities with the highest unemployment in the United States), Primeau Productions has discovered the power of video in the recruiting and employment industry. We have experienced firsthand the power of video for our clients on the Internet and now we have applied our video production expertise to creating video resumes.

Video resumes are attention-getters for recruiters and human resource personnel. When a typical resume is sitting in a pile on a desk, it looks the same as all the other resumes, regardless of how well it’s written and how great your credentials are. A video resume, however, adds a sight and sound aspect to your job qualification. First of all, a video resume can include video testimonials from people who know firsthand your expertise and talent. Second, your speaking directly to the camera in a video resume allows you to use the most important parts of communication: facial expression and body language, as well as voice inflection. Simple printed words and text on a resume, regardless of the color and the font and the pictures, cannot compare to video. In addition to testimonials and video of yourself, the video resume can include music, sound effects, logos and graphics that create a newsreel type of presentation.

Now, of course, a video resume is not appropriate for everyone who is looking for employment. There’s an investment in order to produce a video resume. That investment will pay itself off immediately once the candidate has been hired. We find that people looking to climb the corporate ladder or CEOs looking to move to a better paying position will use a video resume in order to stand out from the competition. If you’re a CEO and you’re looking to change positions in order to increase your salary, or if you’ve completed your task at your current place of employment and you’re looking to move on to another company where you can apply your talent, skill and ability, there’s nothing better than a video resume to help you get noticed.

The best part of a video resume is that it can be used on external media, like a DVD or a thumb drive, as well as on the Internet on your social media profiles or website. Once the video resume is complete, it could be uploaded to YouTube and embedded in your website or posted as a link shared in your social media activity.

Video resumes are the solution for many people who are either unemployed or seeking advancement in their careers.

Primeau Productions, located in Rochester Hills, Michigan, is available for questions about video resumes. Call 800-647-4281 and ask to speak to someone about creating your video resume.

*Video resumes start at $400.

The Keys to Success in Detroit Video Production

September 19th, 2012

9136683422_d5a32e2c23_nAfter 34 years, we have seen it all.  Ad agencies merging and consolidating, post production houses closing their doors. The biggest effect that began this downward spiral was when manufacturing left Detroit. So how does a highly talented production house manage to stay alive after all these transitions? You will read why in the following post. The following post contains some successful business activity, tough decisions made and lessons learned. This is how we succeeded as a well respected Detroit video production company.

Offer multiple video production services under one roof

First, we found you have to offer a wide range of products. You have to position your video production business as being creative. You have to offer above and beyond customer service. You need to have creative talent to design motion graphics, color correction, format transfer, video restoration and a VHS to DVD transfer service. These are all activities that will help to bring money into your business. The idea is that when one activity slows down, the others pick up.

Think outside the box

The second thing to consider for operating a successful Detroit video production company is to expand your business across the state of Michigan, instead of limiting your work to the Metro Detroit area. If you were to get a job in Grand Rapids, for example, quote the job make sure to include some of the budget to cover your travel expenses. The observation we’ve made over the years is that there are not professional video production companies in all parts of the state of Michigan. Traverse City, for instance, is not an area that is populated with professional video production companies. Primeau Productions has traveled all over Michigan for clients like L’Oreal, Bob Seger and Floyd Wickman.

Above and beyond customer service

Next, you have to provide the best customer service in the industry. Offer to meet with your clients face-to-face on Skype video or in person, if at all possible. There’s nothing like being able to be eyeball-to-eyeball with your prospects and customers to build rapport. And when you provide your proposals to your customers, always provide three options for their choice. Of course, option one is as low of a proposal as you can do while still maintaining a profitable relationship. Option two would be the next level above that, which is whatever you can do to increase the value of your services from option one. Option three would be the “full monty.” In option three offer anything else that will not only raise your profit margin, but also add perceived value to your services and your offerings.

When you talk to your clients before you create the proposal, ask a lot of questions so that you can learn and understand their expectations. It’s one thing to know where you’re coming from – which, of course, is to be profitable in the Detroit video production market. However, you need to understand and meet your client’s expectations.

Add subcontractors as resources

We have some good video production companies throughout the state of Michigan. Primeau Productions works with a couple in the Lansing and Grand Rapids market. There is one video production company that we have worked with up in Gaylord. They help us in Traverse City. Get to know all of the best video sub-contractors so your company can be available to record high quality footage. These sub-contractors can become representatives of your company and help you get the job done.

These are a few of the ingredients in our recipies for success in Detroit Video Production. If we had stuck with one service we would not be in business today. We thought outside the box and began our growth to other Michigan cities. Expanding our services is what helped us survive and thrive in Detroit Video Production. We have continuously grown ever year since 1984.

photo credit: P1040015 via photopin (license)

production hub listingblog catalogthumbtackgoogle plustwitterlinkedinfacebookvimeo youtube