In celebration of Genius House’s 4th year in business, here’s a brief Q&A with Partner, Video Director & Janitor, Adam Fischer.
What has surprised you about business ownership?
It sounds cliché, but the main thing that has surprised me is how much I care about the business. Some call it passion and Colleen calls it perfectionism, but I just know that it’s impossible for me to deliver sub par work and shrug it off. I had no idea going into this that I had this “quality” and that it’s not something you can shut off. Ever.
What would you tell yourself if you could go back in time to August 6th, 2013?
Be prepared to be unprepared and enjoy it when you are not busy, because you are going to be busy. Also, get organized because you’ll never have a clean slate again.
Looking back over the last four years, what is your proudest Genius House moment?
I don’t think I can name one because there are things happening all the time that I’m proud of. Repeat customers always make me proud, as do referrals from current and past clients. When the team works their asses off to complete a challenging production or tight deadline, that’s always an incredibly proud moment.
Who do you look up to and what companies inspire you?
There are a lot of production companies and talented freelancers out there, so I’m inspired by the ones that have been around for a while and have navigated the industry for 10+ years and are still rolling along. Every time I see another team produce something awesome and I’m like “damn thats good, good for them,” and then I’m immediately like “how do we do that even better?”
What has changed about Genius House in the last 4 years?
We started from the bottom now we’re here. (Still at the bottom but with a larger team and nicer gear). Really not a lot has drastically changed. Our work has certainly improved and we have more long-term clients, but we are still the scrappy, enthusiastic, small and mighty shop we were on day one.
What is your proudest video Genius House Media has produced?
I like a lot of our videos, but I still think the Hama Hama Oyster Farm vignette we shot for Xtratuf Boots is my favorite. It’s gritty and raw and it fits the brand perfectly. What makes it stand out to me is not just the finished product, but knowing what it took to get there, the conditions we filmed in, the hours we worked. That’s really what I love about this business. Every shoot is different, something always goes wrong, and there is always a new challenge to tackle. No matter how much we learn, there is always room to grow. It just never gets boring.
What do you see for the future of Genius House?
I think it’s a great time to be in the digital video content and I don’t see that slowing down anytime soon. I’d like to do more 360 content that is more immersive and incorporates motion graphics with video. I want to continue to expand our content capabilities. Some crews are one trick ponies but we can do a lot of things at a high level from “about us” interviews, to aerial videos, to product videos, to motion graphics explainer videos and I love that about our team. So I just want to continue to learn trends and styles and roll with the changes in the industry.
You know when you find a quote that just speaks to you, and you think “I should either tattoo this across my chest or maybe apply it to my business?” That happened recently with this one:
“Innovation is solving a problem before your competitors realize it exists.”
First off, apologies for the lack of citation, as I cannot remember which tweet, business book, or inspirational LinkedIn post included something along the lines of that wisdom. All I know is that the thought hasn’t left my head for a month or so. I made the decision not to permanently ink it on my body, but instead we have been asking/ considering/ discussing the following thoughts constantly:
Is Genius House innovative or are we just like every video production company?
What pain points do our customers face that we do/ can help solve?
What problems will exist for brands regarding video content in the future?
What companies/ industries currently have little content and why? Will they be ready to tell their story down the road?
The essence of Genius House is a social media/ digital-minded company, so we naturally try to keep content fresh, story-driven and consumable. Right now this means short, compelling, subtly branded video. It also means product videos that highlight features quickly and animated videos that help communicate complicated messages and make them memorable. In this sense, we are doing what many other production companies do, but we also understand that as the web becomes a more video-centric space, video content needs are growing exponentially. Our customers and potential clients not only need high-quality content, but will continue to need larger and larger quantities of it. This need is going to increase as platforms grow and audiences become more picky, distracted and savvy. Brands are vying for attention, and video is the ideal way to spend quality time in front of current customers and win over prospects.
When our clients ask for a simple “About Us” video, we look at a day or two of filming as an opportunity to complete their top priority project, and also to find other content opportunities. The thought is: Let’s get this 90 second general video knocked out beautifully for you, but let’s also create some short beautiful pieces for your social media platforms. So, being generally digital-minded, and ROI- focused are differentiators for our company, but the question is what are the future video pain points that we can help solve?
We believe there will be opportunities for live streaming, virtual reality applications, social video strategy consultation, and building robust libraries of video content for companies. Maybe even longer form video if you can imagine that. We feel that keeping partnerships and agreements simple and fair will allow us to do what we do best, create tons of awesome videos rather than deal with copyright issues and expenses. In the future, brands will need a partner they can lean on to help them continuously tell their story, in a creative, uncomplicated way without spending a fortune. There are a number of B2C brands doing this well, sharing their ethical standards, employee culture, and surprising and delighting customers on screen. In the future, we will see a lot more creativity coming from the B2B space, with video styled in a more personal and authentic way. This will be an exciting time for software, construction, and financial industry marketers who are ready to do some out of the box thinking.
Long story short, we are working on tactics to become a long term super valuable partner, rather than a one off vendor. I am not saying we’re trying to “disrupt” the video production industry, but we are working on solutions to make it simpler for clients to get exactly what they need.
Does your inner child giggle when you hear news of a White House debriefing? I can’t be the only with momentary visions of a politician getting pantsed, right?
In the case of this blog post, debriefing is meant as a report after the completion of activities. It’s been a busy month or so for Genius House, with a viral video success story, soaking in the SXSW Interactive experience, and an ambitious broadcast commercial shoot. Since we love to tell stories, here’s the lowdown on what we have been up to.
Dallas Symphony Viral Video + Student Presentation
Shooting something out of the ordinary, a bit daring and amusing is just plain fun. Seeing the views escalate and news coverage expand after it has been published is even better. Having a long term client that trusts your judgement and is overjoyed with the results is the absolute best.
The nature of the orchestra and many highly regarded musicians is generally reserved. Fortunately, the distinguished Dallas Symphony decided to break the mold and have some fun by gathering a small group to perform carpool karaoke while cruising the Arts District in a rented SUV. Our crew had limited time to film, so there was a lot of pre-production thought into gearing up the car before taking off, with Adam hidden in the back monitoring audio, and me driving while Darren filming as we followed the Escalade. It turns out, these performers can nail Vivaldi as well as Journey, even when squished into a small space with instruments and little elbow room. And it turns out, people loved seeing it happen:
The results (as of today) provided by DSO:
Facebook: Total views: 65,245 | Total people reached: 146,905 | Engagement: 3,928 (includes comments, likes, reactions, shares)
The other cool part of this story was that DSO published the carpool karaoke video on a morning that we were speaking to a college class about video production in the digital age. Our presentation originally covered the basics of the video production process, thoughts on trends for 2017, etc, but we realized that this was an ideal opportunity to share a “live” case study as we watched the numbers grow on the Dallas Symphony Facebook page. Not surprisingly, this was super engaging for today’s generation of students and resulted in a great discussion.
Per usual, the South by Southwest Conference was a blend of inspirational sessions, networking, parties, thought provoking panels, parties, and compelling keynotes. A few valuable takeaways:
Facebook video is the most underpriced marketing tactic today, according to Gary Vaynerchuk. He knows his shit, so I would just go ahead and mark that under fact. He explained that the ability to target location, wealth, etc is an incredible resource, and that “creative is the variable to success.” In addition to his usual brutal honesty, passionate tips and f-bombs, Gary advised that brands should act like a media company instead of an advertiser, and simply be entertaining.
The keynote talk from Cory Richards was a personal journey including emotional battles, physical challenges, and deep lessons that have led him to where he is today. He is an adventurer and renowned photographer who’s images help the public to engage with the natural world and even incite social change. He is also is known for documenting a Mount Everest climb via Snapchat, which received 2 billion media impressions. His openness and authenticity about mental health was moving with one quote that stuck with me personally and professionally:
“People connect when you not only share the beautiful, but also the real.”
On the technical side, 360-degree video, virtual reality, augmented reality and live video were widely discussed, which had us pondering the application of these trends for our business. Genius House offers these innovative video production services, but we are always working on how to find simple solutions to future challenges that clients will face. This is where the thought provoking benefits of attending SXSW come in. This discussion continues as we follow the advice of Gary Vee and listen, focus on the long run, and F’ING EXECUTE.
The Ambitious (and Ass Kicking) Shoot
This part of the blog post is outright bragging about the agility and hustle of our small and mighty production team. You’ve been warned. Most recently, we have been working on a tight deadline for three broadcast commercials for an apparel brand and affiliated sports organization. Filming took place over 3 days in West Palm Beach Florida, included models, animals, amateur athlete interviews, outdoor environments, wardrobe changes, hair and makeup, a barn setting, a family owned business during operation, a wary interview subject, sunrise shots, live sports footage, aerials and probably much more. (See some behind the scenes documented on our Instagram.) Filming ended approximately a week ago, and today we received final approval on all three cuts. For those not in the industry, that is lightning fast turnaround. Not once did we think this project was impossible, but it took every ounce of energy on location, grinding out edits and revisions while maintaining our dedication to high quality work. So, cheers to us, and thanks for reading about our accomplishments. If you’ve made it this far, you are probably friends or family, so P.S… love you!
…Now that you are de-briefed, pull your pants up you weirdo.
While every project is different, it’s important for a production company’s clients to have a grasp of the general workflow from the first meeting, to putting together an estimate, to final video delivery. Looking for a video production company to partner with can be daunting, but at Genius House, we want potential customers to feel knowledgeable and comfortable discussing their familiarity with video production, overall business goals, objectives, and budget. Below are a few common questions and an overview of the steps to hiring a video production team/ creating video content.
How involved do I need to be if I hire a production team?
Typically, projects fall into one of the following categories, or end up as a blend of both.
-Turn-key Production– A client comes to us with a need but prefers to avoid in-depth involvement in the majority of the production details. This full-service option includes conceptualizing, script writing, talent searching, and all production steps handled by the Genius House team. Communication with the client is consistent, but the heavy lifting is handled by the production team. Essentially, the client is able to choose which steps he or she would like to be involved with.
-Collaborative Production – Often times clients or creative agencies come to us with a clear vision, a finalized script, storyboard, and the ability/ desire to handle logistics and coordination of a shoot. We work together on many aspects of the production, but are happy to follow the established creative direction. Our high-quality production equipment, technical filming and motion graphics/ editing expertise are distinctly sought after in this scenario.
How much does it cost to create a video?
The costs involved in video production can vary depending on a number of variables including timeline/ turnaround, length, number of videos (we offer a bulk discount for long-term partners), voiceover/ music, anticipated shoot days, animation, and editing hours. This is why the first discovery steps are crucial so that we fully understand the scope of a project before putting together a quote. It is always helpful if we are given a budget so that we can make sure to work a proposal into that established range.
What are the steps to video production?
Initial Call / Meetings – Let’s get to know each other. At this time Genius House learns about goals and objectives of video project(s).
Project Outline Established – Via email or additional calls, Genius House is able to gather the expected deliverables, deadlines and additional details.
Estimate / Proposal – Genius House provides a quote for video production project.
Negotiation/ Contract – Genius House and client work together and sign agreement. For first-time clients a partial payment is invoiced up front.
Pre-production – Client provides branding assets, Genius House works to coordinate shoot, creates storyboard/ shot list, meetings take place to confirm details.
Filming or Animation work – Shoot day(s)- sometimes on location chosen, sometimes in the studio, or motion graphics done behind the desk.
Editing – Takes place at Genius House Media with check ins to client with progress.
Revisions – Client receives draft, gathers feedback, and sends revisions if needed.
Delivery – Video / videos are provided to client and final invoice is sent.
Video distribution strategy/ consultation is available to Genius House clients.
If you are active in the digital space, you are likely drowning in politics, selfies, competitiveness, and digital information overload. The nature of social media requires marketing practitioners immerse themselves in the crap, but these days, it’s simply hard for anyone to avoid. Just researching a topic or trying to keep up with current events can often lead a person into a rabbit hole of bitterness. This is why taking a break is a must, now more than ever. Below are a few reasons that everyone, particularly content creators, can benefit from taking off and logging off.
If you want to inspire, ignite and influence an audience, you can’t let your own light burn out. This may sound like meditation-yogi-flower-language, but it is not an alternative fact, period. Think about your energy on the first few weeks at a new job or the bubbling excitement when brainstorming on a new project. Ideas flow, content generation opportunities seems endless, a story is ready to be told beautifully through video, and there is an unmatched eagerness that has you ecstatic. After some research, maybe you see that a similar project was a fail, or realize all of the resources you are going to need, or you have a continuous battle with negativity at work. Over time, ambitions can sink and that fire in your belly can start to burn out. This is the fork in the road moment, when you either end up working on autopilot, or you take a step away, take a break and fill yourself back up. I repeat, step away from the computer, get outside, visit a friend that inspires you, and just live for a little bit.
Clearing your head does not necessarily mean leaving Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas or Columbus, Ohio, or wherever you are lucky enough to live your life. It means leaving your phone behind or removing Twitter for a few days. Let go of the perpetual political headlines and commentary. Forget about the newest innovations in your field for a little bit. Believe it or not, you will catch up. Clear out the junk from your mind, and let the big picture return and creative (not replicated) ideas flow. Once you free yourself from texts, calls, social media, and incessant internet access, brand new thoughts enter that space, and suddenly you have the energy to think deeply and begin to tackle your goals.
Get away and enjoy creating kick ass content, your way. This one is easier if you have the ability to get out of town to an awe-inspiring location (see below). But most important, it allows content creators to connect with their imagination and talent. Take photos, draw, journal, shoot video with your phone and a handheld stabilizer like the Osmo, but don’t make a task list. Do what you feel, but not out of expectation. Revel in these images and memories afterward, then share your observations, imagery, and the story. Whether you are technical or casual, philosophical or simple, be authentic and own it. Maybe it’s bragging, but we believe that the most innovative brand voice is the sum of the individuals involved in it. The interests, passions, and experiences of our employees, friends and clients are what make the Genius House brand.
Below you can witness the Genius House founders as they stopped, unplugged, experienced things, produced fun content and got energized to reach our 2017 goals:
Bungalow/ Office: We admittedly had a few conference calls in this spot, but we completed all work by 7 am Hawaii time as we adjusted to the time change.
The Journey: Just like owning a business, hiking had it’s ups, downs, terrifying points and incredibly awesome times.
10,000 Foot View: Adam felt like he “was inside a drone” on this helicopter ride. Similar to video production work, but more like vacation.
Hit Refresh: Turns out that’s not just something you do on a web page. The Pacific Ocean is how you refresh your mind.
Genius Houseboat: Touring a Na Pali coast sea cave. Adam was thinking about producing a documentary about the coast.
Head in the Clouds: We filmed a 360 degree video of sunrise atop a volcano. We did a little video production but mostly just sat in awe.
The Early Bird Gets the Shot: No client asked us to get up at 3:30 am to film, but we did it because we wanted to.
Now we’re back to work at Genius House and ready to produce some amazing videos and content for your brand. Preferably in Hawaii?
Well it’s 2017, and time to face the fact that consumers are barraged with ads and content more than ever, and people are learning to tune out marketing. But as humans, we have always enjoyed exchanging stories with other people. Whether it’s telling them, listening, watching them unfold, or writing, stories have been a timeless part of our culture. That’s the stuff we are all about here at Genius House, chronicling and spotlighting through video and social media. We capture different brands’ stories through video as well as share our own narrative with behind the scenes posts and hopefully witty captions. After spending some time pondering this fact, an idea was born.
And with that, the inspiration for the new Genius House blog has now begun. Moving forward, this space will be dedicated to communicating stories told with personality. Folks may or may not want to read our stories, but I should add that writing for SEO is trending toward a more human approach, and also this writing style is much more fun for me.
So I’ll start with this one:
How Genius House Got its Name
A young Adam (GHM Co-Founder) and his energetic best friend, Grant (now a Sound Engineer + GHM partner), had been dabbling in production for years. To clarify: they loved to make weird, hilarious stuff with buddies. Parties were often transformed into productions, with friends assigned as actors and plots making less sense as the night progressed. They shot with camcorders and taught themselves how to edit, all while having so. much. fun, the way a craft should develop. Years passed, and Adam and Grant’s “films”, such as “Gnome’s Grove” and non-sensical horror movie previews were piling up and the need for a production company became a topic of comedic conversation. They constantly brainstormed, mostly by mocking the existing egotistic sounding companies such as Legendary Diamond Dreamcam Wizard House Productions and Goldenboy SparkleHouse Pictures. (Those are completely made up, but you get it).
Adam & Grant, December 2016 -Still goofin’ with video games in their late 30’s.
Eventually on a late night stumble/ walk home in Grandview, Ohio, Adam sarcastically referred to someone from the bar as “that genius, Einstein,” and they looked at each other and agreed, “that’s it, our production company will be called Genius House.”
Years later, when we started Genius House Media, we asked Grant for permission to use the Genius House name and he was all about it, especially knowing we would keep him involved. Grant recently told us that he is proud that we could continue the life of an “inside joke amongst close friends that spoke to making a great product while capturing the essence of our sense of humor.” Well said, Einstein Grant.
The moral of this story: don’t take yourself too seriously, but do take your work seriously when you grow up, and eventually, you too can be a sarcastic “genius.”
It can be difficult to measure the value of video, so when we heard that a project directly positively impacted funding, we felt compelled to share this client testimonial along with the production she is referring to:
“Genius House has a true talent for helping organizations bring their story to life in a way that can’t be achieved through conversation. I saw the direct impact a well-produced, thoughtful video can have on fundraising efforts. After sharing a piece produced by Genius House at a fundraising event, the organization received the highest number of donations in the history of that event. As a non-profit dependent on each and every dollar, I could not have been more pleased with the show of support that resulted from sharing that video with our audience.” – Brianna Broussard, Special Events Manager, Camp Fire First Texas
Can we please do something like this? Maybe you surprise your employees with puppies in the office on a Monday morning. Or you randomly give a scooter to a customer that doesn’t own a vehicle? Maybe you are a coffee shop who decides to bring in pumpkin spiced caffeine to all of the teachers at an inner city middle school? No wait, I’ve got it – you own a brewery and you drop off a keg of delicious beer at an unsuspecting video production company. Any of these concepts will work, so let’s film something fun and heartwarming. People need to see some kindness right now, and if you are a brand or a marketer, you need people to care about your story right now.
Motion Graphics Animator Adds Capabilities to the Team
Rick Anderson, Motion Graphics Animator
Fort Worth, Texas, October 18, 2016 Local video production company, Genius House Media, announces recent hire, Rick Anderson, as Motion Graphics Animator.
Anderson brings 20 years of experience to the team. While his primary career focus has been animated productions, he has supported filming and editing on projects in the United States and in Europe.
Anderson has worked with Genius House in a contractor function on multiple projects over the past three years, but his passion and client-first approach led to a full-time offer to join the company. This capability expansion will allow Genius House to enhance current filmed videos by incorporating visual effects into product and lifestyle content, as well as offer full motion videos such as software marketing, explainer videos and infographics.
Adam Fischer, Video Director and Genius House Co-Owner said “This is a significant advancement and a turning point in the future of our company. Rick’s creativity and skills in the field of visual effects will bring a new level of satisfaction to our current client base. We are confident that this addition will allow us to bring on new partnerships, as the appeal of advanced graphics is increasing along with content needs.”
About Genius House
Genius House is a social media-minded video production company that produces multi-purpose, high quality digital videos. Genius House specializes in creating marketing content for the social web and delivering the best return on investment for clients and partners. For more information, visit geniushousemedia.com.