When you’re a national brokerage with teams in hundreds of Canadian cities, how do you even begin to capture the spirit of the hard working brokers representing your brand? In the case of INVIS/Mortgage Intelligence, the answer was simple. You go to them. With a camera crew in tow.
Over the summer of 2016, the Double Barrel team was thrilled to film across Canada, documenting the passion and the people behind the INVIS/Mortgage Intelligence brand. In one of our most ambitious documentary projects to-date, we filmed in six provinces and seven cities, capturing the camaraderie that makes INVIS/MI truly unique. From wineries in Kelowna, to line dancing at the Calgary Stampede, from charity golf tournaments in Niagara to boat cruises off the Halifax harbour. Through it all, what stood out the most was an overwhelming sense of community and caring. Brokers that truly care for their clients, and each other, working exceedingly hard to ensure their happiness.
Double Barrel is thrilled to have had the opportunity to work with Invis/Mortgage Intelligence, documenting this beautiful country and their world class teams from coast to coast to coast.
This completed piece screened at the INVIS/MI annual gathering, to rave reviews. And it’s easy to see why! Invis Mortgage Intelligence has successfully built the only true full service brokerage in Canada, attracting top brokers that are continually diversifying and developing their craft to deliver the best support possible. That’s something to cheer about.
Real artists ship.
This maxim, attributed to the late Steve Jobs, revolves around the notion that creation of great creative work depends upon the ability to overcome obstacles and come up with the best possible result. Ideally (in the context of video production) – a piece that will in some way emotionally resonate with your audience, given a limited amount of time.
Content creators can empathize with this quip. ‘Shipping’ (or in our world, ‘producing’) requires said producer to weigh messaging and artistry against obstacles to produce a piece of communication that will resonate with a wide & varied audience. Usually needed by, like, yesterday.
Last week I sat on a small panel of industry judges for McMaster University’s second annual 24-Hour Film Competition – a fantastic local event, held inside the Joey & Toby Tenenbaum Pavilion at the Art Gallery of Hamilton.
These competitions are a crash course in the ‘real artists ship’ mentality, as students race against the clock to develop their original stories into fully fledged short films in just 24 hours.
Sitting in the centre of the crowd at the jury table, I felt an immediate kinship with these students. Double Barrel evolves into a kind of 24-hour film crew on each production we undertake, paratrooping into storytelling situations and determining obstacles – developing the best way to get a client’s message across in a limited amount of time. In our world that’s usually about two months from script to screen, nowhere near the suffocating 24 hours of the festival.
Similarly, marketers, brand managers & professional communicators are consistently hit with this same challenge when trying to get their messaging across to a wide demographic. Especially via video.
The winner of this year’s McMaster 24 – the giddy, oddball short ‘What are you STAIRING at?’ quickly emerged as the best film of the night. Its creators – McMaster alums ‘Mobhouse Crew’ won over the jury due to their ability to incorporate the unique messaging (one line – “do you want some more of that? I don’t think so”) with locations and props required by the film fest (a chair and a set of keys) while still taking us, the viewer, on a full circle ride complete with understandable arc and well thought out ending.
The audience gave four minutes and forty-four seconds to the filmmakers, and they rewarded us with a cleverly scripted film complete with original musical score and tight ending.
So – what can marketers/brand managers and content creators learn from this mother-of-all meat grinder of creative production? Three things.
1. Determine your constraints and work within them.
As any 24-hour film fest-er will tell you, it all starts with the script. Getting real with your limitations and having fences around your ideas actually allows you to be free creatively once you’ve determined what they are.
Are you tight on locations? Budget? Actors? Does the video need to be a certain length? What does it need to get across and to whom? On what distribution platform? These are all constraints that will ultimately make your production that much better once you’ve figured them out. Make sure you’re clear and honest up front with the things you have to achieve (and the limitations you have) in order to make the production process smooth and satisfying for all involved.
2. Be laser-focused in your vision.
In the world of 24-hour film, there’s no time for distraction. Once you’ve determined constraints, go after your story. Full throttle. It’s easy to fall prey to fun and flashy, so stay true to a ‘Top 3 List’ of focus points and messages. If your finished piece doesn’t clearly communicate a message and have some sort of story arc that your audience can follow, it’s not going to get you on the podium.
3. Stick the landing.
This is the absolute without-a-doubt most difficult part of a piece, and also the most rewarding when it’s done well. This year’s winner “What Are You Stairing At” absolutely sold us with a perfect ending. I’ve heard that people only remember the last thing you’ve said, so keep that in mind and go into your production with a firm sense of what you want the ending to be and make sure everything else lines up.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Roz Allen is a partner and director at Hamilton’s Double Barrel Studios.
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by Deborah McIvor
What began as a single conversation about women in the world of technology has evolved into a global movement with tangible results: the G(irls) 20 Summit. And now, McMaster University has joined that conversation with an engaging mini-documentary produced by Hamilton’s very own Double Barrel Studios.
Women in Engineering: Our Global Future, created for McMaster’s Faculty of Engineering, explores the wealth of career opportunities that await young women in scientific and technological fields. Filmed and produced locally by Double Barrel Studios, this video is now taking a trip abroad to be shown on an international stage.
On June 17, 2013, delegates at the fourth annual G(irls) 20 Summit in Moscow, Russia, will view this engaging video as part of the official program. Established in 2010, the G(irls)20 is an organization that promotes the economic empowerment, education and entrepreneurial training of girls and women globally. The Summit brings together delegates, who are all girls, aged 18-20, from each of the G20 countries and the African Union for open discussion, leadership cultivation and entrepreneurial development.
As the only academic partner of this year’s G(irls)20 Summit, McMaster worked with Double Barrel Studios to create an original, thought-provoking video exploring the pressing global need for women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, or ‘S.T.E.M.’ careers. Double Barrel’s founding partners Roslyn ‘Roz’ Allen and Lee Hillman have brought their years of experience as filmmakers to the table to collaborate with McMaster University once again on an engaging outreach project.
“We entrusted Double Barrel to communicate our values and our vision, and to work collaboratively with us to share our unique story with the world,” says Arlene Dosen, manager of recruitment and communications in the Faculty of Engineering. “It was a distinct pleasure to work with Lee and Roz and the final product was indeed worthy of an international stage. Lee and Roz are consummate professionals, and I would work with them again in a heartbeat! ”
With a top-notch team of professionals such as cinematographer, Christoph Benfey, or director of photography, Tyler Tekatch, Double Barrel Studios has a wealth of expertise in the film and broadcast television industry to draw upon.
“When we were asked to work with McMaster Engineering on this mini-documentary, we were excited at the possibility of creating a piece that would inform and inspire audiences,” says executive director, Roz Allen. “It’s always a pleasure to produce engaging, forward-thinking material, especially when the message is this important. McMaster and the G(irls) 20 Summit have succeeded in highlighting the countless possibilities for women who take on leadership roles in our society. We couldn’t be more pleased to have brought this message to life on screen!”
Hosted by Elaine Kunda, member of the McMaster Alumni Association Board of Directors and lead advisor of the G(irls) 20 Summit, this ‘mini-doc’ intends to inform and inspire women who may become our future engineers. In the video, McMaster faculty members Heather Sheardown, Saideh Razavi and Sarah Dickson examine the reasons why there are fewer girls in these fields and share insights into the economic and social benefits of recruiting women into them. And engineering students, like Trinette Wright, share their passion and commitment to solving the world’s problems.
Elaine Kunda is impressed with the end results of this collaboration. “Our original plan was to video tape a basic ‘Q&A’ with some faculty and students from McMaster Engineering, but Double Barrel Studios came in and took our simple idea and turned it into an amazing short documentary. It is wonderful to see how they brought our idea to life!”
The G(irls) 20 Summit will include special guest speakers such as Arianna Huffington (founder of The Huffington Post), Jennifer Buffet (NoVo Foundation president) and Lauren Bush Lauren (founder of FEED). The G(irls) 20 Summit delegates will spend several days in workshops (June 15 – 18) with two days learning from presentations and panel discussions that will be livestreamed on www.girls20summit.com . The delegates will have the opportunity to view the McMaster video and to draw their own conclusions about what can be done to open up economic possibilities for women around the globe. They will then engage with the concepts and finally, spend a day developing a communiqué that will be presented to the G20 Leaders Summit in Russia in September 2013.
“Attracting women to scientific or technological fields is a challenge for most G20 countries,” says Kunda. “I think the video raises topics that will stimulate an engaging discussion and it will resonate with girls and women who see it.”