Who’s watching your business video? Disney? Virgin?

Have you ever considered having a film made about you and your business? Showcasing your ability as a guest speaker, as a workshop leader, describing your service or product?

Have you thought about what you’ll say, how you’ll say it, what you’ll wear, the tone, the feel, the look?

Forget the idea of corporate videos – films should tell a story, and there are many ways they can do that.

For some businesses, this should be part of your marketing. If you are your business – if you want to be a thought-leader, an expert, a public speaker, a teacher – then position yourself through video. Be out there to be  found, locally and globally.

Showcase what you do - especially if YOU are your business....

Showcase what you do – especially if YOU are your business….

I’m passionate about film and programme making because it’s been a large part of what I do – I can make a little money go a long way. Enough! No hard sell here! Consider this….

I suspect I can think of three reasons why you haven’t gone down this route:

1. I don’t need it.

2. I don’t want it.

3. It’s too expensive.

Here are five reasons why you should:

1. YouTube has 610 million views EVERY DAY and it’s still growing.

2. There are more high quality, HD videos on this site than on any other website in the world.

3. It’s a great way to be very visible, very quickly.

4. Netflix is has something like 33 million subscribers in the US.

5. Video, films, series – the moving image – is coming at you more than ever before and it’s going to get bigger and bigger – think Cheaters, think Dog The Bounty Hunter…

I predict that in the future,this medium will become even more important. It will become essential to be out there. Doing it now, in the UK, puts you in the position of a pioneer.

We are only just getting this in business. But you only have to think of singers like Jessie J, Gabrielle Aplin and others for whom video has been the defining factor.

I want to give you three examples of videos on YouTube which have really worked, all unexpectedly:

Anyone know Simon’s Cat? – fantastic little animations about a man and his cat, based around his experiences. Gained a gradual following which grew and grew (pets always pull in viewers). Now the brand is owned by Disney, you can buy Simon’s Cat merchandise such as coasters, mugs etc. All from a man animating the funny things his cat did at home.

Have you heard of Convos With My 2-Year-Old? – a similar and even funnier idea than above. A man records those bizarre talks we all have with our toddlers. He then recreates them with another man playing his daughter. It’s hilarious. They’ve produced five videos so far, the fifth came out in the UK today. Already they’ve been bought by Virgin to play on their planes to passengers. Who would have predicted that?

What about Steve’s CCTV film? Never heard of it. Didn’t think so. This is much closer to home but shows the same thing. My hubby made a film about a CCTV camera he ordered from the internet. As a details kinda of man, he made a film about how to set it up from opening the box to turning it on. It was over 10 mins which is a longish film and put it on You Tube. It was of reasonable quality as we do have gadgetry at home. No one would find it unless they bought that particular product with that particular name. They would have to have searched under that name or under CCTV. It was there but not highly visible.

Last week I checked it out and he had 20,000 views. If I said to you, I can get 20,000 people in a room focussing on this aspect of you and your business for ten minutes – would you say yes?

In our case, this was nothing like the millions of views of my other two examples. Just 20,000. Yesterday an American company contacted him to ask if he’d do the same for their new product. He’s talking terms now.

Video is the future for many businesses – be ready. Put the cash aside. You never know when Disney, Virgin et al will come calling.

Corporate DVDs – do you need one?

It’s been a busy few weeks but our latest corporate DVD is complete. It’s been a quick turnaround – from conception to completion in under two months – and we, and the client, are extremely pleased with the end product.

We’ve been making a DVD for Wiltshire Fire & Rescue about the training services they provide to prevent disasters from happening before they occur. The safety team provide elementary fire training to young children, present courses on safe driving for young adults, and deliver numerous safety checks in homes and on house boats. Making the DVD has been enormous fun and I’ve met so many people who are really professional at their jobs that it made me feel very proud of our emergency services.

DVDs are a great tool for communicating a message about your business. It may be that you want to take the business in a different direction  or that you want to promote services that you already provide to generate new clients. There is always a story to be told about a business or a service and how it works, and with visuals it can hold the interest of the viewer and be used as a sales tool and to generate discussion.

Planning is a vital element whenever you make a broadcast item, whether for TV, the internet or for a company. There is always a limit to the budget, so it’s important to plan well to include the essential pictures and scenes that will tell the story you are trying to communicate. Every day filming is an expensive one, so each day out on the road is highly planned to make the most of the resources that you have. Experience does come into this. Fiona and I have been making items for broadcast for over twenty years and we were able to put together an excellent freelance crew for filming and editing, ensuring that we got lovely, big, close-ups and that the pictures knit together and make sense.

There have been some funny moments – watching Fiona’s eager canter reduce to a plodding ascent as she dutifully completed the tough climb up to the top of the fire training platform was my favourite. How we chuckled down below as we heard her puffs near the top. Sorry Fi! Not that I’d have liked being up that high – but the pictures were certainly worth it.

Our latest DVD is uploaded onto You Tube. If you would like to take a look follow this link


Your Safety Our Priority – Wiltshire Fire & Rescue fire safety team

Titanic – what does the story mean to you? Review my thoughts….


No not the film – I couldn’t bear to watch it again – no, for me, it’s the real story which is captivating me as the 100th anniversary of  the sinking looms.

Through this wonderful job that I do, I’ve recently spoken to a man who’s an authority on Titanic who works at his family’s auction house in Wiltshire. To my surprise, this auction house is now the world’s (yes the world’s) most respected place to sell artefacts and memorabilia related to that ill-fated vessel. And this weekend is one of the auctions of Titanic stuff. (Henry Aldridge & Sons, Devizes)

I’m mentioning this because the sale couldn’t be more timely for me – as Saturday is my birthday and it seems a fabulous thing  to do on one’s birthday. After all, I am going to be 41 again, and again, and again…..

Why am I going? Am I going to buy anything? Am I loaded? Hardly.

The top items could sell for between £50,000 and £90,000 – that’s a little too rich for me. I’m sure the auctioneer almost spluttered over his coffee when I asked what he had for around the £100 mark. Memorabilia around the James Cameron film, I was told. So, I’ll settle for observing.

How much would you pay for a set of keys?...

I would love to see just who is there with £50k in their back pocket. Though I suspect that person or persons will be on the telephone or online. However, I have been to auctions where people do stump up loads and love to talk about it. Like the man sat next to me a few years ago at another auction house who bought a Princess Diana letter for £20k. When I asked him why, he said to put into a safe deposit box and wait for it to make money! Would that I had a spare £20k for such a purpose! I often wonder if he’s sold it on yet.

It seems incredible though that a First Class luncheon menu for April 14 1912 for Titanic could fetch a price of at least £90,000 or a set of keys used by the lamplighters has a price tag of £50,000. In the case of the latter, that’s a tool used by a working class man to carry out a working class job. On a ship which really epitomised the class system of the time. Not that that was any guarantee of survival of course. The richest man in the world at the time went down with the ship, along with the hundreds of second and third class passengers.

What is it about Titanic that so captivates us even now? Is it because it was a seemingly jinxed ship? I was told only this week that it was one of the only ships ever to not have been blessed by a monarch – I don’t know if that’s true. I think it’s the fact that we could all put ourselves in the shoes of those on board, especially those who were going to start a new life in the USA on the biggest liner ever built at the time. It’s a tragic romance along the lines of Glenn Miller.

But like the many romanticised tragedies, we know in our hearts it would have been the most appalling, terrible, horrific event to live through, witness and experience – all, unlike the film, in the dark. How many survivors were permanently scarred by it? How many suffered what we’d now call post traumatic stress disorder?

I love history and I’m genuinely interested in the lives and stories of those on board – and for a small amount of time, I really will be able to touch something that came from, or was related to that fateful ship – and I’ll wonder where those expensive items will end up……



The Media Giving Out The Wrong Message?

I went on a course last week about ‘safe recruitment’ in my role as chair of a local pre-school.
Even as volunteers, we’re expected to develop a knowledge of safeguarding children – a sentiment I applaud.
The course on the whole was good and highlighted to me the importance of working hard to keep paedophiles away from children. It’s all about reducing risk – not eliminating it, as that’s impossible.
All of this in the light of the Panorama about the mis-treatment of vulnerable adults in a setting in South Gloucestershire.
During the course though, one of the speakers put up images of two newspaper articles about court cases involving paedophiles. The headlines used words like ‘predator’ etc with pictures of two men staring madly.


The speaker said that the media had got it wrong when it came to dealing with paedophiles, their language was wrong and articles such as these don’t give the real truth.


The real truth being that paedophiles don’t look like monsters, are rarely strangers and often look like the nice guy who lives next door, the helpful guy round the corner or the lovely lady who always helps you out.

Unfortunately for the speaker, this was not something I could just leave without comment. It’s such a yawn to hear that well worn phrase ‘the media has got it wrong’ as if that excuse covers all ills.

Over coffee, I tackled her. She said that I must agree with her and I said I completely disagreed.
This is why.


The law around reporting sexual offences is very strict, so the only cases the media can report in any detail are those few (often the most terrible, and the most lurid) which reach the courts.

Most journalists know that there are far more sexual offenders out there than the public realize and often they are very close to home.

Also one of the biggest barriers to reporting these disturbing facts are social services departments.


These departments often run scared of the press and, even when given lots of assurances, won’t trust a journalist to protect the identity of vulnerable victims or witnesses (even though the law says we must).


But when these professionals allow quality journalism to take place – things can be changed, sometimes very quickly.
I’ve overcome this media fear a couple of times in my career and produced films which I’m deeply proud of – where police officers, professionals have all cooperated in order to tell a story which would not have seen the light of day otherwise.
Last year, I tried to get permissions in place to tell the story of the lives of a small number of dysfunctional families in Swindon and the massive investment that was being made to help them. The police were all for it – given that the then head of Swindon police knew I would honour my promise to protect those who needed protecting. But social services said no – and that was the end.


small spider hanging by thread with bright blue background

paedophiles are closer than you think....

So when told last week by someone from social services (who does a wonderful job each day I’m sure) that it’s the media getting it wrong, sending out the wrong message  – I did feel a little smug in pointing out that actually her profession was part of the very problem she was complaining about.

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